December 17, 2012

First Of 250 New "Artful" Yerba Buena Bicycle Racks Unveiled


Made of recycled cast iron and sporting tire tread designs, designs which are planned to change every 30 racks, the first 60 of 250 new bike racks to be installed in San Francisco’s Yerba Buena neighborhood over the next few months were unveiled on Friday:


The bike racks which were designed by CMG Landscape Architecture are part of the YBCBD’s Yerba Buena Street Life Plan, a plan that includes more than 30 projects ranging from temporary installations to long-term, large-scale urban design improvements. The first project involved creating six mobile parklets with landscaping and seating that add greenery and places for social interaction.

Other projects in the plan include: public seating; clean energy solar docking stations for public use; improving alleys as social spaces for pedestrians; new dog parks and dog runs; adding decorative lighting to define the district and improve pedestrian safety; artistic crosswalks; and anchoring the district with a redesigned plaza at Moscone Center.

Bringing New Life And Portable "Parkmobile" Gardens To The YBCBD [SocketSite]

First Published: December 17, 2012 11:30 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

As cute as all the bike racks are all over - I find parking meters far more effective for sidewalk parking. Why do we need more street obstructions when meters are already installed and could serve dual purpose? I ride almost daily so have tested out all variations and still find the meters better than any fancy bike rack.

Posted by: Invented at December 17, 2012 11:53 AM

The bike pictured there has 2 U-locks and a wire. 99% of the time, a single U-lock locking the wheel inside the rear frame triangle is plenty enough. There's a balance between security and convenience.

Posted by: lol at December 17, 2012 12:19 PM

being that 1% of the time SUCKS.

Posted by: RonMonster at December 17, 2012 12:34 PM

@Invented; parking meters do not work for locking bikes. All you need do is lift the bike up over the meter. That is why all bike racks are shaped in some form of closed loop.

Posted by: jose at December 17, 2012 1:04 PM

It's also illegal to lock your bike to a parking meter.

Posted by: emanon at December 17, 2012 1:07 PM

Price per unit?

Posted by: fred at December 17, 2012 1:28 PM

Jose, all bikes locked at a meter are done so with a U-Lock, which prevents you from pulling the bike. Try it.

Posted by: lol at December 17, 2012 1:34 PM

It's not illegal to lock your bike to a meter-- SFMTA even posts demonstration photos.

If you use a mini U lock, you can't pull the bike over the meter.

Posted by: Dan at December 17, 2012 1:37 PM

I like the bike racks. It's a real hassle to have to go up to a meter and (happily) enter my money or a credit car to pay for street parking,but I am forced to navigate around a bike (or two) that are wrapped around the meter pole.

Posted by: futurist at December 17, 2012 1:49 PM

Maybe we could create a new entry in bicycle etiquette: when attaching a bike to a meter, put a quarter in it.

Posted by: lol at December 17, 2012 2:00 PM

One subtle feature of these new racks is that unlike racks made from tubular steel, they cannot be cut with a pipe cutter.

I heavily use parking meters myself and have had no problem with theft. SF parking meters have already been retrofitted to defeat pipe cutters. That's what that loose outer pipe does.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at December 17, 2012 2:04 PM

All this is true in general about parking meters vs bike racks... but there is no street parking around the Metreon or Moscone west. Hence, no parking meters, and the need for these bike racks.

Posted by: James at December 17, 2012 2:28 PM

By early spring, what will be the chemical and biological composition of the fluid trapped in those "tire tread" depressions on the top of the rack?

Posted by: redseca2 at December 17, 2012 2:33 PM

This is fantastic news for the city. Absolutely unbelievable.

Posted by: pvc at December 17, 2012 2:46 PM

lol@"forced to navigate around a bike"
Reminds me of those overly-dramatic infomercials.

Posted by: lolcat_94123 at December 17, 2012 3:09 PM

What an artful ... rectangle.

Posted by: SFMichael at December 17, 2012 3:41 PM

Won't some liquid nitrogen and a whack with a hammer shatter the brittle cast iron?

Posted by: djt at December 17, 2012 4:45 PM

Yeah, I was kind of surprised that the material is cited to be something as archaic as cast iron. I kinda doubt that they are actually cast iron but rather steel treated to have a rust finish.

