If someone were visiting L.A. Streetsblog today for the first time, they would think that we are in the midst of a bicycling renaissance. Our Mayor is pushing our famously progressive Governor to sign a three foot passing law for cyclists. CicLAvia, the largest car-free block party North of Bogota, is coming up this weekend. Sharrows are popping up all over the city. And on Friday, the City Council moved one step closer to finalizing a progressive new bike parking ordinance.
“When you get on that bicycle, you want to feel the same comfort that someone in a car feels,” explained Bill Rosendahl, the Chair of the Transportation Committee and a freshly re-trained bicyclist himself. “You want to know that when you park your bike is safe, and isn’t going to get vandalized.”
The City Council passed a “negative declaration” meaning that the final ordinance will not undergo a CEQA or environmental review and that city staff should draft the ordinance based on the principles outlined by Planning Department Intern Rye Baerg.
The ordinance, once signed by the Mayor, also includes a swap of car parking for bicycle parking at commercial and residential developments. Up to 30% of auto parking can swapped for bicycle parking within a commercial nonresidential project and 15% of auto parking can be swapped within a residential project that is near a major bus or transit station. This could be particularly crucial for the transit oriented developments that pop up as a result of the new train lines that are coming online as a result of Measure R.
The ordinance also provides a mechanism to add more bike corrals to city streets. These on-street public bicycle parking spaces offer an opportunity to provide ample bicycle parking without taking up pedestrian space on sidewalks. Bike corrals have been proven to increase bicycle usage in areas where they are installed, as they encourage residents to travel by bicycle around their neighborhoods to do their shopping and errands. The corral at Cafe De Leche in Northeast L.A. was part of a pilot program that was succesful enough that the LADOT and City Planning are comfortable enough to let them flourish city-wide.
In related news, the city will receive funds from Metro’s Call for Projects to help fund more bike corrals as well as parking at Expo transit stations. In a city where too-often the best place to park a bike is on a car parking meter, the tide might finally be turning towards more safe parking spaces available at more desirable places.