CDOT Aims to Install Over 1,000 Bike Parking Spaces in 2014

Harding bike corral
CDOT recently installed this bike corral on Milwaukee Avenue, outside the Harding Tavern. Photo by author.

The new Chicago Department of Transportation bike parking program manager, Kathleen Murphy, described the upcoming summer and fall installation season during the Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Council meeting two weeks ago. She outlined three initiatives that will get over a thousand new bicycle parking spaces installed on sidewalks and roadways.

Murphy is continuing the city’s long-standing program of siting and arranging installation of hundreds of regular Chicago U-racks. This year, she said, the city aims to install 400 new racks, a slight decrease from the 500-600 new racks that were installed in recent years but still a net gain of 800 bike parking spaces.

In-street bike parking corrals, with room for 12 bicycles apiece, will greatly expand across Chicago this year. Murphy pointed to a new bike parking corral that was installed just after the MBAC meeting, outside the Harding Tavern at 2732 N. Milwaukee Avenue in Logan Square. CDOT spokesperson Pete Scales said that it replaced one metered car parking space, which was swapped with a reserve space. Scales also said that the bike parking corral outside Intuit Art Center, on Milwaukee just south of Ogden and Chicago, will return next month after being removed for repaving.

Murphy sais she’s working on getting 15-20 more corrals installed this year. Scales said the corrals near the following sites are in different stages of the application process.

  • On The Route Bicycles in Lakeview, at 3144 N. Lincoln
  • Second City in Old Town, at 1616 N. Wells
  • Fat Cat in Uptown, 4840 N. Broadway
  • Three locations near Six Corners, at 4820 W. Irving Park, 4015 N. Milwaukee, and 4018 N. Cicero
  • Outside several of FLATS Chicago’s residential buildings, mostly in Uptown and Edgewater

Murphy also said she is continuing CDOT’s program of relocating under-used racks. About 200 existing bike racks will be removed, refurbished, and reinstalled in new locations where they’ll see more use.

This summer, Murphy said that CDOT will launch a new website to collect suggestions for new bike rack locations. It will be similar to the Divvy station suggestion map, which was developed by Streetsblog’s parent organization, OpenPlans. Scales said the new website “will be available for public use in a couple of weeks.”

Finally, CDOT is looking for different types and designs of bike parking to be included in the next contract, and Murphy said you can email her with your suggestions.

  • Interesting that a residential landlord has applied for bike parking corrals — I wonder if they’re intended for visitors or for residents? Many of FLATS’ buildings have small apartments (some are former SROs or residential hotels), so I imagine their demographic might prefer to entertain outside, rather than throwing parties at home.

  • Adam

    The orientation of these U locks often has me scratching my head. For example, on a narrow sidewalk being oriented just like the pictured corral, perpendicular to the roadway. When perpendicular, a bike locked parallel to the structure is more likely to impede traffic flow on the sidewalk. My experience is that the racks on sidewalks should be installed parallel to the roadway and bikes locked parallel.

  • There were stickers on some racks showing how to do this:

  • The ones in the on-street corral are diagonal to reduce the overall width taken up by the bikes etc, if they’re properly parked parallel to the U shapes.

  • Pete

    Of course these things will only be placed in the street where they can take up what would otherwise be parking spaces, thus making the streetsbloggers doubly happy.

  • Where 1-4 people could park, 12 can. That’s an increase in capacity for the street, and potential restaurant goers.

  • It’s nigh impossible to force a person to lock a bicycle in any certain way. I consider the U-rack to be the most versatile bike rack design, accommodating bicycles of all shapes and sizes, accommodating rear and front baskets, and fenders. They also allow bicyclists to lock their bicycles parallel or perpendicular based on their preference.

    The *only* way we found to force people to lock bikes in a certain orientation was to do exactly what the corral does: place racks *parallel to each other*.

    CDOT, where I used to work as a bicycle parking assistant, has guidelines in place on how to orient new bicycle parking racks (I did re-oriented existing racks occasionally).

    For the most part, when I was there, any sidewalk 10 feet wide and narrower must have racks installed parallel to the curb. Sidewalks wider than 10 feet could have racks installed parallel or perpendicular. (All of this was always depending on more basic guidelines, like distance to fire hydrants, sewer covers, poles, sidewalk cafés, etc.)

  • JKM13

    The one in Old Town is a necessity, finding a spot to lock your bike can take as long as finding a spot to park many nights.

  • Where sidewalks are tiny and there is a need (hence the need to apply, and to pay the cost of installation), CDOT can repurpose one carlength of parking space to park 10+ bicycles at a time. This is a major win, and declutters the sidewalks (especially if bicyclists used to lock haphazardly to poles, fences, etc, and block the walk width).

  • Mishellie

    If you get on a bike, you can use them too! Join us!

  • High_n_Dry

    Won’t someone PLEEASSEE think about the cars!?!

  • ohsweetnothing

    What do Streetsbloggers think of year-round corrals? What are the pros and cons of keeping these corrals in all winter? Are they incompatible with plowing programs?

    Personally, I really do miss them when they get pulled up for the season.

  • Fred

    To me it makes sense for these to be seasonal capacity expansion that complement the standard sidewalk bike infrastructure. These corrals should not be in place of standard infrastructure, but in addition to. Normal bike facilities should still be nearby for those that do bike all year. I sure hope these aren’t taking the place of proper permanent bike racks.


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