Mayor Mike Pantelides launched of the city’s new custom-designed bike racks program earlier this month, showcasing the rich maritime heritage of Annapolis.
“This is a creative way to celebrate our city’s heritage in a way that visitors, residents, and those who work in the downtown area can really appreciate,” Mayor Pantelides stated. “It’s a great collaboration between the city, the Annapolis Partnership, and the Arts Council, benefiting bike advocates around the region.”
In 2013, The City of Annapolis received a grant from the Maryland Department of Transportation to design, procure, and install artistic bike racks within the city’s downtown area. MainStreets Annapolis Partnership (now Annapolis Partnership) managed the grant and the completion of this project on behalf of the city.
Since that time, the city has consulted with a number of interested parties including Bike Advocates for Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, the Annapolis Arts in Public Places Commission, the Annapolis Historic Preservation Commission, Annapolis Heritage Commission, and Annapolis Green to determine suitable locations and creative designs for bike rack installations throughout the downtown. As a result of these efforts eleven artistic bike racks were fabricated and installed, showcasing vessels that have a connection to Annapolis’s rich maritime history. This project supports the city’s effort to encourage more bicycling in Annapolis by providing needed bicycle parking options, as well as contributes to the city’s outdoor public art collection.
“Our design for the city’s artistic bike rack system is part function and part Maritime history education,” says Wayne Speight of SPEIGHT Studio Architects, Inc. and the principal designer of the bike racks. Celebrating both the city’s maritime importance and close association with the US Navy and the United States Naval Academy, Speight incorporated a stainless steel silhouette of a significant maritime vessel at each rack location. The bike racks are labeled with a brief narrative which identifies the historic significance of the vessel and its association with the Annapolis area. At several of the locations, both the positive and negative image of the vessel is incorporated in the design.
Because the bike racks are intended for use by recreational cyclists and the many individuals who use this important method of alternative transportation to commute to jobs downtown, it is yet another important way to address limited parking downtown. “If employees can use bikes to get to their jobs, we’ve got yet another parking space freed up for customers,” according to Steve Samaras, President of the Annapolis Partnership. “We were glad to contribute to this project. It’s just another way to showcase how history and the arts can really work together to benefit business in Annapolis.”
The launch event is open to the public and will take place at 10 a.m. at Acton’s Landing Park off of Charles Street. Additionally, the city has created an online map located on the city’s website that identifies the location of each rack and a brief narrative of each vessel. Eleven racks are installed at the following six locations:
- Susan Campbell Park – the USS Constitution, c. 1797
- Foot of Prince George Street – Yacht America. c. 1851
- Newman Street Park – Skipjack, c. 1890s-1993
- Knighton Garage – Trumpy Yacht, c. 1947-1973
- Acton’s Landing Park – USS Maryland, c. 1921
- Outer West Street – USS Annapolis, c. 1992
Funding for this project was provided by the Maryland Department of Transportation’s Bikeways Program with a partial match provided by the Arts Council of Anne Arundel County. For more information visit www.annapolis.gov/artistic-bike-rack-project, or contact Karen Theimer Brown at [email protected].