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Since 2010 the LADOT Bike Program has worked diligently to introduce, formalize, and refine bicycle corrals for the City of Los Angeles.  We have seen huge successes in our process, from the revival of the York Boulevard commercial corridor and pedestrian space to the overcrowding of our much needed Abbot Kinney corrals.  We have also tested and modified designs, beginning with U-racks, moving to the Dero Cyclestall Elite, and now a modified version of the Cyclestall that better serves cargo bicycles.  We are about to embark on our largest yet deployment of bicycle corrals in Los Angeles and hereby announce a call for new applications.  In the next two years, the department’s strategic plan, Great Streets for Los Angeles, calls for the installation of over 25 bicycle corrals.  There are many criteria that go into corral site selection and approval, but before we explain the fine print, we wanted to take you through a tour of lessons learned and the corral history that goes into today’s revision.

Phase 1

Our very first York Boulevard Bicycle Corral was yarn bombed to mark the new year!

Our first corral on York Boulevard featured many elements that have been discontinued due to cost, functionality, and permanence.  Our first design featured welded U racks that needed to be pre-assembled and lifted into place by crane.  The design also featured asphalt buffers that were repeatedly damaged by cars and delivery vehicles.  This design has been popular with users, as it allows a barrier-free approach to parking.  The lack of barrier, though convenient, does not provide as much protection as a structure that fully separates the parking from the travel lanes, and therefore, after considering all factors, the next round of corrals was modified significantly.

Phase 2

The corral at Gjelina Take Away has been seen packed here with 18 bikes! Photo courtesy Gjelina

Our next round of corrals consisted of 11 custom Dero Cyclestall Elites.  The new design, which fully separates the bicycle parking from travel lanes has sometimes been criticized by users as difficult to enter, creates a pedestrian interaction for people dismounting their bicycles, orienting the now-pedestrians towards the sidewalk and away from any conflict with moving vehicles.  This setting creates a more conscientious entry and exit from the bicycle parking area, eliminating conflicts between dismounted riders and those passing as well as driver-bicycle conflicts.  Beyond this change, the new corral design utilizes rubber wheel stops, durable buffers against parking cars and reflective flexible delineators that make the corral more visible to approaching vehicles, especially at night.

These corrals are installed in Atwater Village, Venice, Cypress Park, North Hollywood, the Arts District, Eagle Rock, Larchmont Village, Westood Village, and (coming soon!) Downtown’s Historic Core.  This round of installations presented rich feedback on corral placement in relation to travel lanes and bicycle facilities, user density, and the dynamics of nearby bicycle friendly neighborhoods.

Some lessons learned in this phase include:

  • need for high pedestrian and bicycle activity
  • preferred adjacency to bicycle facility (bike lanes, buffered bike lanes, or sharrows)
  • pedestrian scale street settings provide comfortable environment for people parking their bicycles
  • better entry to corral to accommodate cargo bicycles
  • bicycle friendly businesses and high turn-over services that attract people on bikes (like cafes) serve as ideal sponsors for corrals
  • dense, pedestrian-heavy areas with limited parking or sidewalk area are ideal locations for corral placement
  • most corrals necessitate two parking spaces for clearance and visibility reasons

Taking these lessons into consideration, we went back to the drawing board again for our next corral order, incorporating both user and safety considerations.

Phase 3

Our next phase will feature the custom Dero Cyclestall Elite, further modified with shorter side arms that allow for ample entry space. We’ve also ordered 5 corral extenders, allowing sponsors to select a longer version of the corral, expanding parking capacity from 14 spaces (as seen above these corrals can actually fit up to 18 bicycles) to 20 (24) spaces.  The additions fall within the two-parking space area, so the expanded corral does not require further parking impacts.

New Corrals await their future street!

Applying for a Bicycle Corral

We are currently looking for locations for our next corrals!  If you own a business or are part of a community organization that would like to sponsor a corral, check out our corral page, FAQs, and the corral application below.  All sponsors are required to sign a maintenance agreement with the City, where the partner agrees to keep the corral clean and clear of debris (corral placement restricts street sweeping).  Once a corral location is preliminarily reviewed and a maintenance agreement signed, the project enters engineering design, which at times reveals other complications or reasons a corral cannot be installed at that location.  If the project reaches design completion, the installation is coordinated by LADOT.

 

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#CHILLIN: Buffered by parked cars, #PopUpChandler cycletrack users enjoy their morning coffee on the way to CicLAvia!

