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05/06/2010: "Cincinnati Installs First Bike Corral"
While LA dithers, it seems that nearly every other US city is forging ahead with innovative and effective bicycle infrastructure, including bike corrals.

To reiterate, a bike corral is simply a rededication of an onstreet car parking slot for bicycle parking: a row of racks is installed, and paint and often bollards are used to set it off and reserve it for bicycles. Thus, twelve cyclists can park where only one or two motorists would have before.

In Los Angeles, we just, after much persuasion and contention, got a motion to install a bike corral in Highland Park. The City Council, bless 'em, approved the motion unanimously, but the hard part may be actually getting it built.

Meanwhile, Cincinnati--yep, rust belt, hard weather, and all--has already installed one, and even brags about it. To wit:
Historically, Cincinnati's bicycle parking has been provided in bike racks on the sidewalk. However, in a growing number of commercial areas the demand for bicycle parking is too much for the sidewalk, and the overabundance of bicycles can block pedestrians' way.

On-street bicycle parking provides many benefits where bicycle-use is high and growing:

  • Businesses: Corrals provide a 12 to 1 customer to parking space ratio and advertise
  • Pedestrians: Corrals clear the sidewalks and serve as de facto curb extensions.
  • People on bicycles: Corrals increase the visibility of bicycling.
  • Motor vehicle drivers: Corrals improve visibility at intersections by eliminating the
    opportunity for larger vehicles to park at street corners.
Our opinion here at BF has always been that safe and abundant bike parking will do more for utility cycling than all the bike lanes you could ever paint. As we've said before, how many people would drive if there were only two parking spaces per square block? The list of cities that provide a reasonable modicum of bike parking, especially through corrals, keeps growing. Let' s hope that LA--the second-largest city in the US--will join that list--and soon.

Read more about Cincinnati's comprehensive bicycle plan.

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