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Readers Pick Fourth is King’s Design for the Milwaukee Avenue Bike Counter

Rendering of the winning design on a bike counter. Image: Jay Byrnes, Fourth is King
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Recently a vote was held, and while there were once three candidates now only one remains. No, I’m not talking about Tuesday’s Republican primary. I’m talking about the election we held on Streetsblog Chicago to determine which of a trio of designs will go on the Milwaukee Avenue bike counter

The real estate company LG Development, in conjunction with the Chicago Department of Transportation, is planning to install the bike counter in front of a transit-oriented development they’re building at 1241 North Milwaukee in Wicker Park. They received the 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 asked us to host the poll to pick the winner.

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.

The proposed designs include “Wicker Park/Bucktown” by Transit Tees, a design we called “Comic Book” [actually entitled “Enjoy the Ride”] by Jay Byrnes from design company Fourth is King, and “1st Ward” by Clemente High School. The poll was open from April 19 until April 30.

People seemed to like Byrnes’ colorful, whimsical design. Out of 531 votes cast, Byrnes garnered 326 (61% of the vote). “Wicker Park/Bucktown” got 186 votes (35%), while “1st Ward” got 19 (4%).

The three proposed designs.

Byrnes told me he’s grateful to all the Streetsblog readers who wanted to see his art on the bike counter. “I wanted to capture the energy of bike riding, the feeling I get when riding a bike... the wind in your hair/face on a sunny Chicago day,” he wrote via email. “I hinted at Chicago with the colors -- Chicago flag light blue, red, white.”

He said he thinks the bike counter will raise awareness of the number of cyclists on Milwaukee and encourage more people to try cycling. “When we know how many people are riding, hopefully it will help make Chicago become even more bike-friendly by getting more funding allocated to adding bike lanes, fixing potholes, etc.,” he wrote.

LG's Barry Howard said he was impressed that so many people voted, and he’s pleased with the “Enjoy the Ride” design. “It’s a good fit for the neighborhood, and a good fit for what we’re trying to do here,” he said. The building will include 60 rental units, including six affordable units, but only 15 car parking spaces. Meanwhile it will have at least 60 indoor bike spaces, plus a pump and work stand 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.

Howard said LG is finalizing the details for the surprising complex process of installing the bike counter on the public way. The company had to fill out an economic disclosure form, and Howard hopes that their proposal will go before a City Council committee in the near future. LG plans to install the counter in late summer or early fall, around the time the building is slated to open.

"Kudos to LG Development, which used its transit-oriented development as an opportunity to contribute this bike counter for public use and benefit without using taxpayer dollars," said 1st Ward alderman Joe Moreno in a statement. "Thanks also go out to Clemente High School, Wicker Park Chamber of Commerce, and West Town Chamber of Commerce for soliciting design ideas and engaging our community about picking this design. We're looking forward to the... installation of this bike counter." 

This post is made possible by a grant from the Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices, P.C., a Chicago, Illinois law firm committed to representing pedestrians and cyclists. The content is Streetsblog Chicago's own, and Keating Law Offices neither endorses the content nor exercises any editorial control.

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