Roll on up: Cyclists will soon be able to park bicycles at 10 new pelican-themed racks

Marlisa Harding

Streets in Southwest Louisiana will soon see a face-lift thanks to a donation from the Quality of Life Task Force of the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance. Ten bright teal bicycle racks, adorned with pelicans, will be distributed throughout the community in areas with high-commuter cyclists.

Care Help of Sulphur was the first business to be outfitted with the new racks followed by The Salvation Army of Lake Charles.

Amanda White, Alliance vice president of communications and special projects, said the remaining racks will be likewise located in areas with high bicycle traffic and/or bicycle lanes.

“We’ve got bike lanes that will be popping up between the city and parish. People will need a safe place to put their bikes,” she said.

The team is also working to expand the project regionally to surrounding parishes, she said. “We’re really hoping this is just the first wave.”

The new racks were a collaborative effort from public and private donors including Sowela Technical Community College, Polaris Engineering, Louisiana Healthy Communities Coalition, Lake Area Equipment and Gophr.

After the racks were purchased by the Louisiana Healthy Communities Coalition, White said it was a “no brainer” to bring Sowela in on the project.

Erik Jessen, graphic arts instructor, and his classes developed the racks’ end caps.

“We started working up different ideas based on Louisiana culture, environments or animals. Really, anything that can be symbolism of our area and can double as a cool bike rack.”

Once the idea of a pelican was decided upon, Polaris Engineering volunteered to donate and cut the metal designs. The pelicans were then welded onto the racks by Sowela’s welding department and then powder-coated at Lake Area Equipment.

Finally, Gophr delivered the racks to spots.

“And that’s why we chose teal,” White said. “It’s not any particular organization’s bike rack, it’s for the community by the community.”

Additional bicycle racks are dependent upon donations to the Quality of Life fund at the Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana. To donate visit, www.foundationswla.org/life-fund.””

Ten bright teal bicycle racks, adorned with pelicans, are being distributed throughout the community.

Rick Hickman

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