Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Park[ing] Day this Friday, Santa Monica Spoke To Host Bike Valet And Pop Up Park At Swingers Diner

Park[ing] Day is coming this Friday. That means parking spaces all across Los Angeles will be taken over and converted to alternative uses. It can take on very different flavors, but most spots become conversions to green space, to call attention to how much more parking space we provide compared to park space.

A substantial amount of land use and city resources are devoted to parking spaces, and because we have so many cars in America (more cars than we have drivers), finding places to put them becomes a hot button issue. However the implications of how our cities take shape around our parking policies, and the underlying economics, is something often not examined closely enough.

Santa Monica Parking Land Use

Above is the map I created documenting via google satellite data, the off-street land use that is exclusively parking in Santa Monica around the pier and downtown area. For a little more background on the significance of parking policy, here is one of my past posts digging into the topic.

swingers

Santa Monica Spoke will be hosting a combo of bike valet (with tools and air pump) and a pop up park on Broadway Ave. directly in front of Swingers. The general manager of Swingers was enthusiastic about the idea, and had requested bike parking from the city before with no success. So this Friday, starting early in the morning, and going into the early evening you can dine at Swingers with free bike valet (assuming we aren't shut down).

Exactly how late we operate may vary depending on how many volunteers we have, what the crowd is like, and if we get broken up by the authorities. So no more trying to wrap around a tree, no more bending over to attach to the bottom of a parking meter pole, no more bumping into guests on the patio trying to attach to the railing. Anyone will be welcome, including customers of Bay Cities a little further down the block, another highly popular business with no bike parking. Spoke has also secured a few goodies for a raffle, coupons for tune ups at REI and Cynergy, along with a few freebies. The local bike shop Cynergy Cycles, which also hosted the recent Bikeside Speaks & Disposable Film Festival event, is also sponsoring us with a roll of quarters to feed the parking meters. Woot!

I'll be out there passing out literature promoting the theories of famous parking economist and UCLA urban planning professor Donald Shoup, author of the book The High Cost of Free Parking.

For more information and a complete map of all the Park[ing] Day L.A. spaces, check out the Los Angeles Park[ing] Day website. There will be a number of other spaces scattered about, as well as some special events and after parties. Some group bike rides will also be cruising around to scope out some of the spots as well. Should be a fun day, and I know most people will be at work most of the day, but I hope some of you can make it out to the space, and I encourage people to frequent Swingers. One of our goals is to demonstrate that accommodating bicycling can drive local economic growth in a more sustainable way and with less land use and traffic impacts than car trips. We'll probably be able to fit at least 8-10 bikes in the space of a single car.  I'm also a regular of Swingers my self for many years now, and have always been frustrated by the lack of bike parking in that part of town. It will be great to see that problem solved if only for a day.