by Paul Lukas
As cities about America abide to add bike lanes, barrage bike-share programs, and about animate an added cycling-centric busline culture, all of those bikes accept to be anchored somewhere, which has led to a agnate access in the accession of bike racks. But bike racks aren’t aloof accretion in quantity — they’re additionally accouterment a case abstraction in architecture diversity.
My own adjacency in Brooklyn is instructive. The arrangement of bike racks that can be begin aural a half-mile ambit of my accommodation appear in a advanced ambit of configurations. The accepted astern U is the best common, but there’s additionally a pole with a babyish hoop; a pole with two ample hoops; a ample bandage with a accumbent crossbar; a squiggly sine wave; a brace of truncated diamonds; and more. At the Barclays Center, home to the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, there’s a bike parking lot featuring a arbor architecture alleged the Flo. A few blocks away, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, there are two racks advised by above Talking Heads frontman David Byrne, fabricated of metal belletrist that are periodically swapped out and rearranged to actualize altered messages. One currently spells “Brooklyn”; the other, “Wildwonk.”
And that’s aloof a babyish sampling. Search for “bike rack” images on Google and you’ll acquisition a near-endless arrangement of designs, alignment from the simple to the fanciful. In fact, it’s adamantine to brainstorm accession artefact or artefact class that offers so abounding altered solutions to such a acutely aboveboard architecture challenge. It’s all afar abroad from the ancient “wheel-bender” racks that abounding of us grew up with.
Richard Hartger, architect and admiral of a Michigan bike arbor architect alleged CycleSafe, says there are several explanations for the all the altered designs.
“For one thing, there are no civic standards, no accumulation out there that certifies bike racks, like a UL for electronics,” he says. “Also, there’s actual little barrier to entry. Anyone with a Pines bender and a adjustment bake can accomplish a bike rack, so you see a lot of altered articles formed out by small, ambitious outfits.”
In addition, bike parking is all about the coaction of abrogating space. Anticipate about it: A bike anatomy and caster are mostly abrogating space, and so is a bike lock (whether U-shaped, a coiled cable, or a chain). Toss in the bike rack, which is additionally primarily abrogating space, and you end up with a circuitous spatial alternation that allows for a ample ambit of architecture possibilities.
Still, some of those designs are added acknowledged than others. Every industry able contacted for this commodity said the key aspect to any bike arbor is that it should abutment the bike’s anatomy at two points, so the bike doesn’t abatement over. A hasty cardinal of designs out there, abnormally the wave-shaped configurations, abort this basal test.
Moreover, as burghal cycling has become added popular, bike racks are no best bald additions or accessories to the burghal streetscape — they’re now capital apparatus of that streetscape and are added accepted to reflect and alike enhance their surroundings, aesthetically as able-bodied as functionally.
“Bike racks are now acceptable allotment of the character addle for abounding communities,” says Kit Martin, Vice Admiral of Marketing and Architecture for the architecture close Landscape Forms. About a year ago his aggregation launched a artefact band alleged MultipliCITY, which includes a simple bike arbor with a board ledge on top. The ledge gives the arbor added functionality: A cyclist can put her bag or helmet on the ledge while she’s locking up, and pedestrians can put their coffee or cafeteria on the ledge back the arbor isn’t actuality acclimated for bike parking. In addition, the ledge is customizable. “If we address the artefact to, say, Brazil, the bodies there can administer their blush arrangement or breed of copse to the basal casting and accomplish it regionally specific or relevant,” Martin explains. “It’s a simple, banal architecture block that can be customized to attending like it comes from that region.”
At the added end of the spectrum are one-of-a-kind designs that bifold as accessible art. Those David Byrne racks at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, for example, are two of several Byrne-designed racks, anniversary one a antic carve of sorts, that are broadcast about New York City. Added cities accept concluded up with analogously amusing racks by captivation accessible architecture contests.
“I abutment communities accepting fun, accepting contests,” says Brett Hondorp, admiral of the Association of Pedestrian and Bike Professionals, an alignment that promotes bigger cycling and walking and publishes a account of appropriate guidelines for bike arbor design. “If you aloof appetite functionality, the astern U is the simplest, the atomic expensive, and it’s altogether fine. But if you’re in Austin and you appetite to accept guitar-shaped bike racks, go for it — that’s cogitating of your community. And besides, the best streets accept elements that aren’t aloof single-purpose. Article can be a agriculturalist and accommodate seating. And article can be a bike arbor and be accessible art. As continued as the arbor meets the anatomic requirements, go advanced and accept fun with it.”
But don’t accept too abundant fun. “The ‘artistic’ designs can be confusing,” says Hartger, the CycleSafe founder. “A lot of times they don’t attending like bike racks, so bodies don’t alike apprehend that’s what they’re for. And some of them attending so nice that bodies don’t feel adequate chaining article to them.”
That was one of the challenges adverse admiral in Columbus, Ohio, which afresh ran a architecture challenge for bike racks that will bifold as sculptures in several of the city’s parks and amusement spaces. Fourteen bounded artists submitted proposals, which were narrowed bottomward to eight finalists by a analysis panel. City association again called four winners, which will be installed in eight locations this spring. The acceptable artists get $1000, added accession $500 if their designs are installed at an added location.
“We were attractive at agency of accepting accessible art out in the community, and this was a rather bargain way to do it,” says Lori Baudro, Activity Coordinator for the Columbus Accessible Art Program, who oversaw the project. As for whether association will admit the sculptures as bike parking, Baudro isn’t too worried: “If we charge to defended a bike to anniversary one, aloof to appearance bodies what they’re for, again that’s what we’ll do.”
Most bodies in the industry accede that the approaching of bike arbor architecture will absorb high-density parking solutions. “As added bodies bike, there’s activity to be added bike bottleneck at the end of the trip,” says Hartger. “And as babyish boomers accumulate biking as they age, they may alpha application added electric-assist bikes, which accept bigger frames and sometimes charge bigger racks. In any case, cities and mayors, they all appetite bike-share and bike lanes, so in accepted I anticipate the bazaar will be increasing.” And that agency the assortment of bike arbor designs will acceptable be accretion as well.
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