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Denver Kicks Off First Official "Ciclovia"

Approximately 7,500 people turned out for Viva Streets in Denver, Colorado
Approximately 7,500 people turned out for Denver's Viva Streets event in August

Denver’s leaders decided to take the Let’s Move! mission to its own streetsby holding its first official “ciclovia”  in August. A Spanish term meaning “bike parkway,” a ciclovia is a one-day street closure aimed at encouraging physical activity and fostering civic pride. Approximately 7,500 people, including prominent city leaders, turned out for Viva Streets. Activities along the two-mile route included a Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche fun zone, yoga and zumba in the park, face-painting, a children’s bike rodeo focused on bike safety skills, healthy food demonstrations and much more.

Viva Streets, Denver’s first official “ciclovia” was organized by LiveWell Colorado, a non-profit organization committed to preventing and reducing obesity in Colorado in partnership with BikeDenver, Denver’s non-profit bicycle advocacy organization and city officials.   On this day, thirty-seven blocks of streets in Denver were closed to cars, enabling thousands of local residents to bike, jog, stroll or dance their way through the streets.  The event showcased bikeable and walkable neighborhoods as core to a city’s health and an important tool for addressing rising obesity rates.

Viva Streets wasn’t simply a fun street fair.  It demonstrated the willingness of Denver’s leadership and citizens to embrace an active lifestyle, make changes to the environment in support of physical activity, and to view and use the city’s streets, sidewalks, and neighborhoods as venues for exercise, recreation and community.  Walkable and bikeable communities have benefits that extend far beyond keeping residents healthy –  they connect families with school, parks, shops, and each other and result in cleaner, safer neighborhoods.

LiveWell Colorado hopes to inspire other Let’s Move! Cities, Towns, and Counties to bring Viva Streets-style initiatives to more communities in 2012 and beyond.  Colorado leaders and residents will continue to plan events that enable the community to experience streets as more than just a pathway for cars but also as a vehicle for long-term health!  Visit www.LiveWellColorado.org to learn more.