Broadway Bike Rack
Broadway Bike Rack
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Came across this bike rack on the corner of Fourth Street and Broadway. It’s pretty hard not to notice the rack because of its size and many were having a great time spinning the wheels of the bikes comprising the rack. The rack was designed by Scott Scarboro for the Louisville Downtown Management District’s art bike rack program.

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Branden Klayko

Founder and Editor at Broken Sidewalk
Branden founded Broken Sidewalk in 2008 while practicing architecture in Louisville. He continued the site for seven years while living in New York City, returning to Louisville in 2016. Branden is a graduate of the College of Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis, and has covered architecture, design, and urbanism for The Architect's Newspaper, Designers & Books, Inhabitat, and the American Institute of Architects.
Branden Klayko

17 COMMENTS

  1. Wonder how long it’s been there. I haven’t noticed it before, so I’d guess not too long. Which is funny considering how much rust has dripped off the “sculpture” onto the sidewalk. I have a feeling this won’t be a long-lived bike rack. I’d guess LDMD won’t be getting its money’s worth.

  2. Bike rack enthusiasts should also check out the new rack at Skull Alley, 1017 East Broadway at Barret Avenue. It’s built into the side of the front wall of the building next to the door.

  3. Ladies and gentlemen: that is NOT a bike rack! That is a greenwashing of a sculpture, which says “bike rack” on the press release. Try locking your bike to it with a U-lock. Try getting your front wheel and downtube. It is NOT possible. Cable locks are a joke, and getting defeated all the time in Louisville. Not one bike can be securely locked to this rack! Even if it could be locked to it, several parts of that sculpture appear to be detachable with a 15mm wrench, so a thief could walk off with a small part of the rack plus your bike! Doesn’t anyone else notice this? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!

    This problem is endemic with the public art “bike rack greenwash” program. There are standards for bike rack designs, but the DMD will not priortize it, and most of the artists refuse to do their own homework to work in the medium. Instead they just go wild on the public art aspect. And this strategy has worked for DMD – they’ve gotten lots of recognition for this program. Yet at the end of the day we have $2000+ dollar jokes. A real, working bike rack costs about $200.

  4. While I agree that it is a piece of artwork and not a bike rack, I disagree with placement. It truly takes away from the beauty of the archway behind it. I, for one, hope it disappears from that spot soon. I’m sure some other more appropriate site can be found.

  5. The LDMD Bike Rack Sculpture program, has, from the beginning, encouraged the artists to pursue form over function – design art that can also be used as a bike rack knowing that there are numerous other off the shelf bike racks on the street. One of our artists, David Bibelhauser, was hired by the city to design the stainless steel loops, that you have been seeing around the city, as the official bike rack that the city places in the public way. Our program, now with 32 pieces, is concentrated within the Central Business District and we have recieved inquiries from over 30 cities from across the country about replicating the program. We are pleased to be a part of Louisville’s efforts to increase awareness of biking and art.

  6. Mr Herndon:
    If this is such a win, I propose that DMD begin a series of non-functional but artistic car parking sculptures in public car parking spaces. See how much praise that gets you when people can’t park their cars!

    The purpose of art is to evoke emotion, and these sculptures certainly provoke emotion among bicyclists! They send the message that DMD considers bicycling a joke, not worthy of a functional design.

    Bicycling is transportation. If you want to do public sculpture, do public sculpture, but don’t greenwash it.

  7. On closer examination one might find the perfect place to hang your bike on to this rack and securely lock it up in many ways.
    it is perhaps Your norrow mindedness Dave Morse that has made you over look the obvious. its been there for over a year now!

  8. Yes, I see now that when attempting to leave my vehicle and conduct business in the downtown, I simply have not had an open enough mind! Because when I have stuff to do, I like wasting time solving geometric puzzles attempting to fit my U lock around the most theivable components of my bicycle, evaluating jagged pieces of rusting metal to see if they’ll have the strength to keep my chief transportation secure. Why, a $300 real bike rack would have solved my immediate need, but this $2500(?) art “bike rack” has forced me to do so much more!

