Story by Mary Aho
Don’t walk; run, bike, jump, or dance your way to downtown Pensacola for the 3rd annual open streets event Ciclovia. Ciclovia (seek-low-via) or Cyclovia, is a Spanish term that means “cycleway,” either a permanent bike path or the closing of certain streets to automobiles for cyclists and pedestrians, a practice sometimes called open streets. Ciclovia’s beginning is credited to Bogota, Columbia. The event dates back to 1974 and is held there weekly every Sunday and on public holiday. Certain main roads are closed and the roadways are freed up for cyclists, runners, and skaters. Pensacola decided to introduce the concept downtown in 2017. People of all ages come out for the event and join in on the fun as they explore and get their heart rates going.
Ciclovia – Pensacola Open Streets is the perfect opportunity to get your creative juices flowing to come up with ways to be active outside. Major streets in downtown Pensacola will be blocked off to cars in order to create a large, safe place for people to get moving. Not only is this a huge plus for everyone’s health but it also gives people the ability to check out what downtown Pensacola has to offer, and explore in a way that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. It is a fantastic way for all walks of life to come together and move to the beat of their own drum in a safe environment.
In addition to the streets being closed, vendors will be set up around downtown along with live music and plenty of family friendly activities. All activities organized by Ciclovia are free for the public to enjoy. The main goal of the movement is to promote public health. However, it also serves in reducing pollution, economic growth, and bringing the community together. Ciclovia chairman Rand Hicks said, “Every kid loves to play in the street, and so do adults.” Hicks goes on to say, “Ciclovia is about coming together to celebrate having fun, moving our bodies in a healthful way, and experiencing downtown in a unique fashion – without having to watch for cars, Ciclovia provides a safe place to enjoy our beautiful, growing, and diverse community with our neighbors, wherever they happen to live.” Last year approximately 12,000 people attended the open streets event in Pensacola and it’s expected to have an increase of about 20% this year. More than half of last year’s attendees discovered a new store or restaurant and collectively contributed $567,000 dollars in spending, which averaged to $46.76 per person.
Ciclovia – Pensacola Open Streets will be held this year on Saturday, March 23 from 9AM – 2PM. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, you can visit their website pensacolaopenstreets.com. Come join in on the fun and see what downtown Pensacola has to offer in this wonderful movement while moving!