From a Bethlehem resident’s tribute to the Bethlehem Steel, to a coffee bar designed just for bicyclists, the City of Bethlehem will come alive this summer with seven vibrant, new bike racks installed throughout the SouthSide. The functional yet highly artistic racks were selected from the numerous entries received by the City of Bethlehem and ArtsQuest as part of the Artist Designed Bike Rack Project, a new community arts project designed to bring additional public art to the SouthSide while encouraging people to bike, shop and dine on the SouthSide.
A partnership between the City of Bethlehem and ArtsQuest, the Artist Designed Bike Rack Project will result in seven new bicycle racks strategically located throughout city’s SouthSide to encourage foot and bike traffic throughout the business district. Funding for the project is provided by County of Northampton through the Community Investment Partnership Program (CIPP); an eighth bike rack may be added if an additional bike rack location is identified.
“This bike rack project is integral to the downtown experience on the SouthSide,” says Bethlehem Mayor Bob Donchez. “In addition to enhancing public safety, this project will help to support small business owners and those who use alternative transportation to get around.”
At the corner of Fourth and Vine streets cyclists will be greeted by the “Lehigh Bike Rack Bar,” which comes complete with a counter for placing your laptop, tablet or book while enjoying a cup of java or other refreshing beverage. The innovative design was created by the Lehigh University Design Collective, an ensemble of students from various majors tied to Lehigh’s Department of Art, Architecture and Design and the university’s Wilbur Powerhouse and Design Labs.
Ethan Hahn, whose father, James, worked at the Bethlehem Steel for many years, has also created two bike racks that pay tribute to the industrial giant. Hahn’s “Molten Metal” rack – featuring molten metal flowing from a ladle – will be located at Third and Pierce streets, while his “I-Beam” bike rack design will be installed in the 300 Block of Fourth Street. A resident of Bethlehem, Hahn earned his degree in mechanical engineering from Temple University.
Another winning design is “STACKS,” an orange-hued, SteelStacks-inspired creation by architects Julian Pelekanakis of Catasauqua and Austin McInnis of Bethlehem, representing Spillman Farmer Architects.
“This bike rack project is an wonderful opportunity to bring functional art by local artists to south Bethlehem to really differentiate and enhance the SouthSide Arts District, making it a destination for area residents as well as guests from outside the Valley,” says ArtsQuest Sr. Director of Visual Arts Stacie Brennan. “We thank the City, the artists and the County of Northampton for helping to make this dynamic public art project possible.”
The works selected for the Artist Designed Bike Rack Project were chosen by a jurying committee featuring representatives from the City of Bethlehem, ArtsQuest, Southside Arts District, Bethlehem Fine Arts Commission and the Coalition for Appropriate Transportation. Commissioned artists will receive a stipend of $2,000, intended to provide recognition of their work and financial support for purchasing materials needed to complete their projects. The racks will be completed by June 14 and the City of Bethlehem will start installing them on the SouthSide the week of June 19.
The complete list of seven designs and their locations is as follows:
3rd & New Streets: Spillman-Farmer Architects, “Solar”
3rd & Pierce Streets: Ethan Hahn, “Molten Metal Bike Rack”
4th Street & Broadway: Lehigh University Design Collective, “Ribbon Rack”
4th & New Streets: Lehigh University Design Collective, “Sustainable Meter Rack”
4th & Vine Streets: Lehigh University Design Collective, “Lehigh Bike Rack Bar”
Greenway & Taylor St.: Spillman-Farmer Architects, “STACKS”
300 Block of 4th Street: Ethan Hahn, “I-Beam Bike Rack”
(Parham Park next to Touchstone Theatre)
For more information on the Artist Designed Bike Rack Project, please visit www.bananafactory.org.