It began with two small brown bears in the early 1900s. Today, the Akron Zoo is an accredited zoological park with 243 species totaling 2,457 individual animals. The Akron Zoo participates in 48 Species Survival Plans to manage the long-term survival of endangered species and welcomes more than 416,900 visitors annually. The zoo makes sure those visitors are accommodated with education, entertainment and amenities that support sustainability.
Like venues across the country that are recognizing the importance biking plays in today’s culture – from educational and corporate campuses to recreational avenues – the zoo joined in four years ago. That meant consideration for riders, complete with covered bike parking. Pictured is the bike shelter Duo-Gard engineered for the zoo in Akron, Ohio. The Akron Zoo wanted to accommodate and encourage visitors who arrive on two wheels. Positioned at the zoo’s entrance, adjacent to a bus shelter, the bike shelter creates a perfect complement supporting alternative transportation, carbon footprint reduction, and sustainability, says Elena Bell, marketing and public relations manager for the zoo.
“The nearby Ohio-Erie Towpath runs by the zoo, and we wanted to encourage people to visit,” says Bell. “We needed a nice bike shelter to help achieve that.” She says the city’s buses also have bike racks and so it’s easy for visitors to park their bikes in the shelter, visit the zoo, then grab their bikes and hop on the bus for home. Bell says the zoo also added lockers and a station for fixing the inevitable flat tires.
Starting from Duo-Gard’s standard Van-Gard model, the 9’x20’ shelter includes custom touches by Environmental Design Group in the form of three front columns in wood, featuring multi-colored stone bases. Duo-Gard’s curved, batten-style roof of translucent multi-wall polycarbonate in an opal tint provides protection from the weather as it allows patrons to enjoy diffused natural light without glare and heat gain.
Framing in a moss green, powder-coated aluminum finish matches the adjacent bus stop for visual continuity. U-racks in galvanized aluminum accommodate 16 bikes. All the shelter’s materials provide high durability and low maintenance. Installation was handled by A Crano Excavating Group.
Bell says the bike shelter has been popular and that “people really appreciate it.”
The Van-Gard model is one of Duo-Gard’s 14 standard styles. “Our standard styles are easily customizable, according to the customer’s wishes,” says Justin Watts, project manager. He points out that all Duo-Gard bike shelters are available with complimentary bike parking and storage strategies based on the industry’s latest research and development advances.