Planning Department Considering Stronger Bike Parking Ordinance

At this week’s meeting of the city’s Bicycle Advisory Committee, the Planning Department’s Rye Baerg outlined some proposed changes to the city’s bike parking ordinance for new developments that should go public this Spring.

Photo:##http://www.flickr.com/photos/34115460@N06/##Fernie 805##

Currently, the City only requires bicycle parking for commercial and industrial buildings over 10,000 square foot at a rate.  For most commercial uses this results in one space being provided per 25,000 square feet.  For many cyclists, this requirement leads to chaining a bicycle to the closest parking meter while out and locking it on the balcony or backyard at home.

The City Planning Department is drafting an ordinance  which, if approved by the Planning Commission, City Council and Mayor’s Office, would change how developments create parking for bicycles.  Their proposal would raise the minimum parking requirement, require both short and long-term parking, and create standards for design, signage, lighting and access.  In addition, the requirement would also apply to residential developments, not just commercial and industrial.

At this point, cautious optimism is called for.  Planning is hesitant to release any hard numbers until running the ordinance by other departments, including Building and Safety and the LADOT.  Of course, either of those departments could also water down the ordinance or even kill it altogether.

If it survives inter-departmental review, the ordinance will be available for public comment in March as part of a CEQA review.  Planning will hold public hearings, and the ordinance would be heard by the Planning Commission, Planning and Land Use Committee of the City Council and Full Council.  In the meantime, if anyone has any suggestions or concerns about the proposed ordinance, leave them in the comments section and I’ll pass them on to staff at City Planning.

  • Any chance of allowing secure bike parking to substitute for car parking? For example, a 20 unit apartment building could provide bike parking in the garage or courtyard of an apartment building for 40 bikes, and this would reduce the required car parkings spaces from 40 down to 20. 2 bike parking spaces = 1 car parking space.

    Since bike parkng takes up much less space and is cheaper to construct, this could lower the cost of new residential development, while providing residents and visitors with good bike parking. The current requirements for 2 car spaces per unit are way too high for central Los Angeles, and this would be a step in changing that.

    (Josef from Flying Pigeon has suggested this before)

  • Eric B

    Ditto Joseph E, with credit due to Josef. More bike parking is great, the realization that it can replace car parking takes it to the next level.

    Unless it is allowed to replace required car parking, we won’t ever see bike corrals in off street lots.

  • Rye B

    Joseph, your comment has been noted thanks for the input.

  • Ryan

    I agree that enhanced bicycle parking should be tied to reduced automobile parking, particularly for sites that are near mass transit (within 1/2 mile of a major transit stop). Why not go a step further and also allow reduced parking if the development includes a car sharing program? This way you are promoting a multi-modal transportation system and as Joseph and Eric B said, reducing the currently high cost of new development due to the excessive (for urban areas) parking requirements. This would be a great economic development strategy for our cash-strapped city and better meet the needs of Generation Y:

    http://blogs.cars.com/kickingtires/2010/09/generation-y-buying-fewer-cars-driving-less.html

  • Hey guys, thanks for the props.

    The article I wrote a while back about this was published in the Los Angeles Business Journal. It is exciting to see that it actually reached the folks in City Hall, and that they liked it! My background in real estate development informed my thinking on this issue, and I think it is a great handout to benefit both developers, politicians and people who would rather ride a bike and pay a reduced rent or mortgage as well.

    http://www.labusinessjournal.com/news/2010/apr/26/putting-parking-its-place/

    Richard Risemberg from Bicycle Fixation lined up that article being published.

  • MU

    Just to pile on to Joseph’s (via Josef’s) point.
    As a short term measure, I think I’d support bicycle parking minimums. But you have to see the irony of pushing for a mirror of the minimum car parking requirements that create so many problems. The better long term policy is to allow bike parking as a substitute for car minimums and reduction/removal of minimums in general, especially around transit as Ryan suggests. A problem with adding bike minimums without addressing the car ones are that it just further acts to raise the cost of development, making development less viable for anything except the high price market. Meanwhile it does nothing to encourage dense walkable development because now even more space is being set aside to parking (regardless of how much smaller bikes are than cars.)

