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Bike Unfriendly Place of the Week: Downtown Government Buildings?

11:23 AM PDT on August 1, 2008

As part of the Bike Unfriendly Place of the Week, one reader suggested I look at the Downtown governmental buildings that all of us, especially transportation reform advocates, visit somewhat regularly.  This week, we'll look at Los Angeles City Hall, the Caltrans building and Metro Headquarters.  All three buildings have bike racks, but as we know, not all bike racks are created equal.

First, City Hall does have bike racks for regular citizens to use.  Their not as nice as the bike lockers Council President Eric Garcetti had installed in the parking garage for city employees,  but they do exist.  After a conversation with a helpful member of the LAPD pointed me the way, I found the racks across Main Street from the entrance underneath an overhang from City Hall East.  In short, it's good that they don't require cyclists to change their bikes to the fence, but not good that the racks are so far away from the entrance.

It's not just the distance that is a problem.  While the overhang may protect the bikes the few days a year it rains, combined with its location it helps mask the racks' existence.  I've been to City Hall literally dozens of times and didn't know these racks existed until I scoped them out last week.

The City Hall Bike Racks

A View of the City Hall Entrance from the Bike Racks

Just a couple of blocks from City Hall is the Caltrans building.  While the design of the building has produced equal parts scorn and praise in the architecture community, the bike racks certainly stand out.  Designed to actually look like a bike, the racks certainly do stick out.  While the racks are located on the same side of the street as building entrance, they're probably physically farther away from it because of Caltrans' huge plaza.  However, there's no mistaking what and where the racks are and I've never seen a bike chained to another structure near the building as I do with bikes and City Hall.

Last up for this week is Metro.  While they have lockers for regular bike commuters in the basement of their Taj Mahal headquarters, they also have bike racks in the basement.  A convenient walk from Union Station, the racks are almost always at or near capacity for the weekday.  Some better signage inside of Union Station directing people to the bike parking would be nice, but for those in the know their location between Union Station and the Taj's elevators make them a convenient place to park your bike.



Next week, we'll look at the bike parking at the County Administrative Building and the courthouse. 

Photos: Damien Newton

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