Need more parking space? Take out a spot for one car — so 10 bicycles can be parked there! That’s what happened in Los Angeles today. This notoriously car-dependent city got its first ever bicycle corral at the intersection of York Boulevard and Avenue 50 in the Highland Park neighborhood.
Though we’re talking about a relatively small amount of space going from cars to bicycles, the first bike corral was cause for great excitement for L.A. cyclists, creating hope for many more corrals to come. Several bike organizations organized group rides from all over the city to meet up at the bike corral this morning, where L.A. City Councilmember Jose Huizar, as well as representatives from the L.A. Department of Transportation, the owner of Cafe de Leche where the corral is located, and leaders of local bicycle advocacy groups showed up for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The local blogosphere is full of news about the corral. LA Streetsblog reports more than 100 people showed up for the event; the L.A. County Bicycle Coalition blog relates the mood: “Right after Councilmember Huizar cut the red ribbon, the crowd roared with excitement, as eager bike riders jumped on the opportunity to be one of the first to chain their bicycles to the corral.”
LAist gives a little historical background:
The idea to bring the bike corral to York Boulevard and outside his popular cafe came from Café de Leche co-owner Matt Schodorf, who took the proposal to City Councilmember José Huizar back in 2009. The motion was brought to City Council in April of last year, and approved shortly after. Finally, just over a week ago, came news the LADOT bike program was ready to install the corral.
Amir Sedadi, general manager of Los Angeles’ Department of Transportation, said that Cafe de Leche’s bike corral would be the first of many to be installed in Los Angeles.
“The department has put in for 30 more of these corrals throughout the city, and we hope to get the funding for that very soon soon,” Sedadi said.
According to Google Maps’ bicycle directions, Highland Park’s a nice 75-minute bike ride away from me — so it may be a while before I’m able to ride ride over. But I’m hoping the next corrals will be installed closer to me!