New bike racks installed in downtown Tulsa
BY MICHAEL OVERALL World Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
2/19/13 at 2:40 AM
When she brings her bicycle downtown, Shannon Compton usually chains it to a lamppost or sometimes to a tree. But don't tell anybody.
"It's illegal," admits Compton, the chairwoman of Tulsa's Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee. "But there's never been anywhere else to leave a bike."
Now there is.
Crews installed 10 custom-made, decorative bike racks across downtown Monday, adding to more than 50 simpler racks that have popped up recently in parts of Tulsa.
Cyclists can now find free places to park and lock their bikes in Brookside, the Pearl District and on Cherry Street, not to mention many of the busiest corners downtown.
"As people start to notice them," Compton said, "they're going to start riding their bikes downtown. I don't think a lot of people know about them yet, but they will."
Funding came through a $50,000 grant from the Indian Nations Council of Governments, while the city of Tulsa pitched in another $12,000.
The money paid for dozens of standard "A-racks" - shaped more or less like the letter "A" - that have now become a familiar sight on downtown sidewalks.
But for high-traffic areas, including Bartlett Square, the Williams Green and City Hall, officials wanted to make a bolder design statement with something unique to Tulsa.
Some look like miniature oil derricks, while others are the silhouette of a bison with the Tulsa skyline incorporated into it.
They look more like public art than utilitarian bike racks.
"We didn't want them to be just useful," said Doug Duke, senior traffic engineer for the city's Traffic Operations Division. "We wanted something that would contribute to the character of downtown."
Tulsa ranked No. 50 last year on Bicycling Magazine's ranking of bike-friendly cities.
That's the bottom of the list, but still a compliment, considering that Oklahoma City didn't make the cut at all.
Tulsa scored high for having nearly 100 miles of regional bike trails, making it relatively easy to get around.
But the magazine criticized the lack of secure parking available to cyclists once they get to where they're going.
While some companies offer racks for employees, Compton knew of only one public rack downtown before the recent installations.
"It's something that Tulsa has really been lacking," she said. "And it was holding a lot of people back from riding their bikes."
The bison and oil derrick racks were made possible by a $10,000 gift from Eric and Shannon Richards of the Maxine and Jack Zarrow Family Foundation, facilitated by the Tulsa Beautification Foundation.
Original Print Headline: New bike racks installed downtown
Michael Overall 918-581-8383
Randy Butler of Voy Construction installs a new bike rack Monday at East Archer Street and North Boston Avenue. MIKE SIMONS / Tulsa World