Bike counts are important to businesses and in evaluating our progress


Alyson Fletcher counts cyclists on 18th Street. 

The need for knowing how many people are cycling in Chicago should be obvious: to plan a good bikeway network that considers where people are already cycling; and to track the progress of the Bike 2015 Plan and other related plans. There are multiple needs to count cyclists in Chicago, for civic planning, academic research, and business promotion. On Tuesday morning and afternoon last week, volunteers at several downtown Chicago intersections were armed with pencil and paper to count people cycling (towards downtown in the morning, away from in the afternoon).

The City’s bike count program is now getting into a groove of consistent and periodic tabulating after a time of sporadic counts in different locations (mostly for single facility analysis). A good bike count program is permanent, counting people at the same times on a regular basis at the same location. The new program, which started in 2011, will count cyclists at the same places in downtown Chicago, at the same time each month. Not only can the City use this information to plan a network (and hopefully more bikeways in the Loop), but it can be used to track the impact of bikeways and cyclists on ridership and traffic, respectively. Continue reading Bike counts are important to businesses and in evaluating our progress

An outsider’s Chicago bike itineraries


Photo by Alan Scott Walker

This guest post was submitted by Tim Eyre, who crosses the country frequently for his job as a manager with Extra Space Storage. Eyre is a cycling enthusiast and he’s found that exploring the cities he visits via bicycle is a good way to connect with and learn about the communities he visits. He offers the following bike route suggestions for visitors to Chicago, but locals may find them interesting as well.

Chicagoans, don’t take what you have for granted. My weekdays are spent on the road, and it’s sheer grace that I discovered bicycling to keep me sane a few years back. Wherever I’m working, I can always find an escape by cruising the town on two-wheels. As any cyclist knows, the disconnect between the observer and the community that car travel creates quickly fades away when you’re self-propelled and out in the open air. Neighborhoods come alive, and we actually meet other people.

Of all the cities I regularly ride in, Chicago may be the best. The 18.5-mile Lakefront Trail is obviously the heart of this city’s bike scene, and understandably chock-full of locals and visitors like myself taking in the view. Recently, however, I’ve been branching out, taking advantage of the city’s interactive bike map, a tool that urbanites in other metropolises across the globe would drool over. If you’ve never checked it out, it details roads with existing bike lanes, shared lanes, and recommended routes.

With a little pre-planning and my GPS-equipped phone in my pocket, I’ve been discovering new favorite rides across Chicago, from Bucktown to Little Italy. Whether you’ve got an hour after work or a full day to explore, here’s my outsider’s suggestions for a perfect ride.

Continue reading An outsider’s Chicago bike itineraries

Active Trans proposes a ciclovía on Milwaukee Ave. Will City Hall help out?


Active Trans’ Open Streets Manager Julia Kim

Last week bike-friendly 1st Ward Alderman Proco “Joe” Moreno hosted an Active Transportation Alliance member social at the Fifty/50 bar in Ukrainian Village. In addition to presentations by other Active Trans staffers about the city’s Streets for Cycling initiative and bus rapid transit pilot, Julia Kim gave an update on this year’s plans for staging “ciclovia” car-free events.

As Grid Chicago readers know, the ciclovia (Spanish for “bike path”) movement started in Bogotá, Colombia, decades ago, with that city shutting down a network of roads to car traffic to allow citizens to stroll, jog, bike, dance and hang out, encouraging healthy recreation, social interaction and commerce. Nowadays Bogotá holds a ciclovia every weekend on a 70-mile network, drawing millions of participants. Continue reading Active Trans proposes a ciclovía on Milwaukee Ave. Will City Hall help out?

Grid Shots: Skateboarding in the streets edition

Skateboarding is a very sustainable transportation mode, although probably not as efficient as cycling. We still recommend it. I had already published many of my photos featuring people skateboarding, but I wanted to show pictures from other photographers in Chicago. I searched through my Flickr contacts for “skateboarding” and found over 1,100 photos – awesome. One of the photos was this guy skateboarding in Washington, D.C., holding two bicycle wheels. Perhaps delivering them to a friend, or to a bike shop to be fixed.

Read to the end to see our upcoming Grid Shots photo themes, all suggested by contributor Michelle of Bike Walk Lincoln Park. I’m posting these now so you can get your ready photos ready and onto our Flickr group.


Photo of two people crossing the street, one on his skateboard, the other carrying hers, by Mike Travis. Continue reading Grid Shots: Skateboarding in the streets edition

Let’s get a bike counter in Chicago


A bike counter is a nice way of saying, “Hey, the city values you for riding your bike”. It’s currently 1°C at 9:21 AM on January 10, 2011, in Copenhagen, Denmark. So far today, 2,142 people have biked past this counter (only in this direction, westbound). 43,504 have biked past in 2011 (again, westbound) and it’s only the 10th day of the year.

Marisa Paulson at The Northwest Passage* writes about last week’s public meeting for Park 567 at Milwaukee Avenue and Leavitt Avenue in Wicker Park. “Park 567” is a proposed access point for the Bloomingdale Trail. I really like what one of the project organizers said in response to respecting the history of Milwaukee Avenue (I guess very recent history).
Continue reading Let’s get a bike counter in Chicago

“Momentum Wild” honors local cycling

[flickr]photo:6010825826[/flickr]Artist Brian Morgan with “Major Taylor”

Three friends cruise around the Humboldt Park lagoon on Schwinns, hauling freshly caught trout and a sixer of beer. Muscular messengers on fixies sprint down the street with jaws set in fierce resolve. Members of the Windy City Scorchers, an old-time racing team, zoom around a wooden track. An elderly tamale vendor pedals a box bike with ape hanger bars under a blazing sun.


These are some of the icons of Chicago bicycling that artist Brian Morgan celebrates in his show Momentum Wild: The Art of Urban Cycling currently at Jackson Junge Gallery, 1389 N. Milwaukee. Many of the painting in the show were inspired by real people Morgan witnessed on the streets of our city. The artist says he wanted to capture a sense of desperation, but also determination, on the cyclists’ faces as they cope with the challenges of riding in the sometimes-hostile urban environment.

Continue reading “Momentum Wild” honors local cycling