UPDATE: I forgot to mention in the original post that Rahm gave a press conference on Sunday at Rapid Transit Cycleshop in Wicker Park (the bike shop doesn’t endorse any candidate for mayor). More photos from the event here and here.
Before Sunday, January 30th, 2011, when candidate for Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel released details of his plans for bicycling in Chicago, I was a big fan of Miguel Del Valle (read my earlier posts).
I was excited by what he included and it made me think that someone’s been to New York City recently (or knows someone else who did), or Rahm watched Randy Neufeld talk about ten great ways to make bicycling great in Chicago.
So what does Rahm say? (Specifics in bold.)
- Chicago lags behind many other cities in the rate of new bike lanes each year and providing bike parking in buildings. – Yep, check San Francisco, Portland, and New York City.
- He will build 25 miles of new bike lanes each year and prioritize protected bike lanes. Great, Chicago will finally catch up on this sought-after bikeway over 12 years after one was installed in Davis, California. New York City installed several miles of this (“cycletrack”) in Manhattan in 2008 and continue today.
New York City’s first protected bike lane, or cycletrack, on 9th Avenue in Manhattan’s west side. Will Rahm’s administration install something like this in Chicago before 2015?
- “…initiate a review of [the Bike 2015 Plan's] goals and timelines to identify opportunities to expand the plan and accelerate the pace of implementation.” Right on. This needs to be done so we know our progress.
- “…create a bike lane network that allows every Chicagoan â€“ from kids on their first ride to senior citizens on their way to the grocery store â€“ to feel safe on our streets.” Hey, that’s exactly what Randy said: Make bicycling for everyone, “from 8 to 80.”
- Rahm will have the Bloomingdale Trail open and functional by the end of his term. The abandoned, elevated rail line promises to be an important part of the bikeway network, but also a neat recreational facility.
The Bloomingdale Trail is an elevated railroad viaduct (at 1800 North) running from Lawndale Avenue east to Ashland Avenue (possible to Elston Avenue). It is just under 3 miles of uninterrupted, car-free transportation for people walking and bicycling. Photo by Kasey D.
- Make an ordinance that says buildings with over 200 workers must install indoor bike parking. More than their desire for workplace showers, people who bicycle to work (or are considering it) want a secure place to store their bike for 8+ hours.
- Double the number of on-street bike parking, including in neighborhoods. This is another point Randy made – there must be a place to park one’s bike at home!
There are many opportunities in Chicago to install bike parking for neighbors. Not everyone can fit their bike inside or bring it up to the fifth floor. Bike parking could occupy a section of a wide parkway, or be in the street, providing space for 16 bikes where only 1 car can fit. Photo byÂ Jonathan Maus.
So far, no other candidate for mayor has released such a detailed and specific plan to include bicycles as a part of Chicago’s transportation system.
About Steven Can Plan
I started this blog in 2007 as the writing assignment for an introductory urban planning class at UIC. It's about cities (mainly Chicago), GIS oftentimes, and transportation (mainly bicycling). Learn more about me, Steven Vance. I also write for Streetsblog Chicago.
Steven Can Plan is hosted on Dreamhost.
Chicago Bike Map App
The Chicago Bike Map app is a bike and street map stored entirely in your iOS device – no data connection required. The map is designed to look much like the City of Chicago's official printed and online bike map. The app works on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
Highly Recommended Bike Products
These folding locks are lighter weight and more versatile than an equally strong u-lock.
So far my longest trip was 40 miles on this saddle. It molds to your butt like Birkenstock sandals mold to your feet. The springs make the bike ride a little more comfortable and more fun (weird, because you bounce up and down on them). It also looks gorgeous. Comes in 3 colors - I got black.
Bells can be quite useful, especially to tell people in front that you're passing them. I like the ding-dong bell the best. It makes a solid DING and then DONG on the spring's return.
The Death and Life of Great American Cities (50th Anniversary Edition) (Modern Library) by Jane Jacobs
Making Maps: A Visual Guide to Map Design for GIS by John Krygier PhD, Denis Wood PhD
If you are going to make a map, whether it be hand drawn or digital, you should really give this book a read. Then read it every time you make a map. It will help make sure your maps are laid out sensibly, in a way that others can easily read, and that it doesn't include fluff or unnecessary data.
Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) by Tom Vanderbilt
As someone who doesn't like driving, but believes that cars can be efficient in moving groups of people and goods, this is my favorite book.