Thank you for stopping by, Los Angeles! Over 1,000 of you rolled through the #PopUpChandler cycletrack yesterday!  In case you missed it, the City hosted a pop up demonstration cycletrack at Sunday’s CicLAvia – The Valley. The one-day installation was a collaborative effort by LADOT and the Department of City Planning to create a temportary cycletrack as a means to bridge the network connection between the Chandler Bike Path and the CicLAvia NoHo Hub. #PopUpChandler, located between Vineland and Fair, gave participants an opportunity to see and experience the low-stress bicycle facilities proposed in the City’s draft Mobility Plan 2035, hands-on and in-person.

Pedestrian Coordinator, Valerie Watson presents cycletrack information and explains elements of Mobility Plan 2035

Throughout the day, people of all ages rolled through the cycletrack, protected by a row of parked cars, on their way to the CicLAvia North Hollywood Arts District Hub. CicLAvia event participants were encouraged to travel through the pop up and pit stop at the City of LA booth prior to continuing on to the day’s festivities. Upon exiting the cycletrack, users were able to directly engage with the City’s mobility planners and active transportation engineers to discuss the nuances of the protected lanes and learn more about different ways to confiure streets for all types of users.

Residents from the Valley and beyond noted the added comfort and safety of the cycletrack concept, especially for the youngest and most vulnerable: children on bicycles. Passerbys noted that “flipping the bike and parking lane just makes sense and seems safer for everyone.” Many provided City staff with feedback and shared their experience on social media using the hashtag #PopUpChandler.

City staff were joined by USC Price School externs to perfom cycletrack outreach, collecting surveys, feedback and answering questions. Unlike the traditional planning process, pop up events allow community members to experience infrastructure and provide input based on that experience.

The temporary “pop up” design utilized traffic cones to designate space for people on bicycles, people parking cars, and people driving cars. In this cycletrack design, the parking lane has been flipped with the bike lane, maintaining street parking, while adding extra protection and reducing conflicts between people travelling on bikes and people travelling in cars.  This configuration is simple and provides benefits to all users.  Beyond serving those travelling by bicycle or car, cycletracks create shorter crossing distances for people walking.  

City officials also came out to enjoy the festivities and experience the cycletrack for themselves. “The San Fernando Valley’s CicLAvia was a stunning success, bringing thousands of people out of their cars and homes and onto the streets for the day,” said Councilmember Paul Krekorian of District 2. “I tested out the Pop-Up Chandler Cycletrack, along with a lot of other happy cyclists, and I believe it showed people what is possible as we strive to make Los Angeles a more connected and bike-friendly city.”

CicLAvia attendees enjoy the low-stress nature of the Chandler demonstration cycletrack connecting their journey from the Chandler Bike Path to the event hub.

Sunday’s event is just the first step toward safer and more comfortable mobility network. Cycletracks are an important element in the City’s draft 2035 Mobility Plan, which emphasizes low-stress facilities as an important active transportation  mode that helps to reduce vehicle miles traveled throughout the city, as well other associated environmental benefits. The 2035 Mobility Plan is scheduled to be before the City Planning Commission in May, and you can find out more at an open house on Tuesday, March 24. Protected bike lanes are similarly included in LADOT’s Strategic Plan “Great Streets for Los Angeles“.

Keep an eye out for similar pop-up events in the future that will help us better plan and design more permanent bicycle infrastructure in your neighborhood!

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Rosemead Boulevard: the Complete Street features a cycletrack buffered by landscaped medians

It seems like cycletracks are all the rage these days on the LADOT Bike Blog.  We love the idea of the low-stress bicycle riding experience these facilities provide and are learning as much as we can about them as we prepare to install them in Los Angeles!

Last week we had the pleasure of convening a City of Los Angeles coalition to visit Temple City’s Rosemead Boulevard, a complete street that includes a fully constructed and landscaped cycletrack. The trip was organized by our very own Bicycle Coordinator, Rubina Ghazarian. The Active Transportation Division Outreach and Engineering staff were accompanied by our colleagues from the the Great Streets Studio and the Bureau of Street Services to learn about the outreach, design, construction, and maintenance of the new Rosemead Boulevard.

