Will “Street Cleanings” Be to Bike Corrals What “Slippery Paint” Is to “Sharrows?”

4_15_10_portlandize.jpgPhoto: Portlandize

Yesterday, the City Council Transportation Committee decided to send a motion to the full City Council stating:

I THEREFORE MOVE that the Department of Transportation, in coordination with the Department of City Planning, be requested to work with Council District 14 on implementing a Bike Corral pilot program along York Blvd between Avenue 50 and Avenue 56.

Just about everyone in the room, local businessmen, bike activists, even the Council Members, spoke overwhelmingly in favor of the project. The owners of Cafe de Leche’, the business that has been pushing the corral for months, showed that the corral would be "good for business," while the cyclists note that it would be "good for bikes."

But, then, it was the LADOT’s turn to talk.  Rather than paraphrasing the LADOT’s "concerns," I’ll let the LADOT Bike Blog state their case.

It was recommended that the corral itself be shifted from York
Boulevard to the red-zone along Avenue 50, as Bikeways has plans to
include a bike lane along York Boulevard.  The corrals would also need
to resolve a conflict with the Bureau of Street Services, which is
responsible for street sweeping.  Another reservation focused on the
ability of the city to properly staff maintenance for the corral.  In
order to avoid conflict over staffing concerns, it was recommended that
the business, Cafe de Leche, get permitted to install the bike corral
themselves.  This would be the fastest method of getting the corral
installed and would require the business to be financially responsible
for the project.

Let’s try to sift through the smokescreen here.

4_15_10_corral2.jpgThe first bike corral in L.A. County, hidden away on Olympic Boulevard in Santa Monica Photo: Gary Kavanaugh/Flickr

It was recommended that the corral itself be shifted from York
Boulevard to the red-zone along Avenue 50, as Bikeways has plans to
include a bike lane along York Boulevard

First, putting a corral in the red zone places it out of the main street, which as Joe Linton notes is going to make the parking less safe for cyclists and make the bikes themselves more likely to get vandalized or stolen.  Also, the motion is pretty clear that the Council Members want the Corral right on York Ave.

as Bikeways has plans to
include a bike lane along York Boulevard.

There is no conflict here.  The space for a bike lane and the space for bike parking aren’t in conflict unless the city was planning on removing car parking for the bike lane.  They’re not.

The corrals would also need
to resolve a conflict with the Bureau of Street Services, which is
responsible for street sweeping.

Fair enough, but this shouldn’t be a major concern.  Have the business be responsible for cleaning this area and have the trucks turn off their cleaning stuff when they pass.  This should take about ten seconds.

Another reservation focused on the
ability of the city to properly staff maintenance for the corral.  In
order to avoid conflict over staffing concerns, it was recommended that
the business, Cafe de Leche, get permitted to install the bike corral
themselves.  This would be the fastest method of getting the corral
installed and would require the business to be financially responsible
for the project.

To me, this seems somewhat insulting.  During his testimony, Stephen Box noted that just about everything in the world gets private parking areas on our streets, tour buses, UPS Trucks, Water delivery trucks, taxi stands, etc.  But setting aside street spaces for cyclists requires the local business owner to pay for it.  It seems as though the owners of Cafe de Leche are on board with the idea, but this just reinforces the idea that so many in our D.I.Y. community are pushing over and over.  If cyclists want the kind of amenities that other users are getting as common place, they have to do it themselves.

Before the matter was closed, Councilman LaBonge, noted that the cleaning issue would be a major one.  After its taken two years, and counting, for Sharrows to be put on the road for a myriad of bizarre reasons, some are already worried that LADOT is again going out of its way to gum up a pilot program for something that is common place in other cities around the world.

15 thoughts on Will “Street Cleanings” Be to Bike Corrals What “Slippery Paint” Is to “Sharrows?”

  1. It may very well cost more to sweep the street around bike corrals (e.g. somebody gets out and uses some smaller sweeping device), but this cost should be weighed against the benefits of encouraging cycling which would reduce expensive wear and tear on LA’s horribly maintained roads.

  2. Cleaning is the major issue?!

    Cafe de Leche, like many business owners in the U.S. with bike corrals in front of their shops, is responsible for cleaning the sidewalk AND THE STREET in front of his store. Would this corral remain a “Street”? Yes. Is the business fronting that street responsible for keeping it clean and litter free? Yes.

    So, what is the big deal?

    Mowery and her higher ups are the only block to bike progress in this town I can think of. Who is in command of her post? Who does she answer to?

    I can’t imagine another public employee being so goddamn obstructive to positive change as her and still keeping her job.

  3. Portland manages to keep their bike corral areas clean, somehow. Perhaps the folks in the LADOT can call the folks in the Portland DOT and ask how they do it. Special solvents and custom brooms may be called for. Or perhaps it’s just all the Portland rain naturally keeping the corrals clean.

    After Janette Sadik-Khan’s visit last month, and the way folks like Charlie Gandy here in the LBC are making things happen, Umberto’s point about Mowery is so plainly right on. How much of the problem is simply this one woman’s negative attitude and old-fashioned, zero-sum thinking? With the same job in the hands of someone with a positive vision and a burning need to make LA more livable, who knows what could happen, and how quickly?

