Posts tagged with "Bikes":

Placeholder Alt Text

Spandex and Cash to Flood Brooklyn Bridge Park

An avid cyclist plans to bring his passion for bike racing to Brooklyn Bridge Park. Joshua Rechnitz announced Thursday that his nonprofit, the New York City Fieldhouse, will build a $40 million multi-purpose recreation center on the inland edge of the park bordering the BQE. Now occupied by a deteriorating industrial building used for storage by the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, the new facility designed by Thomas Phifer and Partners will include a modern velodrome along with space for a variety of other recreational activities. Architects have not begun designing the 115,000 square foot Fieldhouse, but the facility is expected to blend well with Michael Van Valkenburgh's surrounding landscape. The roof, which will be visible from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade above, is expected to become a signature design element and the structure will aim for LEED certification. Inside, the velodrome's 200-meter inclined track will dominate the space, but basketball, tennis, volleyball, and gymnastics will also be accommodated. Seating for nearly 2,500 people will be provided around the bike track. Maintenance areas and public restrooms for park visitors will also be provided. Besides competitive racing, the Fieldhouse will also offer the community cycling lessons, classes, and amateur races. Operations are expected to be self-funding. City officials and Brooklyn Bridge Park representatives praised the plans for bringing a year-round use to the park. “We want this to truly be a community endeavor that will add amenities for park users and provide a much needed all-weather sports facility,” Rechnitz said in a statement. A series of public meetings with the community will be scheduled to help guide the project forward and, pending review, construction could begin within a year and a half.
Placeholder Alt Text

Quick Clicks> Music Under Foot, Village Underwater, Carmageddon On Bike, & Destruction Online

Chimes Bridged. It seems there's something to making music while we walk. First a Swedish architect designed piano stairs and now an artist has created a musical bridge. Blending the sculptural, auditory, and kinetic, artist Mark Nixon designed a whimsical bridge that "sings." Chimes hidden below the span are activated as visitors walk across, Gizmodo says. The musical creation was last displayed at Sculpture by the Sea, an exhibition in Aarhus, Denmark. Village Uncovered. Villa Epecuen, a town located on Lake Epecuen, southwest of Buenos Aires, was flooded in 1985, but now after more than two decades, the water is receding. Photographs by The Atlantic uncover a strange, haunting landscape: aerial views expose the original street layout of the town, while others reveal original trees and cars visible amid the rubble. Carmageddon Averted. For two days last weekend, the busiest stretch of highway in America—the 405 Freeway in LA—was shut down for construction. While many feared disastrous traffic jams bringing life in LA to a halt, it turns out that life went on without incident, according to the LA Times. During the traffic-non-event, JetBlue offered to fly residents between two of the city's airports in Burbank and Long Beach, sparking a challenge from cyclists who said they could make the trip faster. As reported in Slate, it turns out the bikes were right, making the trip nearly an hour-and-a-half faster than by plane. Destruction Archived. Information Aesthetics points us to the “Hiroshima Archive” which documents the extensive societal and structural devastation the atomic bomb caused 66 years ago. Using Google Earth’s virtual globe, the digital archive exhibits topographical maps, contemporary building models, photographs, and personal accounts from the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, the Hiroshima Jogakuin Gaines Association, and the Hachioji Hibakusha (Atomic Bomb Survivors) Association.
Placeholder Alt Text

Cooper Union Showcases Student Innovation

It's that time of year again: School is giving way to summer vacation, final reviews are winding down, and the life of the architecture student regains some semblance of normalcy. The Cooper Union celebrates this time of year with its traditional End of Year Show, highlighting the work of students in art, architecture, and engineering. Hundreds of projects are now on display at the school's Foundation Building at 7 East 7th Street on Cooper Square. The engineering show just wrapped up, but the architecture showcase runs through June 18 and the art school's work will be on display through June 11. The exhibition is free and open Tuesday through Saturday from noon until 7:00 p.m..  Take a look at a few of the student projects after the jump. Engineering student Maxwell von Stein applied the principles of a hybrid car to the bicycle to harness the kinetic energy typically lost when braking. With a variable transmission and a flywheel mounted to the bike's frame, von Stein's bike allows the rider to pick up speed faster after stopping than with a battery. He takes it for a test ride in the above video. School of Architecture student Daphne Binder sought to bring life to the shores of the Dead Sea. Beyond the actual proposed terraced buildings on  a hillside, Binder found her project raising political questions addressing peaceful coexistence. From an exhibition statement: "The site explores the potential for urbanizing the Dead Sea area, based on the premise that architecture can and should play a major role in the protection of our world’s limited water resources. Through the thesis project, architecture student Daphne Binder found herself traversing the divide between two nations. Fundamental to this project is the idea that a peaceful relationship between Israel and Jordan should be celebrated and developed through a shared built environment in order to secure the survival of the Dead Sea. These joint ventures can also create an opportunity of productive discourse between Israel and the Palestinians." Architecture student Audrey Berman's Hearth takes the bread oven mobile, bringing the communal activity of breaking bread to anywhere throughout New York that you can pedal. She wanted the oven to remain flexible for a variety of social situations and to act as "a vehicle for communication." School of Engineering student Helen Minsky created the Scissor Jack Drill to assist in small-scale geothermal installations. From the exhibition statement: "Small scale geothermal heating and cooling has the potential to reduce costs and save energy for individual homes and buildings. If the drilling costs were lower, this would become a more feasible option to help supplement the cost of heating and cooling a home. For our project we designed and built a low-cost drill (budget of $1,000) that could penetrate granite, with the idea that it could be used for the instillation of geothermal heating and cooling systems." Below, School of Art graduate Louis Lim is showing off his installation, Untitled, 2011. The wooden bridge-like structure is composed of creates—natural on the outside but colorfully painted on the inside. The piece enters a dialogue with the surrounding architecture as it moves past columns.
Placeholder Alt Text

