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Chicago moves closer to becoming more bike friendly!

Old 06-13-03, 12:35 PM
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Chicago moves closer to becoming more bike friendly!

I got this news report in my email. I guess they are trying a lot harder here in Chicago, although it's a small step- they could be doing a lot more to give us more accessibility overall and better and more exposure on the streets!

Koffee


Bike depot plan may turn commute into easy ride

By Gary Washburn
Tribune staff reporter
Published June 13, 2003

Mayor Richard Daley, perhaps Chicago's most notable cycling advocate and certainly the one with the most clout, plans to take the city to a new level of bicycle-friendliness with a downtown "bike station."

The station, expected to cost up to $2 million, is being planned for Millennium Park. Cyclists will be able to pedal in, check their bikes, grab a shower, change clothes, have a cup of coffee and go to downtown jobs or run errands, knowing their rides will be there when they return.

Bicycle rentals and repairs also will be offered in the 10,000-square-foot station, to be in the northeast corners of Levels 5 and 6 of the park's garage. The station will accommodate about 400 bikes.

Separately, officials are planning a secure outdoor area next to the garage where up to 300 bikes can be checked during big downtown events, such as Taste of Chicago and music festivals. It would replace the temporary "corrals" now in use.

"This is the most exciting project I've worked on since I came here," said Ben Gomberg, the city's bicycle program coordinator. "Everything is tying together--the lakefront trail, the bike lanes we're putting in and connections with public transit.

"This is another project in realizing the mayor's dream to make Chicago the most bicycle-friendly city in the United States," Gomberg said.

Daley has taken heat for steep cost overruns at Millennium Park, now partly open at Randolph Street and Michigan Avenue. But funding for the bike station comes from the federal government under a program to ease congestion and improve air quality.

The city has received one $950,000 grant and will seek additional funds from the same pot of money to cover the project's entire cost, said Brian Steele, a spokesman for the city's Transportation Department.

"The storage areas will be free, but we are looking into possibly doing some type of charge, perhaps a membership-type arrangement, for use of shower and locker facilities," Steele said.

The city will seek bidders to operate the rental and repair service and, separately, a coffee and juice bar.

The Chicago architectural firm Muller & Muller last month won a $120,000 contract to design the station, to open by next Memorial Day.

Besides serving people who use bikes to get downtown, the station will be available to other commuters, particularly those who arrive at the Metra terminal at Randolph and Michigan and bike the last leg of their routes to North Michigan Avenue, for example, or the West Loop, Gomberg said.

"It is not unreasonable for someone to take the [train] in, pick up the bike they stored overnight, go on their way and at the end of the day drop off the bike and head home."

Other potential users may live in downtown apartments and condominiums without storage space for bicycles.

Downtown visitors who want to ride along the lakefront could use the new station's rental bikes, officials said.

"That's something we think would really work," said Nick Jackson, director of planning for the Chicago Bicycle Federation. "It will be nice to have a [rental] location downtown."

Jackson said bike stations have been used in Europe for years and are in place or planned in U.S. cities such as Denver; Los Angeles; and Berkeley, Long Beach and Palo Alto, Calif.

Bikes have come a long way in Chicago since Daley became mayor in 1989, Jackson said. The mayor is an avid cyclist who sometimes goes for 100-mile rides near his Michigan summer home.

"He has been a huge factor and he has made a big impact," Jackson said.

Hundreds of bike racks have been installed citywide and 75 miles of bike lanes have sprung up on city streets, with 25 more miles planned by next year. Meanwhile, the CTA has outfitted its buses with bike racks and allows bicycles to be brought aboard trains during most of the day.

A public hearing is scheduled for Thursday at the Chicago Cultural Center to discuss the "Bike 2010 Plan," the next phase of citywide improvements.

On Friday, meanwhile, Daley is expected to speak at the annual Bike to Work rally in the Loop even as the city prepares for Sunday's Bike the Drive, a ride sponsored by the bicycle federation that is expected to attract up to 18,000 cyclists. Thanks to Daley, they will have exclusive early-morning use of Lake Shore Drive.
 
Old 06-13-03, 01:42 PM
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WOW - awesome!
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Old 06-13-03, 02:18 PM
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It never hurts to have bicyclists in politically high places! Keep that in mind when you vote, folks.
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Old 06-13-03, 03:25 PM
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I'm impressed. My only concern are the "showers" and who's going to provide security? Even though your getting bike lockers, the crooks will still find a way to break into them.

