Hearings Announced for New, Progressive, Bike Parking Ordinance

L.A.'s first bike corral opens at Cafe de Leche. Photo via Orange 20 Bikes. Incidently, I agree that Pure Luck in Hel-Mel would be a great place for the next corral.

The City of Los Angeles is pushing ahead with a pair of hearings on the progressive “draft parking ordinance” that would change the landscape when it comes to providing ways for people to safely and quickly store their bikes.  Streetsblog reported on an earlier draft of the ordinance back in early February, but as the city moves forward, it seems likely that were going to see more bike parking at businesses, residential buildings and just on the street in the near future.  Details on the meetings can be found at the end of this article.

There are several ways the proposed ordinance is an improvement over the city’s current bicycle parking requirements.  Currently, there is no requirement to provide bike parking when creating a residential development less than 10,000 square feet and the bike parking for commercial developments is basically one space per 25,000 square feet.  The ordinance only applies to new developments.

The proposed ordinance is an improvement in several ways.  Most obviously, it will increase the level of bicycle parking required for new developments to bring the number of spaces per development in line with those of New York and Portland.  It also expands bicycle parking requirements to multifamily residential buildings.  Residents of apartment buildings need long term storage for their bicycles that is easily accessible and provides a secure place to store their bicycles.  Residents should not be expected to store their bicycles in their apartments or leave them locked in places where they can be vandalized.

Alexis Lantz, the Planning and Policy Director for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, points out that while the proposed changes are good, this is not a “bikes v cars” debate.  “it’s important for folks to understand that this ordinance is about increasing bike parking not decreasing car parking. This does incentive developers to swap out car parking for bike parking but if we want to have a parking maximum instead of parking minimum this isn’t the ordinance for that.”

In fact, the proposed ordinance provides strict limits on the amount of car parking that can be replaced by bicycle parking and increases the number of bicycle parking spaces that must be installed in order to replace a car parking space.

In addition to just requiring more bike parking, it also requires that bicycle parking will be placed in easily accessible and visible locations.  Short-term parking must be located above ground and shall be visible from the main entrance of a building.  Long-term parking shall have signage that shows the location of the parking and must be easily accessible.

The proposed ordinance allows businesses to apply for permits to install short-term bicycle parking within the public right-of-way.  Following the A new definition for bicycle corrals has been introduced along with a provision that allows businesses to count already existing bicycle racks within the public right-of-way towards their requirements.

“This is just one step toward reforming parking in Los Angeles and increasing both short and long term parking as well as providing bike corrals.” said Lantz, “I think it’s great to see bike corrals go from just a pipe dream, to one in Highland Park, to being included in a new bicycle parking ordinance.”

The City will conduct a public hearing on Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 1:00 PM in room 1010 of City Hall.  A presentation will also be made to the Bicycle Advisory Committee on Tuesday, April 5th, 2011 at the Hollywood Neighborhood City Hall Community Room, at 6501 Fountain Ave., Los Angeles, 90028.