A community effort two years in the making came to fruition on Friday afternoon as Councilman Jose Huizar cut the ribbon for the city of Los Angeles' first bike corral in front of at 5000 York Boulevard.
"Some of the best ideas that we have in this city on how to improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods come from the community," Huizar said to an enthusiastic crowd of Highland Park residents and bicycle enthusiasts in attendance at the ribbon cutting ceremony.
"Hey, how cool is this?" Cafe de Leche owner Matt Schodorf asked as he stepped to the podium to accept a commendation for his efforts in bringing the bike corral to Highland Park.
Schodorf had initially requested that the 's land use committee look into the possibility of installing the bike corral in front of his cafe in 2008.
Two and a half years later, Schodorf thanked the Neighborhood Council, Councilman Huizar's office and city-wide cycling advocacy groups such as C.I.C.L.E, CiclaVia and the Los Angles County Bicycle Coalition for supporting his effort.
"I want to thank everyone in the bicycle community for helping to make this happen," Schodorf said.
The new bike corral will not only be a boon for bicyclists, but for businesses as well, said Joe Linton of the cycling advocacy group CiclaVia.
"We're replacing one car parking spot and making room for ten bicycles," Linton said. "That's ten more people that can ride their bikes to the cafe and shop in the area."
After the ribbon cutting ceremony was completed, herds of happy bicyclists secured their bikes to the corral and filed into Cafe de Leche, forming lines that stretched out the front door and into the sidewalk.
Amir Sedadi, General Manager of Los Angeles' Department of Transportation, said that Cafe de Leche's bike corral would be the first of many to be installed in Los Angeles.
"The department has put in for 30 more of these corrals throughout the city and we hope to get the funding for that very soon," Sedadi said.
According to Huizar, the bike corral cost about $3,000 to install, but they would become cheaper to build and install as the city became more familiar with the process.
Sedadi added that the Department of Transportation's Los Angeles Bicycle Master Plan has been finalized, and is now on its way to the city council for approval.
Part of the plan would call for the creation of a "four corners" bike lane across Northeast Los Angeles, that would run along Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock Blvd., York Blvd., and N. Figueroa St.
"That's going to be an exciting, really good vision for Los Angeles for the next 35 years for us going toward the goal of becoming the largest bicycle friendly city in America," Sedadi said.