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Translating the CTA ‘L’ train map into bike routes

8:27 PM CST on February 17, 2021

Today I was rummaging around for envelopes to mail copies of my book to Streetsblog Chicago donors (thanks donors!), when I came upon a silkscreen print that I bought at an art fair years ago, but never got around to framing.


I don't know who the artist is, since the poster is only signed with this symbol. But maybe someone who's familiar with them will see this post and shed some light on the subject.

The poster takes the Chicago Transit Authority's 'L' train map and replaces the different branches (within the central city) with bikes routes, most of which are fairly rideable streets. They're not radically different than the proposed "Spoke Route" bike superhighways (dark blue on this map) identified in Chicago's Streets for Cycling 2020 Plan.

First, here a reminder of what the CTA train line routes look like.


And here's the print with bike routes mirroring the 'L' lines.


Below is a breakdown of the bike itineraries, generally heading towards downtown.

Loop 'L' tracks 

    • Kinzie
    • Desplaines
    • Harrison
    • Dearborn

Green Line (East 63rd branch)

    • Cottage Grove
    • 60th

Green Line (Ashland Branch)

    • Wood
    • Garfield

Red Line South

    • King
    • 31st
    • Princeton
    • 29th
    • Canal
    • Archer
    • State
    • 18th
    • Wabash
    • 9th and Plymouth (northbound)

Orange Line

    • 59th
    • Kostner
    • Lawndale
    • Archer

Pink Line / Blue Line (Forest Park Branch) Hybrid

    • Cermak
    • Kostner
    • Archer
    • Ogden
    • California
    • Roosevelt
    • Ogden
    • Jackson

Green Line (Harlem/Lake Branch)

    • Washington (two-way west of Garfield Park)
    • Washington (westbound between Garfield and Union parks)
    • Warren (eastbound between Garfield and Union parks)
    • Randolph (westbound east of Union Park)
    • Washington (eastbound east of Union Park)

Blue Line (O'Hare Brach)

    • Higgins
    • Milwaukee

Brown Line

    • Lawrence
    • Damen
    • Addison
    • Lincoln
    • Wells

Red Line North

    • Clark (that's it)

What do you think of this bike route approximation of the 'L' system? Would you tweak the itineraries to make them more rideable, or make them better approximate the train lines?

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