Bike Parking Revolution: Brewpub to Get Chicago’s Fifth On-Street Corral

Revolution Brewing will get Chicago's next bike parking corral. Photo by John Greenfield.

On-street bike corrals have many benefits for retail areas. They accommodate a high number of customers and advertise the efficiency of cycling, since one car spot fits up to 12 bikes. Parking bikes in the street frees up space on sidewalks for pedestrians. On-street racks placed at corners improve sight lines and shorten crossing distances for peds. And while motor vehicles often block the view of storefronts, bike corrals make them more visible.

Chicago’s first on-street corral debuted in Wicker Park in 2011. Last year two new corrals opened in Andersonville and one was installed in Pilsen. Recently the Chicago Department of Transportation hired Tony Giron as its bike parking corral program manager, encouraging and coordinating the installation of on-street racks in front of local businesses. Now Revolution Brewing is planning to install Chicago’s fifth corral in front of its Logan Square brewpub, 2323 North Milwaukee, in April or May. According to Giron, the chambers of commerce in Wicker Park and Andersonville want to install additional racks, and he’s also gotten interest from the Flats real estate development in Rogers Park, Metropolis Coffee in Edgewater, Intuit arts center in River West and Simone’s Bar in Pilsen.

Cutting the ribbon
CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein, Wicker Park-Bucktown SSA program manager Eleanor Mayer and 1st Ward Alderman Joe Moreno at the ribbon cutting for Chicago's first on-street bike parking corral. Photo by Steven Vance.

Revolution’s corral will feature ten racks, accommodating 20 bikes, according to owner Josh Deth, who estimates the materials and installation will cost the brewery about $4,000. “Someone recently cut down a tree out front to steal a moped that was locked to it,” he says. “Bikes were locking to it as well, and that’s not a good thing, so it highlights the need for more bike parking.” He’s buying the racks from Saris, based in Madison, Wisconsin, which has supplied fixtures for most of Chicago’s corrals so far.

Deth is still working on the final design, but he’s interested in bookending the racks with planter boxes, which is common in other cities but hasn’t been done here yet. The existing corrals feature branding on either end of the racks, with the names of the neighborhoods laser-cut into endplates. Deth said he probably won’t have Revolution’s star-and-fist logo emblazoned on the racks since CDOT estimates this kind of branding costs at least $700 per rack. “It’s an extra expense and I’m not a big fan of the ‘logofication’ of the world.”

On-street bike rack next the Andersonville "People Spot." Photo courtesy of the Andersonville Development Corporation.

Installing the corral will involve the removal of two metered car spaces, so Deth has been working with Giron and First Ward Alderman Proco “Joe” Moreno’s office to negotiate a space swap with LAZ Parking, the concessionaire for Chicago’s much-reviled parking meter contract. In exchange for the removals, the company will get two metered spots elsewhere in the ward.

Moreno’s assistant Rodolpho De Jesus said the ward has a good relationship with LAZ and the swap should go smoothly, although he added, “The alderman hasn’t been shy about saying that he’s in favor of removing [car] parking if necessary for bike, pedestrian and vehicle safety.” At an Active Transportation Alliance forum in 2011, shortly before Chicago’s first bike corral was installed in his ward, Moreno said he wants protected bike lanes on Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park, which would probably require stripping parking. CDOT is currently considering a similar treatment on a less retail-dense stretch of Milwaukee south of the ward. Asked at the Active Trans event how LAZ would react to the loss of revenue, Moreno responded “F— ‘em.” The crowd of cyclists went wild.

  • Adam Herstein

    Glad to see more of these corrals going in! I always have problems finding place to lock up my bike whenever I go to Rev Brew, and this should definitely help that situation!

    Any idea why there is no standard design for these corrals? The Wicker Park one is a different shape and color than the Andersonville one.

  • The city is not paying for the racks. They are funded by business owners, chambers of commerce, etc., which get to choose the fixtures, as long as they meet city standards.

