BICYCLE COMMUTERS - Bill Franz, president of the Red Deer Association for Bicycle Commuting and Liz Hagell, member and team lead of the organizing committee for Cyclovia Red Deer pose with their bikes at the Eco-Living Fair at RDC on March 24th. Michelle Falk/Red Deer Express

Red Deer’s first Cyclovia hits the streets this summer

Green Zero Waste event takes over downtown to promote health and community

The Red Deer Association for Bicycle Commuting (RDABC) announces the City’s first open streets event. Cyclovia will take place on Aug. 12th.

“We want people to experience downtown in a different way and to see non-motorized activity as a reasonable and positive way of transportation,” said Liz Hagell, Cyclovia organizing committee team lead and member of the RDABC.

That Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. four square blocks of downtown will be closed off from motorists to promote active modes of transportation and community engagement.

The Red Deer event was conceived after she came back from a personal trip to Santiago, Chile where she stumbled upon the popular Central American phenomenon Cyclovia, which translates to cycle-way. In the city of 6 million people the downtown shut down to motorized vehicles every Sunday from 9am to 4pm and thousands of people come out.

The Cyclovia Red Deer organizers are starting small with a one-day, four-hour event this August.

“We’d love for it to become an annual event.”

In partnership with the City of Red Deer, the Cyclovia organizers have designed a 1 km route around downtown and will be closing off a four block area on Gaetz Ave and 49th Ave. from 49th St. to 52nd St. plus 51st St. to Ross.

There will be three satellite stations with safe accessible routes for cyclists to get downtown located at Safety City, the Dawe Centre and a third near the Collicutt.

Around downtown there will be activity hubs including food trucks, bike shops, vendors, yoga in the park, Safety City bike rodeo obstacle course, Optimist Club bike giveaway and a bike repair café. There will also be opportunities to meet and ride with professional cyclists who will be there for the 10th annual George Berry Wellness Ride, taking place the day before in support of Canadian Mental Health and Spinal Cord Injuries.

Cyclovia Red Deer will have official designation as a green, zero waste event.

Food trucks will be required to use compostable containers. The City is sponsoring zero waste recycling stations and potable water stations where participants can refill their own bottles instead of purchasing bottled water.

This is the first time the City has partnered with outside organizations to provide green services like this for an event.

Organizers said the City has been positive about the event as it aligns with the new environmental action plan and mobility playbook.

The organizers hope Cyclovia will help familiarize Red Deerians with routes to cycle throughout the city.

“We don’t want to think of it as a festival, because it has a bigger message than just fun—we’re hoping to build that culture and idea of active transport,” said Hagell.

She added that the organizers of Cyclovia, and by extension the members of the Association for Bicycle Commuters are firm believers in the value of active transportation.

The Primary Care Network and the City of Red Deer are major sponsors of the event as well as private sponsors and partners.

Cyclovia Open Streets was initially started in Bogotá, Columbia by Gil Penalosa, in 1990. The program sees over 1.5 million people walk, run, roller blade, skate board and bike along 121 kilometers of Bogotá’s city streets every Sunday.

The concept is now internationally recognized and emulated. It has become one of the most effective and affordable large-scale health promotion programs.

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