Lets hope these things aren't so easily broken. You don't even need liquid N2 to break cast iron, just a good whack in the right place with a big hammer. Steel on the other hand will treat the hammer wielder to a doozy of a shock-back.

Maybe they should try a test deployment on the corner of 6th and Natoma. Lock a sweet bait bike up, train a webcam on it, and see what the crooks can do.

... or better yet test it out in Berkeley

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at December 17, 2012 4:59 PM

Hipster garbage art

Posted by: paco at December 17, 2012 7:25 PM

This entire city is starting to remind me of the lifecycle of a fetish product.

Like Dwell Magazine, Design Within Reach, SteamPunk, or a million other trendy small obsessions with big costs and miniscule rewards.

That's the whole point of the aesthetic, right?

Post Modern Protestantism manifesting in *Small Plates?*

We are becoming a city for rich, dull, self-absorbed pseudo-people with mucho taste and zero sensibility.

So park your $1000 bike at the $5000 bike rack, people.


The bike lane to hell is paved with Hard French and the SFMTA.

Posted by: Stucco_Sux at December 17, 2012 7:49 PM

I'd like to see bike racks that are really sensibly designed for the modern city that is SF.

This rack, while artful, doesn't really do much in terms of the problems at hand - a ton of bikes that need to be locked up, in an organized and aesthetically attractive way.

Posted by: Schlub at December 17, 2012 10:11 PM

I much prefer the simple, round design that was selected for NYC.
Why did we have to "reinvent the wheel" to speak.

Posted by: jlasf at December 18, 2012 12:06 AM

I'm with @pvc. What an incredible improvement! My God, what next, a new bench somewhere?!

Congrats to all! When is the grand opening?

Posted by: Sabatini at December 18, 2012 8:05 AM

It's only a matter of time before SF Park installs smart meters on these things.

Posted by: joh at December 18, 2012 11:56 AM

Put some parking meters on those bike racks. Stop the freeloading! There is no difference in parking a vehicle on the street or parking a bike on the sidewalk. Both are owned by the public and the users should pay for the use. Canada has bicycle parking meters and SF is even more socialist than Canada......

BTW my friend got towed yesterday Ouch!!!! $600 hundred smackers to get the car out of the pound. And if she had left it there past 7PM Ouch!!! double whammy additional $50 bucks per hour past 7.....

Posted by: Stopfreeloading at December 18, 2012 9:05 PM

Put some parking meters on those bike racks. Stop the freeloading!

That'll never happen, as cyclists are part of THE ENTITLED in this city. They are free to run stop signs, ride on the sidewalk, go against traffic (even on a one-way street), and can conviently switch from road to crosswalk when turning in order to avoid waiting for the signal to change. Cyclists in SF are kind of like that bad guy in Lethal Weapons 2.

I bike commute anywhere from 4 to 8 times per month. It's a nice feeling knowing that I can get away with disobeying traffic laws. "Diplomatic Immunity!"


Posted by: joh at December 19, 2012 1:23 PM

Funny that Stopfreeloading focuses on such a minuscule resource usage as bike parking but no mention of the massive freeloading that motorists enjoy every day.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at December 19, 2012 1:54 PM

@The Milkshake ..."no mention of the massive freeloading that motorists enjoy every day."

Yo dude or dudet...every time a person fills their tank with fuel they pay $0.18 on gas and $o.24 cents on diesel per gallon in TAXS. That's what we call a road use tax. Every year you renew your vehicle license you pay taxes to use the roads. That's what we call a use TAX.

SF now wants to increase the fees for all folks that register their vehicles in the city.

So lets ask the much do bicycle owners pay to use the streets and sidewalks???

Me thinks it's less than $0.00

Posted by: Stopfreeloading at December 19, 2012 6:13 PM

Gasoline taxes don't even come close to covering the cost of the roadways, much less all the other costs.

Posted by: NoeValleyJim at December 19, 2012 9:12 PM

"So lets ask the much do bicycle owners pay to use the streets and sidewalks???"

Part of the (non fuel) taxes I pay go towards roads. As NoeValleyJim mentions fuel taxes aren't anywhere close to adequate to pay for Caltrans and other local road maintainers. The gas tax hasn't been increased for decades yet I think we can all agree that construction and maintenance costs have. Quite a bit.

And while not a government tax, the "free" parking provided by most employers and retailers does have a cost which ultimately is reflected in receipts and paychecks. Yet bicyclists and pedestrians receive no break for not consuming that parking. Actually considering most jurisdictions enforce parking minimums, it is sort of a government tax.

That's just a couple of examples of how motorists are subsidized. There are plenty more.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at December 19, 2012 11:42 PM

MUNI fares "don't even come close" to covering the costs that are subsidized by taxpayers.
The same goes for California High Speed Rail or ANY Callifornia commuter passanger rail.

The Golden Gate Bridge is a different story. My fares paid to cross the bridge are used to subsidize bus and ferry service, which I have no objection too.

Car drivers will be paying the over 600 million in additional costs for a bike lane along the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge. Bike riders will not pay any fare.

Posted by: 94965 at December 20, 2012 4:33 AM

News flash for 94965 - every transportation mode in this country is subsidized, even airlines. Sovereign governments have an interest in making it easy for their citizens can get around.

However some transportation modes are more harmful than others. Can you guess which ones?

And $600M to add a bike lane to the bridge? That number sounds really fishy but it wouldn't be the first time that Caltrans cooked the books to double dip into alternative transportation funds.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at December 20, 2012 7:38 AM

@The Milkshake of Despair

The point is Drivers are paying some amount to use the roads. Drivers are paying some amount to park on the streets.

The point is SF is moving towards higher bicycle use for everyday use and commuting.

The point is Montreal and other socialist prefects charge bicycle riders a fee to park their bikes on the sidewalks, and in some cases public garages.

It would only seem fair that the collective help pay for the commons.

You all seem to embrace the idea of the "all for one" concept here in the socialist republic of SF. Why not help pay for the use of the streets and sidewalks, small as that amount may be?

Or are you better than the rest of us? Me thinks me smells the scent of a Royal, mon bon ami....  

Posted by: Stopfreeloading at December 20, 2012 10:45 AM

Stopfreeloading - I thought that I made it clear that bicyclists already do pay for roads through normal income and other taxes. They even pay for roads that ban cycling like most of the interstate system.

Yeah, I guess you could charge cyclists for their consumption of roads and parking resources. But that charge would need to be proportional to the wear and tear that cause. It would be a fraction of a penny per mile. The cost of collecting that tiny fee would probably exceed the fee itself.

... and while you're at it be sure to charge pedestrians for their use of the sidewalk.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at December 20, 2012 10:50 AM

The bike lane is estimated at 550 MILLION. (My mistake for saying $600 million).
Just google "cost bay bridge bike lane" for dozens of sources and articles. The entire bike lane all the way to San Francisco could exceed 1.4 billion.

San Francisco could not survive without the revenue received from parking tickets for cars btw.

Posted by: 94965 at December 20, 2012 10:56 AM

94965 - I think you're confusing the east(new) and west(old) spans of the Bay Bridge. There's a wide range of estimates for retrofitting the western span to add a bike/ped path : from $190M to the $550M you quote. This project hasn't been funded or planned.

I found one estimate of the incremental cost to add a bike/ped path to the eastern span: $50M. That seems a lot less fishy. From an article published at sfgate:

"The new east span of the bridge, set to open in 2013, will feature a bicycle and pedestrian path, built at a cost of $50 million, but it will end at Yerba Buena Island."

Considering that a simple pedestrian overcrossing spanning a freeway costs about $10M these days, $50M seems like a bargain for a 4 mile long bike/ped path.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at December 20, 2012 11:17 AM

"The joint report by Caltrans and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission concluded that the project was indeed doable but would cost upward of $550 million - or about 2 1/2 times as much as the bike path now under construction as part of the new eastern span from Oakland to Yerba Buena Island

Read more:

Milkshake, at these prices I think bike riders should pay a toll.

Posted by: anonfedup at December 20, 2012 11:54 AM

Ya know what, I would oppose a project that cost $550M to add a bike path to the western span too. That's way too costly. Better to wait for some big project on the western span (a retrofit or replacement) and piggyback onto that as was done for the eastern span.

In the mean time cyclists traveling between SF and Oakland could bike the eastern span to YBI and then ride to either the future ferry to SF or take bus 108 today. Kind of a klunky route but far better than the options available today.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at December 20, 2012 12:01 PM

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