We Get Bike Racks

We’ve seen a collection of “art bike racks” crop up on the streets of Charlottetown over the last month.

While I am generally an active supporter of infusing art into the conduct of everyday life, and while I’ve become an active and enthusiastic short-distance bike rider of late, and thus someone who is painfully aware of the need for non-parking-meter bike racks, I’m sad to say that these new racks miss the mark on the two most important criteria for measuring the effectiveness of bike racks.

First, they are located in places where they aren’t needed. All respect to City Hall and the folks who use ScotiaBank as their stock brokers, but are these well-known bike destinations? Did the City’s bike planners actually look to see where people might be parking their bikes before choosing these locations?

Second, and perhaps more importantly, they don’t look like bike racks. This is of course to be expected when one takes the “art bike rack” approach, and I’m not suggesting that we require standard-issue industrial bike racks. But something vaguely evocative of cycling, or even a “park your bike here” sign would be useful, especially for out-of-towners who won’t have the opportunity to figure it out over time.

I’m hesitant to criticize anything that comes out of City Hall that looks progressive and forward-thinking. But it’s not enough to just look like you’re doing something progressive and forward-thinking, it actually has to be progressive and forward-thinking. And some common sense would help.


Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on July 4, 2004 - 15:10 Permalink

Agreed. I noticed a bike chained to a bench in from of City Hall the other day while the new bike rack stood empty.

I thought if we’re going to combine sculpture and bike racks, we could just start chaining our bikes to other sculpture around down, like the cenotaph at Province House (here’s a potentially offensive artists rendering).

Cyn's picture
Cyn on July 4, 2004 - 15:46 Permalink

Nice one Steven…
I have seen one of these ‘art bike racks’ you speak of Peter, on Richmond St. behind the Confederation Centre…and I must say, other than it taking up too much space, I like it. Its supposed to be a crab or something, and it was packed solid with bikes the last time I rode by. Also, every tree along Richmond has a bike chained to it, which might tell the Centre folk that they need more than a cool bike crab rack to park all their dancer/actor bikes.
I welcome the funky bike racks, but I agree that they are not very well placed, and that they could be designed to suit their environment better.
(Parking meters work fine too)
Steven, put your graphic talents together and design a bike rack made out of parking meteres.

Ken's picture
Ken on July 4, 2004 - 18:46 Permalink

That cenotaph picture offends me, given the tendancy of bombs to imbed things like bikes into peoples heads during wars. The soldiers depicted should never be reminded of such carnage, least of all at the monument to the few of them still standing.

Commission a bicycle artist to design each bike rack, celebrate this in the media. Have a bicyle rider vote on locations, one vote per bike owner every time a new rack is installed on a ballot of three location choices ranked. Have a small, short ceremony each mornng a new rack is unveiled so people can see where each one is.

Ken's picture
Ken on July 4, 2004 - 18:49 Permalink

I nominate Steven as “City bike-rack artist laureate”.