Bike Racks

Background information

Randall Wilson, 1996. Corner of College and Yale. Chinatown, Los Angeles. 4'h x 4'2"w x 1'2"d
Ten bicycle racks, funded by the Community Redevelopment Agency's Downtown Cultural Trust Fund, were installed in downtown in 1995 and 1996 as part of "The Bike Stops Here" project. (One placed at the Los Angeles Times Building was subsequently damaged and removed.) Graduate and undergraduate students designed and fabricated these racks in a course at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). This project, supported by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, was developed as a way of encouraging bicycle riding in downtown by providing security at important public places.

One of the busiest public facilities in Chinatown is the branch of the Los Angeles Public Library. Near the library's entrance, Randall Wilson, the Project Director and instructor of the class, installed two heart shaped racks that were inspired by hearts that Wilson's daughter drew when she was four years old. These racks, which represent the only functional public art in Chinatown, replicated the three racks Wilson designed for the Children's Museum in the Los Angeles Mall. In a sobering lesson on how people treat public art, the racks in Chinatown are immensely popular with children who have converted an amenity for bicyclists into playground equipment that they climb on.

The text has been provided courtesy of Michael Several, Los Angeles, October 1999.

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