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47th Ward bike drive kicks off today in conjunction with the Leland Slow Street reopening

The Leland Slow Street last year. Photo: John Greenfield

Judging from the radio silence from the Chicago Department of Transportation on the issue, it's looking increasingly unlikely that the Leland Avenue Neighborhood Greenway is actually going to be constructed this year as originally planned. Hopefully we'll get a definite answer from CDOT by the end of the week.

The greenway, between Clark and the river in the 47th Ward (it’s already designated as a greenway east of Clark in the 46th),will include contraflow bike lanes on one-way segments of the street to legalize two-way cycling. The project will also include bump-outs and bike-friendly speed humps.

On the bright side, the popular Leland Slow Street is slated for reinstallation today. On Slow Streets (the city calls them "Shared Streets,") through traffic is banned and local traffic is calmed with barricades and traffic barrels to enable safe biking and pedestrian activity in the street. Although last year the Leland Slow Street ran from the Chicago River to Sheffield Avenue, for starters this year the Slow Street will only be installed east of Lincoln Avenue.

Today CDOT launched a survey where residents across the city can weigh in on where they'd like to see Slow Streets.

Logo for the 47th Ward bike drive.
Logo for the 47th Ward bike drive.
Logo for the 47th Ward bike drive.

In conjunction with the Leland Slow Street reopening, the 47th Ward is hosting a youth bike donation drive from now through June 25, to help ensure that as many Chicago young people as possible can enjoy the benefits of biking this summer. Bikes of all sizes can be dropped off at the ward office, 4243 N. Lincoln Ave., on weekdays between 9 a.m and 5 p.m. Ward volunteers have the ability to make basic repairs to bikes (flat fixes, simple tune-ups etc.), so bikes may be dropped off in good-to-fair condition.

The ward is accepting and prioritizing requests from families whose children attend a 47th Ward school. Families can request bikes for their children using this form. If the ward is able to match a child with a bike, we will reach out directly to the family using the contact information they provided in the form.

Bike that are not needed for children who attend local schools will be donated to nonprofit bike shops and bike education programs in other parts of the city. The ward has reached out to a handful of these organizations, and have confirmation from at least one that they'll participate. The list of nonprofits will be once finalized, but the goal is to have one more North Side bike shop and one organization from the South or West sides.

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