Making Chicago "The City That Bikes"
This spring, the Chicago DOT sent out a remarkable edition of its regular newsletter laying out the City's broad bicycling goals and implementation plan.
CDOT News: Bike 2010 Plan Edition
To measure its success, Chicago will carefully track changes in the number of cyclists and the number of crashes. This will help the City understand if its programs are working or not. In contrast, the City of New York grades itself based on the miles of bike lanes and number of bike racks it installs, indicators that do not necessarily reflect cycling conditions.
Chicago's Ongoing Bicycle Improvements and Outreach
DOT-Led Bicycle Education Tours Since 2000, the Chicago DOT's Bicycle Program has led six two-hour bicycle tours each summer. Now, more people want bike facilities. Attendees vary from DOT engineers and staff to elected officials to community groups, and topics vary from the technical aspects of bike lane design to garnering community support for bicycle projects.
Mayor Daley's Bicycle Ambassadors The five summer Ambassadors attend 200 community events a year where they teach the public about bike safety, sharing the road, bike lane and bike path etiquette and how to bike to work and school. They also help novice bicyclists bike more, fit helmets and per-form bike safety checks. (In NYC, there is enormous public anger against bicyclists riding on sidewalks and disrespecting pedestrians. This saps the support for cycling.)
DOT Bike Parking Program Chicago has already installed 8,000 on-street bike racks (versus 2,000 in NYC) and installed secure parking at twenty-one transit stops. Now the City is working with building owners to build secure bike parking areas for their tenants. Next year, plans are to build a downtown bike station near transit that will have secure bike parking, showers, lockers and bike repair and rental.
DOT Bike Lane Design Guide Developed by the Chicago DOT Bicycle Program and approved by Mayor Daley and DOT Commissioner d'Escoto, the CDOT Bike Lane Design Guide established the safest bike lane standards for the forty most common roadway configurations in Chicago. The design guide makes traffic planning most efficient and greatly reduces internal DOT debate between bike planners and traffic engineers.
Chicago vs. New York
Bike 2010 Plan
The Bike 2010 Plan is Chicago's most recent campaign to achieve Mayor Daley's goal of America's most bicycle-friendly city. The Chicago DOT contracted the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation (a local advocacy group) to seek public input and develop recommendations to make biking safer and encourage more people to ride.