Bike garages hit Los Angeles area

Covered short-term parking to encourage bike commuting

The new Santa Monica Bike Center

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Los Angeles, CA and the surrounding communities have seen plenty of bicycle friendly improvement in recent years, and just this past month the area added new bicycle parking and storage garages in the communities of Burbank and Santa Monica.

The newly installed Burbank “Bike Stop,” as it’s dubbed offers 40 parking stalls and even a repair stand for commuters to use. Officials stated that they hope the facility will encourage more people to use public transit. The garage is located at the downtown Burbank Metrolink station, which is a busy hub for commuters. The building features video surveillance, for security, and allows registered users access to enter the facility and lock their bikes.

The Bike Garage in Burbank was partly funded with Bicycle Transportation Account (BTA) funds, and Caltrans anticipates appropriation of $7.2 million annually for projects that improve safety and convenience for bicycle commuters. “The number of projects awarded to provide bike racks, bike parking garages and/or bicycle lockers has remained fairly constant at two to three a year,” Penny Gray, Bicycle Program Manager at the Office of Special and Discretionary Programs for the Department of Transportation, told BikeRadar. “These types of projects do encourage bicycling to mass transit hubs.  If proper, accessible, and secure facilities are provided, bicyclists may not need to transport their bicycles with them on mass transit which can often bring another level of frustration to multi-modal travelers.”

While the Burbank Bike Stop is a major step forward, the Santa Monica Bike Center could be a game changer in the greater Los Angeles area for cyclists. Located on the 3rd Street Promenade, the 5,300sqft facility offers the nation’s highest capacity secure biking parking center with more than 350 spots. “The Santa Monica Bike Center has more secure parking than any other facility of its kind, but it’s not just about parking,” Lucy Dyke, Transportation Planning Manager at City of Santa Monica, told BikeRadar.

Besides secure parking for visitors and employees, the Bike Center offers classes, information, repairs, tours, retail, lockers and showers.

Dyke adds that the City of Santa Monica hopes that the Bike Center will encourage and support people who ride, and give those who are thinking about riding, the extra incentive to do it. She added that this plan did not come about by itself and is very much in tune with other efforts in the Los Angeles area. “Santa Monica is not working in a vacuum,” said Dyke. “Metro funded a large portion of the construction as part of their plan to create Bike/transit centers all over the county to complement and support the regional transit system. Burbank, Long Beach and Claremont all have facilities and more are in the works.”

Dyke added that Santa Monica values their partnerships with the surrounding communities, and has teamed up with Burbank and West Hollywood to offer a program of bike education free to anyone in the county, a program funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety.

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Dyke adds that there is the continuing trend in Southern California, despite the culture of the car, and that especially for the sea-side community of Santa Monica the bike remains a time and cost-competitive mode of transportation. She says that the goal of the Bike Center is to encourage people to ride and experience the joy and convenience of riding. “Community support for bicycling is growing in Santa Monica,” said Dyke. “The City Council wants to reduce the number of cars traveling to and from Santa Monica during the afternoon and evening peak hours, and sees a shift from driving to bicycling as an effective way to achieve that goal. The Bike Center is part of that strategy. We expect it to be a green mobility hub, and the first of a network of these at transit stops and stations and important community destinations.”