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The Though Kitchen - Dedicated to Stirring the Pot

Vienna Journal, Part 2: Little Things

Posted by admin | September 20th, 2007 | Filed under Design, Personal Reflection, Who We Are


It can be said that a city’s public transportation system is a window into its heart. New York’s subway is gritty and strained, but far-reaching, democratic and utilitarian. London’s Tube is a mix of history (world’s oldest), functionality (longest in terms of length) and design contributions (the font for the signage was developed in 1916 by Edward Johnston). Vienna’s modern U-Banh is only 30 years old, but its roots go back to 1898. And while it lacks the sweep of larger city’s networks, like the Paris Metro, the little touches around the Vienna system stood out to me. Take this steel ramp on the side of a flight of stairs I encountered. Anyone who’s ever had to carry their bike up a long stairway will appreciate this addition, allowing riders to push their bike up the flight with relative ease, and making the combination of bike and train trips that much more realistic as a transit option. While this may seem like a trivial bit of “design” to some, it stopped me in my tracks, and made me appreciate the person (or persons) who took the time to make sure cyclists were considered in the transit planning process.

5 Responses to “Vienna Journal, Part 2: Little Things”

  • September 21, 2007 at 2:03 pm | James says

    Great idea. In most cases, simplicity is what good design is all about

  • September 21, 2007 at 4:29 pm | Otis says

    Thanks James! I agree, good design is almost always in the details, and it’s refreshing to be reminded of that in unexpected places.

    Just discovered your blog the other day, coincidentally. Love it. Keep up the good work.



  • September 25, 2007 at 8:10 am | gabrielamadeus says

    We’ve got the same “bike troughs” in PDX too. They are pretty worthless unless they are design just right though. A bad example is along the staircase leading up to the burnside bridge from the esplanade. Your pedals hit the railing unless you lean the bike at a 45º angle.

  • September 26, 2007 at 1:31 pm | Greg says


    Though Chicago’s trains are not Bike friendly, I have seen more and more bikes stacked on the front of city busses!

    Love this blog!

  • October 2, 2007 at 3:52 pm | greg says

    Not just the bike rail, but note too the bright yellow markings on the top and bottom stairs making their edges easier to spot — perhaps for persons with visual impairment but surely not just them.

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