Temple City welcomes Bureau of Street Services engineers, Great Streets Staff, and the LADOT Active Transportation Division

The Temple City segment of Rosemead Boulevard, CA State Route 19, has undergone dramatic change in its use and form since being relinquished by Caltrans to the local municipality in 2008. State Routes, traditionally managed by the state department of transportation, Caltrans, are state highways and typically carry high volumes of cars at high speeds.  Some of these routes are formalized into spaces exclusively for cars, like freeways, while others remain woven through our residential and commercial corridors.  When Temple City began to consider options for improving the route to better serve local residents, they recognized the dynamic community development potential resting in the relatively large roadway.

Temple City Mayor, Carl Blum, a retired LA County civil engineer, saw the transfer of Rosemead as a once in a lifetime opportunity, with the understanding that major roads only get a shot at redesign once every 50 years.  He set the project aspirations high, envisioning a Complete Street that would work with the street they already had, to serve users of all modes and abilities.  Blum says that in pursuing such an ambitious project, Temple City is “planning for the future.” He understands the long trajectory of the project and that its full potential will only be realized later.

Our visitor package provided a living picture of the Rosemead project and its connection to the community

After many community meetings and design charrettes, the new Rosemead Boulevard plans grew to include landscaping, bike parking, sidewalks, pedestrian scale lighting, public art, and rubberized asphalt, which would minimize the noise of the large arterial.  With the new Rosemead, residents received universal ADA compliance, new and improved gutters, and over 100 new trees that will grow to create a living canopy for the neighborhood, reducing the heat island effect and cultivating a sense of place for the corridor.

Temple City cycletrack includes pedestrian scale lighting and a cement bicycle lane buffered by parking stalls and landscaped medians

Our visit proved very educational, providing an on-the-ground example of a Complete Street.  With the pending adoption of Mobility Plan 2035, we may see more projects in Los Angeles that fulfill the Complete Streets objectives of facilitating travel for people of all ages and modes.

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This young lady has really loaded up her cargo bike with the maximum shopping capacity!

In light of our participation in the upcoming holiday shopping event, SHOP – RIDE – NELA, we wanted to make sure everyone was totally ready to saddle up on their bicycles to go shopping!  Whether you need to pick up a few items at the grocery store or want to meet up with a friend at a neighborhood cafe for a day of brunching and shopping, arriving on a bicycle is a great way to go!

Shopping by bicycle is an easy way to run local errands, making your daily routine fun and active without leaving that nasty carbon footprint you would if you were driving. On a bicycle, you can make multiple stops on your trip without having to keep track of time, or potentially even receiving a citation for staying too long at your meter.  How many times have you wanted to try on that other pair of shoes or talk to a friend you bumped into on the street, but you had to go, cause your meter was almost up?  Too many times!  Bicycles are a liesurely way to shop and explore your neighborhood, making you more aware of what it has to offer, and potentially more receptive to spending time and money there.

In some LA neighborhoods, LADOT has even installed Bicycle Corrals, where you can park your bicycle right in the middle of a busy shopping corridor just like your fellows driving cars.  These perks are no small beans in a city where auto traffic is the norm and as mentioned before, finding parking can be tedious and frustrating. Plus, shopping on a bicycle is more efficient than walking and less cumbersome than carrying things onto the bus. Because shopping by bike is super practical, doing so can easily be combined with your bike commute or leisurely ride around the neighborhood.

SHOP – RIDE – NELA, led by C.I.C.L.E., will take place this Saturday December 13th, from 9:30am-12:30pm, with a ribbon cutting for the Colorado Bl Corral with Councilmember Jose Huizar at 12:30. The ride will explore 3.6 miles of Northeast LA’s most vibrant shopping corridors. More details can be found in our recent blog post about the event.

So let’s get ready to shop! The set-up you choose will mostly depend on the purchases you’ll be making or the items you will be transporting. There are lots of carrying options out there for any budget, so here’s a quick guide to get you started:

Carrying things on your bicycle

 

Backpacks and Messenger Bags

Uses: small loads and personal items

Backpacks are probably the simplest and most affordable way to haul your shopping items while bicycling. These are excellent for carrying small, lightweight loads, but be wary of heavy items and the “sweaty back” on hot days or long rides. Backpacks and messenger bags that are made by bicycle companies tend to be weather proof and highly durable, making sure your valuables are protected.

Price range: $25-150

Backbacks can be a great way to carry small items and your everyday load, as seen here on Yucca St in Hollywood

Saddle, Frame, and Handlebar Bags

Uses: extra small loads and personal items

Saddle, frame, or handlebar bags are excellent rackless options for storing small items and are very popular for holding commuter tools like tire levers, spare tubes, first aid kits, or other bare necessities. The frame and handlebar bags are especially useful for items that need to be easily reached like chapstick or your cell phone.