I've had good results with my Pacific Toy store bike parked in Midtown Mahattan. Seriously. That worthless bike with 3 locks has remained on the same block for almost a month 24/7 and was not hit! Just one flat by some idiot store owner. That's all.

Unfortunately, a person just told me their Cannondale was stolen in 5 minutes even though they used the Kryptonite Chain!

My advice. If your going to use these bike lockers, only store junk bikes inside. No Cannondales Please.
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Old 06-13-03, 03:43 PM
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Before my first trip to Amsterdam, I remember reading that bicycle thefts were so common and all the utilitarian bikes there so alike that if you had your bike stolen, all you had to do was run out into the middle of a crowded street and yell, "HEY THAT'S MY BIKE!" and invariably someone (perhaps more than one) would hand you over a bike.
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Old 06-13-03, 03:53 PM
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I think by paying a membership, they will be able to hire employees, and those employees will provide the security for the showers and bikes. They have a facility right now right next to where the new proposed facilities will be. The current facilities have all that stuff, but it's mainly there for the members who register with the park district for the aerobics classes offered there. I imagine it will be something like what's there right now. You pay a membership fee, and you can come in and get a towel, you put your stuff in a locker (provide your own locks), and take your shower. At the end of the day, you come back over and pick up your bike and go. I think they'll probably have some kind of scannable ID with your picture on it, so you would just scan the card as you enter the facility. I really think this is going to solve a lot of people's problems. Hopefully, they will even start to rent out permenant lockers, so you can leave several days worth of clothing there, and then people won't have to worry about lugging their clothes all over the place.

I'll keep my fingers crossed. Daley's great, but he's not the avid cyclist he desperately wants people to believe- I've never seen him out and about riding his bike (if he has one, cause I haven't seen one), but if he wants to say he is and get all this stuff for cyclists, then hey! Daley's an avid cyclist!

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Old 06-13-03, 03:58 PM
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Originally posted by Koffee Brown

I'll keep my fingers crossed. Daley's great, but he's not the avid cyclist he desperately wants people to believe- I've never seen him out and about riding his bike (if he has one, cause I haven't seen one), but if he wants to say he is and get all this stuff for cyclists, then hey! Daley's an avid cyclist!
I grew up near his old house in Bridgeport and used to see him on his bike. 'course that was 20 years ago.
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Old 06-13-03, 04:23 PM
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20 years is a long time to still call yourself a cyclist if you're not cycling anymore. I should send him an invitation for a ride with me sometime. I bet one ride with me would give him renewed energy towards bike friendly streets! I'd take him from his house all the way to the airport and back, which would be a nice 40 mile ride. He'd see quickly what really needs to be priority.

Hmmmmm. I might just do that.

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Old 06-13-03, 04:24 PM
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Originally posted by Koffee Brown
20 years is a long time to still call yourself a cyclist if you're not cycling anymore. I should send him an invitation for a ride with me sometime. I bet one ride with me would give him renewed energy towards bike friendly streets! I'd take him from his house all the way to the airport and back, which would be a nice 40 mile ride. He'd see quickly what really needs to be priority.

Hmmmmm. I might just do that.
I'd do that if I were you. Heck, if I were in the area I'd ask to join you.
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Old 06-13-03, 08:36 PM
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Originally posted by Koffee Brown
I'll keep my fingers crossed. Daley's great, but he's not the avid cyclist he desperately wants people to believe- I've never seen him out and about riding his bike (if he has one, cause I haven't seen one), but if he wants to say he is and get all this stuff for cyclists, then hey! Daley's an avid cyclist!
It doesn't really matter whether he's an avid cyclist or not, if he's going to instal the kind of thing mentioned above, he'd have my vote. It kind of reminds me of the time Steve Bredhauer (the Queensland transport minister) tried to promote that sh!thouse "$5 million cycling link" between Brisbane and the Gold Coast (which isn't really a cycling link, just a few disjointed paths that no self-respecting transportational cyclist will even consider using). He tried to ride a bike for the cameras as a publicity stunt for it and actually fell off!

