Bike Rack Or Bollocks: Nobody Believes This London Streetscape Was Meant As Public Art

Officials in the London borough Haringey claim that a small, much derided piece of streetscape is public art, and nobody believes them.

The piece in question was placed outside the Turnpike Lane Tube station as one part of a comprehensive renewal project for Wood Green Town Centre. It looks exactly like it could be one of those whimsical bike racks that are sprinkled throughout many cities, only less efficient or user-friendly, which is saying something.

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Photo: Matthew Smith, Tottenham & Wood Green Independent

Cyclists have evidently been trying to lock their bikes up here, but with the structures placed so close together, only a handful of bikes can attach at a time. The Twitter account Keep Haringey Tidy got in touch with Haringey Council regarding the apparent bike rack balls-up, and Tweeted out the response:

https://twitter.com/CleanUpHaringey/status/684720155943956480

A Council spokesperson confirmed to the Tottenham & Wood Green Independent:

Following public consultation about making a range of improvements to Wood Green High Road, it was agreed that old bike racks should be recycled to create a decorative feature at this location. This playful art installation comes in addition to a number of new bike stands and better cycling facilities to Haringey, and we remain committed to further cycling improvements to encourage more local people to get on their bikes.

And nobody is buying it.

Time Out collected some of constituents’ grumpiest responses on Twitter, which include, “It’s just embarrassing, isn’t it. *facepalm*” and “Lets all start labelling all of our mistakes at ‘art’ instead of fixing them. ;-)”

And a poll posted by the Haringey Liberal Democrats got the following results:

I checked out some of the documents posted online regarding the Wood Green Town Centre improvement project, to see if I could find anything about an art installation in this spot. The full project plan describes new bike parking in the general vicinity of the streetscape-in-question, with no mention of public art. Weekly project updates – the final one is here, and includes a photograph of the supposed-art already installed – also note the installation of bike stands (without a location), but nothing about public art made from recycled racks.

I emailed the Council a couple of times to ask for clarification, and received no response.

Meanwhile, several news outlets and blogs other than yours truly have jumped all over the story, and seem to hold about the same regard for Haringey Council’s claims as Twitter users do. Headlines include: