Bike Facility Needed: Bicycle Stairways or Wheeling Ramps

Posted on 06/12/2012


Bike-friendly business guru April Economides demonstrates the Hammer Museum’s excellent temporary bicycle stairways at Bike Night at the Hammer 2012

When I visited and biked around Toronto in 2000, I  explored the Don River bike paths and greenway. I was happy to discover that public stairways in Toronto have a little ramp along the edge of nearly every public stairway – so it was really easy to roll my bicycle up and down the stairs. Some of the Toronto bike stairway ramps had a small groove down the middle, some were flat.

I was reminded of these last week when the Hammer Museum had temporary bike stairways installed for their annual Bike Night at the Hammer event. The Hammer’s temporary ramps were excellent – very useful, and an excellent complement to the sea of bicycle parking in the Hammer courtyard. Wooot! Wooooooot! 

According to Wikipedia, these are called “Bicycle Stairways or “Wheeling Ramps” or “Push Ramps.” Here’s a wikimedia photo of a fairly advanced version (with four wheel grooves) from a bike parking facility in the Netherlands:

Bike stairway, or fietsenstalling, in the Netherlands. Looks like four cyclists at once can use these stairs. From Wikimedia, photo by Ninostar

Bike stairs are actually approved in the city of Los Angeles’ Bicycle Plan (see Section 9 page 129 here.) Despite bike plan approval in March 2011, public stairs at Metro Expo Line Stations, parks, etc., continue to open in L.A. with no provision for easy rolling of bicycle wheels.

Screen shot of top of bike stairs page (Section 9, page 129) in L.A. City’s approved Bike Plan Technical Design Handbook – click on image to go to actual document

Los Angeles City Councilmembers Tom LaBonge and Eric Garcetti introduced a motion (council file 10-1449: Bicycle Stairs on Outdoor City Stairways) to get a Transportation Department (LADOT) “report on the feasibility of implementing bicycle stairs” in L.A., but the motion hasn’t gone anywhere… yet.

Is anyone out there aware of where these have been done anywhere in Los Angeles or nearby? The city bike plan states that they’re in Los Angeles (plus Denver, Chicago, San Francisco) but I don’t remember spotting any here.

Where would you like to see them? Is there a public stairway in L.A. where it would make a lot of sense to pilot some bike stairs? I tend to think that a high-bike-boardings Metro Station might make most sense. Maybe the Metro Expo Line USC station? What do you think?

(Lastly, I’d be remiss to run a picture of my friend April Economides without briefly plugging her work. She’s the woman behind Green Octopus Consulting, working with businesses and Business Improvement Districts to make them environmentally awesome. She created Long Beach’s Bicycle-Friendly Business District program.)

Posted in: bike stairs