Price range: $10-90

A woman and her child use a handlebar bag on the Orange Line Bike Path in Woodland Hills

Racks

Uses: all-purpose

If you choose to use your bike to do most of the work instead of your back, then you’ll need to add a rack to your bicycle. Racks serve a wide variety of purposes and can be attached to the front and/or rear depending on your bike and carrying needs. A rack is key because it provides a mount for panniers (bicycle mounted bags) as well as a platform on which to strap your goods. A simple bungee cord can be used with a rack to secure most objects, making racks one of the most necessary and effective ways of undertaking any shopping trip by bicycle. Racks also free you up from cumbersome bags that might cramp your style.  Most local bike shops sell bike racks and they can be aquired for as little as $15.

Price range: $15-45

Observed during our recent York Bl Bike Count, this man has a back rack and a basket, getting ready to do a water run via York Bl in Highland Park

Straps and Bungee Cords

Items can be directly placed on top of a mounted rack without a bag or container by using secure straps or bungee cords.

Price range:  $2-10

Baskets and Milk Crates

Uses: small-medium loads

Baskets are great for carrying items that don’t need to be enclosed or carefully contained. Generally, weight should be considered when using a basket, as heavy objects might affect your ability to steer your bicycle.  Milk crates can serve as an affordable DIY basket. To use a milk crate, find one that is not too large for the rack and make sure to use a lot of zip ties to securely attach the crate to the rack. Be careful to not load up too much weight into the crate otherwise shifting weight might cause the zip ties to snap!

Price range: $15-50

At CicLAvia, sometimes baskets are used to carry friends!

Trunk Bags

Uses: small loads and personal items

Trunk bags are strapped on top of the rack and are built with non-collapsible walls that stand up on their own. Some trunk bags come with side pockets that can expand into small side panniers for extra storage.

Price range: $30-60

The LAPD Bicycle Unit uses trunk bags to carry important items necessary for their police work

Panniers

Uses: medium-large loads

Panniers are bicycle-specific bags that attach to the rear or front rack. Most panniers work like saddle bags and carry 10-20 liters per bag. Panniers are a wonderful solution for large amounts of groceries.  They are your ideal candidate for shopping, commuting, or bicycle touring and are often sold in pairs in order to balance your heavy loads.  Panniers come in all forms and qualities- the more expensive versions contain special features like converting into a backpack, clip systems for easy removal, reflectivity, and all-weather proofing.

Price range: $40-160

Former Bike Program superstar, Eli Glazier shows off his paniers with his bike mounted on the York Bl Bicycle Repair Station in Highland Park

Cargo Trailers

Uses: large loads

Bicycle cargo trailers offer the largest storage capacity and can carry much bigger loads than the bicycle itself. Trailers normally attach to the bike frame, much like a tow hitch on a truck. Some trailers are even fashioned with a child seat inside so you can take your child with you while you shop!

Price range: $150-250

Cargo trailers like the one we use when we do outreach at CicLAvia can carry a LOT of swag…

 

More Tips

 

Balance your weight

When you pack up your bags, try to distribute the weight as evenly as possible. This will make riding more comfortable and also prevent your bike from toppling over while you wait at stop signs or lights.

Look for Bicycle Friendly Businesses

Shop local and support businesses that embrace bicycle-friendly practices! The Bike Program launched the Bicycle Friendly Business Program (BFB) earlier this year to promote businesses that encourage people to bicycle for short neighborhood trips and make their streets more pleasant and convivial places to be. For more information or to opt into the BFB Program, check out our BFB page and opt in form!

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Good day LA!

Today was another great day for the great streets of Los Angeles! Corral designs were updated and onlookers watched as the long awaited Willow St. Bicycle Corral was installed in the booming Downtown Arts District.

First stop by the Bicycle Corral Fairy was a check up on our very first corral: the York Bl. pilot.  The York Corral, originally installed in February 2011 has seen its share of wear and tear.  After the implementation of many more Bicycle Corrals throughout the city, we have learned a few things from their design, removing redundant or incorrect signage, and replacing materials like asphalt islands with more durable rubber wheel stops.

Before: Bye bye asphalt island!

