“It’s a camel, but what is the point of this?” asked Kee. “Ohhh, it’s a bike rack.”
She was referring to a new red colored bike rack that measures about four feet long, on the corner of 50th Street and University Avenue — a couple blocks east from Euclid Avenue in City Heights.
On January 25, I spoke to Kee, an Urban Corps employee and City Heights resident; she was hanging out at the game tables a few feet away from the bike rack.
“This being a refugee community, it’s [design is] appropriate for the Little East Africa setting,” she said, “it’s kind of creative.”
For now, “only one camel shape bike rack was installed as part of this collaborative project,” said Jose Cervantes from the City Heights Business Association. “The [Dero Bike Racks] vendor does offer several designs, but no other designs were installed.”
On January 20, the City Heights Community Development Corporation posted a Facebook photo of the bike rack after it was just installed.
One resident asked: “Can we get more?” and another said: “Well done. Keep up the great work.” The development-corporation responded: “Yes! Much more to come.”
“I believe it costs around $1,500 [to fabricate] a custom design bike rack,” Cervantes said. “As per installation, we at [the business association] had a contractor doing it [and] the [development corporation] paid for it.”
For Urban Corps, Kee picks up trash in the City Heights neighborhoods; she sees past the bike-rack’s high gloss finish.
“I love City Heights, but I’ve seen a lot of people jacking the Ofo bikes here,” she said. “A lot of them are still around here and people are spray painting them making them their own bikes. We need more on Fairmont Avenue or by the transit plaza (atop the I-15).”
“I’m not aware of any more custom bike racks being installed soon,” Cervantes responded.
Two blocks to the west of us, I noticed a couple of bike-shaped racks between the 7-11 and the Tower Bar.
Last year, volunteers rendezvoused in the same area where Kee and I spoke — for the 50th Street Community Build Day — to pick up trash, build new benches and paint some of the weathered-down surroundings.
“It’s like a facelift for this whole area,” Ahmed Malinomar from the development corporation said on a KPBS report. “We’re going to be painting a landmark for the Somali community [so] that if you’re in this particular corridor …. you [know you] are in a Somali neighborhood.”
“Somalia is believed to be the original home of the domesticated dromedary camel,” states the Fortune of Africa website. “The country has the highest camel population in the world.”