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Inga Saffron is the Architecture critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Usually when neighbors and developers lock horns over a project design, things turn ugly and stay ugly. There's a happier ending for One Riverside, a high-rise that Carl Dranoff plans to build on the Schuylkill next to the popular riverfront trail.
The U-shaped steel bike rack is surely the unsung workhorse of urban street furniture. U racks - more accurately, upside-down U's - are so plain, so recessive, you don't really see them until you need one. (And then, invariably, they're full.) U racks are cheap. Their streamlined form takes up very little space. Except in extreme circumstances, they're also indestructible. All that makes them a nearly perfect design.