Now we’re getting somewhere! Baltimore had it’s first (?) Cyclovia event last Sunday on Roland Avenue between Northern Parkway and Cold Spring Lane. The southbound roadway was closed to vehicular traffic, but open to cyclists, pedestrians, families, dogwalkers, skateboarders and anyone else who wanted to use the road without a motor.
The road closed at 8am, but few ventured out that early. The bewildered passers-by would ask what was happening and were amazed at the answer. “Really? We can just walk down the middle of the street?” As the sun climbed, so did participation. By 9:30, the “traffic” was evident. While most were riding bikes, more families emerged with strollers, bike trailers, scooters, tricycles and wagons. Plenty of sidewalk chalk was on-hand and was well used.
One goal of all Cyclovias worldwide is to enhance the sense of community. This goal was achieved early on and blossomed as the event continued. Neighbors who hadn’t seen each other in years were catching up, of all places, in the middle of Roland Avenue.
Not only did the residents come out, but so did their ideas. I repeatedly heard requests to build a cycletrack on Roland Avenue. A cycletrack is a bi-directional bikeway separated from travel lanes by a barrier or buffer zone. This concept was well received by Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, who was instrumental in making this event possible. The Roland Park Cyclovia would not have been possible without the vision and leadership from Phil Spevak and Mike McQuestion from the Roland Park Civic League.
Now that Baltimore proved it can do a Cyclovia, let’s get some more going on!