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CicLAvia Helping Expand Al Fresco Dining In Neighborhoods Hit Hard By COVID-19

CicLAvia South L.A. in Dec. 2014
( Photo by K W
LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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Prior to the pandemic, the local nonprofit CicLAvia was best known for organizing massive family-friendly bike rides on car-free streets around L.A.

Now, the organization is teaming up with the city of L.A. to help make permanent the al fresco dining program that was launched during the pandemic.

In a May 12 vote, the Los Angeles City Council commissioned studies on how to make the program permanent, and to ensure it complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Meanwhile, CicLAvia has been steadily working to assist restaurant owners who are shifting to outdoor dining, but don’t have experience in utilizing outdoor space for that purpose. The organization has long created pop-up events in L.A. for people to walk, bike, or skate through the city on closed roads.

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Since 2020, organizers with CicLAvia have been reaching out to restaurants in neighborhoods that were heavily impacted by the pandemic.

Rachel Burke, CicLAvia’s director of production, says many restaurateurs feared that establishing outdoor dining would be labor intensive, but that the fear is misguided.

“It's pretty easy to take this space and use it for something other than cars,” she said, “just like CicLAvia does.”

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