One of the strategies in the Bike 2015 Plan is to “establish 2 north-south bikeways and 4 east-west bikeways to and within the Loop by 2010” (see strategy details). No bikeways were built until the Madison Street westbound bikeway in 2011. Photo by Joseph Dennis.
I was frustrated after a short bicycle ride on Lincoln Avenue Saturday night to the Heritage Bicycles party. A long stretch of the bike lane in the 43rd Ward received brand new striping and bicycle symbols last year but there were many “features” on the ride I didn’t appreciate: taxi drivers blocking the bike lane and making sudden u-turns, valets putting traffic cones in the bike lane, a pinch point under the ‘L’ viaduct at Lincoln and Wrightwood (created by the too-long parking lane), a long crack in the pavement where I wanted to ride to avoid the door zone, odd bike lane designs*, and lots of potholes. Dottie wrote about this sorry bike route in August.
I thought, “Doesn’t the Bike 2015 Plan address a lot of the issues present in our street network, and aren’t many of the strategies in there about making cycling a more comfortable experience? What progress is being made on the Bike 2015 Plan’s 153 strategies?”
Determined to know, I created the Bike 2015 Plan Tracker.
A screenshot of Bike 2015 Plan Tracker.
It’s a database that will attempt to document the progress of all of the strategies of the Bike 2015 Plan. These are strategies that a variety of people and agencies are responsible for; no single entity is in charge of implementation. Many of the strategies explicitly name who should do them, but others don’t. Some of the strategies call on the Chicago Bicycle Program, Metra, Chicago Transit Authority, Pace, and the Chicago Police Department, to take part in reaching the goals of the Bike 2015 Plan – reduce injuries, increase the number of trips people make by bike.
Another strategy in the Bike 2015 Plan is to ensure that all buses have bike racks, and that they’re replaced immediately if they break (see strategy details). Photo by David Wilson.
The site has many aims:
- Hold accountable those who are responsible for implementing its strategies and applaud the completion of strategies.
- Make the Bike 2015 Plan easier to browse and search.
- Call the public’s attention to the existence of the plan and its goals, which I believe are well-written and full of good ideas.
The site is a work in progress and it needs your help. Not every strategy may have the right status applied, and the Tracker’s notes may not be accurate. I am asking that those who know email us or leave a comment on the strategy’s details page to ensure that the best information is present. Currently over 50% of the strategies have a status of “unknown“. I will be working on the site and the information in the next few weeks and months to update information and add new features.
One of the longest parts of making the Tracker was copying the objectives and strategies into a database. Because of doing this, I read the entire plan. I was reminded of all the breadth and diversity of the Plan’s strategies, but I also saw the many gaps: strategies that no one had begun working on (to the best of my knowledge), or that were in progress but several years behind (like bike boulevards).
*These include an errant bike lane stripe in the northbound lane at the Children’s Memorial Hospital; a jut in the southbound lane in front of Halligan; and pavement markings that were installed in 2011 with the chevron before the bicycle symbol, when the national traffic manual (MUTCD page 815) shows that the chevron goes after the bicycle symbol.