Oaklavia is Oakland's version of Bogota, Colombia's program where streets are temporarily closed to auto traffic and the community is invited to come play in the streets. Since 2010, Oaklavia has successfully encouraged tens of thousands of people to walk and to bike more. Oaklavia is produced by Walk Oakland Bike Oakland (WOBO), a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve neighborhood livability, vitality and sustainability by making walking and biking safe, easy, accessible and fun.
Walking and biking are great equalizers in a community as diverse and vibrant as Oakland. Anyone can get started on the path to wellness to improve not only their own health but their community's health. While walking rates have increased by 16% and bicycling rates by 42% over the past eight years, many people still do not feel safe, comfortable or confident walking or bicycling to get to andfrom work, to play, or to integrate as part of daily life.
Oaklavia creates temporary car-free streets to bring the community out to play, to connect with each other, to re-imagine their neighborhoods as safe, fun and empowering places to live. The programs activate the streets with sports, dance, bicycling, and music. In a few short hours, WOBO can demonstrate how WALKING and BICYCLING can be powerful, easy and effective ways to turn the curve on some of our most ominous health, safety and economic challenges.
By engaging 10- to 20,000 people at each Oaklavia event, WOBO seeks to increase the number of people using walking and bicycling as a preferred method of transportation, to increase allocation of city resources to building safe, welcoming and green spaces that encourage active living, to grow the number of people that engage in planning processes. These would lead to a healthier, and more socially connected community committed to improving neighborhood livability, vitality and sustainability.