CicLAvia New: Walkable Soundscape

A new app allows pedestrians at the bike/walk happening to soak in sounds.

Wishing that walls -- and sidewalks and benches and asphalt and trees -- could talk is a feeling known to every big-city-er, especially when we step away from the blocks and streets we know well.

Creating talking walls, of sorts, is one of the aim's of CicLAvia, the massive, free, massive, did we say massive?, come-one-come-all bike ride that takes over a major car-free SoCal street every few months. CicLAvia is community-oriented at its healthy heart, a boundary breaker-downer, but the organization behind the mega ride is going one better for its Sunday, March 22, visit to the Valley.

The ride, along with the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, commissioned Dutch artists Rob van Rijswijk and Jeroen Strijbos to create a soundscape rich with local history and lore, an auditory experience designed for those hoofing it along the event on March 22.

How to hear it? Why there's an app, you betcha. It's called Walk with Me, it's free and available at the Apple Store, and it will brim with tunes, vintage radio interviews, surprising snippets, and present-day memories of locals who have lived and worked along the Lankershim-to-Ventura corridor.

GPS markers along the route cue the app to launch into the next pinpointed auditory experience. Listen for "an elderly Valley resident talk about the area changes she's seen in her lifetime" as well as classical interludes, voices of longtime area workers, and "the crackling sounds of a 1930s radio interview with Amelia Earhart" (the aviatrix possessed strong ties to The Valley).

As for what's going on in the present? "Live street sounds" will intermingle with the produced experience, entering through the listener's iPhone mic.

It's a neato, go-deeper/broader way to approach one of our region's largest community-bonding happenings, one that loves on the local. Will future CicLAvia's boast a listen-in, learn-more component regarding other boulevards and streetscapes around our city?

Fingers, and headphone wires, crossed.

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