Four things LA can do to make Hollywood Bike-Share a success
Metro and the LA City Transportation Department (LADOT) recently expanded Metro Bike Share to Hollywood. There are now eleven bike share stations in the heart of Hollywood. Most of them are located along the Hollywood Boulevard corridor, with a few along Sunset Boulevard and Fountain Avenue – largely in the first / last mile catchment areas for metro line stations. B in Hollywood / Vine and Hollywood / Highland.
Find the full Metro announcement in the October 15 article on The Source.
According to LADOT, the latest expansion brings the Metro Bike Share system total to 3,470 bicycles in total out of 236 docking stations. LA’s central bike sharing area now spans much of the downtown LA core neighborhoods, Exposition Park / USC, Koreatown, Los Feliz, East Hollywood, and Hollywood.
Ride with the stars ⭐ of this neighborhood! @BikeMetro the stations have arrived in Hollywood. Whether you’re commuting or sightseeing, the self-serve metro offers convenient 24-hour access and affordable prices that will get you to your next destination. #DOWRY #BikeLA pic.twitter.com/wscQZttgpv
– LADOT (@LADOTofficial) October 26, 2021
It’s worth celebrating that the eleven new Hollywood docking stations extend the utility of the existing system – offering a new, healthy and eco-friendly way to move more around Southern California. These bikes are already in use; they provide a great, healthy way for tourists and others to get around.
Nevertheless, Streetsblog has some ideas to make the system more efficient.
More cycle paths
Bike sharing works best in cycling and pedestrian areas.
Hollywood is a relatively dense central district well served by public transport. Lots of people walk there, including tourists and locals.
But Hollywood has only one bike path, located outside of the current bike share service area: 0.6 mile of bike path on Cahuenga Boulevard. There are sharks on several quieter streets in Hollywood and features a “bike-friendly street” at an intersection with Yucca Street. But, overall, a lot of people won’t ride a bicycle in Hollywood because the streets crowded with cars seem too dangerous.
There are longer-term plans to add bike lanes to much of Hollywood Boulevard, as part of a large-scale overhaul of the Walk of Fame. But, in the shorter term, the expansion of bike sharing into new areas can and should be the time to add new cycle lanes.
Although space is limited on many streets, there are opportunities to add relatively easy (no parking or lane removal) cycle lanes in several streets of Hollywood, including portions of Argyle Avenue, Fountain Avenue, Franklin Avenue, Gower Street, Highland Avenue, Ivar Avenue, Wilcox Avenue and Yucca Street (which has huge striped margins right next to its brand new bike share station at Argyle Avenue – where a 36-foot-wide strip is more than wide enough to include a short stretch of two-lane protected bike lane). Unless it makes the area ideal for cycling, simply adding several stretches of bike path that are a bit short would help signal drivers that they should expect to share these streets with cyclists.
Bike sharing in visible places, including metro stations
Many Hollywood-area bike-share drop-offs appear to have been chosen to be discreet, rather than convenient and useful. Many are in side streets, several hundred yards from the main street. This means that they are relatively difficult for the millions of Hollywood tourists to meet them spontaneously.
There are no bike-sharing docks on the real Walk of Fame – the place where a lot of people are. There is street parking, some of which has been reused for outdoor dining. Why not repurpose a few of those highly visible car storage locations to store self-service bicycles instead?
For some reason (maybe resistance from the hotel above the station?) There are no bike-sharing docks at the Hollywood / Vine subway station. Bike share users have to walk two blocks to get to fairly nearby docks.
Not all Hollywood docks are poor; they are all useful. Some are close to the corner, more or less visible from Hollywood Boulevard. The Hollywood / Highland platforms are quite close to the subway gate – not ideal, but at least they’re in the same block.
Best connections to Hollywood destinations
With relatively few bike share docks, it is difficult to serve many Hollywood destinations… but to be more efficient, the system would need to serve more destinations, including many places where parking is difficult. Metro Bike Share did this for the popular and difficult to park Franklin Canyon trailhead, which is served by new docks at Franklin and Fuller Avenue.
One notoriously difficult destination to park is the Hollywood Bowl. Bike sharing is unlikely to serve nearly the majority of spectators, but could possibly serve more than zero, as the system is currently designed to do. Perhaps the Bowl, which already operates state-subsidized shuttles to more than half a dozen locations across LA County, could also provide bike-sharing subsidies. While a simple unattended first-come, first-served kiosk would serve a handful of spectators (including Metro B line users), the bolus nature of the Hollywood Bowl event’s traffic would overwhelm it. Some sort of guarded bicycle parking at the Bowl during events could allow for the registration and collection of overflow Metro bikes. (There are probably good examples of best-practice event venues from other bike-sharing cities that can be adapted for the Bowl and other LA venues.)
Other popular nearby destinations that may use docks: Hollywood Farmers Market / Arclight, Franklin / Bronson retail, Griffith Park Fern Dell trailhead, Emerson College, over Sunset Boulevard and… readers – please use comments to suggest additional locations.
Continue to develop the self-service bicycle
More docks and more bicycles make the system more robust serving more people and more destinations. City council members representing Hollywood – Mitch O’Farrell and Nithya Raman (at least until the district boundaries are reorganized) – are expected to work with LADOT and Metro to identify funding for the expansion.
Metro and / or LA City may seek grants and / or sponsorships. LA City could use some of its local Metro return money.
A source of funding for self-service cycling could be a new development. Despite the strong forces opposing much of the Hollywood area redevelopment, there are many new buildings under construction and more in the planning stages. As part of the 2019 switch from LA to VMT (kilometers traveled by vehicles) metrics, new developments are encouraged to engage in TDM (transport demand management) strategies. One possible TDM investment – which could be prioritized in and around Hollywood (and in and near other bike share areas) – is to charge a new development for the expansion of free bike rides. -service.