Cast Your Vote for the Milwaukee Avenue Bike Counter Design

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Wicker Park/Bucktown
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Comic Book
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1st Ward
















Here’s a chance to have your say on what Chicago’s newest piece of bike infrastructure will look like.

The real estate company LG Development, in conjunction with the Chicago Department of Transportation, is planning to install a bike counter in front of a transit-oriented development they’re building at 1241 North Milwaukee in Wicker Park. They received three different proposals for the image panels of the counter, a vertical, rectangular device called an Eco-TOTEM, manufactured by the Montreal-based company Eco Counter, and they’ve asked Streetsblog to host the poll to pick the winner

The proposed designs include “Wicker Park/Bucktown” by Transit Tees, “Comic Book” by J. Byrnes from Fourth is King, and “1st Ward” by Clemente High School. You can cast your vote by clicking on one of the buttons below. The poll will be open until Saturday, April 30.

A display at the top of the bike counter will show the number of cyclists who have passed each day. A vertical display will show the total number of bike trips on the stretch for the year. As in other cities, the nearly real-time data will be posted on a website, and CDOT will also have direct access to the info.

An Eco Totem bike counter in Cambridge, MA. Photo: John Greenfield

While we already know that Milwaukee is one of the busiest biking streets in the nation, better quantifying this could help build support for reconfiguring the street in Wicker Park to make it safer for cyclists.

The new building, a stone’s throw from the Blue Line’s Division Station, will include 60 rental units, six of which will be affordable, but only 15 car parking spaces. It will also feature at least 60 indoor, above-ground bicycle parking spaces, which will be accessible from the street via a bike-only ramp. The developer may use some below-ground space to double the number of bike spots. There will also be a pump and a work stand with tools for basic repairs.

The bike counter project, which includes building a curb bump-out to hold the device, will cost $40,000, of which LG Development is paying $30,000, according to LG partner Barry Howard. They have asked the public to chip in the remaining $10,000 via a crowdfunding site, which has raised about $3,100 so far. The goal is to install the bike counter this fall.

  • The middle one reinforces all the negative stereotypes of cyclists and does little to make a bigger tent. The one on the right is way to corporate. The one on the left is just right.

  • Chicagoan

    The comic one, please.

  • Obesa Adipose

    What – no boaty mcboatface? Lame!

  • funkdragon23

    But it’s so incredibly boring. Isn’t the point of the counter to call attention to the prevalence of cyclists sharing Milwaukee Ave. w/ motorists? The middle one fits the bill on that score. And it’s fun to look at. There’s enough uninspiring stuff on the street already, no?

  • disqus_SBxbICDCIX

    I’d rather TOD be forced to pay a potion of blue line expansion since their projects are having such a negative impact on public transportation. They can use all the money they scammed from skipping parking and pay for blue line expansion instead of kickbacks.

  • So we agree the point is to call attention to the prevalence of cyclists. We want motorists attention, not their wrath. You know as well as I anytime we bring up cycling in a meeting filled with motorists the first question is “when are we gonna ticket them for not following the rules!?” So its clear the anti-cyclist sentiment exists amongst them. Therefore, think like a motorist. Which sign speaks to them? We don’t need to speak to cycling advocates or those already on bikes. I could be wrong but we should be asking people other than Streetsblog readers who are already on board.

  • johnaustingreenfield

    We’re just hosting the survey, which is being publicized by the developer and the alderman. But, sure, I guess the fact that you have to read something on Streetsblog in order to vote means that everybody who cast a vote will (technically) be a Streetsblog reader. But if that gets more people plugged into the transportation advocacy scene, that’s a good thing, right?

  • Anything that draws more eyes to Streetsblog is a good thing.

  • JKM13

    The first Ward option, woof.

  • Chicagoan

    People taking the train in droves is a great thing, now the CTA needs to adapt and react.

  • Chicagoan

    Yeah, it’s not great.

  • Let me know when I can expect TOD dollars to actually make the Belmont Blue line stop ADA accessible and to have multiple entrances so you aren’t walking a gauntlet of distracted motorists and the Belmont bus entering its property just to get to the train.

  • Chicagoan

    I didn’t say that the Blue Line is a source of never-ending capacity.

    All I was saying is that it’s great to hear that Blue Line ridership is up. Perhaps adapting and reacting could be securing funds to re-design some Blue Line stations, like the Belmont and Logan Square ones, which are awful. So is all of the TOD development along Milwaukee Avenue a bad thing?