    There are valid arguments that developers need to account for the transportation impacts of adding residents to an area. But the government is currently making mode share decisions for people by their regulations. Everyone would be better off if developers where more able to make individual decisions about how parking implications are best served at their location.

  • Yuri

    I think removal of parking minimums is better. There may be a market for units which don’t have parking at all for people who don’t drive or ride a bike. I’d prefer a place that has one car parking space plus bicycle parking but it’s easier in this case to let the market decide.

  • LAofAnaheim

    I totally can sense the hypocritical notion of asking for bicycle parking minimums but yet we are against high car parking minimums. I think all minimums should be abolished and we should let the developer decided on how much car or bike parking is needed. All projects tend to go through community approvals anyways, so this will be brought up then and the community / developer can come together on a consensus. A primary reason we lack reasonably priced housing is due to the significant parking minimums. Imagine the pricing of units when car parking is unbundled from a development…. let the people choose. Let’s think like Republicans (free market), right? (note: sarcasm on the “let’s think like republicans”)

  • Parking minimums for cars are okay with me, so long as they are interchangeable with bike parking.

    If you have to do 2.5 cars per residential unit (for example), and you are allowed to swap 50$ (or more) of required car parking for bike parking – that is a serious savings. Especially for large multi-family developments and smaller commercial projects.

    The key to this reform is really two things:

    – a good bike parking standard – one that works with the interests of bike riders, city departments, builders, property owners, etc.

    – the ability to exchange car parking spots for bike parking

    It is easier to offer a delightful menu of options to a developer of cost savings rather than lame mandates that you have to tack on to a design after the Dept. of Whocares demands it.

  • Rye B.

    In response to the great comments above: noted and appreciated.

    Josef Bray-Ali – I will need to get input from LA developers on this ordinance. I would appreciate any help you might be able to give in connecting me with the the development community.

  • Take a look at DC’s ordinance. 5% of car parking allotment must go to bikes–in new and old buildings.

  • We just did a survey of secure facilities in Berkeley. Here’s a link to the abstract. http://pressamp.trb.org/conferenceinteractiveprogram/PresentationDetails.aspx?ID=42136&

  • Rye B.

    Phyllis Orrick – I would love to read the report. What would be the best way to get a copy of it?

  • Re: LAofAnaheim (and Yuri) “I totally can sense the hypocritical notion of asking for bicycle parking minimums but yet we are against high car parking minimums. I think all minimums should be abolished and we should let the developer decided on how much car or bike parking is needed.”

    I agree that builders should have the option of providing ZERO car parking spaces. But almost every street in California provides free parking for cars, which often takes up 50% of the street space in residential neighborhoods. And bikes parked on the street are easier to steal than a car parked on the street. There is not an equivalent, ubiquitious, safe bike-parking infrastructure. Contrast this with the Netherlands (25% of all trips are by bike, nationwide), where many streets have no car parking, and every place has bike parking on the street, and often in new buildings as well.

    So it makes sense to encourage providing bike parking, at least if there is car parking included in the development (which in Los Angeles is EVERY development). Perhaps small developments which request to build NO car parking could also be waived from providing bike parking indoors, and instead have a bike corral out front in the street.

  • Hey, who can I talk to in Long Beach to get an ordinance like this?

    Long Beach requires too much car parking (My apartment, built in the 1980’s, has 2 parking spaces per unit… I use one to park strollers, my bike trailer, and random stuff); most development has the whole first floor for car parking, and since height is usually limited to 3 stories 1/3 of the space is parking, and there is no room for a courtyard or patio or lawn.

    I would love to see new places build that look like the apartment buildings from the 1920’s; three stories, all residential, with a big yard in back for the kids. But you can’t build that today.

  • Heather

    I strongly suggest to have at least minimum number of bike parking pole on the street to help civilians convience, also to help reduce Co2 in our living nature. Need to encourage !!!

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