Sunday, November 20, 2011

Plan & Ride recap, and Streets for Cycling 2020 kicks off!

It was an enthusiastic crowd at the first Bike Walk Lincoln Park "Plan and Ride" session. Thanks for hosting us, CityGrounds Coffee Bar! (Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park) 

In spite of chilly air and an early start time, we had a great turn out for the Bike Boulevards Plan and Ride event this morning. There was a big range of bicycling skill sets, from very confident cyclists who have ridden in Chicago for decades, to people who rarely ride at all but would like to more often if they were provided safer facilities.

Fifteen of us shared knowledge about bicycle boulevards, which are low-traffic streets that are given various features to make them very calm, safe and friendly for all bicyclists, even if they’re hesitant riders. (Please read more details about them on this previous post.)

(Note that in January 2012, it was announced that in Chicago, these bikeways will be called "neighborhood greenways".)

We then set off to ride on a few streets to see if they might be appropriate to consider as candidates. We rode on parts of Eugenie, Willow, Burling, Orchard, Wrightwood, and Belden. A few comments from the participants during and after the ride:

  • Lincoln Park has a plethora of streets that are already beautiful, tree-lined, and low traffic, that would be great bicycle boulevards.
  • The streets we rode on led directly past public schools and parks, and to shopping areas like North/Kingsbury, Armitage/Halsted and Clark/Diversey.
  • Long, continuous streets like Wrightwood attract relatively heavy car traffic because drivers use them as alternates to Fullerton or Diversey.
  • Very calm, one-way streets like Belden are already very pleasant to ride on.
  • Nearly all the streets need resurfacing work to fix potholes!

We just HAD to stop and talk about the John Henry sculpture at Burling and Armitage. (Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)

If you participated, thanks for coming out. If you couldn’t make it, we missed you, and hope to see you at the next event!


In other exciting news, the Streets For Cycling 2020 Plan officially kicked off last week! The S4C Plan will be the city’s new comprehensive bicycle plan, a vision for all the great changes that will be put in between now and 2020. Chicago Department of Transportation and the consulting/engineering firms it has contracted with to produce the document are actively seeking out input from citizens in ALL neighborhoods of the city. 

Chicago's Streets for Cycling 2020 Plan will include more protected bike lanes, like this one on Kinzie Street just east of the river. (Photo:Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
You can bet that Bike Walk Lincoln Park will be there to provide input and assistance in any way we can! And we hope you join as well. How can you get involved? 

  • Read this one page PDF Fact Sheet from Streets for Cycling to get an overview of their mission.
  • Make sure you “Like” the Facebook page of Chicago Streets for Cycling 2020 to keep up to date on the latest developments. While you’re at it, you should also “Like” the following, to get all the important Chicago bicycle and pedestrian news: Chicago Department of Transportation, Chicago Bicycle Program, and Grid Chicago. (Or you can follow them on Twitter. Or both, if you’re REALLY into it.)
  • Attend the December 10 Streets for Cycling open house event detailed on the Fact Sheet. This will be a hands-on event in which you have the opportunity to draw on huge maps, share your complaints, suggestions, demands, or whatever, directly with the people who will be putting together the Streets for Cycling Plan. We’ll remind you about this event later, but for now just put it on your calendar. There will be additional public events later in the winter.
  • Lincoln Park will be part of the North Side Community for purposes of S4C, you can be an active part of the North Side Community Advisory Group (again, see the Fact Sheet), as will be many members of Bike Walk Lincoln Park.

It’s an exciting time to be a bicyclist or a future bicyclist in Chicago! Stay warm, and stay tuned.


  1. Awesome job you guys!!! Sorry I couldn't make this one. Teresa

  2. Thanks, Teresa. Hope to see you at the next event! -- Michelle Stenzel

  3. Nice post. We love to ride Belden from Racine all the ay to the lake. It is a beautiful riding street perfect for families that we suggest as a great quiet route! From there it's really easy to ride the park and through the Gold Coast into the Loop.

  4. Thanks, Chicargo! It will be fantastic to have a network of these quiet boulevards made safe enough to bicycle with kids, whether they're in a trailer or on their own bikes. And importantly, that the streets will be marked so that it's safe and legal to ride both ways on bikes, so we can ride to the park, and then home again. -- MS

  5. Great write-up Michelle! I enjoyed the meeting and the ride. But I'm not so sure we should be advocating riding bikes against traffic on one-way streets. Here's why...

    A couple of weeks ago I was riding a quiet one-way side-street against traffic and almost was hit. The reason was that a driver on a cross-street, at her stop sign, looked ONLY in the direction she expected cars to becoming from, before accelerating into the intersection...and into ME! No time for me to brake! But I was able to extend my cleated bike shoe out in front of my wheel and bash a nice dent in the side of the car as it went by...which continued down the block and around the corner.

    I don't think little kids could pull that off. And I think drivers will continue to neglect to look both ways for oncoming traffic when crossing streets they well know to be one-way.