Just as biking has evolved from a pleasant pastime to an integral part of America’s alternative transportation scene, the bike shelter has evolved from functional metal tubes to aesthetic, street-smart art in cities across the country.
Consider Charlotte, North Carolina, where a new 9.3 mile light rail extension line opened on March 16, complemented by 9 custom bike shelters engineered by Duo-Gard and featuring an original design by artist Darren Goins.
Many commuters served by the LYNX Blue Line of the Charlotte Area Transit System’s light rail travel their first mile/last mile by bike. “Public transportation is very important to many people in the Charlotte area. Light rail has transformed our infrastructure, and the extension is helping us build on it,” said Hillary Ryan DeLong, senior public and community relations specialist. “Bike parking was a requirement, and we wanted it to be as attractive as possible.”
According to Chris Lange, project administrator for the city’s Art-in-Transit program, all 11 stations along the extension integrate artwork. “This makes the stations more inviting and encourages public transportation,” he said. They wanted encouragement and accommodation to extend to the biking community.
Artist Darren Goins was instrumental in selecting the Oasis bike shelter, a popular model from Duo-Gard’s architecturally designed styles. The basic Oasis features two large circles that support a curved roof, clean and contemporary. The roof is an 8mm translucent polycarbonate batten system in a bronze tint; the frame is galvanized steel.
Within the circles lies artist Goins’ creation of “The Sun Guided the Road” sculpture. The geometric shapes appear to be both floating and supportive. From the sides where the circles align, his art appears as a sunrise/sunset along a horizontal line with a road leading out into the distance.
Goins’ geometric abstract bike racks follow the basic lines and elements of a bicycle. The bright colors are meant to encourage biking as alternative transportation.
Nine shelters in 12’x17’ size hold 16 bikes each. The newly built extension of the LYNX Blue Line terminates at the University of North Carolina Charlotte, where 12 Duo-Gard bike racks accommodate 24 bikes.
“This project fit with my personal interest in biking,” said Goins. “The design is functional yet simple. It turned out great and I’m really happy with it.”
So is Duo-Gard, said Sean McKnight, biking infrastructure coordinator. “We’re proud of our ability and willingness to collaborate on such creative structures. This project is a perfect example.”
Photo Credit: Charlotte Vibe Photography