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The Case for Improving Bike Parking, Bike Amenities, and Bike
Safety: Another Component to “Greening” Century City
In recent years, Los Angeles has seen a dramatic shifting of the tides when it comes to
biking. A new generation of Angelenos – from white collar office workers to hip,
environmentally conscious and tech savvy workers – is increasingly embracing biking, as
bike safety improvements are made to streets and bike amenities like Santa Monica’s
Bike Center have come online, and as the massive success of CicLAvia has taken off. One
turning point for bike safety improvements was former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s
experience having his arm broken while biking after a dangerous car driver cut him off–a
wake up call for the City that changes were needed. Bike safety is an urgent issue for
public health and welfare of Angelenos.
Making Century City Bike Friendly:
Recommendations for Serving Commuters’ Needs
by David Murphy, President of Angelenos Against Gridlock
http://endinggridlock.org • Twitter: @EndingGridlock
Bike-friendly L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti’ administration recently brought to LA one of the nation’s
leading bike advocates, former Chicago & DC transportation commissioner Gabe Klein, to talk about
lessons for LA from his work transforming Chicago and D.C. with protected bike lanes and Capital
Bikeshare. Bike commuter centers with showers and bike valet services have opened in Santa Monica
and Long Beach. Regional bike sharing for LA is (hopefully) finally on the horizon, after massive
success transforming cities like New York, Washington, D.C., Paris, and London.
In order to keep pace with demand for amenities to attract the best tenants, now is the time for
Century City landlords and leaders to better meet the needs of employees who bike to work or
might wish to do so if improvements were made. Being bike-friendly is an important component of
the modern, environmentally Class A office building. Just as LEED certification was a differentiator,
bike amenities – or frankly, just meeting basic needs – is an important way to be green and attract
and retain tenants.
An in-person survey of major Century City skyscrapers’ bike parking shows that for some, frankly,
more needs to be done to get the basics right. The adequacy—or lack thereof–of absolutely
essential basics like workable bike parking frankly varies widely by building. This report offers
suggestions on best practices (and opportunities for improvement) and is based on on-the-ground
survey of bike amenities both specifically for this report, and on the author’s personal experience as
a former bike commuter to Century City, and based on conversations with other commuters, bike
advocates, and Century City leaders.
About Angelenos Against Gridlock, the Publisher of this Report:
The report is produced by Angelenos Against Gridlock, whose mission
is to see L.A. gain world class options across the auto, transit, and
biking spectrums whose work has led to front page coverage in the LA
Times and on Good Morning America, KCRW’s “Which Way, LA?”,
KPCC, KNBC, KCBS, KCAL9, Curbed LA, the LA Daily News, LA
Weekly, Streetsblog LA, LA Observed, and other outlets. Visit
http://endinggridlock.org to learn more about our work and our
events, such as our Fireside Chat on Transportation with the LA City
Councilmember who chairs the Transportation Committee, Mike
Bonin, in April 2014, to our event with actor and environmental activist
Ed Begley Jr. in July 2014.
We acknowledge the generous support of our donors in recent years
that have made possible the broad range of our work, including
Robert A. Day, the David Bohnett Foundation, and others.
For more information about Angelenos Against Gridlock, see
Key Recommendations for Building Owners & Managers
• Place bike parking racks at street level. Steep ramps down to and back up from bike racks
deep down in underground parking garages make access difficult for bikers, who don’t have
the benefits of an engine but rather have to muster muscle power to fight a steep ramp to
leave at the end of a long workday. Some buildings currently have racks at street level, which
others astoundingly have theirs buried deep down at the bottom level of their parking
garage, which is simply unacceptable.
• Make sure the bike racks provided are of the correct type. Replace hard to use,
unsecure models. It’s important that the racks let the biker lock their bike frame to the rack,
not just the front wheel, which can be instantly removed in seconds by a thief, freeing the
valuable bike frame to be stolen. Bike theft is a serious issue, and landlords must replace racks
that by their design or by their placement too close to a wall allow only the front wheel and
not the frame to be locked.
o Park a Bike has a useful roundup of different types of racks
and the pros & cons: http://bit.ly/1hP8BkY . They also have a
some additional guidelines at http://bit.ly/1saD9Cl
o The Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals
publishes an extensive guidebook ($45) for selecting bike
racks. See http://www.apbp.org/?page=publications
• Post signage directing bike commuters and visitors to where the bike
parking is located. If car drivers get wayfaring signage directing them to
& through the garage, bikers deserve signage, too. It’s frustrating to ride
up to a building with nary a hint as to where the bike parking is hidden,
having to pedal around back and forth hunting for racks. Signage inside
garages (such as the example at right) should be posted–cheap ready
made bike parking signs are available online (just search Google). And
exterior signage visible from the street should also indicate directions for
bikers (a simple a bike symbol and an arrow, perhaps, mounted on the
building’s parking entrance signage). Remember: bikers have to exert muscle power for every
pedal–it’s important they be given directions so they don’t waste their time hunting for bike
• Bikeshare system: Century City leaders should make available space, and fight for the area
to get numerous bike share stations once the regional system is finally being built.
