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Bike parking for more than 40 bicycles at the 57th Street entrance to the 55th-56th-57th Street Metra station. 

CDOT installed in March and April  a combination of regular u-racks and double deck bike racks at six CTA and Metra stations around the city and will hold a press conference at the 95th Red Line station today at noon. The coolest part of the project, in my humble opinion, is that I got to analyze and recommend the stations that would receive new bike parking. The bike racks are installed at the following stations, all sheltered, from north to south:

  • Howard Red Line – Rogers Park – Double deck
  • Loyola Red Line – Rogers Park – Double deck
  • Clybourn Metra – Bucktown – U-racks
  • Western Orange Line – Brighton Park – Double deck
  • 55th-56th-57th Street Metra – Hyde Park – U-racks
  • 95th Red Line – Roseland/Longwood Manor – Double deck

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Covered bike parking between the two Metra lines at the Clybourn station. 

One of the projects I was responsible for during my three years at the Department of Transportation’s Bicycle Program was finding good locations to receive high-capacity bike parking. I didn’t make recommendations for which bike rack type or quantity would be installed at the stations. My recommendations included all of the above except the Clybourn Metra station, at which a bike parking project was already underway. These installations comprise what is essentially the second phase of a project that brought high-capacity bike parking to four CTA stations in 2008 (Damen Blue, Jefferson Park Blue, Midway Orange, and Sox/35th Red), bringing to ten the total number of stations with a good quantity of bike parking.

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Double deck bike racks to hold 18 bicycles at the Western Orange Line station took the place of a single wave rack that could only hold 6-8 bicycles. 

The other two stations I recommended in my analysis, Logan Square Blue Line and Ravenswood Metra, remain unconstructed. The Ravenswood Metra station is being replaced and I’m not aware of plans for more bike parking at the Logan Square Blue Line station except for what the Bike Walk Logan Square group proposed.

The double deck racks from Dero (in Minneapolis) are much like the Josta racks at the Millennium Park Bike Station. The key difference is that the Josta racks have a hydraulic assist and the Dero racks have a spring assist. The current double deck racks differ from phase 1 station installations in 2008 by having mechanical assistance; the previous model, from a different manufacturer, was very difficult to load a bike into and then lock to.

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Photo of the Loyola Red Line station bike racks by Erik Swedlund.

I wrote about my methodology in analyzing stations, and posted additional details, on Steven Can Plan. For example, my recommendation for the Loyola station bike rack location was rightfully ignored: it’s inside when I wrote that it could be outside. The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) provided CDOT a $375,000 ICE grant, or “Innovation, Coordination, and Enhancement”, a program to make investments that integrate modes across the RTA service boards (Pace, Metra, CTA).

Updated 9:38 to clarify my role in recommending stations as I didn’t make the final selections. Updated May 4, 2012, to add funding source.

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  • Kingdufus

    I always like it when they ignore you.

    • http://www.stevevance.net/ Steven Vance

      Maybe “ignore” was the wrong word. They reviewed my recommendation and made an alternative choice.

  • http://gridchicago.com John Greenfield

    Wow, the new covered parking at the Clybourn Metra station looks classy. Should be a more secure place to park than the many racks on Armitage, where I’m told thieves will pick parts off bikes, since it will have more foot traffic going past it.

  • Guest

    Thanks CDOT!  

    Though Metra should have bike lockers as part of their station design standards.  Leaving your bike for 8 plus hours a day is greater exposure to the elements and part stealing thieves.  I feel for the suburban folk you leave their bikes in those lonely Metra commuter parking lots.  

    Rain does not always fall from directly overhead, but who would expect an architect to acknowledge that?!

    Good effort and good looking!

    • http://www.stevevance.net/ Steven Vance

      I think the roof of the Clybourn station could be closer to people’s heights.
      As for bike lockers, this is an interesting conversation. There are a lot of disadvantages and advantages to using bike lockers. For example, one advantage is that the bike is very secure. A disadvantage is the costs of administering the contracts and keys for users. BikeLink is a possible solution to some of the many logistical/administrative disadvantages of bike lockers.
      I wrote about BikeLink in 2010: http://www.stevencanplan.com/2010/update-on-bikelink-electronic-bike-lockers/

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  • emperorcezar

    I would love to see racks inside the Metra LaSalle St. station. It has a huge area and no where to lock up a bike. Though bike share will remove the usefulness of having a bike downtown.

    • http://www.stevevance.net/ Steven Vance

      You can lock up on the ground level at the intermodal area (by Federal Place and Congress Parkway). http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesbondsv/6480759627/

      • emperorcezar

        Technically yes, but that area is uncovered with low visibility. To me that has little difference than street parking.

        • http://www.stevevance.net/ Steven Vance

          It has a lot of visibility from the street, and along the route where people would be biking to the station.
          I think there’s a lot of room on the platform level and it’s something Metra should consider.

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