    You seem like an open minded chap, so I’ll make you a deal/challenge for the month of August: I’ll try locking to the art bike racks again, if you’ll match me minute for minute in delay in your own transportation: at any destination you travel to (save your own home), set a timer and stand there for 60 seconds, stooped over and waving your arms. That simulates the time spent fiddling with the 3d geometry problem created by the art “bike racks”. Be sure to do this in direct sunlight, since that’s where most racks are installed. Then we report back here on September 1 with our results.

    Do we have a deal, my open-minded chum?

  9. I can only speak to the rack in this picture. It has at least three secure places to hang a bike on and attach a u lock to it. It cannot be taken apart with a wrench as you mentioned in a previous post unless you carry a cutting torch on your super bike as all of the joints have been welded. Yes you are right it is in the sun. boy if only all parking places were in the shade for cars and bikes alike a planet of equality!
    But basically you are having trouble finding a parking place downtown…just like all of us.

  10. My office looks out onto the ‘art’ bike rack in front of the Brown Hotel; many places to lock up a bike securely but probably the ugliest bike rack I have ever seen.

  11. yeah since you all hated it so much, I took it down and sold it for scrap metal and made another 250 bucks!

  12. Very enterprising of you Scott! It should be noted that your design was very functional (or maybe you were joking about having designed it?) but the tires on top just weren’t so pleasing to my eye.

  13. What drives me nuts in the art “bike rack” program, which largely produces substandard insecure infrastructure, at prices that are very high per user, and for all that seems ruthlessly promoted. 30 “bike racks” at $2000 apiece is $60,000. For the same cost, we could have put in staple racks at all four corners of every major intersection from 1st through 9th, Main St through Broadway. We could have SOLVED the issue of bike parking in the CBD for the same cost!

    Cities and car parking is pretty much hopeless. You have to destroy half your city to park the cars, and then you lose the density and spontaneity that makes your city worth visiting.

    Bikes, on the other hand, can be accommodated for chump change. Along with transit, they’re the way we can move people downtown without losing density. It is extremely frustrating to see the solvable problem of bike parking made ten feet tall by making each bike rack cost 10x what it should cost, and then (in many cases – probably NOT this rack’s) not perform it’s intended function.

    The Wayside rack, a row of bright red fish, is an example of a bike rack that looks like a bike rack, functions as a bike rack, and performs a branding function all simultaneously.

  14. Yeah, it’s a solution at $20,000 – $40,000 per vehicle. For the cost of 3 parking garage stalls, we could again blanket the entire CBD with decent bike parking. With a national average of 1.25 occupants per car, that’s 4 people brought downtown for the same cost as 72 bike racks. I realize that bike racks aren’t going to be full all the time (neither is car parking), but I’m pretty sure they’ll be at least 30% full during the day. That’s 42 people, comparing favorably to the 4 by parking stalls. Plus the car parking is located at only a few places, and is inherently inconvenient. Putting a bike rack on every corner is inherently convenient, unless it’s wildly successful (i.e. full).

    It could be done even cheaper, come to think of it. Just putting a loop at the right height on parking meters would turn each meter into a bike rack. E.g. http://blog.bicyclecoalition.org/2010/06/parking-meter-conversion-begins-today.html

  15. We should be considering the bike corral and oasis for bicycle parking as illustrated in this short film about the initiatives in Portland. While I was there last hear I saw both versions in use and was pretty impressed. I know that Louisville has a ways to go in terms of bike usage compared to Portland, but I could see the bike corral being used early on as a test to see where the best locations are before moving up to the full oasis. In some cases, the corral makes more sense when the street usage might need to change periodically (parades etc). A friend pointed out that many of the shops catering to young professionals and others likely to ride bikes for transportation wanted the bike corrals in front of their stores even if it meant the loss of two parking spaces because you could fit so many more bikes (which more than likely equals more people) in those two spaces. Here is the video if you have not seen it: http://www.streetfilms.org/portland-bike-parking/

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