Saturday, September 1, 2012

Bike Rack Art

With this whole new urbanism thing, bikes are taking their place more and more in the city landscape. One nice thing about that is that, unlike car parking lots, bike racks take up little space, can be installed inexpensively, and even provide an opportunity for public art. Other cities seem to be way ahead of Oakland in this department.


San Francisco has an artist-designed bike rack program. They also have some new bike racks/micro parks (or whatever they're called) that look cool. They cut out into the street and even have seating for sipping one's latte after yoga class, or whatever it is one does in San Francisco.

Thanks to all the old parking meters, Oakland has no shortage of places to lock up bikes. Still it's kinda lame that even Emeryville has artist-designed bike racks and Oakland doesn't.

 Shellmound Street, Emeryville

Most of the more creative bike racks in Oakland were privately built for paying customers or tenants. While still emphasizing functionality, these racks definitely add character to their surroundings:

Art gallery, Oakland

 Actual Cafe (Alcatraz & San Pablo)

It's a nice perk to offer potential residents or customers a secure place to lock their bike--and much cheaper than offering free car parking. It can even enhance the aesthetic value of the building. The corrugated steel gives this rack a nice look:

 Apartment building, downtown Oakland

 I recently visited Long Beach, and was impressed with all the creative racks that have been installed.

Long Beach has installed over 400 of these racks. As it turns out, they've been cashing in on that Obama Stimulus dough. From their website:
The City of Long Beach is pleased to offer a free bike rack program to provide secure bike parking throughout the community as part of our ongoing effort to be a bicycle friendly city.
Bike racks will be installed in public rights-of-way at appropriate locations upon request...Send an e-mail with the name of the location, the address and the preferred style of rack to
Man, it doesn't get much easier than that. (Click on the link to see the full range of styles.) It costs the government about $300 to install a rack. Not bad for something that's useful, durable, and nice to look at. New York, Seattle, Portland and even Toledo, Ohio have similar programs.

On the other hand, while Oakland may have fewer artist-designed bike racks than Toledo, Nashville, or Long Beach, ours actually get used. And that's what really matters, right?

Whole Foods, Oakland


Kelly said...

This is so nice, knowing that in the market or in public places there is no always available of bike racks or stands to make sure the bike is safe while you are not around.

Ihaveabigmember said...

Checkout the bike racks in Iveywood