  • I agree it’s great to see ridership up – but we need to be looking at the circulation of people/goods and services more holistically than this century-old preoccupation with the antiquated and obsolete hub and spokes model of feeding into the Loop.

    There’s just a lot of incoherence and inconsistency going on with TOD. I remain steadfast in my belief that all development should be transportation oriented. I would love to see train ridership continue to climb as well – but missing from these discussions is any thought to how many people get to the train by foot vs bus vs bike vs car. Additionally, can people just be honest about the fact that there is a total bait and switch going on here? Reducing parking requirements for new development strikes me as completely justifiable. That would actually help keep new construction more affordable IF the developers would stop only building new construction with expensive finishes and amenities clearly designed only for young, single people. But TOD very quickly went from that discussion to “while we’re reducing parking requirements let’s jack up zoning so we get West Loop density.” And that’s a problem. Because there *is* going to be a ripple effect due to precedent, and these neighborhoods are going to have their historical completely destroyed in the process. Why would anyone restore an older building with historic value if it’s say, 2 stories, when they have every incentive in the world to replace it with a new building with 6? Right now we’re looking at filling in empty lots – but the development pressure will not stop there.

    What seems to driving the proverbial bus now is just the same-old same-old struggle involving developers looking for zoning bumps and additional density, using L stops as a magic bullet to dismiss concerns about neighborhood diversity, affordability, the resiliency of our infrastructure, etc.

    I’m totally on board with upzoning most of Chicago’s arterial streets. But I’d be a lot happier if this was rolled out with a bit more thoughtfulness so we could actually measure the impact before it’s too late to change course. I’d find TOD more palatable in general if Chicago didn’t have such an abysmal record when it comes to historic preservation.

  • Chicagoan

    Is the CTA’s hub-and-spoke design really antiquated and obsolete if Chicago is as monocentric as it is (job center-wise)? I agree in that the CTA should look to move this system beyond funneling worker downtown, which makes the often-discussed Circle Line quite crucial.

    Also, I agree in that Chicago’s historic preservation record isn’t good, but the vast majority of American cities have a poor record as well. I’d consider New York to be America’s star for historic preservation and compared to European cities, they’re record is horrible.

    I think one problem that’s plagued Chicago is this desire to always be at the forefront of everything, even when we’re really not. We lost so much fabulous architecture in the name of modernism (Out with the Federal Building, in with the Federal Center / Out with the Sherman Hotel, in with the Thompson Center). And now, look, we’re trying to tear down the Thompson Center for something new, which makes me beyond glum that we lost the Sherman Hotel in the first place. We need to learn to give architecture a chance to grow up in this city and see if future Chicagoans will appreciate more than we do.

  • It’s also not a new thing that more housing causes more riders. The TOD ordinance is really a return to more traditional, pre-downzoning-era land use policies that accommodated denser housing developments near train stations.

  • Money not spent because they didn’t build something that wasn’t required (and not even being used when it was required) isn’t a “scam”.

  • This is the problem – the assumption that Chicago is monocentric is incorrect and then also becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when it comes to issues such as transportation.

    I can’t quickly find employment info by zip code, but if you look here:

    I think you’ll realize very quickly that the Central Business Area can not possibly be where most of the region’s workers are spending their working hours.

    Reverse commuting is also a thing. The Blue Line can help ease some of that pain, but not much, as very few people are working (O’Hare being a glaring exception for sure) walking distance from those stops out on the far NW side.

    I totally see & agree with your points on architecure for sure, and I could not be a bigger fan of the importance of a Circle Line – although I think that as they move it further and further east it gets decreasingly less functional. Western was already too far east, we should be thinking a lot more visionary and getting that rail line at more like Pulaski or Central.

  • lindsaybanks

    I agree with you, Peter! But we’re outnumbered. :)

  • disqus_SBxbICDCIX

    yes, a VERY bad thing


The “Hipster Highway” Bike Counter Will Soon Be a Thing

Instant gratification is great, when you can get it. Yesterday, I proposed installing a Copenhagen-style bicycle counting device on Milwaukee Avenue, known as “The Hipster Highway” due to its high level of bike traffic. This would help build support for reallocating right-of-way on Milwaukee in Wicker Park to make it safer for cyclists. Today, we got […]