Press Releases

Press Release #08-009

Contact: Seth Solomonow (212) 442-7033

City DOT and Cooper-Hewitt Announce Bike Parking Design Competition

Competition seeks to tap the creative energy of the international design and art communities

New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and Paul Warwick Thompson, Director of Smithsonian's Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum, today announced an international design competition for bike parking in New York City. With support from Google Inc. and Transportation Alternatives, the competition seeks to develop attractive, functional, well-designed sidewalk racks and to generate new concepts for bicycle parking inside commercial and residential buildings. More than $50,000 in honoraria to develop prototype bike racks and $15,000 in prizes will be awarded to the top designs.

“As we seek to promote cycling as a mainstream transportation option, it is imperative that we provide convenient and secure bike parking,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “Working with Cooper-Hewitt, Google Inc. and Transportation Alternatives, we hope this competition develops a new generation of on-street bicycle parking that will be more visually noticeable, artistically designed, and unique to New York City.”

“Cooper-Hewitt is delighted to co-organize the CityRacks design competition,” said Thompson. “We are excited to engage the talents of artists and designers to re-think an important icon of urban living while also promoting more sustainable means of transportation.”

Although bicycle lanes are the most noticeable element of the City's cycling infrastructure, access to parking is also essential. A study conducted by the Department of City Planning found that lack of access to secure bike parking was the primary reason cyclists did not ride to work. The current standard fixture for bicycle parking consists of variations of a fabricated square steel tube called the “CityRack” that is mounted on sidewalks. New York City currently has nearly 4,700 CityRacks within its five boroughs and plans to add at least 500 each year in the foreseeable future (in addition to 37 sheltered bike parking structures).

The CityRack design, however, has been in use for over ten years and does not fulfill its potential to be an icon for New York City cycling. The program for the CityRacks Design Competition encompasses two categories: the Sidewalk Rack and In-Building Parking. Competitors may choose to enter in the Sidewalk Rack category, the In-Building Parking category, or both. The competition is open to the international design community including architects, artists, engineers, landscape architects, planners, urban designers, product and industrial designers, and manufacturers. Multi-disciplinary teams are encouraged to participate.

The City intends to use the winning sidewalk rack as its new standard for bicycle parking and Google may install the in-building facility in its New York City offices. It may also be used by City-owned buildings in the future.

Sidewalk Rack

This fixture should be functionally similar to the current CityRack, that is, sturdy, able to be mass-produced and mounted on sidewalks. Competitors may choose to design a “series” of fixtures in a “family” that has a consistent visual image but allows for variations such as color or the number of bicycles accommodated. Or they may submit just a single type of rack.

The new bus stop shelters, newsstands, sheltered bike parking structures and public toilets serve as an exemplar of what the City seeks in street furniture. The structures share a common design theme, creating a clean, cohesive image on the street. The structures have a light, transparent feel, yet are constructed of high-quality materials meant to withstand the rigors of New York City sidewalks.

This is a two-stage, international design competition. Competitors will submit concept ideas in Stage I. A selection committee will select up to ten competitors who will move to Stage II and receive an honorarium of $5,000 to produce two full-scale prototypes of their design. These prototypes will be exhibited at an opening reception at Cooper-Hewitt in fall 2008 and will then be installed at two locations in the City. The jury will then select first-, second-, and third-place winners. The first-place winner will receive an additional $5,000 prize (In exchange for the prize, the first-place winner will transfer intellectual property rights to the design to the City). DOT then plans to pilot the first-place design at a test location in the City in order to ensure its functionality. DOT may also choose to add other designs from the competition to the City design palette and allow their installation by other entities on public sidewalks.

In-Building Parking Facility

This facility would serve as a place to secure bikes in residential or commercial buildings. Competitors should consider the scarcity and cost of space in New York and design facilities accordingly. The facility need not incorporate a standard rack fixture. To maximize space, competitors may develop alternative security strategies ranging from wall-mounted devices to locker systems.

This is a one-stage, international design competition. Competitors will submit concept ideas, and a jury will select first-, second-, and third-place winners. The first-place winner will then work with Google to install the facility, if feasible, at its New York City headquarters, and receive a $5,000 prize from DOT so that the City and Google may use the design at their own indoor facilities only.

National Design Week

The winning designs will be announced at Cooper-Hewitt during the Museum's third annual National Design Week (October 19-25, 2008), which celebrates the important role that design plays in all aspects of daily life through a series of public programs and a range of online resources for students, teachers, design professionals and the general public.


To register for this competition, submit a completed Online Registration Form at:

Competition Jury

Patricia E. Harris, First Deputy Mayor
Janette Sadik-Khan, Commissioner, New York City Department of Transportation
David Byrne, Musician
Steve Madden, Editor-in-Chief, Bicycling Magazine
Duncan Jackson, Principal of BillingsJacksonDesign (Designer of the Award-winning NYC Bus Shelter)
Ellen Lupton, Curator of Contemporary Design, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum
Google Representative

For further information on the competition please go to: