A Half-Step Forward

Well, it looks as though the City of Los Angeles is taking–well, not quite a bold, but a worthy–step forward in providing bike parking to go along with all those new bike lanes it keeps promising to build. (This is something I’ve harped on before on this blog.)

In fact, though the draft was spearheaded by LACBC intern Rye Baerg, working with the LA Planning Department, it bears more than a passing resemblance to changes suggested by none other than Pigeon Master Josef himself in an article he wrote last year for the Los angeles Business Journal, entitled “Putting Parking in Its Place.”

A bit watered down, but still significant, and good work by Rye, as far as it goes.

After all, bike lanes on every street and alley in town won’t do much good if you can’t park your bike when you get where you’re going to. And we know by now that providing parking for cars is expensive–street parking can cost $10,000 to $25,000 per space, and parking structures far more than that–yet we have to beg for a few sidewalk racks.

The city also (as Josef points out in his article; go on, read it!) requires developers to build far more car parking into their projects than most will ever need–making projects more expensive, and inducing–hell, practically requiring!–people to choose driving over other modes of getting around.

The city has required developers to provide–hold your breath!–2% of the “required” car parking figure for bike parking–but only in commercial developments of over 10,000 square feet.

In other words, not much, and hardly ever.

The new draft ups the bike parking requirement to 5%, requires a higher minimum provision of bike parking, and extends the requirements to new apartment buildings.

Bike Parking Lot in KyotoBicycle Parking Lot in Japan, Where Almost Everyone Rides
Considering how much of the land surface of the City of Los Angeles is devoted to car parking–for example, the curb lanes of almost every single street, road, avenue, or boulevard–this doesn’t seem like much. That 5% is a hell of a long way from “transit equity.”

It’s also short-sighted. For one thing, bike parking is cheap; you can fit twelve bikes in the space of one car, and cyclists need to shop as much as anyone else, so more bike parking means more commerce. For another, if you don’t give people a place to park bikes at destinations, they won’t choose to ride bikes to destinations.

It’s that simple.

If LA is serious about giving its denizens the freedom to choose bicycles over cars for daily travel, then the city needs to get serious about not only bike lanes and paths, but bike parking. Real bike parking, everywhere–so that when you pedal off to the dentist or a restaurant or a business meeting or the shoe store, you don’t even think that you won’t be able to leave your bike safely locked up when you get there.

Holland has bike parking structures, some with several thousand spaces (which take up no more room than a couple of hundred car spots). Japan even has pay parking lots for bikes. Portland has bike racks and bike corrals everywhere, and booming businesses to show for it.

LA has a few sidewalk racks, and so far one bike corral, which we had to fight for.

Read the new bike parking regulations here. You can email a comment to the city care of Tom Rothmann before March 30th, or–better yet!–show up for the public hearing on March 30th at City Hall in room 1010.

Yep, once again it’s time for you and me to create the future!

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One Comment

  1. Posted July 23, 2014 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    After I originally commented I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I recieve 4 emails with
    the same comment. There has to be a way you can remove me from that service?
    Appreciate it!

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] for L.A.’s proposed new bike ordinance; Writing for Flying Pigeon, Rick Risemberg says the bike parking plan is half-a step-forward. Two former USC students turn college poverty into a booming L.A. based bike […]

  2. […] Planning has drafted an ordinance to beef up bicycle parking requirements for new developments.  Flying Pigeon and LACBC have also spilled virtual ink describing the proposed ordinance, and rightly so; this is […]

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