Bicycle parking – where to find it

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            Imagine getting in the car, driving on a newly developed route to a destination only to discover there is absolutely no place available to park. I don’t mean the spaces are all filled, but rather, there are no parking spaces – none, zip, zilch. Over the past several years, bike plans have been taking shape in many cities and regions around Los Angeles, developing routes to make trips around the city safer and more practical for cyclists. The problem is that in many places, there are little or no parking places set aside for bikes. For cycling to succeed as a viable transportation option, bicycle parking should be as common as car parking.

            Providing bike parking is good business. Bike parking is scalable and inexpensive to build. While some people may think it crazy to even suggest removing a single car space, Santa Monica removed 27 car spaces at its Santa Monica Place, replacing them with the Santa Monica Bike Center, which offers numerous bike services with parking for up to 350 bicycles in a secure setting. Let me say that again, 27 car spaces now are occupied by 350 secure bike spaces. That’s 13 new customers by bike for every one customer who arrived by car.

            Business owners, consider what it would be worth to get 13 more customers for every current parking space.

            Some Culver City businesses are exhibiting signs of enlightenment, including Target, Ralphs, Albertsons, Costco and Best Buy, which are providing some bike parking at their locations. Additionally, downtown Culver City installed a cluster of bike parking along Culver Boulevard near Main Street. As much as people love downtown, many would also like to ride a bike and park at the other businesses across the city.

            The city of Long Beach, a leader in bike-friendly measures, purchased dozens of bike corrals that fit into a single car parking space, and can accommodate 12 to 16 bikes. After the first one went into the Belmont shopping area, local business eagerly signed up on a waiting list to get one situated in front of their business.

            The Los Angeles Department of Transportation recently announced expanding a pilot project to put bike corrals on the street in front of a requesting business. The transportation department figures that they will get 10 bikes parked for each car space utilized. That’s 10 potential customers in the space formerly dedicated for one. Corrals, used correctly, can add to traffic safety near intersections by keeping views open due to the general low profile of bikes.

            It’s time to do this in Culver City, and it’s rumored that it might happen.

            To aid cyclists in locating businesses which provide bike parking, the Culver City Bicycle Coalition created an interactive map where to find parking. Anyone who can use Google can likely use this map. Go to CCBike.org, scroll down to the “Local/Regional Bike Links” section and click on “Westside Bicycle Facilities Map.” There, notice many green bicycles, each representing bicycle parking. It’s a work in progress, open to everyone to zoom in to any location in the city to locate or add existing bike parking that may be missing from the map. Be sure to scroll down the left edge column as Google only displays a limited number of place marks per screen so there are multiple pages with more parking locations shown here.

Bike Safe, Bike Smart! is a weekly column to promote responsible cycling by providing information, education and advice about riding. It’s written by members of the Culver City Bicycle Coalition (CCBC), a local chapter of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. Join them for their family bike ride the last Sunday of every month. For more information and to submit questions, write: ccbicyclecoalition@gmail.com. Visit their blog at ccbike.org and their Facebook page.