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06/26/2009: "Another Small Step"
A while ago, I worried that Larchmont Boulevard, an increasingly popular destination for bicyclists of all sorts, from fixie punx to Hancock Park matrons, would end up bereft of bike parking now that the city is exchanging the old free-standing parking meters for pay stations. I wrote to our local council member, urging him to consider the new bike racks that several companies have come out with, which slip over the stanchions of decommissioned meters. Seattle was one of the first cities to employ these.

Parking Meter RetrofitThe council member's office answered me that they were in fact already "studying" that idea, and assured me that there would still be plenty of bike parking on the boulevard.

This filled me with despair, as "study" is often an administrative euphemism for "ignore." But, as you can see from my Crappy Cellphone Picture, my pessimism was misplaced: a couple dozen of the former parking meters have, in fact, been retrofitted as bike racks! And damned nice ones, too, very easy to lock two bikes onto. I tried one, of course, even thought there was an older inverted-U rack unoccupied nearby. Much easier to get my Evolution Mini around rack, wheel, and downtube than on a standard rack.

The city has been pretty profligate with the meters on Larchmont, and there's space for more. Let's hope they go crazy with meter retrofits. After all, this one block accommodates cars with diagonal parking its full length on both sides, plus a surface lot, plus a parking structure, plus two private lots for banks, plus employee parking behind stores. How many people would drive there if there were no auto parking spaces?

The new racks, being easier to lock to, should draw even more cyclists to Larchmont than already go there. That's gonna be good!

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