Wasted Space

Beverly Hills is a city trammeled by a lack of imagination. Poor, beleaguered Mark Elliot, of Better Bike, a Safe Streets advocacy group in the 90210, has been trying to promote bike lanes and bike parking for years, but the city has remained obdurately thickheaded about any concept that doesn’t require dedicating every public square inch and dollar to fawning over cars. Even to the point of completely ignoring not only the majority of public input but the bike lane consultant they hired a few years ago. Even to the point of losing millions each year providing free parking in their expensive multistory garages…to the richest people in California.

Their “bike plan” has so far consisted of putting sharrows along Crescent Drive&mmdash;a street that avoids most retail zones—and adding bike lanes to Burton Way. The latter was not too difficult, as the right-hand traffic lane on that street was originally around twenty feet wide. As for bike parking—in a city that claims to suffer from inadequate parking supply—well: after a recent “surge” of installations, Beverly Hills can boast of about thirty-three racks for the whole city. (At least there’s a rack-on-request program, consisting of a PDF you print and fill out….)

The form specifies that racks can be installed only on concrete. I hope this is not true—it certainly isn’t anywhwere else on earth—because the city has so much wasted space in the streets that could be put to use. Note the photos below, taken on the block of South Beverly Drive between Charleville and Gregory. This is Beverly Hills’s main shopping street for its south-of-Santa-Monica residents, anD one that is crying out for bike racks. There are all of four on this block. (For comparison, similar Larchmont Boulevard in Midtown Los Angeles sports about fourteen racks plus a bike corral.) But couldn’t there be a few bike racks in the empty spaces delineated by white lines that you see here?

Just saying….

It’s pretty sad to be about the only city in our county that is behind Los Angeles in bike parking! Oh Mighty 90210, you can do better!

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2 Comments

  1. Posted April 29, 2015 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    Lack of imagination is indeed a stumbling block here in the Hills. But there is also a dereliction of duty when it comes to mobility and safety.

    Long ago I discounted the city’s token efforts at a few block segments of bike lanes, sharrows where we don’t most need them, and the racks. I simply learned not to expect more.

    But when our transportation division, and the Community Development department of which it is part, simply chooses to sidestep safety, well… that still rankles. For example, last year city staff & our consultant recommended NOT adding bike lanes to Santa Monica Blvd even though staff recommended incrementally widening the boulevard to a dimension that COULD accommodate lanes. Ridiculous!

    For the past several months I’ve been trying to get the city to acknowledge the need for safety mitigations for cyclists around the Hilton hotel reconstruction at Wilshire-SM, but again it’s nothing doing.

    It’s a cultural problem: our Council and commission is made up of drivers steeped in the car culture; and heaven help any staffer who might suggest a pro-bike improvement. That there’s an issue with a fearful bureaucratic culture.

  2. Posted May 1, 2015 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    I’ve done some contract work right there on S Beverly Drive near Urth Caffe, and can report that bike parking on the west sidewalk for the two blocks between Wilshire and Olympic tends to be quite full. I usually locked my bike up to street parking meters, but there was even a big tree out in front of Urth Caffe that had a bike cable-locked to it, so obviously, bike parking is already in high demand. I’d love to see more! 😀

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