Where’s the Bike Parking at the New LAPD HQ?

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The largest and most expensive police building in the United States is
about to be dedicated and as the world watches, the LAPD’s ignorance of
basic Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) standards will be revealed. The new
headquarters are located across the street from LA’s City Hall and the
10-story, 500,000-square-foot building has a beautiful open plaza
featuring drought resistant plants and a zen garden theme that creates
a sense of calm in the middle of the busy and congested city center. It
also features a bike parking area that violates basic CPTED standards
as well as simple bike parking standards.

CPTED is the simple philosophy that crime can be prevented by designing
an environment so that criminal behavior is not supported by hiding
places, blocked vision and isolation. The LAPD headquarters have
installed bike racks that are as far from the front door as possible,
to the left and out of sight, around the corner and blocked by nine
large planters and surrounded by a wall that would hide a bike thief
who was working on the bikes. Topping off the poor design is the
existence of a 8′ by 8′ setback in the wall, creating an ideal hiding
place. As for the racks themselves, they are positioned so tightly that
anybody parking a bike there has a ready alibi for handling other bikes
because they simply don’t fit, falling far short of the basic standards
established by the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycling
Professionals
.

The ultimate irony in this is that the LADOT is also across the street
and they, along with City Planning,  are in the process of developing
the Draft Bike Plan for 2009 which would replace the 2002 Bike
Plan. Both Bike Plans have bike parking standards and even go so far as
to give the LADOT responsibility for communicating these standards to other city departments.

A simple visit to a park, to a library, to a fire station, to a
regional City Hall, to Parker Center is enough to demonstrate that
there is no citywide standard for something as simple as bike parking,
all while the City has a person in charge of Bike Parking.

One might forgive some of the old wheel bender "toast" racks or the
useless "wave" racks or the simple inverted U racks that get installed
incorrectly, rendering them useless and serving only to remind cyclists
that they simply don’t belong. But as the City of Los Angeles prepares
to hit the spotlight and to dedicate the most enormous and expensive
monument to modern crime prevention, it seems sad that they forgot to
consider CPTED.

The area just to the west of the plaza is the wrong location for the
bike racks. They belong no more than 50′ from the main entrance, they
must be visible to those in the lobby, to those passing by and to the
guests who visit the LAPD headquarters. They must be safe, convenient
and secure. It’s not just about bikes any more, it’s about the LAPD’s
reputtion.

  • my guess: the snooty architect who designed this thing, didn’t want bike racks screwing up the aesthetic, so they tried to do their best to “sweep” them under the rug.

    it’s true, out of sight, out of mind.

  • joe

    See, on that last photo, I see a perfect spot to lock my bike. That Hand Rail on the stairs will work just perfectly. Sadly street wise cyclists will pick these spots and the poor cyclist that don’t know better will pick, that thief’s corner. Figures, LAPD doesn’t really want to deal with cyclists anyways.

  • poncho

    i’m with david, blame the architect for incompetence, not LAPD.

  • limit

    Caltrans / LADOT have those neat bike shaped racks right across the street.

  • Erik G.

    I’m sure that bikes are welcome in the underground parking garage! Right?

  • The two officers at the front desk said “No.” Special events or special accommodations aside, those arriving on bikes park at ground level, around the corner so that nobody can see the cyclists or the bikes.

  • Grant J.

    can’t blame the Architect if the City of Los Angeles Planning and Building & Safety Departments approved the final site plans, issued the permit and signed off the final inspection. most hardscape drawings are drawn, stamped, and signed by civil engineers or landscape architects now anyways.

    …and the handrail? don’t you care about senior/disabled access?

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