Located on Calhoun, Wayne streets to create appeal for pedestrians, cyclists
Mayor Tom Henry officially unveiled some of downtown's newest features Monday with the recent installation of additional seating and bike racks on Calhoun and Wayne streets.
Six Bubble Chairs, by the noted designer Philippe Starck, and a bicycle rack that looks like spring are in front of the Fort Wayne-Allen County Convention and Visitors Bureau. A bike rack in the shape of a bicycle is on Wayne Street just east of Toscani Pizzeria.
“These whimsical elements add some visual fun, while also providing needed space to park bikes and take a seat. They are part of the City's ongoing efforts to make downtown an engaging place for residents and visitors alike,” said Mayor Tom Henry.
With an increased use of bicycles downtown, the City listened to business owners who are seeing patrons and employees looking for a place to park and secure bikes. The bright green spring-style bike rack on Calhoun Street looks like sculpture when not in use, but also provides space for more than half a dozen bicycles. The bicycle-shaped rack on Wayne Street provides space for two bikes, while its profile fits on a tight sidewalk.
The stylized polyethylene seats, made by Kartell, are an inviting alternative to the traditional park bench for seating. Starck's designs are seen worldwide, and now in downtown Fort Wayne. Located in front of the Convention and Visitors Bureau's visitors center and across from the Hilton hotel, the whimsical chairs create an outdoor “living room.”
Another element of these blocks of Calhoun Street is the LED light display embedded into the sidewalk. The lights, sprinkled across the concrete, operate with a computer program in the evenings to flash and fade in a seasonally appropriate spectrum of colors. Because they are LEDs, the display uses a fraction of the electricity of its incandescent counterparts. The LEDs have been in use since this spring.
The funding for these projects came from money committed to downtown improvements and implementation of the Downtown Blueprint including the downtown bond and Civic Center TIF funding.