While acting as a judge for a bike rack design competition last year David Byrne - musician, artist and avid New York cyclist - decided it would be a great idea to make his own stamps on the streets of the city. The tongue-in-check street icons were made with their locations in mind. Speaking to the NY Times, Byrne noted “It was important to me that these new racks be the same thickness and material as the existing racks—to help identify them as practical bike racks and not just modern art, the locations about as perfect as one could imagine — Wall Street for the dollar sign and Bergdorf’s for the giant high heel!”
Janette Sadik-Khan, current transportation commissioner has taken on the promotion of cycling in the city as her main priority. “By bringing attractive yet functional sculptures to our streets, we are elevating the profile of cycling, and we believe that more and more people will begin to think about cycling as a mode of transportation, and not just a mode of recreation,” Ms. Sadik-Khan said in a statement. “Regular bike riders have an eagle eye for our current bike racks but these nine installations will capture the attention of all New Yorkers.”
David Byrne's bike racks are part of the Cityracks program which provides free sidewalk racks for short-term bike parking. With limited sidewalk space and heavy footfall, many of New York's streets suffer from sidewalk congestion. There was also a successful design competition for new bike racks that compliment New York's sought-after new image of a cycling city. Summer Streets is another initiative which closed off a 6.9 mile north-south route for six hours on three consecutive Saturdays last summer. All these initiatives are part of 'plaNYC' which is featured in a previous post about Jan Gehl Architects.
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David Byrne cycles with Wall Street Journal's Reed Albergotti to visit the Brooklyn metalworks where his bicycle racks are being fabricated.
More information available from David Byrne's website: http://www.davidbyrne.com/art/bike_racks/index.php