Longtime Bucktown Eatery Club Lucky Promises to Improve Their Bike Parking Situation

Club Lucky. Image: Google Maps
Club Lucky. Image: Google Maps

Back in the early 2000s when I was working at the Chicago Department of Transportation on bike parking matters, I helped amend the city’s bike parking ordinance to explicitly state that it’s legal to lock a bike “upon the sidewalk against a rack, parking meter, or sign pole.” So it’s a pet peeve of mine when businesses and other institutions try to tell cyclists that they’re not allowed to lock to poles on the public way.

That’s what happened in 2014, when the University of Chicago Medical Center installed stickers or placards reading “Not a Bike Rack” on nearly every sign pole and light post on the public way near their campus. After Streetsblog drew attention to the issue, the hospital took down all of these (probably illegal) stickers.

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Photo: “Kale Myers”

So it gave me pause when a Streetsblog reader notified me that Club Lucky, a Bucktown restaurant that has been serving up old-school Italian-American food in a fun Atomic Age setting for nearly three decades, had put similar stickers on the “No Parking” signs for its valet loading zone. The decals read “No Bicycle Lock-up,” with a small disclaimer at the bottom about damage or loss to parked bikes. So I tweeted to Club Lucky via the Streetsblog Twitter account, noting that it’s legal to lock on poles, and asking them to take down the sticker, cc-ing local alderman Scott Waguespack.

Someone from the restaurant, located at 1824 West Wabansia, responded with a series of tweets. “It’s for everyone’s safety, not as a deterrent to ride or park bicycles safely… We always try to do what’s best for everyone and their property. There’s a bike rack kitty-corner to the restaurant (within 100 feet), and we have tons of bicycling guests. Hence the concern — we’ve seen some disappointed faces [and] bent wheels. [Frowny face emoticon.]”

Presumably this damage was due to people carelessly pulling vehicles into the valet zone and striking the cycles, or negligently opening their car doors into the bikes.

It turns out that there is a large “wave” rack that holds six bikes southwest of the restaurant, but it’s actually half a block, 190 feet, away from the eatery, beyond an alley. “Just like valet parking customers, bike riders prefer to exit their vehicle near the front door,” I noted, adding that patrons who bike would have no way to know it’s there unless they were told about it.

The nearest bike rack is 190' away from the restaurant, on the other side of an alley across the street. Image: Google Maps
The nearest bike rack is half a block southwest of the restaurant, on the other side of an alley. Image: Google Maps

The solution would seem to be installing a rack on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant, which would be more convenient and intuitive, but the staffer said CDOT had told them there wasn’t sufficient room for it on the sidewalk. That may be due to the presence of cafe seating — the city requires that a certain amount of right of way be left open for pedestrians.

“If installing a rack in front of the restaurant is not an option, the sticker should at least tell [cyclists] where they can park,” I suggested.

“That’s a great idea!” the restaurant employee responded. “We direct riders all the time… There just isn’t enough city sidewalk (per the city) to [accommodate] a bike rack, but we will investigate another option… We’ll follow up if we can make better bicycle arrangements happen! Again, we try to do the best for everyone and their property. Thanks for an open dialogue! Ride safe all!”

So, it looks like the “No Bicycle Lock-up” stickers aren’t going anywhere soon, but hopefully some more bicycle-friendly solution can be found. We’ll keep you posted.

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Last year, Streetsblog reader Elizabeth Edwards alerted us that just about every sign pole, light post, fence and handrail by University of Chicago Medical Center sported stickers reading “Not a Bike Rack.” This passive-aggressive campaign to keep cycles out of the way of pedestrians was also illegal, since some of these poles were on the public […]