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.

  • My article, “Bucking the Cycle,” about the economics of bike infrastructure and how it benefits business, may help with business owners in the area who may fear loss of parking. It was originally published in the Los Angeles Business Journal, but since they charge for access, I have republished it on Bicycle Fixation.

    It includes links to a couple of studies with supporting numbers.

  • Awesome to see this happening in NELA!

    Also, I apologize for the disembodied elbow I seem to be threatening JSK with. I swear I meant no harm!

  • I would love to see Mowery’s report on the issue, and all the reasons why this idea cannot happen.

    The money is there. The leadership is there. The LADOT is the last step (why?).

  • These bike corrals should really be all over the place. Right now virtually 100% of curb parking is dedicated to one mode of transportation. Even if you got 5% of the spaces converted that would make a huge difference.

    What are people going to say? “No, you can’t even have 5% for parking that does less damage to the pavement and the environment and can bring more people into an area.”

    If any politician says that just say “how can you claim to care about sustainability when you advocate that 100% of curb parking go to the most environmentally damaging mode of transportation?”

    Plus, what a visual statement. This will turn heads and raise the profile of cycling in the city.

  • J. West

    I say add motorcycles to the mix.

    Putting in affordable all-day parking for motorcycles and scooters in the most congested spots would encourage people who work in those areas to scoot in instead of driving their much larger cars.

    Also, motorcycles and scooters do pay registration fees and parking tickets so the city would still be making money on the parking space.

    I think you might find that racks could be designed to could work with many types of alternate transit. Including these motorized folks might result in a larger political block to support your plan.

    Also, drivers see bicyclists and motorcyclists similarly. I would wager that the more motorcycles in a neighborhood, the safer the streets will be for bicycles as well.

  • mark

    I’m all for this. I’d like to see motorcycles parking there also. It’d be nice if the could point a security camera and some lights at it also.

    – m –

  • Marcos El Malo

    I agree with J.West and mark. Include spots for MCs and scooters and you have my full-fledged support.

  • Thanks to all the folks who showed up and testified in favor of the bike corral motion: Councilmember Huizar’s deputy Edel Vizcarra, the property owner, business owners, homeowners association, and lots of great bicyclists. LACBC’s Ramon Martinez summed it up well: this project is easy, quick, cheap and safe!

    The council Transportation Committee didn’t have quorum at the time this item was heard, so Councilmember LaBonge sent it on to the full City Council. The item now gets agendized by Council President Garcetti – hopefully within a few weeks. (Thanks to Councilmembers LaBonge, Koretz, Rosendahl, and Huizar for keeping this moving. Special thanks to Rosendahl’s deputy Paul Backstrom!)

    The LADOT bike blog reported this good news incorrectly, stating that the committee “moved” it to the city council “for 30 days.” Like a lot of stuff that the city’s blog reports, this is wrong and misleading, showing that the DOT’s intern lacks understanding of the city, bike issues, street names, grammar, language…

    Apparently under pressure from the bike thief lobby (perhaps together with the rapist lobby,) the LADOT staff at the meeting made the case for moving the bike corral off of York Boulevard onto a side street. This would make the corral less safe… taking it away from the activity on York Boulevard – where there there’s more foot traffic, more storefront windows, more activity. I had a brief conversation with a DOT engineer preceding the meeting who suggested that York Boulevard (at Avenue 50, it’s one lane of traffic in each direction) is too big a street for bike corrals to installed… because the traffic is too heavy… very irritating.

    The LADOT bike blog repeats the LADOT’s pro-theft anti-safety side street assertion unquestioningly – suggesting that the bike corral doesn’t belong on York because bike lanes are planned on York. Huh? We shouldn’t do bike corrals where we’re planning bike lanes? The truth is exactly the opposite – we should do lanes and corrals – together!

    It seems like following the LADOT’s anti-safety reccomendations would make the corral project more likely to fail… perhaps this is LADOT’s intent. If they can make the project unsafe, then it’s likely to fail, then they can say “Oh, bike corrals? We tried that and it didn’t work in L.A.”

    So… get involved in the NELA campaign and help get a real, safe bike corral on York Boulevard.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Los Angeles Dedicates its First Bike Corral

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This morning, a crowd of over a hundred people assembled to celebrate the opening of the city of Los Angeles’ first bike corral. The event took place at the corner of York Boulevard and Avenue 50, in Highland Park – in front of Cafe de Leche and directly across from Bicycle Doctor. The city-installed corral […]