Earlier this year, Los Angeles hosted it’s first CicLAvia — an event which closed off 7.5 miles of city streets to cars for a full day allowing cyclists and pedestrians full use of the roadways. It was a huge success with over 100,000 residents showing up on 2 wheels rather than 4. Yes, this happened in Los Angeles, dare I say one of the most “car-positive” cities in the world. The organizers are working on plans for the next CicLAvia for 2011 and have teamed up with Kickstarter to help raise some funds. They are hoping to bring in $5K, and have a bit over $1K right now.
Today started out leisurely, we were on the shuttle to Cancun Messe around noon and got there in the early afternoon. The roadways are lined with police in a number of forms, but most foreboding is the Federal Police with their large automatic weapons.
There is less of a mass outside this initial meting place than the Bella Center, and it is just a stop over to most of the other sessions at the Moon Palace resort. Both locations are remote. The only reasonable transportation is the semi-hourly shuttles for various spots in the surrounding area.
With no lack of trying to be helpful, a staffer directing buses attempted to put us closer to the small town, where we could pick up the shuttle to this year’s Klimaforum. It instead put us at an equally remote resort from which we took a cab. Originally we were going to take the taxi from the resort to the shuttle stop, but I opted in for the full ride.
We arrived at the Kilmaforum hopeful, it was fairly well signed up to the gate, but once in it was a slow downhill. We traveled into the back of the El Rey Polo Club and found a hand drawn “Registro aquí”. The table to which it referred was staffer by temporary relief for the women who had been there. They assumed we would want to camp there, but we just were there to visit. We were also informed the shuttle wasn’t running on any schedule, just when people want to go and there was critical mass (10 people). We asked about getting the shuttle from the shuttle stops to here, they were puzzled.
Whereas the Klimaforum in Copenhagen for COP15 was the conference for everyone else that wasn’t in the Bella Center, this did not follow in it’s footsteps. Closer to the Climate Bottom Meeting in Christianshavn, even with tents for meeting spaces, it was more of a temporary commune than a conference. They had faster Wireless than our hotel, but were otherwise unprepared for visitors. We were directed to a press person who didn’t speak english, which is fine, it’s Mexico, where spanish is spoken, but we had made it clear to someone from an english speaking country (USA or Canada) that our spanish was minimal. So we hung out waiting for some film we were told was going to be shown at 5:00pm, then 5:30pm, but it never happened.
I’m pretty sure we overheard some people involved with the film talk about how this set-up wasn’t what they expected. They expected the meican sequel to the 2009 Kilmaforum, as had I. The response they got was: “Hey, we’re volunteers, we’ve been trying to get this together since Friday, we’re trying to do something different, this isn’t like every other conference you could get anywhere.”
After a guy who had hitchhiked from the Netherlands came to talk to us, since we’re press, we tried to leave. We asked about the shuttle and were told, that it’s only $1o pesos/person if there were 10 people in the shuttle, since that’s how much it costs to make the run. Since it was just us 2, it would be $50 pesos/person… just to leave we did it. The most comfortingly reliable and convenient transport of the day was the bus we took back to cancun.
A few things:
- If you say the conference is from the 26th of a month, but don’t intend to have public until the 29th, just say it starts on the 29th.
- If you tell someone that you’re going to show a film at 5pm, show a film at 5pm or make an announcement.
- If you say you’re open and you’re running a shuttle, run the shuttle and put it where people, thinking you’ve started, will expect to find it.
- Also 2 shuttle vans for 10 people each running each journey for what you think is going to be even just hundreds of people is not enough.
- Be upfront about how your systems work, and commit to it, even if it’s not going to be the best thing in one particular way.
- If you’re going to do the communal living, camping in the woods, contemporary hippie thing… please be aware that it isn’t the most inclusive way to do things. You may be all friendly and want to love everyone warmly, but not everyone is bought into an extreme lifestyle like that, but they still might care about the climate.
We made it back to our hotel, even more so an oasis after the frustrations of the day, and set about dinner. We wandered nearby to the central square, which reminded me of home around area like Echo Park and McArthur Park. We had some food and wandered to the UNESCO photo exhibit on disappearing climates. Not unlike some of the photo exhibits in the public squares of Copenhagen. It was the first real, accessible, publicly engaged moment of the day.
Tomorrow should prove to be better, I’m spending the day at the Villa de Cambio Climático, while Moe heads to the opening plenary. HOpefully more to report tomorrow, when the real fun begins!
Through the Grapevine: Streams of Transit in Southern California’s Great PassThe mountainous passage that separates the great population of Southern California from the rest of the state is a zone of transit, from one epic region to another. Located at the collision of the San Gabriel and Tehachapi Mountain Ranges, this steep and convoluted terrain lies between Castaic, the northern edge of the Los Angeles megalopolis, and the depopulated place known as Grapevine, at the southern end of the Central Valley. Layers of traffic, water, and energy move like a braided stream through the mountainous terrain, connecting here to there.From April 23, 2010This exhibit is made possible by a grant from the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles and the CLUI Remarkable Roadways Program.