November 2017
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Q: What Can You Sit On, Lock Your Bike To and Prevents Floods?

bike rack subway grate prototype

The new MTA bike rack. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has installed its new prototype bike rack (see left) at 151 West Broadway between Chambers and Leonard streets in Manhattan. Raised above street level this bike rack and bench seating street furniture is also a vent for the subway that has been specially designed to reduce flooding into the underground system. Following its current testing period, this prototype will be replicated at 15 locations in the same vicinity.

Following the large storm of August 8, 2007, in which service on significant portions of the New York City transit system were severely disrupted by flooding, the MTA embarked on several initiatives to prevent similar disruption in the future. Designed by Grimshaw Billings Jackson with Systra/HNTB, these stormwater-flood reducing vents are among the first such measures to be implemented.

The Municipal Art Society was privileged to partner with numerous outside stakeholders including the New York City Department of Transportation, The Public Design Commission and the Landmarks Preservation Commission to ensure that these valuable pieces of street furniture reflect the high design standards the City is seeking for its sidewalk amenities.

bike rack subway grate prototype

“This was an unprededented collaboration for the MTA.” said Elliot G. Sander, MTA Executive Director and CEO.  “By partnering with so many leaders of the design community, we achieved both the highest caliber of design excellence and a much needed functionality to improve the MTA’s ability to serve customers during intense rainstorms.”

Janette Sadik-Khan, NYC Department of Transportation Commisioner said, “Initiatives like this are critical to the continuous functioning of the City, and the fact that this new street furniture does more than double-duty as protection from stormwater by providing seating and bike racks, shows that good design can turn problems into assets.”