City Seeks Artists to Design Bike Racks in Four Locations

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The Community Path entrance on Main Street near Halfway Cafe is one location where bike racks will be installed. (Courtesy of City of Watertown)

The City of Watertown sent out the following information about the call for art for Bike Rack Design & Fabrication:

Four locations are available for artists, designers, or artist teams to design up to four bike racks. Artists may submit up to four designs and indicate which sites they are most interested in. For example, you may design one bike rack that you would like used across all four sites or four site specific bike racks, or one bike rack for one location, etc. Selected artist(s) will be paid $5,000 per bike rack. The selection committee may select one artist to complete all four bike racks, one artist per bike rack, or any combination.

Vibrant, colorful, and site-specific designs are preferred. Designs may be sculptural but must be functional and able to accommodate a minimum of two adult bicycles. In addition to the design renderings, artists are asked to include a description of their design inspiration for their bike rack(s). The bike racks will be considered public art and artist attribution will be included at each site.

Upon selection, artist(s) will be contracted by the City of Watertown to fabricate their design(s). It is the responsibility of the artist to ensure the safety and longevity of their bike rack(s). Artist(s) is responsible for the delivery of their bike rack(s). The Watertown Department of Public Works will install the bike racks during the summer of 2024.

See more information by clicking here

10 thoughts on “City Seeks Artists to Design Bike Racks in Four Locations

  1. That’s cool and all, I’m all for bike racks… but what’s the point of a bike rack on a disconnected, incomplete, and almost unusable bike path?

    Starting from Waverley St and going west on that path and you will quickly find that it just empties into either a parking lot or right onto the sidewalk. There are no curb cuts and nothing to make cycling easier. Then, once you navigate that mess and cross the street (where there is no crosswalk), you arrive at the Halfway Cafe (pictured). That part of the path also doesn’t have adequate accessibility and it’s not paved. Follow that path down to Howard St and you’ll find that you get a fully separated bike path! oh wait. It ends abruptly 100 feet later at Pleasant Street, forcing cyclists to dismount, cross the street, hit the button for the rapid flashing beacon, cross the street, and then finally you’re at the Charles River.

    Are there any plans to make this at all usable? I actually avoid this path altogether on my bike, and I suspect most people would. I run on this path at least 3 times per week and I’ve never seen a cyclist here… because it’s actually just easier and safer to bike on the sidewalk.

  2. I am waiting for the day when Towns and Cities exact an excise tax on bicycles as they do with automobiles. Why should one pay an excise tax for cars when the bicycle owner gets off scotch- free. I think all should at least pay a nominal tax.

    • Cars must be registered with the RMV but there is no such requirement for bicycles. How would an excise tax be levied and collected? Absent a registration requirement for bicycles with the RMV, this can’t be done.

        • State law is irrelevant. Watertown did in fact have a registration and license plate for bicycles many years ago.
          It’s definitely needed today.
          The town could use the extra revenue.

    • You mean scot-free? What is the point of an nominal excise tax on bikes? Just because?

      Should we tax walkers, wheelchairs, and canes, too? Those and bikes are all ways of getting around that are too light to cause harm to roads and sidewalks so why tax them? We should be encouraging them as alternatives to cars.

      Putting a bike on the road often means taking a car off the road which is a GOOD thing; less polution and less road damage.Would you rather that everyone biking be in a car instead making traffic worse?

    • You have things exactly backwards. We should be taxing activities with negative externalities and encouraging activities that are sustainable.

      In case you need a reminder of the negative externalities of cars: they’re very loud, they pollute the air we breathe, they’re massively space inefficient, they have terrible throughput, they cause congestion, they promote a sedentary lifestyle. Cars require boatloads of land to be dedicated to parking which is missed opportunity for housing and additional tax revenue. Cars rob us of a sense of place by forcing everything to spread out. Cars do WAY more damage to the roads than bikes do (see: the fourth power law). Cars endanger pedestrians and bikers. Cars worsen the climate crisis. Cars are incredibly expensive which puts economic strain especially on lower income people. I’d rather somebody NOT buy a car and use that extra saved money on local businesses

      Cars are anathema to cities and motorists should pay for imposing all of these negative externalities on all of us.

      Let me ask one simple question: do we want more cars or do we want more bikes? Perhaps the thing we all have in common is that nobody wants more car traffic. I’d argue that it is imperative that we start replacing some car trips with bike trips and the way we do that is by building bicycle infrastructure and NOT imposing pointless barriers to bicycle ownership.

      I want to see a Watertown where people feel comfortable replacing car trips with bike trips. Adding undue burden to bicycle ownership is absolutely the wrong approach.

      • Just looking at the new Waltham, lets say bikeway from Beaver St over to Main St [Market Basket area] who do you think paid for that? Not certainly you and your bike riding kids that you take through the Square, where any common sense parent would avoid and use a safer route. And while I’m at it, realize this, there’s a major interchange exit/on-ramp from the Turnpike, that many commuters use out of necessity in order to get to their jobs in the area, due to the fact that they couldn’t afford to live here, even after growing up here or nearby. So one way to alleviate some of the traffic would be to install an off ramp and on ramp in West Newton where the State already has the property or rights to do that, hear the experts from the State saying anything about a Common Sense approach to reduce some traffic coming into the Square, while mandating the City to allow more housing under the MBTA Act. Guess what all those new units may need to have a car to travel to where they need to go! So with all these Bike projects all over the place, it’s time to pay up and feel the pain that we do, along with identifying yourselves for public safety in more ways than one.

  3. They can be registered at the point of sale and purchase the same way that the state requires firearms to be registered. Manufacturers serial numbers on the bike frames are the identification for tracking ownership. Tax them!

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