On the evening of September 27, 2018, Public Matters and the Los Angeles River State Park Partners (LARSPP) co-produced a memorable event at the Los Angeles State Historic Park (LASHP) – a rousing welcome to the international Bike!Bike! LA convening and the celebratory launch of the Pedal2Parks App. The night featured a choreographed bike train convergence that brought riders from five Los Angeles neighborhoods into the LASHP in a blazing display of bike solidarity. The mobile spectacle and event activities highlighted issues of bike access to the Los Angeles River State Parks while simultaneously promoting the joys of cycling and uplifting these parks as public assets for all Angelenos.
The Los Angeles River State Park Partners commissioned Public Matters to conceptualize and manage the event and associated partnerships – from planning to implementation – to ensure that the event achieved the goals of the various event partners and, most importantly, highlighted the issue of bike access to the Los Angeles River State Parks from communities within a five-mile radius of the LASHP.
Designed and managed the event, from planning to implementation, to achieve the goals of each partner
Created all promotional materials, event graphics, and interactive activities to facilitate dialogue on how to improve park access and infrastructure
Brought together a team with local urban planning expertise, media production skills, and a commitment to mobility justice
Identified and coordinated participation from local bike groups and members of the broader LA cycling community
Despite hundreds of millions of dollars spent creating State Parks on the Los Angeles River, there is a lack of safe bicycling and pedestrian access to the three parks downtown – LA State Historic Park, Rio de Los Angeles, and the Bowtie Parcel. Current plans do not include improving that access. The event, Pedal2Parks App, and on-going efforts of LARSPP, call attention to the urgent need for community-based solutions, and show support for safe bicycling and pedestrian access to the parks.
BIKE! BIKE! LA ORGANIZING COMMITTEE
Bike!Bike! is an international, annual gathering organized by and for community bicycle projects. The conference is a space for participants from shops and related advocacy groups to converge in a different city each year over a 4-day period to have workshops and strengthen its social network.
LOS ANGELES RIVER STATE PARK PARTNERS
Los Angeles River State Park Partners is an organization dedicated to supporting the California State Parks adjacent to the Los Angeles River. Its aim is to preserve, protect, and enhance the community, cultural, natural, and historic resources of the Parks. It does this by enriching the interpretation and education programs, supporting infrastructure improvements, and advocating on behalf of the Parks.
LOS ANGELES STATE HISTORIC PARK
Los Angeles State Historic Park provides an extraordinary opportunity for recreation and education in the heart of Los Angeles. Within its 32 acres of open space directly adjacent to Chinatown, park visitors can wander pathways and enjoy a view of downtown, as well as discover and celebrate the natural and cultural heritage of Los Angeles.
PUBLIC MATTERS COLLABORATORS
TAYLOR FITZ-GIBBON // SPATIAL AWARENESS NETWORK
The Spatial Awareness Network (SpAN) is a new organization dedicated to supporting interdisciplinary creative work focused on space and place in Greater Los Angeles. Their projects across diverse fields — from art and architecture, to history and journalism, to tourism and recreation — encourage people to explore and understand their surroundings. SpAN’s mission is to connect project creators with information, opportunities, and each other, as well as connect the public with their work — and, through it, the city.
BIKE TRAIN LEADERS
MONIQUE LÓPEZ // PUEBLO
Pueblo, a values-driven social enterprise, is a participatory planning and design firm that provides professional services to government agencies, affordable housing developers, and community-based organizations (CBOs). As a social enterprise, its work with agencies subsidizes its work with CBOs so that it can provide low-cost technical support for community-driven plans, projects, and policy development. It focuses its planning and design services on transit corridors, active transportation, parks and open space, and sustainability projects. It also assists in the development of advocacy campaigns, storytelling projects, public policy research, and provides technical assistance.
Public Matters collaborated closely with LARSPP, the staff of the LASHP, and the Bike!Bike! LA Organizing Committee to define the goals and activities at the event. We worked to ensure that international Bike!Bike! attendees and local event attendees could learn about the difficulties of accessing the park through direct conversations with LA cyclists.
Public Matters brought on collaborators with strong bonds to the cycling and mobility justice communities to help execute the event:
Arrival of the Bike Trains
As sun set over the Los Angeles State Historic Park, lines of cyclists streamed into the center of the park, their wheels glowing bright. Public Matters worked with the leaders of CICLE, HBC, People for Mobility Justice, Ride On! Bike Shop/Co-op and Relámpago Wheelery to organize and promote the bike trains to their networks, connecting local LA cyclists to the event, the work of LARSPP, and the Bike!Bike! LA gathering.
Bike Trains arrived from:
Program and Bike Train Video
Words from Gabrielino/Tongva elder Julia Bogany started the program. She was followed by short bilingual presentations from Jenny Alemán-Zometa of LARSPP, Areli Morales of the Bike!Bike! Organizing Committee, and a number of the Bike Train leaders.
The video created by Monique López also screened. It featured interview clips with Vanessa Grey from CICLE, Maryann Aguirre from People for Mobility Justice, Jimmy Lizama from Relámpago Wheelery, Adé E. Neff from Ride On! Bike Shop/Co-op, and Sophanarot Sam & Diane Valencia from SEACA. Watch the interviews here.
Launch of the Pedal2Parks App &
Mapping Access to the LA River State Parks
Public Matters created a physical space where attendees could:
Best Day Ever + This Park = [Your dreams here.]
This activity invited attendees to share their dreams about how the LASHP should be programmed – connecting to the emotional component of accessibility, rather than simply a physical one.
Setting the tone: Music in the park
The soundtrack for Pedal2Parks was set by DJ Adé and DJ Que Madre, who brought not only their vinyl, but their deep cycling advocacy experience to the night. Each DJ spun one-hour sets, sharing their views of Los Angeles through their musical selections.
The band “El Rio” performed an acoustic set, dedicating their performance to the loved ones whose lives have been lost while riding their bikes.