Squeaky Wheels Get the Bike Parking

Hollywood_Trader_Joes_2_300x225.jpgProper bike racks: it’s really so simple. (Photo: Illuminate LA)

This morning on the Streetsblog Network, a bike parking success story from Los Angeles.

Network member Soap Box LA reports on how the organized efforts of bike advocates forced a new branch of Trader Joe’s in Hollywood to install bike parking — just weeks after it opened with no such facilities.

The new Trader Joe’s is part of a major transit-oriented development (TOD) project at the fabled corner of Hollywood and Vine. But when it opened, people who wanted to do their shopping by bike found an absence of bike parking, and a lot of excuses from the chain store.

A boycott ensued, fueled by Facebook and Twitter. Many phone calls were made to corporate and government officials. And after some dithering, the store installed appropriate racks.

As Stephen Box points out on Soap Box LA, it’s mystifying that a redevelopment project touted as progressive design failed to include bike parking in the first place. But quick action by a network of engaged citizens was very effective in this case. Box writes:

It’s been two weeks since the TJ’s in Hollywood opened, It’s been two days since the director of construction installed the bike racks. They look great and they are a victory for a few reasons.

*We’ve got bike racks and can lift the boycott! Now we can shop at Trader Joe’s!

*We’ve established a bike parking standard for the Trader Joe’s corporation! No wave or wheelbender bike racks, simple inverted-U racks that are properly installed and spaced and protected and accessible and visible and convenient and effective. This is the bike rack standard for Trader Joe’s.

*We’ve established a bike parking standard for the Metro and for the [Community Redeveloment Agency]. Transit-oriented development must have a bike parking standard for the project as a whole and for the tenants.…

*We’ve established a bike parking standard for the neighborhood.

Maybe next time, they’ll put the bike racks in first and save themselves the headache.

More from around the network: Transit Miami on the deadly nature of Florida’s highways. Hugh Bartling on the potential for waterborne transit in Chicago. And Half Mile Circles on an upcoming US DOT webinar about the role of transportation in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Trader Joe’s in Berkeley opens on Friday, and I predict it will have inadequate bike parking from day 1. It will have only 48 parking spaces, so I am sure that many customers will want to bike there. They have told potential employees that they cannot get a parking space, so I suspect that many of them will bike to work.

    They did add somewhere between a half-dozen and a dozen racks on the sidewalk next to the store, but I am sure that will not be near enough. There is room to roughly double the number of racks provided.

    Why did they provide so few bike racks? If you can answer that, maybe you can also tell me why the removed the meter heads in downtown so the meters could no longer be used for bike parking, promised to add new bike racks to replace the meters, but never did.

  • Jeffrey W. Baker

    Why would TJ in LA even be opposed to this? That area is a complete waste of real estate for the store, not some ultra-valuable territory.

    Relatedly, I was going to buy some junk at the Office Depot in Emeryville yesterday, but they have no bike parking. The Office Max and the Best Buy which are quite literally next door on either side carry the same item and they both have bike parking. I made sure to tell the Office Depot staff that a customer for their otherwise-empty store was leaving due to lack of bike facilities. Meanwhile the store enjoys dozens of permanently empty car parking spaces.

  • Nick

    It took about 2 years of cyclists asking for them to install them at the Daly City store. The store on Masonic has the ugly school-style racks which scratch up your bike.

    You’d think they could get it right the first time. Doing anything, even if it’s wrong, is not the way to implement bike facilities.

  • I need to start a campaign to get bike racks at the Dominick’s grocery store at 3145 S Ashland, Chicago, Illinois. I think this post is the first step. I talked to the manager on the phone, talked to someone at corporate, and mailed a letter to the store.

    Still no bike racks but lots of bikes locked to garbage bins and stop signs. It’s despicable. Even some of their employees bike but they don’t have a spot either.

  • Elliot

    Nice work to those involved in getting the bike parking installed at the Hollywood Trader Joe’s. Corporate bike parking standards would be a great lobbying focus for a national bike advocacy group. Going corporate could even mean decent bike accommodations even in cities behind the curve that have lax bike parking standards of their own. Seems like a good opportunity for corporate “green” PR as well. You might even be able to get some unions on board, as many chain store employees are going to be young and underpaid, demographic groups that are more likely to bike to work than others. Any takers?

    Too many chain grocers, big box stores, etc. install substandard wave racks that are quickly covered up by rows of shopping carts or plant displays. Hopefully now that TJs has installed these quality staple racks, they will be vigilant about keeping them accessible and usable.

  • michelle

    Needless to say, IKEA shines in this department.

  • John

    It’s time for the TJ’s at 9th & Brannan to expand the bicycle rack capacity. Two nights ago, for the third consecutive time, I had to lock my bicycle to a bench outside of the store. Both racks were full, and all signs with poles that could be used to secure a bike were completely occupied. How can we advocate that the management of the shopping complex place more racks in the parking lot? Yes, Trader Joe’s, as a corporation, could place pressure on the landlord, but a bit of customer action would probably help.

  • Joe B

    I’m stunned.

    Not that you got racks installed — an achievement, to be sure. But you actually got Corporate TJ’s (and Metro, and the neighborhood) to agree to well-spaced inverted-staple racks as their standard rack? I’ve been trying to get the so-called bike-friendly city of Santa Monica to establish a standard bike rack design for FIVE YEARS, and you got TJ’s to do it in TWO WEEKS???

    I’m speechless (which is why I’m typing now) and my hat is off to you.

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