A combination of recreation and relief on the roadways was what lay behind the Farmers' Market move. Eight parking spaces are reserved for bicycles on Sunday morning at the open-air market. A crew of three valet parking attendants can squeeze about 120 bikes into the spaces. More than 350 bicycles take advantage of the service on a busy day.
"Bicycle valet parking is effective on many levels," says Luis Morris, a transportation specialist with the city of Santa Monica, who came up with the concept a couple summers ago. "It encourages people to exercise, it's environmentally friendly, builds a bond between family and friends, and helps the city reduce traffic."
Colleen Craig and her daughter meet every Sunday to go for a leisurely 15-mile journey to the site. "We like riding our bikes to the market because we don't have to deal with looking for a parking meter and squeezing into a parking space," says Ms. Craig, manager of a medical office in Redondo Beach.
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Most valet services remain focused on travel modes without spokes – many of which are venues where self-parking once prevailed. At the überchic Sports Club/LA, for instance, valet service is offered to members for $3.50 for three hours. A Range Rover, Mercedes Benz, and Lexus line the curb outside the club as the valet stands at attention.