Los Angeles Eco-Village has a whole room set aside for residents’ bikes, and we’re looking at doing additional visitor bike parking out front. This post isn’t so much about eco-village’s bikes, but about the lack of accomodations for Los Angeles’ bicyclists in our public and private spaces. This, of course, is not really news. L.A. bicyclists know that our streets and our destinations rarely are designed and built with us in mind. Various other spaces in L.A., from our new police headquarters to our concert hall have huge accomodations for car parking, but little to nothing for bicycles.
I found myself downtown last week, after a Green L.A. Transportation Working Group meeting with Mayor Villaraigosa’s environmental and transportation deputies. I decided to chill by watching a movie. I used to frequent the old Laemmle Theaters in the basement of the Marriott Hotel, but they closed last year, due to low attendance and competition from new theaters at L.A. Live – a new upscale mega-redevelopment ajacent to L.A.’s sports and convention centers. LAL just opened up a year or two ago, so you might think that they would be up-to-the-moment on trendy new things like bike parking.
I actually was initially somewhat impressed that LAL had the only city of Los Angeles installations (that I am aware of) of a couple of pedestrian-friendly features: a leading pedestrian interval and a flashing crosswalk.
At the corner of Georgia Street and Olympic Boulevard, pedestrians actually get their green light (actually their flashing hand) while the cars are still waiting at a red light. This leading pedestrian interval gives folks on a foot a head start, hence keeping them a bit more visible and safer. The flashing crosswalks, which I first heard of and saw locally installed in the city of Glendale, contain blinking in-pavement bright lights which warn drivers that folks are crossing in the crosswalk. These are both worthwhile pedestrian safety features. It’s good that their use at LAL can serve as a precedent for their use in various places in the city. The reason that I say I was only “somewhat” impressed is that, at LAL these features seem to be less in the service of stitching together a livable city fabric than they are in the service of connecting parking areas with shopping areas. There were dozens of “no pedestrian” signs, which outweighed any initial sense I had that this place was ped-friendly. As is common in L.A., intersections were missing crosswalks (ie: a 4-way car intersection would have only 3 crosswalks.) At these locations, despite lots of contrary signage, pedestrians continued to cross at the unmarked leg – an activity that is likely safer and less time-consuming than crossing three times to get to the same destination.
There was a conspicuous lack of street furniture at LAL – no bus stops or no-parking signs – to which one typically locks one’s bike to. I cruised around, and ultimately found a no-ped crossing sign which was pretty-well suited for locking my bike to – though I did worry a little that I might emerge from the movie to find it missing, removed by security:
I was a little early for the movie, so I figured I’d walk around and find the bike parking that hadn’t been initially obvious. There’s actually plenty of places that cyclists had found to park… but none of appears to be deliberately created as bike parking. There’re rails in the parking garage:
Bicyclists seemed to find lots of these rails – this one in the main shopping area:
Panasonic utilizes bike images to sell their wares at L.A. Live: (and the LA Live website even promotes bike racing events.)
Along the street there were a couple bikes. There were actually very few poles along the street that would fit a U-lock. This cyclist locked up with a long chain to get around the base of a street light:
I never did find anything that resembled designated bike parking at L.A. Live… which is unfortunate, because it means I am a lot less likely to patronize these these theaters and shopping areas in the future. It’s sad that the urban design isn’t better – this location is two-blocks from the Metro Blue Line Pico station. Locals and tourists come here, by bike and by foot…
If you L.A. Live folks happen to be out there reading this: please advise. Where is the bike parking? Was it accidentally overlooked? (I think that would be unlikely, given that there are actual city requirements for bike parking in large developments.) Or is it hidden there somewhere and just difficult to find? Could you find a spot and install some U-racks? or are you just telling bicyclists to go spend our money somewhere else? There are clearly multi-millions of dollars worth of car-parking infrastructure, but bikes are left to catch as catch can.