Ballard’s first custom bike rack wins approval

Sustainable Ballard has been given the green light to move forward with Ballard’s first custom-designed bike rack for the corner of 22nd and Ballard Ave., replacing the existing rack in front of Vain.

Last summer, the group held a bike rack design contest and the above rack was chosen the winner. After some back-and-forth with SDOT and some design changes, Sustainable Ballard presented the design to the Ballard Avenue Landmark District Board.

This morning, the board approved the modified version of the bike rack (shown above.) The four rings will be made of sandblasted stainless steel. There was some discussion over the type of metal to use because of graffiti concerns, but in the end the board voted 6-0 to approve the rack. One member of the board opted not to vote.

32
Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Trix
Guest
Trix

Don't ride a bike so I don't know how practical this design is, but it's surprisingly inoffensive. Attractive, even.

ktown69
Guest
ktown69

Anybody know what was wrong with the first design? It looks perfectly fine to me. Maybe the holes on the tops were too small for all types of locking devices, but otherwise…

ZP
Guest
ZP

I hate to be a naysayer but how am I supposed to get a U-Lock through that thing?

Craig
Guest

We'd like to thank the Ballard community for your patience as we jumped through all the necessary hoops to get this rack permitted and we hope to get it built and installed soon. Thank you for all of your support,
Craig and the entire Ballard Bike Rack Design Contest Team at Sustainable Ballard

Ballard_Sucks_Now
Guest
Ballard_Sucks_Now

Honey, you left the toilet seat up again….all of them!

Ernie_98107
Guest
Ernie_98107

I like the design (except for the possible U-lock issue) but I do wonder about the cost.

It's hard to tell the scale from the sketch, but they look to be about 1-2 inches thick. A 4'x8' sheet of 1″ 304 stainless is about $3000, and they probably need two depending on the diameter.

Maybe aluminum with a hardcoat anodize would be a better choice?

RudyT
Guest
RudyT

the picture says it all “oooo!” (looks good)

nwcitizen
Guest
nwcitizen

Thanks to Craig and Mark for your hard work of getting this through the approval process! You guys are awesome!!!

Mike O'Donnell
Guest
Mike O'Donnell

I'd be much more impressed if functionality were given priority over style, or at least equal weight. This design gives only one place where a u-lock can be passed through the rack, making it impossible to lock both the tire and the frame. It's an inefficient use of space, as only one bike can be locked to each rack. And as mentioned, this must be enormously more expensive than a simpler but more functional bike rack. 4 inverted U's would take up the same space, double the number of bikes that could be parked, allow the bikes to be locked more securely, be much more cost effective, and would look just fine.

I'm in favor of public art, but if it tries to be functional, and fails, then it's worse than not having it.

What is wrong with functionality in design Ballard?! The metal benches outside the library are awful for sitting. The curved sidewalk beside the new park at 17th and 63rd is cute, but the curvy concrete juts unnecessarily into the play space, and is annoying to deal with as a pedestrian. A design isn't necessarily a good one just because it's different.

JuliaPequlia
Guest
JuliaPequlia

I'm so glad the new bike racks are finally going in! I'm surprised that it is *replacing* a rack, though, since we need more bike racks, not just cooler ones.

Mall Cops
Guest
Mall Cops

What's the cost? I thought the city didn't have any money to provide a cop or two to bust known drug dealers. I hope it's tag-proof as well. The little twerps are spraying every surface. What's up with that? When do they do it? Some of their art must take time to spray. Would be nice if someone was stopping these taggers. They have a way in Singapore. We had a way for horse thieves. Get caught tagging, mandatory 1,000 hours of scrubbing tag.

Mondoman
Guest
Mondoman

Ernie, I bet aluminum would just be too soft and insecure.

I'm also a bit concerned about the practicality of the design, but will wait to see how it works out in real life. Is the installation ETA known yet?

Silver
Guest

I like it. It has an abstract industrial feel. Can't wait to see it in real life!

Jay
Guest
Jay

how the hell are you supposed to lock a bike to that thing properly?

CWhoa
Guest

I agree with Mike. The people who designed and approved this must lock their bikes with a long cable.

Guys, anyone with a small U-lock is not going to be able to lock to this. Even my large U-lock would have trouble if the very top hole was taken (by, say a bike on the other side).

Functionality fail.

Craig
Guest

Lots of comments about the functionality failings of this rack (please know that we've worked closely with SDOT on the design and will test it out before it's built and installed); so what are your suggestions for improvement? Thanks for any constructive recommendations that you can provide as we in no way want to build something that won't work.

