Northeast Los Angeles Placemaking Competition: Bicycle Friendly Business District

Project submitted by Mark Vallianatos

Project designed by entire NELA area


Project Summary and Scale

Occidental College will partner with the LADOT Bike Program and C.I.C.L.E. to establish a bicycle-friendly business district along the NELA RC project area corridors, working with local business to encourage cycling, increase bicycle-oriented infrastructure and services, and expand local commerce.


Why are you committed to this project?

We believe that increasing the number of businesses that welcome cyclists and publicizing their locations will make residents more likely to ride bikes for shopping trips and errands, and that this will benefit healthy and sustainable lifestyles, increase social connections, and bolster the local economy.


What are the most relevant characteristics of project site and scale?

The project site encompasses the NELA RC area, effecting placemaking through bicycles at macro, street, and social scales. We work at a grassroots level, facilitating businesses to brand themselves as bike-friendly by choosing from a menu of bike-supportive actions. Some sites would adopt physical changes like more bike racks or showers for cycling employees. Others would grant discounts to customers arriving by bike. Linking multiple businesses corridors, the project would build neighborhood awareness and community.


Describe how this project will reinforce a sense of place or enhance the built environment.

Each of the six bike-friendly business districts will be branded by an online map and potentially a printed map showing bike-friendly locations. Participating businesses will be able to display bike-friendly business district stickers in their windows. The concept of a cohesive business district, where local trips for shopping dining, and recreation are accessible by bicycle, will emerge from the branding and promotion of this program. Business-level promotion will benefit local merchants while also increasing bicycle ridership in the area. Site-specific interventions may also enhance bicycle infrastructure, adding bike racks, corrals, fix-it stations or other equipment.



Provide a description of the project's necessary planning activities.

Project partners will perform outreach through public briefings and one-on-one meetings with businesses to identify merchants who are interested in participating. Based on interest, outreach will continue to businesses within district boundaries to recruit participating sites before project launch. Outreach and planning for bicycle infrastructure will be provided by LADOT supported by Occidental staff and students and C.I.C.L.E.


What is a rough estimate of your project budget?

Our budget consists of outreach, funded LADOT bicycle infrastructure and the private assembly of bicycle-friendly amenities. The LADOT budget (2 corrals, 2 repair stations, bike racks, and window clings for businesses) totals around $15,000. The outreach budget is estimated at $4,000. Other amenities are covered by local businesses.


How does this project leverage existing resources and efforts?

Bike infrastructure and bike movements in NELA have grown thanks to advocacy to ensure implementation of the Los Angeles Bike plan as well as cultural and group rides. The LADOT Bike Program just announced its first pilot Bicycle Friendly Business District in Northeast LA. The project would expand the pilot area to include the river communities and integrate the LA River Bike Path, taking advantage of and activating the spirit of Greenway 2020.

The NELA RC Project area is already host to a number of bicycle placemaking efforts due to the location along the LA River Bike Path, including Bike-In Movies, rides like Made in LA, episodes of Sweet Ride USA, and more. The LADOT continues to implement bikeways in the 2010 Bike Plan and expand its outreach program through offering neighborhoods adequate bicycle infrastructure like corrals, racks, and repair stations.


What community need is your project serving?

The project addresses a need for active transportation and local commerce. Due to its location on a major bicycle corridor, the LA River Bike Path, the area has a unique benefit in catering to bicyclists and developing an identity around bicycles. Many areas along the river lack sufficient vehicular access, a problem remedied by bicycles. Local trips by bicycle will promote public health and accustom drivers to the presence of bikes, making it safer for and encouraging bicyclists of all abilities and ages. Promoting participating businesses can increase sales at these merchants, providing jobs and sales tax revenues.


If your project is realized, what does success look like?

Upon project realization, there will be a visible increase in bicycle infrastructure and accompanying ridership in the NELA RC project area. Many local businesses will advertise the ways that they welcome cyclists and support cycling. This visibility will encourage more residents to ride bikes, improving health, road safety and increasing residents' exposure to neighbors, businesses and public spaces. Increased patronage of local businesses will increase community sense of place, economic prosperity, and local knowledge of businesses in the communities.


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