Pete Scales 312.744.0707 | Peter.Scales@cityofchicago.org
As a way to spur local economic development by making it more convenient and inviting for Chicagoans to ride a bike to shop, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) has plans to install more than 25 on-street bicycle parking corrals in various neighborhood business corridors this summer.
“Improving our bicycling facilities is critical to creating the quality of life in Chicago that will attract businesses and families to the city,” said CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein. “Bike corrals make it more convenient and inviting for people to ride a bike to a local business, while making the walking environment of the business district more welcoming by removing bicycles from the sidewalk.”
Bike corrals increase the visibility of bicycling as a transportation choice and show that a business community is ‘bike friendly’ and cares about its customers who ride bicycles. When installed adjacent to sidewalk cafes, corrals provide an additional buffer between people and vehicles.
Two municipal studies conducted in Toronto and San Francisco showed that while motorists may spend more per visit, cyclists tend to visit local merchants more often, are more numerous, and spend more per month.
CDOT is working with businesses and local chambers of commerce who fund the installation of the corrals. Each 10-bike corral costs about $3,300, which includes the rack, installation, shipping, city permits, and delineator posts. A $75 annual public way permit is also required, as is $800 in fees for corrals in snow removal zones to cover the costs of semi-annual removal and reinstallation.
For an additional $700 or more, businesses and organizations can add attractive branding to the bike corrals. Local businesses can add decorative elements that complement the business.
“Bike corrals are a great way of encouraging more people to come to the neighborhood by bike, which is environmentally friendly and eases congestion in our commercial district,” said Brian Bonanno, Sustainability Programs Manager of the Andersonville Development Corporation. “By installing in the street we are also able to free up valuable sidewalk space in our uniquely pedestrian-oriented neighborhood.”
The Chicago Streets for Cycling Plan 2020 sets forth a strategy to achieve Mayor Emanuel’s goal of making Chicago the best big city for bicycling in America. In addition to on-street bike corrals, it calls for a 645-mile network of biking facilities to be in place by 2020 to provide a bicycle accommodation within half-mile of every Chicagoan.
By the end of the month, CDOT plans to have installed bike corrals in the following locations: