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

Photo collage of new bike rack installations. Image: CDOT
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

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

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

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 Location Corral Address Type # Installed Year Installed Status
Mitchell Elementary 2233 W Ohio St CDOT 1 2019 Approved
Install this spring
Dovetail Brewery 1800 W Belle Plaine Ave CDOT 1 2019 Approved
Install this spring
Begyle Brewing 1800 W Cuyler Ave CDOT 1 2019 Approved
Install this spring
Beans & Bagels 2601 W Leland Ave SSA 1 2019 Approved
Install this spring
Flat Iron building 1565 N Milwaukee SSA 1 2011 Existing
Recently moved further northwest on Milwuakee
People Spot 5226 N Clark SSA 1 2012 Existing
Café Jumping Bean 1439 W 18th Owner 1 2012 Existing
Revolution Brewing 2323 N Milwaukee Owner 2 2013 Existing
Bikram Yoga 5715 N Clark SSA 1 2013 Existing
Cheetah Gym 5248 N Clark SSA 1 2013 Existing
Coffee Studio 1561 W Olive SSA 1 2013 Existing
Sofo Tap 4923 N Clark SSA 1 2013 Existing
Kitchen Sink 1107 W Berwyn SSA 1 2013 Existing
Metropolis 1039 W Granville Owner 1 2013 Existing
Intuit Gallery 756 N Milwaukee SSA 1 2013 Existing
Simone’s – Pilsen 960 W 18th Business Owner 1 2013 Existing
Boiler Room 2210 N California Business Owner 1 2013 Existing
The Bike Lane 2130 N Milwaukee Business Owner 1 2013 Existing
On the Route 3144 N Lincoln Ave. Business Owner 1 2014 Existing
Harding Tavern 2732 N Milwaukee SSA 1 2014 Existing
Filament Theatre 4046 N Milwaukee Ave SSA 1 2015-2016? Existing
Portage Theatre W. Cuyler/ N. Milwaukee SSA 2 2015-2016? Existing
Corridor Brewery & Provisions 3446 N Southport Ave Business Owner 1 2016? Existing
Fat Cat 4840 N Broadway SSA 1 2014 Existing


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

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 […]