Quick Clicks> Libeskind Collapse, Rahm′s DOT Pick, Gaudi Attacked, and Bamboo in Wyoming

Watch for Falling Libeskinds. The breaking news of the day from Building Design: Daniel Libeskind's $555 million Westside retail center in Bern, Switzerland has collapsed for a second time in three years. An elevated swimming pool fell into the building injuring two people. An investigation is pending. In 2008, shortly after the building was completed, the roof of a fast food restaurant inside the center collapsed, injuring two children. Transporting Chicago. Transportation Nation reports today that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has tapped Gabe Klein to head up the city's DOT. Widely viewed as a pro-bike kind of guy in his former role as head of Washington D.C.'s DOT, Klein helped launch a bike-share program, expand bike lanes, and install electric car charging stations across the city. Could more alternative transportation be in store for the Windy City? Gaudi Burns. An arsonist set fire to Antoni Gaudí's Segrada Familia in Barcelona said the Guardian. The cathedral's sacristy was destroyed and the crypt heavily damaged during the attack. Some 1,500 tourists were evacuated and four treated for smoke inhalation. Wisconsin Bamboo. Sarah F. Cox talks with NYC-based architecture firm Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis for Curbed about a recently completed student center at the University of Wyoming which includes a stunningly intricate bamboo-lattice screen.
Placeholder Alt Text

Prospect Park West Bike Lane Target of Lawsuit

That thin ribbon of green paint along Brooklyn's Prospect Park West sure is a touchy subject for residents of the Park Slope neighborhood, and beyond--they're even talking about it in London. Many love the new separated bike lane installed in June 2010--the "pro-laners"--but a vocal group packing some political power would rather see the lane removed--the "anti-laners." We're not kidding when we say the anti-laners are up in arms, either. According to a Gothamist report, one resident wielding a bullhorn shouted to bystanders that the new bike path "mutilated" the broad boulevard. After threatening legal action for a month, two area organizations, Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes and Seniors for Safety, have now filed a lawsuit requesting the lane's removal, which should make CB6's public hearing on Thursday night more lively than usual. StreetsBlog summarizes the complaint:
It argues that DOT acted in an “arbitrary and capricious” manner, with conclusions made irrationally or in bad faith. It argues that the bike lane did not properly go through the necessary processes given the landmarked status of the Park Slope neighborhood and Prospect Park. And finally, it argues that an environmental review was necessary to assess the impact of the lane on the historic character of the area.
Among the anti-laners are Iris Weinshall, a former NYC DOT commissioner who just happens to be married to U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, and former Sanitation Commissioner Norman Steisel. Anti-laners have also argued that the Prospect Park bike lane has remade crossing the street as a pedestrian into an urban adventure. Local resident and Huffington Post blogger Paul LaRosa wrote that Prospect Park West "now resembles that old video game Frogger where you need to keep looking and back and forth to avoid getting splattered by a car or a bike." Opposing the lawsuit, Councilman Brad Lander, who represents Park Slope, said a survey of the neighborhood shows the majority of residents support for the bike lane. The Park Slope Civic Association also falls in the pro-laner camp. Association president Michael Cairl told Transportation Nation, "Prospect Park West before the reconfiguration had been a speedway. It was unsafe to cross, it was unsafe to cycle on, it wasn’t all that safe to drive on." The anti-laners submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for the DOT's raw data, finding flaws with the results. Their sentiments are echoed by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz who also questioned the validity of the DOT data. He suggested that the original study to determine the feasibility of the bike lane should have been done by an outside agency to make it more impartial. As different parts of the city create new bike-car combinations, it's inevitable that there will be some clashes. We'll keep an eye out for the implications for our built environment as cases like these plays out in court and on the street.
Placeholder Alt Text

