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New Brunswick Ciclovia still a success despite rainy conditions

<p>This Sunday, New Brunswick Ciclovia took place. The event promotes healthy living by closing down the streets of New Brunswick and encouraging residents to walk instead of drive.</p>

This Sunday, New Brunswick Ciclovia took place. The event promotes healthy living by closing down the streets of New Brunswick and encouraging residents to walk instead of drive.

A little bit of rain did not stop the New Brunswick "Ciclovia" from happening this weekend.

New Brunswick closed down the streets to cars and opened them to the people this past Sunday for "Ciclovia," an event that promotes healthy active living through experiencing New Brunswick’s vitality, livability and diversity in a safe place for people to exercise and play.

Marcos Vazquez is a resident of New Brunswick and attended "Ciclovia" with his wife and daughter, who he said had a great time.

“Even though the weather wasn’t great, we all still had a fun time,” he said. “We attend at least once a year. It is a nice thing to do around town.”

Translated from Spanish to English, "Ciclovia" means “cycleway.” This tradition originated in Colombia and is an effort to encourage people to get outside and enjoy the fresh air.

Guillermo Penalosa organized the first ciclovia event in Colombia. 

“No one said that streets were built for cars. They’re for people,” Penalosa said. 

During "Ciclovia," the streets become car-free for five hours for families to enjoy active events along the route and explore the city streets.

Typically, New Brunswick "Ciclovia" events run three to four times per year during the spring, summer and fall seasons.

The first New Brunswick "Ciclovia" was held in 2012, where it saw prediction-shattering numbers.

Together North Jersey, an organization based on sustainable projects and regional planning, released the “New Brunswick Ciclovia Evaluation” in response. The report documents and evaluates the overall success and effectiveness of the first New Brunswick "Ciclovia," held on Oct. 6, 2013.

According to the report, there were more than 4,000 participants, which was more than originally predicted. Ciclovia’s goal was to temporarily reduce noise, stress and automobile pollution.

The route started at The Yard @ College Ave, and continued down Hamilton Street to the Zimmerli Art Museum and down George Street, though it is not a race and has no official beginning or end.

Many volunteers were necessary to make the New Brunswick Ciclovia a safe and successful event. They served as route marshals, information station staff and logistical support.

The Puerto Rican Action Board was also at "Ciclovia," and collected funds for disaster relief efforts in Puerto Rico and Mexico.

Ciclovia kicks off its month-long wellness campaign in an effort promote healthy living in the Hub City.

Throughout October, New Brunswick residents can participate in wellness programs and events.

Some other events besides Ciclovia will be “Turn It Up Tuesday,” where there will be a cooking demo, group fitness classes, health information and tables from local vendors, hosted at the Robert Wood Johnson Fitness and Wellness Center.

There is a family superhero workout aptly named “Super Saturday,” at noon every Saturday in Recreation Park and “Sunday Fun Day,” featuring Zumba classes at The Yard.

Another campaign is the LIVE WELL-VIVIR BIEN NEW BRUNSWICK. It is a city-wide campaign to create a healthy and active community that connects people to programs and activities around town and in their communities.

The campaign has sponsorship including Johnson & Johnson, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and New Brunswick Tomorrow.

A very popular event that has gained a big presence is the New Brunswick Community Farmers Market. The farmers market brings fresh, local and healthy food directly to the residents of New Brunswick.

In a previous statement, Monica Reyes, manager of Communications and Development of New Brunswick Tomorrow, said that the movement is only going to grow.

“Spreading the LIVE WELL-VIVIR BIEN message through outlets like the New Brunswick Community Farmers Market is just the beginning," she said. "It is an exciting time to be living in New Brunswick and we are ready to 'live well' with the residents we serve."

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