Friday, August 10, 2012

Bike parking, CTA service and other suggestions for the Children's site

Dear Alderman Smith,

You have expressed that the redevelopment of the Children’s Memorial site should be environmentally friendly. An important part of making a residential and commercial site sustainable is encouraging people to use bicycles, public transportation, and other sustainable modes of transportation. In order to make those choices as convenient as possible, we suggest the following:


Indoor bicycle parking considerations:

Residents of multi-unit housing need to be given an indoor, secured area where they can lock their bikes overnight or for the season, and know that it is safe from theft.

The site should provide generous amounts of secure indoor bicycle parking that can be accessed with relative ease from the street.

Outdoor bicycle parking considerations:

The new site is planned to have 85,000 square feet of commercial space, including potentially a large health club facility, in addition to restaurants, coffee shops and retail outlets. This will attract multitudes of visitors daily, in addition to employees of the business. 
 We think residents and visitors to the redeveloped Children's Memorial site would love a covered bike shelter like this one in Portland, Oregon. (Photo via CC by Flickr user Thomas Le Ngo)
In order to encourage employees and patrons to ride bicycles to the site, there should be plenty of well-placed outdoor bike racks near all the entrances/exits of the development, in particular near the retail areas and the planned health club.

Lincoln Avenue and Halsted Street are already busy bicycle corridors, and both are slated under the city’s Streets for Cycling 2020 plan to receive upgrades, which will encourage even more people on bikes. Therefore, the Lincoln Avenue side of the site in particular should have visible, well-placed bicycle parking to encourage people to stop and shop.

The outdoor bike racks on site could be simply the U-shaped racks that are installed by the city’s bicycle program; however, we challenge the developers to truly show a commitment to bicycling by designing and installing a unique outdoor covered bike parking area that reflects the architectural style of the complex as a whole. 


Bike Share planning:

The city’s extensive bike share system will be in place in 2013, and will undoubtedly become a popular mode of transportation for Chicagoans to reach that “last mile” when traveling to local destinations.

CDOT plans to place bike share stations at the sites of dense living/working/commercial activity like the new CMH development. 

We suggest that the CMH designers plan ahead to allocate space for a potential station. One solar-powered station with 15 docks is 40’ long and 6’ wide, and needs at least two hours of direct sunlight per day.

CTA bus access:

The new site will provide good north-south and northwest/southeast bus service due to the #8 Halsted bus and the #11 Lincoln bus lines. Residents, employees and visitors who wish to travel west by bus can take the #74 Fullerton bus.

However, residents and visitors who wish to take the bus east to reach the zoo/Nature Museum/Lakefront Trail area one mile away will not have that option if changes aren’t implemented, because the Fullerton bus line ends its eastbound service at Halsted.

We recommend that you work with the CTA to extend the #74 Fullerton bus service as far east as possible. One good option is extending it to Cannon Drive, where the bus could turn around at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.


Car Share planning:

Car share programs are exploding in popularity as more Chicagoans realize that owning a car in the city is expensive and unnecessary.

We recommend that a number of the 761 parking spots planned for the site are specifically set aside for use by car share programs like I-Go and Zipcar.

Electric vehicle infrastructure:

Electric and hybrid vehicles are increasingly popular, and their use should be encouraged in lieu of those with internal combustion engines. 

The CMH site’s parking garage should include infrastructure that allows residents to conveniently recharge vehicle batteries.

We would be happy to discuss any of these issues further, and thank you for considering our suggestions.  


Michelle Kairies Stenzel
Michael Reynolds

Bike Walk Lincoln Park


  1. I really do believe that 761 parking spaces on Lincoln and Fullerton is ridiculous. You already have bus transit access via Fullerton, Halsted, and Lincoln with the Red Line not far away. Sure, accommodate some car sharing, but I think that is about it. Deck parking is in the neighborhood of $25-40,000 per space. Given that CMH land is very valuable, I'm guessing parking is on the higher end of that range. Let's accommodate people, not cars.

    1. Yes, 761 does seem generous, but I assume that it's what complies with the city's requirements for parking minimums. We'll really know we're making progress in Chicago when we move away from minimum requirements and establish maximum limits, as is being done elsewhere. Thanks for the comment! -- M.S.