The Steel Yard’s Public Projects department and Workforce Training program, Weld to Work, received $10,000 from the PeopleForBikes Coalition. The grant will support the design, building, and installation of 32 custom ‘OnebyOne’ bike hitches in communities of high need throughout the State of Rhode Island, free of charge. This will be a year-long project that, in addition to employing and training underserved Rhode Islanders, will provide functional and beautiful public art in locations that would not necessarily be able to afford it.
“This is a very exciting project for us,” claims Howie Sneider, Executive Director of the Steel Yard. “Our bike hitches are among the staples of our public community art projects, and we are so pleased to offer them free of charge to communities in need. The funding from this grant really makes the project possible by covering the cost of production and installation of our unique bike racks.”
“As a bicycle commuter myself, I am very aware of the need for safe and sturdy bicycle parking,” says Jennifer Sparks, Client Relations Manager at the Steel Yard. “This project will both encourage bicycling as a viable mode of transportation and expose more people to public art.”
The $10,000 grant is one of seven Community Grants awarded in 2016 by the PeopleForBikes Coalition, a national bike advocacy organization, and foundation. Within the past year, PeopleForBikes has distributed more than $500,000 to non-profits, community bike programs and national advocacy organizations all across the nation.
The Steel Yard is excited to join this national effort while providing durable and original solutions for secure bicycle parking and promoting alternative transportation throughout the state. Since 2004, the Steel Yard’s Public Projects department has partnered with over 40 different communities to create and install over 160 unique public bike racks, ranging in capacity from 2 to 14 bikes. During this time, the Public Projects team developed a sturdy ‘OnebyOne’ bike hitch that has multiple points of contact and gaps for locks, and serves as a great learning project for beginner fabricators and welders.
Weld to Work is a paid job readiness program for low-income community members designed to widen participants’ employable skills and make participants more eligible for a variety of jobs in local industries. With PeopleForBikes support and Public Projects guidance, the Weld to Work participants will create ‘OnebyOne’ bike hitches as part of their week-long training.
This mission-driven project will create jobs and empower artists all while improving neighborhoods. The RI Bike Coalition, the East Coast Greenway Alliance, the Healthy Communities Office of the City of Providence and many others will advise on installation locations across the state- prioritizing locations of high need.