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Innovative sidewalk bike parking arrives in Westwood

There’s a new bike rack in town.

Well, it’s sort of a bike rack. It’s a steel ring that attaches to a parking meter post, and, like a U-rack, it can park two bikes: one on each side. It’s called a cycle hoop.

This morning, the first cyclehoop was installed in Westwood Village as part of a pilot program. Meter post bike racks are a convenient and secure solution for people to park their bikes and visit local businesses. Not to mention, they don’t cost as much as standard U-racks and take up less space by capitalizing on existing sidewalk infrastructure. In Los Angeles, locking your bike to a parking meter post is still illegal, but Ordinance 183951 (passed last year) lifts the ban for the purpose of allowing this cycle hoop pilot.

Folks from Great Streets, the Westwood Village Improvement Association, and Council District 5 came out to share in the excitement today.

ADOT Bike Program, Great Streets, Council District 5, Westwood Village Improvement Association, and LA Conservation Corps helped make the cycle hoop project a reality.

LADOT Bike Program, Great Streets, Council District 5, Westwood Village Improvement Association, and LA Conservation Corps helped make the cycle hoop project a reality.

Over the course of the last few months, LADOT Bike Program staff surveyed all of the parking meters in Westwood Village to find those that are best suited for cycle hoops. Our criteria for selecting parking meters was centered on safety and accessibility:

  • Parking meter is near the entrance of a business or visible through a large window,
  • Parking meter is at least three feet away from street furniture and trees, and
  • A bike attached to the parking meter does not block pathways that must remain accessible

Bright orange duct tape was used to mark meter posts at the exact installation height of the cycle hoops (18 inches off the ground). Our team wound up marking 86 parking meters to be slated for cycle hoop installation. Each cycle hoop will be installed today and tomorrow by LA Conservation Corps, which is our contractor for all sidewalk bike parking.

We have marked 86 parking meters to be slated for cycle hoop installation.

The cycle hoops will be dispersed throughout Westwood Village.

We special-ordered the hoops from Bike Fixtation. The size and height of the racks will make it easy to safely lock various bike frames and tires.

A few months ago, we posted about how this pilot program seeks to increase bike parking along some of LA’s most crowded sidewalks. Westwood Village was first on the list, due to its high-volume bike useage. Next, the program will provide the Hollywood Walk of Fame with brand new bike parking. Great Streets corridors will also be furnished with cycle hoops.

Additional meter post parking districts will be identified as we evaluate the program’s success and report back to Council. You can share your experiences using these meter post bike racks by tweeting us at @LADOTBikeProg.

The finished product! Who wants to be the first person to park their bike?

The finished product! Who wants to be the first person to park their bike?

For the time being, while we are testing these new racks, they will not be available for requests under our Sidewalk Bike Parking Program, like our U-racks. To request a U-rack, complete an online Bicycle Parking Request Form and check out our bicycle rack location criteria to make sure your requested location qualifies. Email us at bike.program@lacity.org with questions or if you notice that a rack has become loose, damaged, or missing.

There you have it. #BikeLA and try the cycle hoops out for yourself!

Portlandi-LA: Placemaking Lessons from the City Repair Project

#LeapLA tries to keep you looped into all things that make Los Angeles streets and neighborhoods more livable. Last month, Active Transportation Division had the opportunity to partner with the Department of City Planning, the Mayor’s Great Streets Initiative, and the Los Angeles Eco Village to bring Portland’s Mark Lakeman to speak to City departments. Lakeman, the founder of City Repair Project, gave a compelling presentation on how communities in Portland create natural building, permaculture, and public art projects. Lakeman’s presentation provided Los Angeles with some food for thought, illustrating how City Repair Project has served as an effective means for achieving transportation implementation goals.

The mission of the City Repair Project is to “foster thriving, inclusive, and sustainable communities through the creative reclamation of public space.” The project has facilitated simple, yet holistic approaches to improving Portland’s neighborhoods. Lakeman’s strategy emphasizes that streets are the center of cultural convergence: a community meeting place where ideas are communicated and people are compelled to interact. In this, Lakeman argues, a street should reflect the full spectrum of human expressions and serve more as a cultural continuum than a conduit to move traffic.

People enjoying a completed City Repair Project

People enjoying a completed City Repair Project

Culturally and physically, Los Angeles neighborhoods seeking to reclaim culture back into the streets can continue to expand their toolkit and learn from the City Repair model. Many Los Angeles communities have been touched by locally-driven placemaking efforts. From the more recent Great Streets Challenge, to well-established organizations such as Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative (LANI), placemaking in Los Angeles has generated greater connectivity and revitalized neighborhoods. Community-driven strategies like these that utilize and engage active communities can facilitate critical improvements that enhance community cohesiveness.

City Repair Projects inspire creativity and community engagement

City Repair Projects inspire creativity and community engagement

Lakeman’s talk explained that City Repair Projects are a unique partnership between the non-profit, the community, and the City of Portland. The projects are driven from the bottom up, largely developed by volunteers and citizen activists, but the process is sustained and facilitated by the city. The city has made the process to opt into a City Repair Project fairly simple:

  1. after identifying gaps and corridors, community members can pool resources and collaborate to design a project that is context sensitive and cost effective
  2. community members then apply with the Portland Bureau of Transportation for an encroachment permit and a block party permit, that allow them to shut down two streets (4 blocks) during a City Repair Project intersection painting

By keeping the regulatory process flexible and simple, Portland enables communities to create artistic and ecologically-oriented transportation improvements. Projects such as benches, community kiosks, gardens, street paintings, tile mosaics, and intersection treatments, though granular, integrally stitch neighborhoods together and inspire creativity and diversity.

The semi-permanent nature of some projects foster opportunities for continual innovation

Some projects are semi-permanent, fostering opportunities for continual innovation

The City Repair Project is about the intersection of transportation, art, public spaces, and community engagement. Fostering collaboration among community members, these projects create permanent and semi-permanent street improvements that benefit neighborhoods and the city at-large.  Following the lead of People St and Great Streets, City Repair Project is another model that Los Angeles can adapt as a means to encourage creative and environmentally sustainable placemaking.