  • Brian

    The Wicker Park corral was done by Dero Racks out of Minneapolis in 2011. I think it was in many ways a test corral for the city, to prove they could do it, and to figure out best practices. I am not sure what the city’s reasoning was exactly, but last year they helped arrange a partnership with Saris Racks out of Madison, and we ended up being very pleased with the corrals and the service. Our two corrals from last season, and the corral in Pilsen all came from Saris. Now with Revolution’s corral also coming from Saris I imagine things will stay pretty consistent from here on out. We are working with them again for our upcoming corrals and I know others are as well.

  • Brian, what do you mean by a partnership? Was the Andersonville Development Corporation steered towards buying racks from Saris, or did you consider other manufacturers as well?

  • T.G. Crewe

    Great to see the corrals going in, this will certainly generate more business for Revolution as well as other business along the street.

    Side Note… Anyone else find it annoying that LAZ gets to take a spot for spot on the street when it is obvious they are taking more than their fair share already?

  • Brian

    Sorry, it was not an “arranged” partnership (poor choice of words) It was really just an introduction over a cup of coffee last spring. Saris was interested in manufacturing bike corrals and knew the city was looking to install more, so they got in touch with us through the city. After our meeting, they just went above and beyond, service wise, to win us over. I worked with Dero and others to get designs and quotes, but because they were further away and likely larger operations, I don’t think they were capable of being more than just a manufacturer for us. Saris on the other hand went out of their way to build a working relationship with us and we are just kind of suckers for those types of businesses in Andersonville. I think the only thing the city is really concerned with when it comes to where you get your corral, is whether or not it meets their design and material specifications. The Saris racks were very high quality and they met all of the city’s requirements.

  • Adam Herstein

    Annoying, but it’s part of the contract, unfortunately. Otherwise, the city has to pay LAZ for lost revenue.

  • Thanks for the clarification.

  • T.G. Crewe

    Um I think we all know that Captain.

  • I want everyone to be on the same page about LAZ. LAZ is a national parking management company hired by cities and other companies to do that, manage parking. They operate on and off-street parking.

    The City of Chicago has a 75-year lease agreement with Chicago Parking Meters, LLC (CPM), a company headquartered at Morgan Stanley’s office in New York City. This is the company formed by Morgan Stanley and Asian investors. CPM has contracted LAZ to operate the on-street parking in Chicago. It’s CPM – the investors – who are compensated.

  • Erik Swedlund

    Agreed, I have trouble finding a spot to lock my bike in this area. I usually lock up east of California (there’s an always-open city rack next to Citibank).

  • Since adult cyclists are supposed to travel on the street, why are most bike racks on the sidewalk? On-street corrals seem easier to pull into.

  • Lynn Stevens

    Unfortunately, car parking is superior to bike corrals (or bike lanes for that matter) as a real and perceived barrier between pedestrians and car traffic. Additional bike parking is welcome, and bike racks on the parkway part of the sidewalk (between trees) do not obstruct pedestrian paths.

    There’s strong biking culture and advocacy in Logan Square which I favor, but because we are all pedestrians at some point, there’s not a similar walking culture and advocacy looking out for pedestrians.

  • True, a parked car provides a bit more real and perceived protection for pedestrians from moving traffic, but swapping parked cars for corrals now and then is not going to degrade the pedestrian environment – quite the opposite. Especially where there are narrow sidewalks, the corrals are great for eliminating the possibility that parked bikes will hamper peds. And, as noted above, it’s safer to have a bike corral placed near an intersection instead of a parked car because it makes it easier for drivers to see people crossing the street.

  • Kevin M

    Will the corral outside of Revolution Brewing contain racks all year long, or will they be removed during the winter months?

  • Lynn Stevens

    Alas Rev Brew is not at the corner. But even at an intersection, as a pedestrian, I will wait with any perceived barrier between me and a moving car, and the more substantial the barrier the better, e.g. I will choose standing near a fire hydrant over standing near a street sign pole.


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