• If possible, locate the bike racks where they’ll be under the watchful eye of parking or
security staff, or at least install a security camera. Bike theft is a big problem. At the very
least, assign your security and parking staff to patrol the bike parking area.
• Provide self-service bike repair tools, or rent space in your building to a full service bike
o Self service bike repair racks: Simple, compact bike repair
racks with tethered tools have been installed by UCLA
(http://bit.ly/wEdBit) and others so bikers can tighten bolts, fix
flats, and inflate tires, and Century City high-rise landlords
should install these next to bike parking, too. (Provide
replacement tires (sold by the parking attendant office or front
desk security staff, or in an existing vending machine or a
dedicated one such as those provide by Bike Fix Station
(http://bit.ly/1v8neTj). Having repair options is critically
important – it once took the author an hour to hobble over
to the nearest bike repair shop by bus in gridlocked traffic,
because there are no options right now more locally. A
Google search finds all-in-one options like Dero’s Fixit rack, the Bike Fix Station
(http://www.bikefixtation.com/), etc. (We don’t endorse any particular vendor, but
these are some options that a Google search turns up, as examples.) Read more about
the need for these in our post on Streetsblog (http://bit.ly/wEdBit).
o Better yet, Open up a full service Bike Center. Santa Monica, Long Beach, and even
Claremont have bike centers, but Century City doesn’t yet – and it needs one. See
appendix. Especially in preparation for the subway stop, a bike center – providing
staffed bike repair service, and/or other amenities like showers and secure bike
parking, should be built.
Other specific suggestions:
• To serve the needs of employees who want to bike around to get lunch at cafes in different
office buildings, bike racks should be installed outside of streetfront retail cafes in office
buildings. Attach signs saying for short term use, if capacity is limited–in Vancouver, for
instance, one finds racks labeled designated for short term use on sidewalks, and racks for
longer term use tucked away. These will also help meet the needs of restaurant delivery bikers
and courier bikers.
• Buildings should insert notices in their building outreach newsletters informing
employees of bike amenities, and urging drivers to give bikers plenty of room on the
road. In 2013, Gov. Jerry Brown signed the "three-foot rule" law, requiring drivers to
give three feet clearance when passing cyclists. This is important to avoid the kind of
injury that former Mayor Villaraigosa experienced after a driver cut him off.
SAMPLES OF HOW TO DO IT RIGHT – AND HOW NOT TO DO IT:
THE BIKE-FRIENDLY HALL OF FAME:
Samples of buildings that get it right:
SunAmerica Center (Equity Office): racks at street level, on the side of the building adjacent to the
valet parking driveway, plus four bike lockers.
Constellation Place (JMB): street level racks near the entrance to the parking structure.
THE HALL OF SHAME:
Examples of the kind of bike “amenities” that need improvement – with names redacted to protect the guilty!
A building on the 1800 block of Ave of the Stars has extremely unacceptable bike parking. Bike
racks are all the way down on level “F” of the parking garage deep down in the basement, requiring
a laughable journey down many series of ramps (and then a very draining ride back up when you
leave). And the racks are not screwed in tightly, and are pushed against the wall so that wheels can’t
fit and the racks aren’t useable as intended.
A building on the 1800 block of Century Park East has no bike racks at all – people use the alley
or use the racks at another neighboring building.
IT’S CRITICAL TO CARE FOR BICYLISTS’ NEEDS
Angelenos are increasingly choosing to bike whenever possible. Biking is the ultimate zero-emission,
green, active transportation choice, and it’s important that Century City landlords and civic leaders
do everything possible to support the safety and needs of employees who commute by bike, as well
as local residents who bike to get around the area.
We urge landlords to re-evaluate ways to upgrade their bike amenities in consultation with tenants
who bike to work, and to see bike amenities as a marketable building amenity in a competitive
Bike Centers/Stations Elsewhere: Why Not Century City, too?
Bike Center Santa Monica
A partnership between City of Santa Monica, Metro, Bike and Park,
Perry’s, Segway LA, and Sustainable Streets
Bike and Park is Chicago-based and also runs Chicago’s McDonald's Cycle Center in Millennium Park.
Runs Bikestations in Long Beach; Washington, DC; Palo Alto, and other
In addition, FAST: Fixing Angelenos Stuck in Traffic (FAST) is working on
mobility hub proposals for a variety of areas in the Los Angeles area. Their staff
can be reached via http://fastla.org/.