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The Third Annual Ciclovia-Pensacola Open Streets returns to downtown
Pensacola Saturday, March 23, with an expanded footprint on Palafox Street.

Last March, organized estimate more than 12,000 people crowded the downtown core for Ciclovia, part of a unique international movement that closes downtown streets to motorized traffic and opens them up for active community fun. The event encourages and promotes safe physical activity with others while offering the rare opportunity to walk, ride, run and skate downtown streets — without dodging automobiles.

From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Palafox Street, from Plaza de Luna to Garden Street, will
close to motorized vehicles and open to bicyclists, pedestrians, runners, strollers,
skateboarders and more. Also, Main Street from the Gulf Power building to Bruce
Beach will be closed to cars and open to people.

Residents participate in activities during Ciclovia 2018. (Special to The Pulse)

“Every kid loves to play in the street, and so do adults,” said Ciclovia chairman
Rand Hicks. “Ciclovia is about coming together to celebrate having fun, moving
our bodies in a healthful way, and experiencing downtown in a unique fashion —
without having to watch for cars. Ciclovia provides a safe place to enjoy our
beautiful, growing and diverse community with our neighbors, wherever they
happen to live.”

Music, vendors and fun events will be staged around the area, including a Kids
Area at Plaza de Luna, health screenings and more. All of the activities organized
by Ciclovia are free.

The primary goals include promoting public health, boosting our local economy,
reducing pollution and showcasing downtown as a people-friendly space and a
model for getting out of our cars and exercising.

“The reinvention of downtown Pensacola as a cool urban center is gaining
momentum,” said Hicks. “Whatʼs striking now is the fast pace of residential
development, which reflects the national trend. Events like Ciclovia underscore
the importance of keeping downtown focused on the people who support its
businesses, live in its homes and apartments, and who enjoy its ambiance.”
An estimated 12,000 people attended Ciclovia last year, up 20 percent from the
first event in 2017. Organizers expect a similar jump this year.

Last year, according to survey data from the University of West Florida and Visit
Pensacola, 56 percent of respondents discovered a new store or restaurant;
contributed $567,000 in spending; and spent an average of $46.76.

A cyclist participates in Ciclovia 2018. (Special to The Pulse)

“We are fortunate to have community leaders, both in the public and private
sectors, who help make this possible,” Hicks said. “Weʼre grateful to Mayor
Grover Robinson, the City of Pensacola and Pensacola Parks & Recreation for their
enthusiastic support. It takes a lot of support from the City, from local businesses
who donate money and services, government agencies who participate, and from
dozens of volunteers doing hands-on work.”

This yearʼs primary partner is Humana. Substantial support also comes from
WUWF, Dasani, WEAR-TV, Cat Country, Boyettʼs Portable Toilets, the City of
Pensacola, Pensacola Parks & Recreation, Visit Pensacola, the Florida Department
of Health in Escambia County, rideOn, and the Pensacola Community Action
Network.

“The turnout for our first two events made it clear that people embrace this
event,” Hicks said. “Downtown Pensacola is a place people want to be, and they
love to have fun walking or riding a bike on a safe street. And they want more
events, not fewer, so we look forward to bringing people together at Ciclovia
events in the future.”

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