Four Things L.A. Can Do to Make Hollywood Bike-Share More of a Success
4:57 PM PDT on October 27, 2021
Metro and the L.A. City Transportation Department (LADOT) recently expanded Metro Bike Share into Hollywood. There are now eleven bike-share stations in the heart of Hollywood. Most of them are located along the Hollywood Boulevard corridor, with a few along Sunset Boulevard and Fountain Avenue - largely within first/last mile catchment areas for the Metro B Line stations at Hollywood/Vine and Hollywood/Highland.
Find the full Metro announcement in the October 15 post at The Source.
According to LADOT, the latest expansion brings Metro Bike Share's system total to 3,470 total bikes at 236 docking stations. The central L.A. bike-share service area 'blob' now extends through much of the central city neighborhoods of downtown L.A., Exposition Park/USC, Koreatown, Los Feliz, East Hollywood, and Hollywood.
It's worth celebrating that the eleven new Hollywood docking stations extend the utility of the existing system - offering a new healthy, environmentally friendly way to get around more of Southern California. These bikes are already being used; they offer a great, healthy way for tourists and others to get around.
Nonetheless, Streetsblog has a few ideas for making the system more effective.
Bike-share works best in places that are bikeable and walkable.
Hollywood is a relatively dense, central neighborhood well-served by transit. Lots of people walk there, including tourists and locals.
But Hollywood has only one bike lane, located outside the current bike-share service area: 0.6 mile of bike lane on Cahuenga Boulevard. There are sharrows on several quieter Hollywood streets, and "bicycle-friendly street" features at one Yucca Street intersection. But, overall, many people won't bike in Hollywood because the car-choked streets feel too dangerous.
There are longer-term plans to add bike lanes on much of Hollywood Boulevard, as part of a large-scale revamp of the Walk of Fame. But, in the shorter term, expanding bike-share into new areas can and should be the time to add new bikeways.
While space is constrained on many streets, there are opportunities to add relatively easy (no parking or car lane removal) bikeways on several Hollywood streets, including portions of Argyle Avenue, Fountain Avenue, Franklin Avenue, Gower Street, Highland Avenue, Ivar Avenue, Wilcox Avenue, and Yucca Street (which has huge striped-off margins right next to its brand new bike-share station at Argyle Avenue - where a 36-foot-wide slip lane is more than wide enough to include a short stretch of two-way protected bikeway). Short of actually making the area great for bicycling, just adding several somewhat short stretches of bikeway would help signal to drivers that they should expect to share these streets with bicyclists.
Bike-share at visible locations, including Metro stations
Many Hollywood area bike-share docking locations appear to have been chosen to be unobtrusive, as opposed to being convenient and useful. Many are on side streets, several hundred feet off the main drag. This means that they are relatively difficult for the gazillions of Hollywood tourists to spontaneously come across them.
There are no bike-share docks on the actual Walk of Fame - the place where lots and lots of people actually are. There's on-street parking, some of which has been repurposed for al fresco dining. Why not repurpose a few of these highly-visible car storage spots to instead store bike-share?
For some reason (perhaps resistance from the hotel over the station?), there are no bike-share docks at Metro's Hollywood/Vine Station. Bike-share users must walk two blocks to get to fairly nearby docks.
Not all of the Hollywood dock locations are poor; they're all useful. Some are near the corner, more-or-less visible from Hollywood Boulevard. The Hollywood/Highland docks are pretty close to the subway portal - not ideal, but at least they're on the same block.
Better connections to Hollywood destinations
With relatively few bike-share docks, it is difficult to serve lots of Hollywood destinations... but to be more effective the system should serve more destinations, especially many places where car parking is difficult. Metro Bike Share has done this for the popular hard-to-park Franklin Canyon trailhead, which is served by new docks at Franklin and Fuller Avenue.
One notoriously hard-to-park destination is the Hollywood Bowl. Bike-share is unlikely to serve anywhere near a majority of concert-goers, but could perhaps serve more than zero of them, as the system is currently designed to do. Perhaps the Bowl, which already runs publicly subsidized shuttles from more than a half-dozen locations throughout L.A. County, could put some subsidies into bike-share, too. Though a simple first-come-first-served unattended kiosk would serve a handful of concert-goers (including Metro B Line riders), the bolus-nature of Hollywood Bowl event traffic would overwhelm it. Some sort of attended bike parking at the Bowl during events could allow for overflow Metro bikes to be checked in and out. (There are probably good examples of event venue practices from other bike-share cities that can be adapted for the Bowl and other L.A. venues.)
Other popular nearby destinations that could use docks: Hollywood Farmers Market/Arclight, Franklin/Bronson retail, Griffith Park Fern Dell trailhead, Emerson College, more of Sunset Boulevard, and... readers - please use the comments to suggest additional locations.
Keep expanding bike-share
More docks and more bikes make for a more robust system serving more people and more destinations. City Councilmembers representing Hollywood - Mitch O'Farrell and Nithya Raman (at least until district boundaries are retooled) - should work with LADOT and Metro to identify funding for expansion.
Metro and/or L.A. City could pursue grants and/or sponsorships. L.A. City could use portions of its Metro local return monies.
One source of bike-share funding could be new development. Despite nimby forces opposed to much Hollywood-area redevelopment, there are plenty of new buildings going up and more in the planning stages. Under L.A.'s 2019 shift to VMT (vehicle miles traveled) metrics, new developments are encouraged to engage in TDM (transportation demand management) strategies. One possible TDM investment - that could be prioritized in and around Hollywood (and in and near other bike-share service areas) - is having new development pay for bike-share expansion.
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