Learning from Others

A couple of weeks ago, I posted an extended complaint about the City of LA’s preferred choice for bike corrals, which we the taxpayers have sprung for twenty of. It’s a three-sided box which the LADOT has decided to place with the open side against the curb, making it tedious to maneuver a standard bike into it, and pretty much filtering out cargo bikes, recumbents, or tricycles.

Really, it looks more like a detention center for those nasty velos than a parking facility for LA’s greenest (and freest spending) residents.

As usual, the city stated once again that the experiences of other cities are magically invalid in LA—though last I saw LaLa Land was on the same planet, and housed the same mix of species, as Portland, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and so forth…all of whom use arrays of inverted-U or staple racks to build the majority of their well-loved and well-used bike corrals.

Not only that, but the bolder, more progressive cities all around Los Angeles pretty much stick to the pattern (though Long Beach has three of the box-type corrals). Let us take a look at a few examples:

In Santa Monica, where bicycling has a 5.2% share of the commuting space, we see these:

On Main street, just south of the Civic Center


A few blocks further south, still on Main, near the Library Alehouse

There’s even a third bike corral on Main, across the street from the second one pictured. All are easy to use, and all are used, and all are variations on the U-rack.

In Redondo Beach we see this charming little spot, with room for sixteen bikes, and room to maneuver them:

Meanwhile, back in the City of LA, in the venerable Farmers Market on Third and Fairfax, there’s a private bike corral, using wave racks, which are less favored than individual rack elements but still better than the detention-center type:

While at the adjacent fancypants mall, The Grove, we see another vast private corral—using the same form factor:

While LA’s own first and, so far, most successful corral, in the Pigeon’s own Highland Park, uses…staple racks:

And although I haven’t gotten a photo of it yet, Culver City has a new bike corral—and again it’s an array of inverted-U rack elements.

So I ask the question I’ve asked so many times before: Why is Los Angeles, once a forward-looking city, so obsessed with re-inventing the square wheel?

It’s okay to learn from others, LADOT. Why, if we didn’t do that, we’d still be sleeping naked in the rain and eating lizards and raw roots.

Let’s join the rest of the country in building a truly multi-modal city. And that means lots of bikes…and lots of places to park them in, without feeling like an intruder in your own public space.

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