Bike Corrals for the City of Los Angeles

3_29_10_corral.jpgA bike corral on York Blvd.  Rendering by Matt Schodorf

Due to Los Angeles City Council leadership and community advocacy, bike corrals may soon be coming to Los Angeles. The April 14th meeting of the city's  Transportation Committee is scheduled to hear a council motion on implementation of a pilot corral in Northeast Los Angeles. Here's the backstory on how that came to pass.

Matt Schodorf is a bicyclist and a small businesses owner. He and his wife own Cafe de Leche - a coffee shop at the corner of Avenue 50 and York Boulevard in Highland Park. York Boulevard, a former streetcar right-of-way, features old-school Main Street type buildings - very walkable with very little car parking. Schodorf noticed that many Cafe de Leche customers (and staff) arrive by bike and by foot. He got the city (LADOT) to install three of their standard inverted-U bike parking racks. Those racks fill up, with both bikes and dog leashes, so Schodorf kept thinking about how to increase the supply of local bicycle parking.

Matt's brother, Marc Schodorf, a car-free New Yorker, introduced Matt to Streetsblog. Matt learned about bike corrals from this Streetfilms video. Further internet research showed internet images of a bike corral in front of a Stumptown coffee shop in Portland Oregon.

At the urging of Schodorf, Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar  introduced a motion requesting that the city install a pilot bike corral on York Boulevard in Northeast Los Angeles (NELA.) The council motion was introduced in July 2009. Then C.I.C.L.E. convened its campaign for a bike-friendly NELA, bringing together various folks including interested individuals and many groups in NELA - Bike Oven, Flying Pigeon, Highland Park Chamber of Commerce, TERA - The Eagle Rock Association, and the L.A. County Bicycle Coalition. Read this LACBC blog article for an overview of the initial campaign meeting.

The NELA bike campaign chose two top priority issues: implementing the pilot bike corral and implementing bike lanes on the "four corners" of NELA - York Boulevard, Eagle Rock Boulevard, Colorado Boulevard, and North Figueroa Street.

3_29_10_schordorf.jpgMatt Schodorf, a rendering of a corral and Janette Sadik-Kahn. Photo: Ramon Martinez
Various folks involved in the campaign wrote letters to the city's Transportation Committee chair Councilmember Bill Rosendahl requesting that he schedule the corral motion at his committee. One example support letter is from Yolanda Nogueira, president of the  Highland Park Chamber of Commerce, who wrote "We are confident that bike corrals will greatly enhance Highland Park and neighborhoods citywide. Los Angeles needs to better accommodate walkable streest and promote green transportation."

Councilmember Rosendahl has scheduled the motion to be heard at the 2pm April 14th 2010 meeting of the City Council's Transportation Committee. C.I.C.L.E. NELA campaign participants are urging folks - especially business owners and building owners - interested in bike corrals to attend and speak in favor of the motion. Once approved by council, the NELA pilot corral could take at least a few months to implement. It will be an important precedent for implementing corrals at appropriate locations throughout the city. Thanks to Councilmembers Huizar and Rosendahl for moving this forward, and to their respective deputies, Edel Vizcarra and Paul Backstrom.

To get involved in the C.I.C.L.E. campaign for a safer more bikeable walkable NELA, join our google group, facebook group, or email joe@cicle.org.