Nice Rack! Bike Stands Could Be Works of Art

New program would commission local artists

By Matt Bartosik
|  Monday, Jun 7, 2010  |  Updated 1:45 PM CDT
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Remember Cows on Parade? In 1999, several fiberglass sculptures of cows took over the streets of Chicago, all decorated by local artists.

A new program hopes to apply that same fun idea to something more useful: bike racks.

When Chicago privatized its parking meters and then switched to payboxes, bicyclists lost their parking spaces. No meters meant no places to lock up their sweet rides.

To amend the problem, the City Council's Transportation Committee approved a public art program that would commission local artists to design bike racks, funded by local community groups, reports the Sun-Times.

"It's a good thing because it addresses the need for more bicycle parking," Nathan Mason, curator of special projects for the Department of Cultural Affairs, told the Sun-Times. "But, it’s a better thing because it employs artists."

Similar projects have been incorporated in New York City; Los Angeles; Pittsburgh; Austin, Texas; and Louisville, Kentucky.

Ald. Vi Daley (43rd), who first presented the idea, would like to see the first decorative racks be installed on Clark Street, between Diversey and Armitage Avenues, according to Chicago Tribune. But that probably won't happen for several months yet. The program must first be approved by the full City Council.

Matt Bartosik is a Chicago native and a social media sovereign (who can't ride a bike).

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