Man, New York gets all the cool stuff. The NYT here shows us the 10 final designs in some bike rack competition. Writers and riders in that city have often noted the lack of secure sidewalk racks for cyclists, just like in Seattle. In fact, thinking three years back, we wrote about SDOT's program to use the lopped-off pipes that once supported parking meter heads as bike racks. (This as the new green parking kiosks were taking over the city.) But it seems efforts to install these special add-on racks (such as the one pictured below) didn't get very far. Eleven were installed in 2005; plans were announced for another 150 in 2006. I'll ask SDOT about its installed numbers since then, but I don't think I've seen that many.
You know where the coolest Seattle bike racks are located? Right in front of the WaMu building on Second Avenue. Local firm NBBJ designed its building (back to back with SAM's shorter design by Portland's Brad Cloepfil, which faces First), so I'm guessing one of the NBBJ architects selected the parabolic, stainless-steel hoops.
For the time being, SDOT will install bike racks "at the request of citizens and business or property owners or managers" through its Bicycle Spot Improvement Program. That means you essentially have to email SDOT to get on the wait list. Again, I'll ask SDOT how long the process takes. It's my understanding, subject to confirmation, that the racks are installed gratis. But, of course, we the taxpayers underwrite the cost.
Where should we have more racks? I'd love to hear from readers who ride. Some sore spots of mine are outside movie theaters, where there never seem to be enough (e.g., the Seven Gables, Northwest Film Forum, and Egyptian). And I hate that stretch of Fourth Avenue in front of Century Square (between Pike and Pine), across Fourth from Westlake Plaza, where there are those hideous concrete anti-terrorist bollards (this in front of a building erected long before 9/11) and absolutely no bike racks.
Do I hear any other nominations for SDOT?
Addendum: here's a follow-up story from November 11 on the SDOT program.