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Rack ‘Em Up! CDOT Installed 400+ Racks in the Last Month

Photo collage of new bike rack installations. Image: CDOT

It's a rack-stravaganza! After a 27-month period with only 150 Chicago Department of Transportation bike racks installed due to bureaucratic snags and bolt procurement woes, CDOT's installation crews are back in business installing hundreds of parking fixtures, just in time for peak bike season. (Disclosure: I worked for the department arranging bike rack installations in the early 2000s.)

The current bike rack contract, with memorably named installer Speedy Gonzalez Landscaping, includes 4,000 of the standard "inverted U" fixtures, which comfortably hold two bikes each, plus installation. (You can cram more on there if you really need to.) The contract runs through 2021.

Installing a branded rack ion Ashland Avenue in Wicker Park. Photo: SSA #33
Installing a branded rack on Ashland Avenue in Wicker Park. Photo: SSA #33
Installing a branded rack ion Ashland Avenue in Wicker Park. Photo: SSA #33

The contract also includes installations for 450 more branded racks purchased by local Special Service Areas, funded by a special tax levied on businesses within the SSA district. Between February 28 and March 7, crews installed 427 U racks, which was, in fact, fairly speedy. That included 399 of the standard racks and 28 for Wicker Park-Bucktown's SSA#33.

This was the first time the standard racks have had a plain gray galvanized finish, rather than the usual smooth, glossy black powdercoat surface. CDOT officials said they made the switch because galvanized racks are cheaper and lower-maintenance. I feel they're also somewhat less attractive than powdercoated racks, but the newly installed fixtures have a smooth, rather than mottled, galvanized appearance, so they're not as ugly as I expected they'd be. They are, however, somewhat rough to the touch, so use care when locking up to avoid scratching the finish on your bike.

New galvanized racks in North Center. Photo: John Greenfield
New galvanized racks in North Center. Photo: John Greenfield
New galvanized racks in North Center. Photo: John Greenfield

The contract also includes installation for up to 200 on-street bike parking corrals, ideally four in each of the 50 wards. CDOT will be sending an announcement to alderman in April seeking input from them and their constituents on potential locations for new corrals and bike racks. These corrals can provide dozens of bike parking spaces in the same amount of curbside asphalt that a couple of cars would occupy, freeing up sidewalk space for pedestrians.

Four new corrals are slated for installation this spring, including sites by Mitchell Elementary, Dovetail Brewery, Beguile Brewing, and Beans & Bagels cafe. Roughly 25 to 30 more locations for bike corrals are currently pending, with CDOT in the process of surveying those sites.

Bike corral at Cafe Jumping Bean in Pilsen. Photo: CDOT
Bike corral at Cafe Jumping Bean in Pilsen. Photo: CDOT
Bike corral at Cafe Jumping Bean in Pilsen. Photo: CDOT

Below a full list of bike corrals slated for installation, as well as 20 more existing bike corrals. (CDOT says there are at least 22 existing corrals total.) And – good news for Belgian beer fans – the Hopleaf Bar in Andersonville plans to reinstall its corral, which went AWOL all last year due to utility work, on April Fool's Day.

You can request the installation of bike racks or corrals on the city's bike parking request page. 

Bike corrals inventory

Corral LocationCorral AddressType# InstalledYear InstalledStatus
Mitchell Elementary2233 W Ohio StCDOT12019Approved
Install this spring
Dovetail Brewery1800 W Belle Plaine AveCDOT12019Approved
Install this spring
Begyle Brewing1800 W Cuyler AveCDOT12019Approved
Install this spring
Beans & Bagels2601 W Leland AveSSA12019Approved
Install this spring
Flat Iron building1565 N MilwaukeeSSA12011Existing
Recently moved further northwest on Milwuakee
People Spot5226 N ClarkSSA12012Existing
Café Jumping Bean1439 W 18thOwner12012Existing
Revolution Brewing2323 N MilwaukeeOwner22013Existing
Bikram Yoga5715 N ClarkSSA12013Existing
Cheetah Gym5248 N ClarkSSA12013Existing
Coffee Studio1561 W OliveSSA12013Existing
Sofo Tap4923 N ClarkSSA12013Existing
Kitchen Sink1107 W BerwynSSA12013Existing
Metropolis1039 W GranvilleOwner12013Existing
Intuit Gallery756 N MilwaukeeSSA12013Existing
Simone's - Pilsen960 W 18thBusiness Owner12013Existing
Boiler Room2210 N CaliforniaBusiness Owner12013Existing
The Bike Lane2130 N MilwaukeeBusiness Owner12013Existing
On the Route3144 N Lincoln Ave.Business Owner12014Existing
Harding Tavern2732 N MilwaukeeSSA12014Existing
Filament Theatre4046 N Milwaukee AveSSA12015-2016?Existing
Portage TheatreW. Cuyler/ N. MilwaukeeSSA22015-2016?Existing
Corridor Brewery & Provisions3446 N Southport AveBusiness Owner12016?Existing
Fat Cat4840 N BroadwaySSA12014Existing

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