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Which Chicago Neighborhoods Are the Most Bikeable?

1:16 PM CDT on May 14, 2013

Earlier this week, the people at Walk Score updated its rankings of America's most bikeable cities, and Chicago came in at number 10. In addition, they released a city-by-city list of the most bikeable neighborhoods.

You can see Chicago's top bikeable neighborhoods as rated by Walk Score in the map above. (Eight "neighborhoods" listed in the WalkScore spreadsheet didn't have matching areas in the neighborhood map data from Chicago and are therefore not shown on the map.) Here's their ranking of the top ten Chicago neighborhoods for biking:

    1. East Ukrainian Village: 89.3
    2. Ukrainian Village: 87
    3. Wicker Park: 86.8
    4. Illinois Medical District: 86.5
    5. Noble Square: 86.1
    6. East Pilsen: 85.9
    7. Margate Park: 84.2
    8. West Loop Gate: 84
    9. Sheridan Park: 83.7
    10. Fulton River District: 83.4

Anything on the list surprise you? I think not having Logan Square is the big upset, coming in at number 58, but it only has bike lanes on Palmer and Milwaukee for less than 1.5 miles! I wouldn't have picked up on Illinois Medical District having a high BikeScore. When I re-read the factors Walk Score considers, it was still a head-scratcher:

Bike Score measures whether a location is good for biking on a scale from 0 - 100 based on four equally weighted components:

  • Bike lanes
  • Hills
  • Destinations and road connectivity
  • Bike commuting mode share
Bike Girl

The Illinois Medical District is very flat, yes, has three bike lanes (Roosevelt, Damen, and Taylor) but lacks a variety of destinations and amenities, and has a low population. It must then have a very high bike commuting mode share (calculated by where people live, not where they go). However, it seems that BikeScore may consider a shared lane marking as a bike lane: Ogden has sharrows that may have influenced the neighborhood's ranking.

What do you think of the neighborhood ranking?

Updated 19:38 to remove neighborhoods 11-20 at WalkScore's request. 

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