Bike facilities don’t have to be “the white lanes of gentrification”


The new buffered bike lanes, still under construction, in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood.

[Update: on Friday 5/11 The Puerto Rican Cultural Center’s Jose Lopez provided his organization’s perspective on the Paseo Boricua bike lanes. Click here to read Lopez’s comments.]

Bicycling doesn’t discriminate. It’s good for people of all ethnicities and income levels because it’s a cheap, convenient, healthy way to get around, and a positive activity for youth and families. So it’s a shame that cycling, especially for transportation, is often seen as something that only privileged white people would want to do. And it’s unfortunate when proposals to add bike facilities in low-income communities of color, which would be beneficial to the people who live there, are viewed as something forced on the community by outsiders.

Continue reading Bike facilities don’t have to be “the white lanes of gentrification”

Quickly: Mia Birk responds to allegations of “tainted” bike sharing process


Mia Birk speaks to guests at the Active Transportation Alliance gala and fundraiser on October 13, 2011. Photo by Kelley Ryan. 


Alta Bicycle Share is a subsidiary of Alta Planning + Design, an engineering consultancy whose president, Mia Birk, is the former bike program manager for the City of Portland. Birk, who’s also a principal of Alta Bicycle Share, responded to Squire’s allegations over the weekend. She says there’s no substance behind Squire’s allegations whatsoever.

In a statement to BikePortland, Birk wrote that her company won the bid “fair and square”:

“Alta Bicycle Share, Inc. competed fair and square in a highly competitive process. We are honored to have been selected based on our qualifications and experience launching and operating bike share systems in Melbourne, Arlington VA, Washington, DC, and Boston. At this time, we are focused on contract negotiations and launch preparation to bring Chicago a world-class bike share system in support of the City’s goals.”

Read the full article or our coverage of bike sharing in Chicago.

Chicago announces bike sharing vendor (updated)


Cycling on a Capital BikeShare in  Washington, D.C. Photo by Michael Jantzen. 

Updated 11:18: The press release is now online. I’ve been trying to pay attention to the City Council live video feed and transcript, but I’m not sure if they’ve discussed the proposed ordinance yet.

Alta Bicycle Share and Public Bike System Co. were just announced on the Chicago Tribune’s website as the Chicago bike sharing operator and equipment vendor, respectively. From John Hilkevitch:

City Hall estimates the total capital and start-up costs at $21 million, adding that $18 million will be covered by federal funding aimed at improving air quality and easing traffic congestion [CMAQ] and the remaining $3 million will be provided by the city.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is set to introduce an ordinance at Wednesday’s City Council meeting seeking aldermanic approval to enter into an agreement with Alta Bicycle Share, officials said.

The losing entries were offered by Bike Chicago [also known as Bike and Roll] and its equipment provider, B-Cycle; and I-GO and its equipment providers, Tracetel and Schwinn, officials said.

Continue reading Chicago announces bike sharing vendor (updated)