Chic shelters designed to revitalize neighborhoods [via The Columbus Dispatch]

Chic shelters designed to revitalize neighborhoods

Advocates of fancier bike racks and bus stops say design matters and good looks are worth the higher cost

By  Robert Vitale
The Columbus Dispatch Monday March 5, 2012 4:54 
The basics aren’t so basic anymore.
Souped-up versions of bike racks, bus stops, highway bridges and other previously seen-but-not-noticed fixtures are going up this spring in Columbus.
They’ll look fancier, be built with better materials and cost more. Paying more upfront sometimes saves money in the long run, officials say. Sometimes, modern design enhances safety.
But advocates for the idea of elevating such utilitarian structures beyond their humdrum histories also argue that looks matter.
“Design is important,” said Cleve Ricksecker, the executive director of the Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District.
Capital Crossroads is a Downtown property-owners group that will use $490,000 in federal economic-stimulus money to install bicycle shelters, lockers, racks and storage rooms from the Franklin County Courthouse to the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
The shelters, designed by architects with artistic flourishes and roofs covered with live plants, won funding through a U.S. Department of Energy initiative to reduce automobile emissions.
Ricksecker said the 294 bike-parking spots will encourage more commuters to pedal to work. Some office towers don’t let employees bring bikes into their buildings...
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