City to Consider More Bicycle Parking

The city Planning Commission will consider Thursday a change to city law that would require significantly more bike parking at apartment buildings and businesses around the city.

Los Angeles does not require any bike parking for residential apartment buildings or any building with less than 10,000 square feet. It also provides limited guidelines for how to design and install bike parking.

"This is a huge improvement," said Thomas Rothmann, a city planner who worked on the proposed ordinance.

"We're expanding where and how you can park your bike. We're providing design standards, down to the detail of where to put bike parking and how to increase visibility so we don't hide bike racks in the back of a building."

Rothmann said the proposed ordinance is part of realizing the city's new bike master plan, signed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in early March.

"We must make sure cleaning our air and reducing our traffic is prioritized within Los Angeles city planning," said City Council President Eric Garcetti, who worked on a motion with Councilman Bill Rosendahl in 2009 first asking the Planning Department to increase bike parking availability and quality.

The proposed ordinance makes a distinction between short term and long- term bike parking. It also allows businesses to transform up to two car parking spaces into bicycle parking and lays out a process for replacing street parking on city property with a bike corral that can accommodate many bikes.

"The city is not going far enough," said Josef Bray-Ali, the owner of Flying Pigeon LA bike shop in Eagle Rock and a former real estate project coordinator. "I think it should be easier across the board to sacrifice car parking for bike parking."

Bray-Ali said the city's automobile parking requirements for new development or redevelopment are so onerous that they prevent small property owners from being able to invest in properties in dense commercial and retail corridors intended to be pedestrian and bike friendly.

"For me, it's all about the bottom line of small businesses, and I know from other cities that when the bike parking is there, it makes stopping and shopping easier," Bray-Ali said. "Bike parking is very, very cheap and very easy to do right. I don't think the draft is in line with the economics of real estate development."
 

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