  4. With regards to the recommendation that the corral itself be shifted from York Boulevard to the red-zone along Avenue 50 due to high traffic volumes, currently traffic volumes on York allow for motorists to exit their cars safely when parking, so it should be equally safe for bicyclists departing from their parked bikes. The bike corral should be installed on York where it is visible and accessible to all of the patrons of the neighboring merchants on York.

  5. Be careful about quoting the LADOT bike blog. When they’re not flat out wrong, they’re passing on unfilterd unquestioned assertions straight outta LADOT.

    Who else would unquestioningly pass along the assertion that bike corrals and bike lanes are somehow incompatible. LADOT bike blog says “It was recommended that the corral itself be shifted from York Boulevard to the red-zone along Avenue 50, as Bikeways has plans to include a bike lane along York Boulevard”

    The DOT bike blog also stated that the motion goes to council “in 30 days”… but today the city clerk posted that the item will go to the full City Council on Friday April 23rd 2010 (that would be 9 days under the number system I use for counting… though perhaps the LADOT uses a different math?)
    See http://cityclerk.lacity.org/lacityclerkconnect/index.cfm?fa=ccfi.viewrecord&cfnumber=09-1710

    Councilmembers, business owners, and bike advocates will have to push hard to make this corral work. The LADOT can do it – and get good credit for a cheap, quick, easy, safe success.

  6. Seriously though – this cleaning issue is ridiculous.

    There is a section of municipal code (which is rarely enforced, of course) that makes it mandatory for business owners to care for the right of way in front of their business. I swear to Jeebus. I’ll do some searching and see what I can come up with.

    The bike corral will still be in the “Street” (a legally defined place in L.A.). The business operating adjacent this will be responsible for upkeep of the “Street”, thus, they will be required to sweep the debris out every now and again.

    When bikes are abandoned – the LAPD will have to establish some sort of working procedure for seizing abandoned bikes.

    Can we please move on to the next topic? Somebody dis-invite the LADOT to these meetings. We all know what they’re going to say. We should focus on getting an executive order (or something) that these corrals get installed. Can’t the Chief Adminstrative Officer do something like that?

    This isn’t violating CEQA, it’s not a huge deal, and if someone sues (over what?!) who cares? It doesn’t cost much to install (nor to take out).

  7. Here is the code regarding sidewalk and adjacent street cleaning.

    SEC. 56.08. SIDEWALKS – STREETS – OBSTRUCTIONS.

    (c) No person having charge or control of any lot or premises shall allow any soil, rubbish, trash, garden refuse, tree trimmings, ashes, tin cans or other waste or refuse to remain upon any sidewalk, parkway, or in or upon any street abutting on or adjacent to such lot or premises, or which will interfere with or obstruct the free passage of pedestrians or vehicles along any such street, sidewalk or parkway. (Amended by Ord. No. 123,979, Eff. 4/20/63.)

  8. Gary K’s photo shows the first Bike Corral in LA County is in the *city* of…. Santa Monica!!!! Way to go SMC!!!

    Then this: “In order to avoid conflict over staffing concerns, it was recommended that the business, Cafe de Leche, get permitted to install the bike corral themselves. This would be the fastest method of getting the corral installed and would require the business to be financially responsible for the project.”

    Make ’em pay, LADOT! Taxes money’s for car and truck amenities only!!! What a *gem* this one is. Have these people no shame over collecting a city paycheck?!

  9. LADOT are the Flat Earth Society of LA City Government. It’s like they have to past a LSAT-type exam that tests their level of nay-saying before they get their jobs.

    But the good thing is, this is obviously a very very minor issue of automated street cleaning impairment. One less car space will mean one less oil puddle, one less opportunity to dump McDonald’s cups into the gutter from the car door…

    This all looks promising, can’t imagine the council would oppose this.

  10. Let’s really put them on the spot.

    “Bike corrals are an inexpensive way to improve bicycle parking in key areas. Thivener said each completed corral costs between $1,500 and $2,000 to build and install.

    In order to get a corral installed Thivener said the parking commission requires that all the businesses within 50 feet of the corral support the plan, but if they do, the city can remove a parking space and add a bike corral in its place.”

    Tucson has no problem putting them in.

  11. Yuri, you’ve almost got it right. The LADOT’s slogan is “Yes, we can’t!”

    Oh, what’s that Mowery? Who will be responsible for cleaning the street that is covered by the bike corral? Oh well have you met my friend:

    SEC. 56.08. SIDEWALKS – STREETS – OBSTRUCTIONS.

    (c) No person having charge or control of any lot or premises shall allow any soil, rubbish, trash, garden refuse, tree trimmings, ashes, tin cans or other waste or refuse to remain upon any sidewalk, parkway, or in or upon any street abutting on or adjacent to such lot or premises, or which will interfere with or obstruct the free passage of pedestrians or vehicles along any such street, sidewalk or parkway. (Amended by Ord. No. 123,979, Eff. 4/20/63.)

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