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Are There No Bikes on the South or West Sides?

By JoshMogerman in News on Oct 16, 2011 8:00PM

"Bike Lanes Optional" [swanksalot]

Who rides bikes in Chicago? With a doubling of two-wheeled commuters since 2000 in the city, there are clearly more bikers all over town. We can’t help but notice an uptick in pedal pushers around the Chicagoist Bronzeville bureau, yet the area has woeful bike access with weird concrete islands reaching into main thoroughfares like 47th Street.

But if you read today’s Chicago News Cooperative article in the New York Times, it would seem that bikes are unique to the Loop and North Side where the City is spending millions on infrastructure for two-wheelers. One protected bike lane on 18th Street is the only project slated for a lower income neighborhood*. Steven Vance of GridChicago expressed concern about the process to the Coop:

“There’s been zero public outreach on where the bike lanes should go.”
We are fans of the City’s effort to fight congestion by making Chicago bike friendlier. Bike sharing and protected bike lanes are great (and represent a big step up from just painting bike lane lines over miles and miles of street). But as the economy continues to tank, bikes are likely to become even more important transportation options all over the City and the investment should make that option easier for all Chicagoans.

The New York Times offered the following correction related to the story referenced in this post (10/23)

An article last Sunday about Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s $150 million plan to make Chicago “the bike-friendliest city” in the United States incorrectly stated that a protected bike lane to be built on 18th Street is the only biking-related project slated for lower-income areas. Several blocks of another protected bike lane, to be built on Jackson Avenue west of the city’s Loop, and sections of the Bloomingdale Trail, a two-and-a-half-long park to be built on an abandoned rail line from Wicker Park to Humboldt Park, will also be in low-income areas.