This week the Bike Program worked with LADOT field crews and General Services to install two new Corrals, bringing our Pilot Phase 2 that much closer to completion. The first install took place on Larchmont Bl, with the corral sponsored by the Larchmont Village Wine, Spirits & Cheese. This corral was requested back in 2012, but did not have a business sponsor until local advocate Rick Risemberg hit the streets and identified Simon Cocks, a partner in the local wine and cheese shop, to take on the Corral maintenance agreement. Cocks is an avid bicycle rider who commutes on his bicycle to Larchmont every day. The Larchmont Corral serves a bustling commercial corridor that will benefit from the 14-18 extra parking spaces created for people on bikes. Councilmember Tom LaBonge says, “The Bike Corrals are really a testament to the innovating ideas that the Department of Transportation is bringing to our city to make it accessible for everyone. Encouraging more bicyclists to Larchmont will help the local economy of Larchmont.” High demand already exists for bicycle parking and people using the Corral will have unlimited time to shop, dine, and explore Larchmont businesses.
The other benefit of the Corral that cannot be overstated is its function to shorten the crossing distance for pedestrians using the adjacent crosswalk. Crosswalks can be difficult for pedestrians in busy commercial corridors – drivers are distracted, looking for parking, or rushing to get through the congested area. The Larchmont Corral effectively removes 10 feet of unprotected crossing distance from the intersection. Passersby remarked at the installation that cars would often try to cut through the painted area where the Corral was installed, in order to get to the nearby parking lot quicker. With the Corral placement, the pedestrian crossing distance is now only 9 feet without refuge, making it ideal for more vulnerable users like children, seniors, or people with impaired mobility.
Treatments that shorten crossing distances are popular pedestrian safety countermeasures, the most well known version being curb extentions or “bulb outs.” In the Larchmont context, the Corral serves the same purpose as a “pinch point“- a narrow midblock pedestrian crossing- without necessitating expensive curb extention construction that often requires drainage and utility relocation. Short pedestrian crossings are the gold standard of complete streets, and we are happy to see the Corral creating a new solution (perhaps never before implemented!) to this circumstance.
The second installation took place on Colorado Bl at Caspar, in front of Big Mama and Papa’s Pizzeria and the 5 Line Tavern. At this location, the Corral had been requested by both the Pizzeria and Core Club LA, a yoga and fitness studio down the block. As the first to request, Core Club signed on as the maintenance partner, but the enthusiasm for the Corral illustrates that these facilities do not just serve a single business, they serve the community. Corrals can act as attractors for businesses, and in other cities, they have been seen to improve foot traffic and business visibility by 67%. Complementing the buffered bike lane that provides traffic calming to Colorado Bl and the Bicycle Repair Station further down the corridor, the Colorado Bl Corral bolsters bicycle friendliness in Eagle Rock, adding important infrastructure to the Northeast LA Bicycle Friendly Business District.
We are very happy to wrap up the year with 2 more Corrals, which brings our annual total to 7 new installations! We have a few more Corrals allocated to the Pilot, pending installation on Westwood Village’s Broxton Ave., Downtown Historic Core’s Main St., and the Arts District’s Traction Ave. Once the cycle is complete, we will begin the next Phase, introducing a modified design of the Cycle Stall Elite. Stay tuned for 2015, it will be a great year for Los Angeles streets!