[the inverted-U design is the] most functional design around. I like some of the artistic, sculptural bike racks that I have seen and I think they have their place, but really many of them function more as public art than as efficient bicycle parking solutions. To efficiently park the most bikes in a limited amount of outdoor space, nothing on the market beats the simple Inverted-U design.
A few years ago I worked on a proposal for a bicycle parking plan to present to the City of Greenville, SC. It is probably no surprise to any of you that inverted U racks were the type that I recommended. Yeah, we have established that I like that design, so when I received a message recently from David Rulon, an architect who was the designer behind the original inverted U rack, I was interested to see his latest idea.
David points out that the new Bicycle Hitch 2 is an evolution of his original design. The new Bicycle Hitch 2 keeps the best ideas of the old one, while adding “major functional, aesthetic and “financial” improvements.” Rather than paraphrase, I will quote David on the features that he feels are advantages over his original design:
1. Bicycles are separated by enough space such that the pedals and handlebars do not interfere with each other
2. Bicycles can be secured in opposite or the same direction. The ends of the bicycles on each side of the hitching post align taking up less space and providing a neater appearance than the original Hitch-2.
3. The hitching post has separate and longer horizontal bars for each bicycle providing alternate locking locations and more space on which to rest the handlebars.
4. Optional high and low signs can be added in the space between the bikes providing a separation barrier. The lower sign could have the name, address etc of the sponsor of the bike rack (i.e. this person, business or group would pay for the rack and its installation in exchange for permanent advertising). The optional upper sign could be a mini-billboard which could be a source of revenue for the city. In some prominent locations this upper sign could be a back to back flat panel video screen possibly powered by a tubular photovoltaic collector integrated into the top frame of this sign. These video screens could be updated wirelessly.
5. This new hitching post is a more aesthetic and functional design with articulated joints and “feet”. The hitching post with the signs has a somewhat anthropomorphic shape giving the appearance of a person walking holding sandwich board advertisements.
6. A street tree or flat cartoon-like cutouts of historic, famous or political figures could be located in the space between the bikes in lieu of the high and low signs.
7. Hitching posts can incorporate parking meters to reduce street clutter.
Below you can see additional images and variations of the new Bicycle Hitch-2 racks. To show them in context, David included “images that show mid-block bicycle parking in which a car parking space is converted to bicycle parking at the sidewalk level. This sidewalk extension would provide a mid-block green space that is in a sense a mini-park with bike parking, benches and possibly other amenities. These sidewalk extensions would be restful places and may also have a tendency to slow traffic down.”