With the possibility of $5-a-gallon gas looming on the traffic-choked horizon, the timing couldn’t be better for the announcement of a new Pasadena bike transit center. The 1,450-square-foot competition-winning modular bike storage unit designed by Peter Tolkin Projects is scheduled to be installed outside the city’s Gold Line Memorial Station by the beginning of 2009.
“We wanted to try to establish something with iconographic ability that could be used in multiple locations,” said Tolkin about the design of the center, which was inspired in part by the Art Nouveau Metro entrances in Paris. Using steel tubing similar to that used in bike frames, Tolkin created a canopy that swoops above the traditional U-rack locking unit. Polycarbonate panels installed between the tubing create shade and protection from rain. At night, photovoltaic lights installed on top of the structures emit a soft glow for safety and also act as a beacon.
The modules will be fabricated locally using computer-controlled manipulation that bends the tubing into place. Thirteen five-foot-long modules that can each hold four bikes will be fastened together, creating protected storage for 52 bikes. Since the units are extremely lightweight and require no special anchoring hardware, they can be installed like public benches, using an epoxy-secured bolt in a cement slab.
This particular site occupies an old transit right-of-way being leased to the City of Pasadena, and sponsored by a grant from Los Angeles’ Metropolitan Transportation Authority. But Tolkin thinks the unit’s modular flexibility will help to make it adaptable for other stations along the Gold Line. “In our fantasy there’d be a bunch of these at different stations around the city,” said Tolkin, an avid cyclist and biking advocate. “Our practice is interested in more projects that really support this new kind of urbanism and the issues with increasing density.”