Mike
Guest

Craig,

One of the most secure and widely used bike locks are u-locks. It seems the only place where the rack is narrow enough for a u-lock to fit around its the slot cut up top. However, most people (at least those who don't want anything stolen off their bike) choose the pass the u-lock through both the frame and either the front or rear wheel, then through the rack. If a wheel is left unlocked, it is very easy for them to be stolen, especially with the prevalence of quick-release skewers.

This rack appears to only be easily compatible with cable locks, which can be cut in seconds.

That's my main concern. I imagine someone else will address the multiple bike on each rack issue.

Gregory
Guest
Gregory

Any bike rack should maximize the number of bikes that can be locked to it easily without obstructing pedestrian traffic. A bike rack should offer numerous ways a cyclist can lock their bike to it, and allow for a wide variety of locking devices (u locks of various sizes, cable locks, chain locks) and also bike styles (recumbent, street, mountain, extracycle, kids bikes)

Every time I ride to the Ballard Farmers Market on a sunny Sunday I have to cruise around looking for a suitable pole in the area to lock my bike to. Poles and racks are all full.

Maybe Ballard could also have portable temporary racks on market day?

Ian Stacconi
Guest
Ian Stacconi

Wow. You took a useful, necessary structure- a bike rack- and turned it into an expensive, contrived, useless blob of liberal-arts-education-gone-wrong/ public art “statement.” I seriously hope the economic crisis drags out a while longer and puts these “designers” behind a dishwashing hose at Taco Bell where they belong.

But you made BSNYC! Congrats!!!

Ernie_98107
Guest
Ernie_98107

Craig, I clicked on your name and found the really nice designer's illustration on the Sustainable Ballard website for this rack design. Although the illustration was very well done, and had a nice detail of the very simple installation procedure, it also clearly illustrated the problem with U-Locks that several posters have mentioned. The drawing shows a bike locked up to the rack with a U-Lock through the front wheel, around the fork, and through the hole in the top of the rack (now enlarged to a slot). Anyone who has ever locked up a bike would know that this won't work because all a thief has to do is flip the quick release and pull the fork up and out, and off they go leaving the front wheel still locked to the rack. In order for this to work the “O's” would have to be spaced far enough apart so that you could get the whole bike between them, pedals and all, so that someone could lock their bike in the classic manner where you remove the front wheel and put the lock through the front wheel, and rear wheel, around the seat stays, and through the rack. To… Read more »

art boy
Guest
art boy

believe it or not, these bike racks will change somebody's life.

sure, when you dismount your cannondale you'll have to think long and hard, “how will I secure my precious titanium to this giant bagel?”

that is the purpose of art. to be more than just pure 'functional' to make you reconsider your existence and how you participate in the world.
do you really want engineers to design the world?.

enjoy these donuts, ballard.

lizzi
Guest
lizzi

NYC had David Byrne design a bunch of new bike racks. They're horrible. Bicyclists don't need to lock their bike to art, they need something that'll keep their bike from getting jacked. Sustainable Ballard's design only lets one bike (even that's iffy) lock to each rack. Most of the SDOT racks around the city let you lock three or more bikes to them without a hassle.

Ernie_98107
Guest
Ernie_98107

OK art boy, thanks for keeping it real….

datajunkie
Guest
datajunkie

I don't see why you think you couldn't lock both the tire and frame with a u-lock. It looks perfectly functional to me. I also think it can park the same amount of bikes as 4 inverted 'U's would. It make take a little more finagling but it looks like it would work.

Mark - Sustainable Ballard
Guest
Mark - Sustainable Ballard

Thank you everyone for your comments both positive and constructive. I will try to address some of them. It looks like there is a lot of concern about how you will lock your bike to the rack. The design is to pass a U-Lock through the curved slot and then through both the frame and the front tire of a typical bicycle. As you can see the round forms can be adjusted before welding is complete to allow that slot to be in the correct position for locking. In the picture it may look a little high. We will test this out before we build the rack. Another concern is the replacement of a city rack with this one. The city rack is the standard upside down U rack which normally holds 2 bikes – one on each side. This rack will hold 4 bikes – one per ring and so we should be increasing the bike parking in this space. Just for the record, I think the sunday marked could use some additional temporary racks as well. Cost:As much as I would like to make these out of solid stainless, our budget does not allow for that so these… Read more »