Well, it’s been covered in a few places, but yesterday, I got a chance to check out Long Beach’s still-kinda-new bike corral. A bike corral is a bike parking facility that generally takes away one car-parking space to provide about a dozen bicycle parking spaces.
Long Beach’s first bike corral is located on the north side First Street at Linden Avenue in Downtown Long Beach’s East Village neighborhood. The corral officially opened in August 2010, with the ribbon cutting by Long Beach City Councilmember Suja Lowenthal. While there are a couple of other more-or-less-bike-corrals that have been placed in parking lot spaces, I am pretty certain that Long Beach’s is the county of Los Angeles’ first bike corral on a public street. With one success under their belt, Long Beach has already moved on to their second bike corral.
Last night, I was visiting Long Beach with my mom, dining at Utopia. I was excited to see the wonderful new corral. Despite a cold rainy night, there were two bikes parked in the corral, to which I added a third. My apologies for the mediocre cell phone photos.
The bike corral is shaped like a car… which wouldn’t be my first choice. (I’d rather make it look like a mini-park – and try to not think too much about them car-things.) It does make the excellent comparison that more than a dozen bicycles can be parked in one car space.
While bike corrals are obviously great for bicyclists,
and we’re the only people on the planet that really matter, they do have other important benefits. Bike corrals are good for business, in that more customers can park in a smaller footprint. They make places more walkable, too. Sometimes in commercial areas with a lot of bike activity, sidewalks become crowded with parked bikes. Corrals help clear the sidewalk, freeing it up for pedestrians, wheelchair users, strollers, and all that wonderful city life that takes place on our best sidewalks.
The eco-village blog has covered some other good bike news for Long Beach: their innovative green sharrow lanes. Additionally, for more good news about lots of great bike stuff in the L.B., see my pair of Long Beach livability articles for L.A. Streetsblog. The city of Los Angeles plans to, some day, install its first bike corral on York Boulevard at Avenue 50.
(updated 23 November – added links to Santa Monica’s two nice but not so prominent as LB’s bike corrals)