All day for the last three days, as I pedaled or plodded about to meetings and chores, I noticed that more bikes than ever were locked up all over town. On my home turf in the Miracle Mile, along Glendale Boulevard in Atwater, under the elegantly-trimmed trees of Larchmont Village, alongside the cacophonous congestion of downtown, by the bistros of Silvelake, on NELA’s York Boulevard, dozens of bicycles parked at sidewalk racks.
Some of these streets had bikelanes, some did not. Some, such as the Miracle Mile’s Wilshire Boulevard, and pretty intimidating to pedal. Some, such as Silverlake’s Sunset and NELA’s York, have wonderful bike lanes. Some, such as Larchmont, have no bikelanes but have a relaxed road culture and traffic calming through medians and mid-block crosswalk stop signs.
What they have in common are three things:
- They are real destinations—they host establishments that people want or need to go to: bistros, coffeehouse, boutiques, bars, medical and dental practices, office buildings large and small, et al. Employment, entertainment, and sustenance.
- They support street life with outdoor tables, wide sidewalks, sidewalk storefronts.
- And they have bike racks, often lots of them.
The ones with bike lanes generally see even more bicycle traffic (and retail sales, as studies have shown) than those without.
But, conversely, streets with bike lanes but no racks, or without attractive destinations, not so much…. Unfortunately, LADOT has often put bike lanes where they are easy to install, rather than where they would serve people who actually want to go somewhere.
One thing LADOT has been doing right is installing bike racks all over town. But they haven’t done it without help. In fact, they want help…from you and me.
Well, they’re probably getting tired of hearing from me; I’ve gotten about two hundred racks installed around town—including most of those on the Miracle Mile—simply by repeatedly filling out the Rack Request Form on their website.
You can too. In fact, you need to. You’re the one riding around and finding yourself frustrated by lack of safe lockups for your steed. You know where you and your friends ride, or would ride if you felt safe locking your bikes there.
So join with the rest of us and help make Los Angeles a real, practical cycling city: call in a bike rack where you know one is needed!
Here’s the link again: LADOT Rack Request Form. Put in your own contact information and email; I’ve confirmed that that is what LADOT wants.
In the end, it’s up to you and me to guide LA into the future.