Boulder’s Green Streets Ciclovia

Case Study | Concessions
Boulder’s Green Streets Ciclovia

Key Findings

  • Boulder Green Streets Ciclovia is an event that brings the community together and connects local businesses with residents and potential customers.
  • Almost all Ciclovia events in the United States are held in large cities, whereas Boulder Green Streets Ciclovia has been an extremely successful event in a small city, demonstrating that the program is replicable and can thrive in cities of all sizes.

Organization description

Green Streets is a non-profit organization based in Boulder, CO that designs, implements, and promotes car-free events in an effort to improve the community through active and healthy living and sustainable activities. Green Streets does this by creating public spaces in street liberation projects, essentially creating park-like environments in the city streets. Green Streets is part of a movement to free urban areas from automobile traffic and demonstrate that city streets can be utilized for innovative projects.

Program description

Ciclovia is translated as “bikeway” and challenges city residents to rethink the use of their city streets. Ciclovia not only promotes sustainable practices and brings communities together, but also helps people get active and live healthy lifestyles.

The most famous Ciclovia occurs in Bogota, Colombia every Sunday. Over 70 miles of road is shut down to motor vehicle traffic as 2 million people take over the streets.  Along this stretch of road, people gather around food, music, and art. The Ciclovia movement is starting to spread to other Latin American countries, Canada, and some cities in the United States.

Boulder is the smallest city in the world to host a Ciclovia program, where most of the Ciclovia programs in the United States occur in larger cities like Chicago, New York, and San Francisco.

Boulder’s Ciclovia is a full day event that takes over several miles of road. Hundreds of vendors within 10 different zones provide free activities such as dance, climbing, kayaking, cycling workshops, rodeo, running, walking tours of downtown Boulder, yoga, Frisbee, and more. Some workshops are bi-lingual, drawing more participants. People must bike, dance, walk, rollerblade, scooter, etc to get between the zones. Many of the vendors that Boulder Green Streets works with are socially and environmentally responsible companies and organizations, providing the participants of Ciclovia with knowledge about what their local community businesses have to offer. Ciclovia is an event that brings the Boulder community together in a free outdoor setting, promoting healthy and active living among neighbors.

In 2012, around 15,000 people participated in Ciclovia, with 65% arriving at the event by alternative means. In 2013, Boulder Green Streets wants to increase the number of participants to 20,000 and also increase the number of people arriving by bike, walking, or any alternative to a car.

Program goals/issues addressed

Boulder Green Streets aims to increase the number of free activities, add a new innovation and creativity zone, develop an interactive event app, encourage more cyclists to ride the entire route, increase the number of people arriving by alternative means, recruit more socially and environmentally responsible business and organizations to participate, continue as a zero waste event and increase diversion rates, and increase the number of participants to 20,000 or more year over year.

Funding sources/partnerships and type of support provided:

  • GoBoulder
  • Community Cycles
  • Center For People With Disabilities
  • Boulder Parks & Recreation
  • Intercambio
  • The YMCA
  • The Spanish Institute
  • Boulder Bcycle
  • Western Disposal
  • BIBA
  • Bridge House
  • Compass Natural
  • LEAD
  • eGo Carshare
  • Swift Turtle Pedicabs
  • Gaiam
  • Parking Services
  • The Hill Flea
  • Rudi’s
  • The Fringe & Avide 4 Adventure
  • Parks & Open Space

Results achieved/impact:

Boulder Green Streets expanded the distance of Ciclovia, increased the number of free activities, increased the number of participants, and developed more dynamic zones. To increase mobility between zones, the free ride zone was expanded. The design of the overall route was strengthened to be all inclusive and demonstrate safe passage throughout the event. With a message of healthy, active and sustainable living throughout the event, Boulder Green Streets increased the number of participating vendors and supported Boulder businesses and government groups that offer health and active living services and products, as well as local non-profit partners offering programs in sustainability health services and active living.



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