Our AIA event drew a critical mass of designers and bikers, packing our modest studio for the evening and keeping our San Francisco Bike Coalition bike valet busy. Thanks to everyone who came by, especially to those who rode to the event and the guy who bought the Alta bike we auctioned off for the Bike Coalition. The bikes we had on display were hard to view because of the crowd, so we have listed their pedigrees below with some photos. Most of these bikes are on loan from American Cyclery which has been a leading San Francisco destination for all things bike since 1941. We will use our studio space in South Park for more shows in the future. Please sign up on Public to keep abreast of these events.
It was great to have our space buzzing with a blend of the design and bike communities. A lot of ideas and a lot of questions, including one for us: “what is this new bikes and design venture?” Simple. We are working on a number of initiatives that encourage us all to think more carefully about the way we get around in our everyday community lives, and we have christened this venture “Public”. We think people would be better off if they drove their cars less and walked and scootered and skipped and took public transportation more. And we love bikes.
We’re just one small corner of a large international movement aimed at improving quality of life in our public spaces and our local communities. Europe is ahead of the US in these smart transportation and more livable cities initiatives. Public transportation there is generally more available, quicker and cheaper. Stupid socialists. There are traditional biker cities like Amsterdam and newcomers like Copenhagen (not a traditional bike culture until the 1980’s). This short video is mainstream over there. Bike share programs have become common recently in cities across France, Germany, and Spain. We wrote about one in Berlin two years ago.
But there may be even more excitement and possibility for change in the US. After all, we have the unique challenge of rolling back 50 years of suburban expansion with its freeway creep, concrete and asphalt. The movement is busting out across the country - you would have to bury your head in the asphalt not to notice. Leadership is coming not just from hip cites like Portland, Boulder, and Davis but from hard-core urban centers like New York where Mayor Bloomberg has backed some gutsy initiatives like the bold conversion of 9th Avenue into a bike lane. The only thing limiting what can be done to improve our cities is political will (the source of which, theoretically, is us) - if New York can turn Times Square into a pedestrian mall, anything is possible.
Our local initiatives range from the recent changeover 17th & Castro’s intersection which was designed by Public Architecture (and actually got our mayor to take a stand) to the wildly successful Sunday Streets programs. An efficient way to keep abreast of these developments, we hint, is through Streets blog which has a chapters across the country and five star editorial. The SF Bike Coalition has a newsletter that also serves us well. We’ll be adding to this movement in our own way. Next week’s feature: the best City Bike system in Europe.
If you have a particular interest in bikes and design, please sign up for our new endeavor at Public. We will continue to write about bikes, and we are looking to hire some people.
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