After: The new sleek York Corral

After the healthy refresh at York, the crew traveled to the Arts District where Blue Bottle Coffee customers got an eyeful (and earful) of Bike Corral installation with their morning coffee. The LADOT sign crew and our colleagues at the City’s General Services Department (GSD) installed the new Corral on Willow St. at Mateo next to the neighborhood’s premiere coffee shop and our awesome maintenance sponsor, Blue Bottle Coffee.

Councilmember Jose Huizar was happy to see the new corral, saying “As a long time supporter I’m proud to host the first bicycle corral in the City. LADOT’s new bike corral configuration draws from lessons learned piloted in my district. Thanks to Blue Bottle Coffee for partnering with the City to bring the Arts District its very own bike corral!” The Corral reallocates one auto on-street parking space for 14 spaces for people riding their bicycles.

(more…)

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A lot of hard work goes into installing corrals that are safe and durable!

This week, the LADOT Bike Program worked with City crews to install two new Bicycle Corrals, making Los Angeles just a bit more bicycle friendly than it was before. The first corral was installed in the Northeast LA neighborhood of Cypress Park, in front of Antigua Coffee (3400 N Figueroa St, 90065) on the corner of  North Figueroa and Loreto Street. Antigua is a proud partner in our Bicycle Friendly Business program and was quite pleased to see the Corral installed, especially since there are so many neighborhood bike rides that originate at the bike shop next door, Flying Pigeon. Councilmember Gil Cedillo says he is pleased that, “Yancey Quinonez’s vision for that developing business area continues to be realized.”  The Councilmember recognizes that, “The bike corral is a great addition to the southern portion of the Figueroa corridor,” reiterating that a Corral at Antigua Coffee, a focal point in the community, can act as a powerful anchor for business in Cypress Park.

Antigua Coffee’s front door now features our Bicycle Friendly Business window cling! Bicycle Corrals and bicycle parking are integral parts of our Bicycle Friendly Business program.

A couple hours later, City crews finished installing a second Corral in North Hollywood outside of the Laemmle Theater NOHO 7 (5240 Lankershim Blvd, 91601).  This corral will provide much needed bicycle parking near the vibrant and buzzing bicycle and pedestrian hub adjacent to the theater, Television Academy, and shops that have developed around the Metro North Hollywood Station.
IMG_9006

Greg Laemmle of Laemmle Theaters will join Councilmember Paul Krekorian to celebrate the Lankershim Bicycle Corral with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, June 21, at 2pm in front of the theater.  Councilmember Krekorian says, “North Hollywood just keeps getting better for cyclists and pedestrians. I’m really proud that we teamed up with Greg Laemmle on this new bike corral. Working with business and community partners to improve the quality of life for neighborhood residents and visitors is what the City of Los Angeles does best.” Laemmle Theater will also offer two free bicycle-themed movie screenings, open to the general public that day (see Laemmle Theater’s announcement for additional details)!

Adding to the festivities, the Lankershim Corral celebration coincides with Laemmle Theater’s FIRST EVER  Tour de Laemmle, a 122 mile journey in which theater owner Greg Laemmle will be bicycling to visit all seven Laemmle Theater locations! The Tour de Laemmle is free and open to the public – riders are encouraged to join the route along the way.

Each of the Dero Cyclestall Bicycle Corrals installed today can park 12 bicycles, though we’ve seen some locations overflowing with as many as 18! Their addition to the City’s streets brings the LADOT Bike Program’s total Bicycle Corral count to seven. Together, all the Corral parking combined provide enough parking for 82 bicycles! And more Corrals are on their way!

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The first bicycle to use the North Figueroa Street bike corral

We love to see our Bicycle Corrals in action so if you use any of our Corrals be sure to share pictures with us on our Facebook or Twitter. To see more photos from our installations, check out our flickr albums “Lankershim Blvd Bike Corral Installation” and “Figueroa Bike Corral Installation

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The site of the soon-to-be installed bike corral in Atwater Village.

It seems so distant, but February 18th, 2011, just two and a half years ago, was when the city’s first bike corral was installed on York Boulevard in Northeast LA.

Getting the corral off the drawing board and onto the ground was a lengthy process, but ultimately the project was able to march ahead thanks to both local residents’ support and political will. The day the bike corral officially opened was rightfully celebrated as a great stride in the city’s efforts to become more bicycle friendly.

Shortly after the York Boulevard bike corral was installed, we released a bike corral application form to gauge interest for future potential bike corral locations. Approximately a year after the city’s inaugural corral was installed, a second was placed as part of the Sunset Triangle Plaza in Silver Lake. (more…)

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