Back from the Dead: Bike Corral on York Boulevard

It sometimes seemed like the day would never come. And yet:

Title 2

Now, what could be at that intersection?

That’s right, a Bike Corral is finally coming to Highland Park.  In the coming weeks, a bright & shiny bike corral will be installed in front of Cafe de Leche at York Boulevard and Avenue 50.  First leaked to Highland Park Patch, a tentative date of February 18th at 9:00 AM has been set for the corral’s grand opening.  Flying Pigeon and CicLAvia have also posted jubilantly about the impending bike corral.  But before jumping into specifics, let’s take a little stroll down memory lane.  How did we get here?

What is a bike corral?

A bike corral, most simply put, is a car parking space that has been refitted to accommodate bicycle parking.  Space for one car becomes spaces for 10 or more bicycles, and pedestrian space is freed up as bike parking moves from the sidewalk to the curbside.  You can read more about bike corrals in our post when we first covered the effort to bring a bike corral to York Boulevard.

A citizen-driven process

First of all, LADOT Bike Blog would like to thank C.I.C.L.E., LACBC, Matt Schodorf (co-owner of Cafe de Leche), Josef Bray-Ali, Joe Linton, and countless other advocates and dedicated citizens who helped move the idea of bike corrals in LA from a figment of our collective imagination to an imminent reality.  Our thanks also goes out to CD 14 Council Member Jose Huizar and his tireless staff for seeing this project through from start to finish.

Matt Schodorf's bike corral rendering, via Streetsblog

On twitter, on facebook, and on blogs activists called for a bike corral on York in 2009 and 2010.  CD 14 Council Member Jose Huizar, hearing the needs of his community, drafted a motion to create a bike corral “Pilot Program” at York Boulevard & Avenue 50.

In a mere 14 days in March of 2010, the motion swept through the Transportation Committee and City Council to gain approval for installation.  You can read both the initial motion that began it all and the final council action which gave ultimate approval.

Lingering Doubts

At the time of the bike corral approval, there was a mixed reaction from the bicycle community.  While some were jubilant that a bike corral was approved, others were dubious about whether it would ever become a reality.  LACBC and Streetsblog primarily led the charge of cautious optimism.

Those doubts at first seemed well-founded: months and months went by without a bike corral.  Some people began to wonder if it would ever get installed.  After initial setbacks, CM Huizar’s office once again stepped in to provide leadership and a greater level of commitment to getting a bike corral on the ground.  With their help, all the outstanding issues surrounding the bike corral were resolved.

The City is now ready to move forward with installation through the joint cooperation of LADOT, the Department of Public Works’ Bureau of Street Services (BSS), and the Department of General Services.  Cafe de Leche has signed a Maintenance Agreement with the City, promising to provide upkeep for the bike corral at no cost to taxpayers.

Space for 10 bikes; safety, too

Now that we’ve covered the background of the bike corral on York, let’s jump into what it will look like.  First, there’s the corral on the street, at the corner of York Boulevard & Avenue 50.  It will be directly in front of Cafe de Leche’s front door.  Notice the bike lanes on York Boulevard: the plans give 1 foot of distance between the edge of the bike corral and the bike lane in order to assure safety for both those riding in the lane and those parking their bikes.

Street plan

The corral on the street

But see that triangle and oval on either side of the bike corral?  Those will be raised-curb buffers which will protect parked bikes.  The triangle-shaped buffer will protect bikes from oncoming traffic and the oval buffer will protect bikes from a car backing up in the parking space directly the right of the corral.  As you can see in the technical plan below, the buffers will be painted white.  Reflective glass beads embedded in the paint will make the buffers more visible at night.

Corral plan

The corral and its raised-curb buffers

The racks themselves will be our standard “Inverted-U” racks.  Five of these racks will be welded on a single steel track for simple installation on asphalt.  They’ll be able to safely accommodate ten parked bicycles.

Bike Rack plan

Bike rack plans

What’s next for bike corrals?

Although the bike corral on York Boulevard is authorized as a “Pilot Program” by the City Council, LADOT is planning on installing many more bike corrals throughout Los Angeles in the coming years.  One of the applications recently submitted by the LADOT Bike Program in Metro’s Call For Projects proposes installing 30 bike corrals across the City, 2 in each council district.  If our application is chosen by Metro, funding for the corrals should become available in 2015.

As we get closer to the grand opening date, LADOT Bike Blog will be sure to keep you informed on the most up-to-date information.

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