Residents: Spruce up bike racks

Residents urged Arts Commission members to consider sprucing up the look and feel of Laguna Beach's bicycle racks at the commission's regular meeting April 22.

Seven locals, all members from community groups such as the Complete Streets Task Force and Transition Laguna, spoke during the meeting.

Art Wahl has lived in Laguna Beach for 50 years and rides his bike around town.

"Bike racks can be ugly," Wahl said. "But done with a certain flair by local artists, [artistic bike racks] could encourage more use.

"Initially, place them in places with a high volume of people. I don't think bike racks need to be all around town, just in places where folks would see them and try to get cyclists to use them."

The task force recommends several locations for racks including the farmers' market parking lot, beach access stairs at Thalia Street, two locations at Heisler Park — the bowling green and restroom area, and the gazebo area — Main Beach cobblestone area and the Alta Laguna playground.

Wahl has been on the Complete Streets Task Force for years. One of the group's goals is to encourage other transportation options besides automobiles, such as walking, biking and public transportation.

Wahl said the intention would be for local artists to design future racks. He mentioned Durango, Colo., as a city with artistic racks for bicyclists.

Long Beach and San Francisco also have artistic racks, said Chris Prelitz, president of Complete Streets.

Laguna Beach has installed 30 of 64 new bike racks the City Council approved a year ago, Prelitz said.

"The Arts Commission did a great job transforming our utilitarian benches into beautiful, functional art pieces," Prelitz said. "Artistic bike racks seem like a perfect next project."

Prelitz estimated the city had 20 racks already installed before the council approved the additional 64.

Arts commissioners could not speak on the proposal during the April 22 meeting because the item was not on the agenda, commission Chairwoman Pat Kollenda said.


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