CTA Commits to Providing “An Equal or Great Number of Racks” at 95th Station

The existing bike racks at the 95th Street station. Photo: John Greenfield
The existing bike racks at the 95th Street station. Photo: John Greenfield

Thanks to discussion of the issue on The Chainlink social networking site and coverage on Streetsblog, the CTA is promising to ensure that there’s no net loss of bike parking as part of the 95th Street Red Line station reconstruction.

Last week a Roseland resident named Jane posted on The Chainlink about her difficulties getting a straight answer from the city about how much and what kind of bike parking will be provided at the new station. Eventually local alderman Anthony Beale’s office told her that there were plans for eight U-shaped bike racks (capacity 16 bikes) installed under a canopy at the new bus terminal south of 95th Street.

However, that alone would represent a major downgrade in capacity and security, since there are currently double-decker racks with space for 32 bikes located inside the turnstiles, right next to a small Chicago Police office. When I asked the CTA about the subject, I was told there would also be some bike parking at the northern terminal, but wasn’t given details about the location, capacity, or type of fixture. I reported on the issue on Streetsblog on Monday.

This morning the CTA board member Kevin Irvine brought up the topic at the transit authority’s monthly board meeting. [Big thanks to Streetsblog reader and competitive ‘L’ rider Jack Brandtman for providing video of the hearing below — parking discussion starts around 1:19:15.] “There was a Streetsblog Chicago article this week… wondering about the number of bike securement stations there’ll be at the 95th Street station,” he said. “There was concern that there’d be fewer than currently and that currently they’re in heavy use.” Irvine asked if there were numbers on how many racks there would be after the rehab.

The question was fielded by Chris Bushell, a CTA vice president for infrastructure who was instrumental in getting a bike room installed in the basement of City Hall in the early 2000s. I helped manage that project in my role as the city’s bike parking coordinator at the time, and I also know Bushell from other aspects of the local cycling scene.

“We’re certainly working closely with that community and we’ll do everything we can to provide an equal or greater number of racks there,” Bushell said. “So however much I like Mr. Greenfield and that particular media outlet… I think concerns about this issue are unfounded and we’re certainly willing to work with the community groups that are interested out there. Everyone has to write a story occasionally, but this one we’re on top of.”

While I appreciate Bushell’s kind words, this type of issue is a actually a major reason why Streetsblog Chicago exists, to get city officials on the record committing to ensure that all transportation projects take into account the needs of pedestrians, transit users, and cyclists. But the fact that the 95th Street parking issue is on the radar of a CTA executive who has pushed for bike accommodations in the past is a good sign that there will be an adequate number of rack in a good location at the new station.

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