Taking Back the Streets x2

Before closing Broadway got her branded a car-hating communist, DOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan was already well on her way to transforming the city's streets. One of the most memorable events--and a sign of things to come--was last year's Summer Streets program, which, for three Saturdays last August, closed off a large swath of Manhattan from the Brooklyn Bridge to 72nd Street, with most of the course running up Park Avenue. (There was also a less publicized closure of Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg.) Never one to stand (or bike) still, Sadik-Khan and the mayor announced today the expansion of the program throughout the summer and across all five boroughs this year. Details after the jump, but first two quick thoughts: Brooklyn, with seven sites, is the obvious winner; and why no Park Avenue this year?
    Bronx
* Bronx Summer Walks – 167th Street between Gerard and Cromwell Avenues, Saturday June 20th, 27th and July 11th, 12 p.m.- 4 p.m., Sponsored by Local Development Corporation of the Bronx.
    Brooklyn
* Williamsburg Walks – Bedford Avenue between North 4th and North 9th Streets, Saturday June 6th, 13th, 20th, and 27th and July 4th and 11th, 12 p.m.- 9 p.m., Sponsored by Neighbors Allied for Good Growth, L Magazine. * Summer Streets on Vanderbilt – Vanderbilt Avenue between Dean Street and Park Place, Sundays in June, 12 p.m.- 5 p.m., Sponsored by Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Coalition. * Summer Plazas, 5th Avenue – 5th Avenue between 48th and 52nd Streets, Sunday July 19th, 26th and August 2nd, 11 a.m.- 6 p.m., Sponsored by Sunset Park BID. * The Sunday Scene on Knickerbocker – Knickerbocker Avenue between Suydam and Starr Streets, Sunday July 19th, 26th and August 2nd, 11 a.m.- 5 p.m., Sponsored by Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council. * Pitkin Saturday Plazas – Pitkin Avenue between Strauss and Thomas Boyland Streets, Saturday September 12th, 19th, and 26th, 11 a.m.- 5 p.m., Sponsored by Pitkin Avenue BID. * Move About Myrtle – Myrtle Avenue between Clinton Street and Emerson Place, Sunday September 6th, 13th, 20th, and 27th, 11 a.m.- 7 p.m., Sponsored by Myrtle Ave Partnership. * Montague Summer Space – Montague Street between Hicks and Clinton Streets, Sunday September 13th, 20th, and 27th, 10 a.m.- 6 p.m., Sponsored by Montague BID.
    Manhattan
* Meet the Street – East 4th Street between Bowery and 2nd Avenue, Saturdays in June, 3 p.m.-8 p.m., Sponsored by Fourth Arts Block. * Stanton Street Summer Sundays – Stanton Street between Allen and Orchard Streets, Sunday August 23rd and 30th and September 6th and 13th, 1 p.m.- 6:30 p.m., Sponsored by Lower East Side BID.
    Queens
* 46th Street Weekend Walks – 46th Street between Queens Boulevard and Greenpoint Avenue, Saturdays in August, 11 a.m.- 8 p.m., Sponsored by Sunnyside Shines BID. * Astoria Water Walk – Shore Boulevard between Astoria Park South and Ditmars Boulevard, Sunday August 9th, 16th, and 23rd, 11 a.m.- 4 p.m., Sponsored by Astoria Park Alliance.
    Staten Island
* Van Duzer Days – Van Duzer Street between Wright and Beach Streets, Saturday August 1st, 8th, 15th, and 22nd, 12 p.m.- 8 p.m., Sponsored by Downtown SI Council.
Placeholder Alt Text

Beautiful Day for a Bike Rack

Last September, the LMDC began installing these fancy Grimshaw-designed contraptions on West Broadway. Their main purpose is to keep storm water from running into subway grates, which is achieved simply enough by raising them 6 inches. To keep people from tripping on them, Grimshaw included a set of benchs and bike racks, so they would be more obvious to even the most hurried or oblivious of New York pedestrians.

According to the LMDC, the last of the 16 Grimshaw gizmos have now been installed, and just in time. While they were plenty quaint during the fall and winter, can you really beat a nice bike ride on a sunny April day? And don't those two look so adorable. Finally, we think, it's safe to say that Spring is here.

Placeholder Alt Text

And the Real Winner Is…

As we mentioned Tuesday, there was some confusion as to who had won the CityRacks Design Competition--held by the city's Department of Transportation, the Cooper-Hewitt, and Transportation Alternatives--given that no official announcement had been made last week. Whether Bustler's report impacted the decision or not may never be known, but it was the "Hoop" (above) and not, as predicted, the "Alien" (after the jump) that carried the day. Ian Mahaffy and Maarten De Greeve of Copenhagen beat out 200 challengers, including 10 finalists, to be named kings of New York City bike racks. In addition to the $10,000 prize they will receive, some 5,000 hoops will be installed throughout the city in the next three years. "The jury was convinced that the Mahaffy and De Greeve design will best meet the City's bike parking needs and generate greater interest in cycling," DOT head Janette Sadik-Khan said in a statement. The competition also honored two designs for indoor bicycle parking, which should come in handy now that the city is advocating a zoning change to require bike garages in new large-scale developments.