Downtown Bike Racks in Projects
Downtown Bike Racks
Through a grant secured from the Louisiana Healthy Communities Coalition, the DDD has purchased bike racks for Downtown Hammond. There will be 6 locations around Downtown and availability for 36 bikes.
How It Started - 2018
In 2018, the DDD Design Committee saw a need for bike parking downtown and began the almost two-year-long process.
What was the hold-up? We're overachievers. The community made it clear that just a plain bike rack would not do in our town. We wanted something artistic and functional. So, we held a bike rack design competition in hopes to find something inspirational. Sure enough, Cheria Scaffidi submitted the winning entry titled Water Lilies.
This design was inspired by our beautiful wetlands and its native flora. It has always been in my opinion that foliage enhances the quality of life in an urban landscape. As a member of the creative community here in Hammond, it would give me great pleasure to add a bit of organic visual stimuli to our downtown area. The idea of bikes and humans nestling into this ‘brush’ would certainly be a whimsical sight, slightly surreal yet completely familiar. This is a basis for what could be several other racks with similar native plants such as cattails, palms, etc.
This was design to be made of alloy aluminium and water jet cut from a 4’ x 8’ sheet for maximum efficiency. It could be powder-coated if cut from raw steel instead. The dimensions of each rack are approximately 24’ wide x 32’ tall. The egret is slightly larger than the rest however measuring 24’ wide x 41’ tall for maximum impact and proportionality to the flowers. I would suggest angling them towards the street slightly as opposed to perpendicular to enhance the landscape quality of the art. Lastly, it would be connected to the concrete with a right-angle piece of metal and fasteners as specified by the engineer and installer.
We produced an RFP to find a company to produce this custom made rack. After much deliberation, we deemed the custom racks to be too expensive and not completely functional. The Design Committee went back to the drawing board.
Better Block - 2019
In fall 2019, past DDD intern and district resident Michelle Kendall attended a public meeting about the new Master Plan. She reconnected with the DDD and decided to complete her final project for her Master's Degree in Public Health through our organization. The project she pitched was called "Build a Better Block." It's a national term used to create a better block out of blighted and vacant areas. Part of the proposed project was to create temporary bike lanes in 19 blocks of Downtown and install bike racks. With the Board and the property owners in support of the project, she secured a $3,000 grant through a mini-grant series from the Louisiana Healthy Communities Coalition. The funds were intended to host the Build a Better Block event and install temporary bike lanes. The project included cleaning up the block, building a pop-up dog park, hosting local musicians and vendors, a family chalk walk and more. The design committee also decided to use this event for public comments on the placement of bike racks around town.
Thanks to the stay-at-home order from COVID-19, the Better Block event was not able to take place. The good news is the LHCC agreed to let the DDD keep the funds to install bike racks throughout Downtown.
Back to the Drawing Board - 2020
The grant funds needed to be spent by the end of the budget year on June 30, 2020. So the committee and staff got to work.
First, we reached out to Tangi Industrial for a prototype that could be made locally. With design in hand, we went back to the drawing board with the design committee to hopefully finalize a design. Local bike enthusiast, Dr. James Nelson attended the design meeting. He reiterated that the design should be something that feels like Hammond. He also informed the committee that the best bike racks are those that have a crossbar in the middle. This prevents the bike lock from hitting the ground and making the lock more difficult to cut.
We then met with Tracie Schillace in the City of Hammond building department to review all guidelines for public bike racks. The UDC states that bike racks must be U-shaped racks. This threw a wrench in our plan to have the bikes produced locally (Tangi Industrial could not bend material for U-shaped racks.) Also, how could we be creative with a U-shaped rack?
Through lots of research, the design committee came to a solution. Each location would have UDC approved U-shaped bike racks with a crossbar PLUS a UDC approved U-shaped bike rack with a logo circle in the middle. Some communities use this circle to laser cut city seals or logos. Ours could be used to display local art.
Once we received the Board of Director's approval, an RFP was sent out to find the company that could complete the request at the lowest possible cost. With bids from 4 different national companies, MADRAX came in the lowest and most reputable.
While a design was being decided on, the DDD simultaneously gathered public input where bike racks are needed in Downtown. We sent a survey through our newsletter and collected responses from Facebook and Instagram posts and stories. We laid out responses on a map of Downtown, the clustered them into location options. All in all, the Design Committee used public input to chose 6 locations:
- Close to PJ's (this rack is in the public lot behind the police station)
Click here to review all the survey responses Click here
- Casa De Fresca parking lot
Heading Towards the Finish Line
These locations were reviewed by:
- Lacy Landrum in the Mayor's office
- Tracie Schillace in the Building Department
And a final review for design and locations from the Hammond Historic District.
- Robert Morgan in the Streets Department