Experience a carless capital

HANNAH MCKEE
Last updated 05:00 14/02/2014
Claire Pascoe
ROSS GIBLIN/Fairfax NZ
OPEN STREETS: Shelly Bay and Scorching Bay will be closed to vehicles on Sunday for Wellington’s first Ciclovia. Organiser Claire Pascoe cannot wait: ‘‘It will be definitely be one of those ‘can’t beat Wellington on a good day’ things.’

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It's a simple concept - close a road to vehicles and open it up for the people. The idea has taken off around the world and, on Sunday, it will be Wellington's turn to experience it.

About 3.5 kilometres of the Miramar Peninsula, from Shelly Bay to Scorching Bay, will be free of traffic and open for walkers, cyclists, rollerbladers, scooters and wheelchairs.

"I think it's just a really unique opportunity to experience that part of Wellington in quite a fun way," says Claire Pascoe, who helped to organise the event.

"The weather looks to be amazing, which is another good reason to check it out. It will be definitely be one of those ‘can't beat Wellington on a good day' things."

The first Ciclovia was part of a transformation of Bogota, in Colombia, says Pascoe, who experienced her first Ciclovia in Los Angeles.

"American cities have been doing them for a few years now as a way to revitalise cities," she says. "The biggest one is probably downtown Los Angeles, which attracts about 100,000 people. The whole city has embraced it and their longest one is about 24km long.

"It's the whole excitment of having a completely different experience of a city they think they know really well, and it's a different concept to roads crammed with cars all the time and sitting in a traffic jam."

Although the Miramar Peninsula is not known for its traffic jams, it is a suitable spot to host the capital's first Ciclovia as people can explore the coastline and historical sites, she says.

"I'm really passionate about these sorts of events and think they play an important role in culture change and perspectives of walking and cycling. And having been to the one in LA and seeing how great that was, I know it's bringing life back into an area and making its accessible to everybody."

Ciclovia will be taking place on Sunday from 1pm to 5pm.

There will be a slow-zone and limited parking on Shelly Bay Rd, so using the free shuttle service from Miramar shops and Darlington Rd to Shelly Bay is recommended.

Frocks on Bikes will meet at Freyberg Beach at midday for an extended Ciclovia experience, finishing at Scorching Bay for a group picnic, raffle and treasure hunt.

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- The Dominion Post

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