“The Mayor of Happy,” also known as Claudio Orrego, a one term mayor of Santiago, earned this title and enormous popularity during his tenure. Orrego established an important precedent in Chile: he knew that he couldn’t promise wealth for all of Santiago’s residents, but he did believe that he could make all Chileans rich with happiness through thoughtful park and infrastructure planning. It was out of this idea that Orrego and eventually many Chileans, bought into the idea of Ciclovia, returning the streets to pedestrians and cyclists young and old. This truly was planning at the HUMAN level.
Ciclovia directly translates to “cycle-way,” and refers to the car-free, active recreation, people-focused event that began in Bogota, Colombia. The 1970s in Colombia, the United States, Chile and many other countries was a time of rapid growth and car-centric development, a propagation of suburban sprawl that forced people into their cars and created streets unfriendly for pedestrians and bicyclists. Yet through the introduction of events like Ciclovia, these cities as well as nearly 40 more around the world are slowly returning the city streets to the people to create safer, happier, more walkable environments.
New Brunswick has successfully held regular Ciclovia events for 3 years as a means of returning the streets to the residents (pedestrians, cyclists, families, children, and more) and echoing Claudio Orrego’s sentiment that events like this can truly make people happy and improve their lives. Every year the highly anticipated Ciclovia attracts thousands of residents and students. The great success of the event has also helped bring residents from across the city together to enjoy safe recreational activities along New Brunswick’s streets.
Ciclovia is coming to New Brunswick once again on April 23rd from 11am to 4pm and it is completely free to the public. During this time, the streets illustrated on the map will be closed to vehicular traffic, permitting people of all ages to come out and walk, bike, skate, play, interact with neighbors, and have a good time. As participants move along the three-mile stretch of closed streets, they can stop by various vendors and enjoy nearly 20 activities. The Ciclovia encourages community cohesion and always brings about lots of smiles and photo-ops that participants are encouraged to share on the New Brunswick Ciclovia page.
Come out next month with friends and family and a comfortable pair of shoes to be a part of the safe and happy New Brunswick that this event represents! And save the date for upcoming Ciclovia events: June 24, August 5, and October 8.