I caught up with Jake Helmboldt, Richmond’s Pedestrian, Bicycle and Trails coordinator, last week to talk about a book on Richmond cycling history that he wrote a foreword for. We also talked about a new bike rack initiative that bike commuters and other two-wheel lovers might see bearing fruit by next summer.
Helmboldt said he and local realtor, Scott Garnett, have been batting around the idea of custom bike racks using the “RVA” logo. He said there had been talk of an art competition to create bike racks, but “we’re trying to come up with something more modest and more affordable and easier to execute. ”
Helmboldt mentioned the Elwood Thompson‘s “Real Food” bike rack as an example of how the RVA rack would look, but there’s a twist. Garnett suggested having each city district — The Fan, Manchester, Arts District, Museum District, etc. — get it’s own unique rack incorporating the RVA logo.
That, Helmboldt said, would “distinguish a particular area while at the same time having the unified theme of RVA. Someone who’s not from here, or even if you’re from here but you don’t know where the arts district is, there’s some commonality in the street furniture within the district.”
One of the next steps is talking to local fabrication company Tektonics about the cost of making a mold. Helmboldt is hoping to pursue some kind of public-private partnership to pay for racks. He said he has about $25,000 in his budget for bike parking, but that that would get eaten up quickly by the cost of the custom fabrication.
There are a number of bureaucratic hurdles between where they are now and actually installing these racks (getting them past the urban design committee, for instance), but the hope is for a launch by sometime later next year.
In the meantime, you’ll be seeing more of the “post and ring” racks going up on parking meters around town.
“We’ve got probably 100 racks for our public works guys to be installing probably this month and into November,” Helmboldt said.