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Bicycling

Almost a Decade After the City Proposed It, West Loop Gets a Bike Station

2:25 PM CDT on October 12, 2015

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Emanuel checks out Bike Park with developer Jeff Shapack. Photo: John Greenfield

Millennium Park’s bike station opened in 2004, with indoor parking for 300 bikes, plus showers and lockers. When the city of Chicago released the Bike 2015 Plan two years later, it recommended establishing another bike station, and mentioned the Ogilvie Transportation Center in the West Loop as a possible location. Not long after that, there was some discussion of including the facility in the OTC’s new Chicago French Market, but that idea never materialized.

Nine years after the 2015 Plan came out, we finally have a bike station of sorts in the West Loop. This morning, Mayor Rahm Emanuel cut the ribbon on Bike Park, a public indoor bike parking facility with showers and lockers, part of the new WeWork coworking space at 210 N. Green Street. The underground facility is located a block east of the Morgan Green Line station, and a ten-minute walk from the OTC.

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Floor-mounted bike racks at the new facility -- each holds two bikes. Photo: John Greenfield

The new bike parking room features floor- and wall-mounted racks with space for 75 cycles, and there’s room expand the space to provide racks for 50 more, according to a WeWork staffer. Just as car parking garages have symbols on each floor to help customers remember where they parking, each section of the room features an icon for a different Chicago sports team. An electric air pump and work stands with tools are available. There are dozens of lockers in the space, plus shower rooms with towel service.

At the opening celebration, WeWork Cofunder Miguel McCluskey said that when his company approached the city about opening in the Fulton Market district, Emanuel asked them to support his vision of making Chicago the most bike-friendly city in America. “We think Bike Park is going to make a difference in this neighborhood, which is already undergoing an incredible transformation,” McCluskey said.

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Wall-mounted racks, which hold two bikes each. Photo: John Greenfield

Emanuel noted that the new facility will compliment the Millennium Park bike station, which gets heavy use from nearby office workers and residents. He added that, along with protected bike lanes and Divvy bike-share, the new facility will help increase the city’s bike mode share and attract young tech workers to Chicago. “So we’re not only encouraging another form of transportation… but it also allows the city to grow economically and to be a tech-friendly city.”

Bike Park memberships, which includes first-come-first-served bike parking plus shower access, cost $50 a month, with a $50 sign-up fee for people who are not members of the coworking space. Assigned lockers cost an additional $25 a month. Bike Park members get key card access to the facility from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., 365 days a year, and the space is monitored by security cameras.

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Bike Park has dozens of assigned lockers available to monthly members. Photo: John Greenfield

By comparison, the Millennium Park station, which was constructed with $3.2 million in public funds and is run by private concessionaire Bike Chicago, currently charges $35 a month for indoor parking and shower access, $199 for an annual membership. Locker rental is an additional $10-16 a month, or $65-100 a year, and there’s a $1 charge each time you use a towel. See more details here.

To sign up for a Bike Park membership, visit the WeWork website.

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