This past Sunday, December 20th, City of Lights volunteers completed a morning of bicycle scoping in the MacArthur Park/Pico-Union area. The group included volunteers from the MacArthur Park Neighborhood Council and IDEPSCA. This marks an important step taken towards addressing the lack of bicycle parking in low-income areas of Central Los Angeles. City of Lights initiated the campaign in summer 2009 to get bike parking, as a necessary (and more obtainable) way to increase bike equity for low-income, diverse groups of cyclists.
Bicycle scoping locations were picked in response to comments voiced by the day laborers and community resources from healthycity.org and their proximity to retail, employment sites, and community resources. The scoping included measurement of sidewalks, based off of LADOT specifications regarding bike parking installation, observing foot traffic, and conversations with business owners. Research garnered from Saturday and over the past few months has been compiled into a finalized list to be submitted to LADOT and into a Bike Parking Community Resource Guide for other groups to utilize and apply to their own neighborhoods.
Currently, there are only 53 bicycle parking racks in the area spanning Pico-Union and Westlake clustered only on Pico Blvd and 6th St. Despite the area having a large amount of cyclists, little bike infrastructure exists. The two neighborhoods house over 140,000 residents within a 5 mile radius, making it two of the densest neighborhoods in Los Angeles.
Despite the affordability of cycling to work, some day laborers have told us about an unwillingness to bike to the day laborer center because of the threat of bicycle theft. The fences and poles that laborers use to lock up their bicycles often do not provide adequate visibility nor assurance to potential cyclists. We are also working on getting enclosed bike parking at the CARECEN center, in addition to other day labor centers.
After Saturday’s survey, City of Lights push for 35-40 new bicycle parking locations should bring the amount of racks in the area to potentially 150 odd racks in the area, as LADOT try to put multiple racks in an area where one request has been made. Though the area still needs more bicycling facilities, these proposed locations are likely to be feasible for LADOT to install by as early as February 2010.
The one thing that we’d like to stress is that you or your community group please use this resource guide and distribute it far and wide. We’d love to see empowered people and groups increasing bicycle parking in their underserved areas!