OK, I'm digressing here. I think this is an excellent idea. Would you mind if I posted that on the Bike Qld list?
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Old 06-13-03, 08:41 PM
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Koffee: If you go cycling with Daley I'm down to go too! Have you been on the new section of the Lake Front Bike Path up north near Lawrence-ish? It's NICE! So smooth and they are repairing so much of the path. There's a lot of work going on down south by 60th South and on down the south side. I'm excited for when it all gets done (and the detours are finally removed)!
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Old 06-13-03, 08:48 PM
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You guys are making me want to bring my bike with me the next time I visit my parents. I'm just really concerned about flying my bike these days.
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Old 06-13-03, 09:41 PM
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Originally posted by dumpstervegan
Koffee: If you go cycling with Daley I'm down to go too! Have you been on the new section of the Lake Front Bike Path up north near Lawrence-ish? It's NICE! So smooth and they are repairing so much of the path. There's a lot of work going on down south by 60th South and on down the south side. I'm excited for when it all gets done (and the detours are finally removed)!
I do not ride the path. It is horrible in the summer months. They are NOT doing a lot of work on the bike path itself- they just have so little regard for the residents of that area who ride the path, because they took all the dirt from when they redid Lake Shore Drive and threw it up on the path so you can't use it. I seriously think it's a way the city has used to keep the inner city south side folks from easily moving over into the downtown area. Seriously. That really upset me when they dug up LSD and threw it on the path, because it was so easy to access Indiana from the path, and now that it's closed down, I can't get to Indiana easily. That's something I'm definitely going to send the mayor a note about.

Chris, go ahead and use the article. Just make sure you quote who wrote the article. It came from the Chicago Tribune newspaper. I'm not saying the mayor sucks or anything. He always has my vote. I'm just saying he needs to do more, and direct his energies into change that actually means something significant to cyclists. If he rode more, he'd understand what he needs to do a lot better. Heck, he can call himself Lance Armstrong for all I care, as long as he helps us out!
 
Old 06-13-03, 09:44 PM
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Originally posted by Koffee Brown
Heck, he can call himself Lance Armstrong for all I care, as long as he helps us out!
Lance is running for mayor of Chicago?!?! That's it... I'm moving back!
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Old 06-14-03, 05:02 AM
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Hats off to Mayor Daley!
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Old 06-14-03, 07:46 AM
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Appparently, they had a good Bike to Work rally yesterday.... food, entertainment, and speeches galore. Then they raced a hummer through the city to see who'd get to point B first. I didn't see who won, but I'll grab up a newspaper and see what happens.

Sunday is Bike the Drive, and I'm not doing it because I'll be biking the streets for free instead- but they have 18,000 people signed up to bike the entire Lake Shore Drive in the morning hours. I'm not understanding why they did that on Father's day rather than the week before or the week after.

Happy Fathers' Day to all those great dads out there, btw!

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Old 06-15-03, 08:01 PM
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funny, these seem a lot like the proposals William Buckley made when he ran unsuccessfully for mayor of New York City in 1965- Read in: The Unmaking of a Mayor, 1965, William F. Buckley.
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Old 06-15-03, 08:41 PM
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This is an incredibly forward-thinking plan. I hope that it comes to fruition and is kept alive for a long time to come. Shoot! If I still lived in the city, I'd sign up...even if I didn't use the facility, just to keep it going!
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Old 06-15-03, 09:05 PM
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I think it's already in the works. I've been to the construction site, and I can see something big and massive being built there, so I think this is not an "if" it's a "when" kind of thing.

What I hope doesn't happen is that they take advantage and gouge the cyclists with some expensive facility that no one but the most elite of the elite can afford to use- people of all incomes should be able to use this facility if they ride in. If people provide their own towels, and they are just paying for locker useage and showering, it shouldn't cost that much for the city to provide the facility.

I will not ask the city to rip me a new hole just because I'm wanting to keep myself clean when I come into work and help cut down on environmental and overcrowding problems by overcharging me. I'll never be that desperate.
 
Old 06-24-03, 08:20 PM
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Originally posted by Koffee Brown

The city has received one $950,000 grant and will seek additional funds from the same pot of money to cover the project's entire cost, said Brian Steele, a spokesman for the city's Transportation Department.
Hi Koffee,

Sorry to revive an old thread, but would you (or anyone else) know more about what grant this is? I'd love to be able to give that info to a local biking advocacy group here in St. Louis. Perhaps if there is federal money (pork?) to be had maybe we could get some transportation related bike projects going here, rather than solely recreational stuff.

take care,

Steve
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Old 06-24-03, 09:51 PM
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I don't know, but I would contact the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and go from there- they have the deep pockets, and I wouldn't be surprised if this is where the money is coming from.

Go toll roads!
 

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