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?
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!