Making a bustling city more bike-friendly can be a good way to cut down on traffic and congestion. But while introducing dedicated bicycle lanes to existing roads can be an expensive upgrade, adding more bike racks shouldn’t be, which is why cyclists in Quebec City, Quebec, are miffed that the city is adding just seven of them at a cost of $165,000 CDN. That comes out to about $18,000 USD each.
Two years ago, the city commissioned designers to create a unique bike rack that was not only functional, but also an aesthetically-pleasing addition to Quebec City’s historic neighborhoods. As the CBC reports, of the 18 submissions received, two were selected as finalists: Québec à vélo, a wood and metal design by Para-Sol, and ABCyclette by Hatem+D Architecture, which uses the rack’s metal tubing to spell out the names of local landmarks.
Each firm received $30,000 CDN for the full rights to their respective designs, and to produce a single prototype, but the money didn’t stop there. Four semi-finalists were awarded $10,000 CDN each for their contributions, five jury members were paid $2,000 CDN for their assistance, and $35,000 CDN has been allocated to produce five racks based on whichever rack is selected as the winner of the contest. And because this is Canada, an additional $20,000 CDN was claimed by taxes.
Industrial design doesn’t come cheap, and creating something that balances form and function often requires input from experienced and talented designers. But the CBC crunched the numbers and calculated that the new racks will essentially each cost the city $2,950 CDN per bike spot—which is undoubtedly far more expensive than most of the bikes that will get locked up on them. Even if you think most bike racks are eyesores, they’re still better than staring at a street jammed with angry, honking motorists. And for $165,000 CDN, Quebec City could have done much more to accommodate cyclists.