New Brunswick Ciclovia Study Tour Imparts Practical Wisdom “Start at your own pace, get it right, expand along the way.” That slogan summarizes the advice received by participants in the first-ever New Brunswick Ciclovia Study Tour, which was open to organizations and municipalities across the state curious about starting a Ciclovia, an open streets initiative in their community.
Seventeen representatives gave up their Saturday to learn about important aspects of developing and implementing a Cicloiva event such as: the logistics, marketing and community and business partnerships that contribute to a successful Open Streets initiative. Mayor James Cahill kicked off the Study Tour by welcoming the participants, presenters and volunteers and explaining what Ciclovia means to the New Brunswick community by emphasizing all the partners’ commitment to promoting community health. Charles Brown of the Rutgers University- Voorhees Transportation Center closed out Saturday’s learning session by emphasizing the importance of diversity and inclusiveness in planning and execution. On the second day, participants experienced Ciclovia for themselves.
“This was our most successful Ciclovia ever,” said Manuel Castaneda, Director of Community Health for New Brunswick Tomorrow. Children on bikes greeted the morning by assembling on sidewalks awaiting street closures. Each zone of the Ciclovia route offered multiple activities that appealed to both children and adults. The weather cooperated too and, as a result, attendance topped 15,000.
The participants’ feedback was very positive. The contingent from Princeton that attended the Study Tour has asked that New Brunswick Ciclovia Study Tour organizers present to community leaders in Princeton. Representatives from Asbury Park, which is about to introduce their own Ciclovia event at the shore, said they were taking home valuable information and insight.
“Ciclovia must reflect each community’s needs and wants,” advised Castaneda. “We can’t simply transport our Ciclovia to other cities and towns and expect success, but other cities can use our experiences and knowledge to guide their journey better and imprint their community culture in their Ciclovia.”