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.