Bikeways News

Dearborn protected bike lane named America’s best

Dearborn protected bike lane named America’s best

Nearly one year after the Dearborn Street protected bike lane’s opening in the Loop, the national advocacy group People for Bikes announced it as their pick for the top protected lane in the country on their Green Lane Project blog. 

In addition to the on-street markings, People for Bikes praised the bike traffic signals on Dearborn that have increased traffic light compliance from 31 to 81 percent for people biking.

The Dearborn Street protected bike lane

Active Trans advocated for the Dearborn protected bike lane throughout the approval and construction process. Active Trans' Neighborhood Bikeways Campaign organized aldermanic support and circulated a petition signed by nearly 4,700 people in support of the Dearborn project.

Also on the People for Bikes top 10 list was the Milwaukee Avenue bike lane, coming in at number seven in the country.

Keep tabs on the Dearborn lane’s celebration on its Twitter page, and keep riding in these great bikeways right here in Chicago!

Petition: keep biking free — say "no" to bike registration fee

Petition: keep biking free — say "no" to bike registration fee

We want more people riding bikes in Chicago, not fewer.

Requiring Chicagoans who ride bikes to pay an annual fee, as recently proposed by a member of the city council, would result in fewer people taking advantage of a healthy, green and cheap transportation option.

That's why we are asking you to sign our petition opposing bike registration fees in Chicago.

Our city faces many challenges, including a gaping hole in our budget. When it comes to saving money, though, cycling is a part of the solution, not the problem.

Cycling’s benefits include lowering road maintenance costs, reducing air pollution and traffic congestion, combatting obesity and enhancing public health, and increasing Chicago’s livability and its desirability to employers.

Furthermore, a city-wide program to require people who ride bikes to pay a registration fee would be impractical and likely cost more to administer than it would generate in revenue.

After a year of great progress in our efforts to make Chicago the most bike-friendly city in the U.S., now is not the time for us to turn back.

Please stand with us in opposing the bike registration fee proposal by signing our petition and sharing it with your friends and family.

The Dutch take on Chicago’s Streets: Free events Sept. 26 & 27

The Dutch take on Chicago’s Streets: Free events Sept. 26 & 27

Don’t miss two free events on Sept. 26 & 27 that will bring Dutch cycling to Chicago!

A delegation of Dutch transportation experts is coming to town, bringing lessons learned from the most bike-friendly nation in the world to help develop innovative design concepts for better Chicago bikeways.

It’s part of a two-day workshop and idea exchange with Chicago officials and stakeholders called ThinkBike. The ThinkBike workshop will begin with a public kick-off presentation showcasing cycling in the Netherlands and Chicago, and will end with a report-out presentation sharing design solutions for two Chicago streets developed in the workshop.

The presentations are free and open to the public, but space is limited and registration is required. Learn more and register. 

The ThinkBike workshop is sponsored by the Royal Netherlands Embassy in cooperation with the Dutch Cycling Embassy, and with support from the Chicago Department of Transportation and the Active Transportation Alliance.

Volunteers needed for downtown Chicago and Evanston bike counts

Volunteers needed for downtown Chicago and Evanston bike counts

Help document the need for innovative bicycle infrastructure in Chicago and Evanston! Both the Chicago Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) Complete Streets Program and the City of Evanston need volunteers to participate in upcoming bike counts. Please consider volunteering during one or more of the following times:


  • Tue., Sept. 24, 7 - 9 a.m.
  • Tue., Sept. 24, 4 – 6 p.m.
  • Sat., Sept. 28, noon – 2 p.m.


  • Mon., Oct. 7, 7 - 9 a.m.
  • Mon., Oct. 7, 3 - 5 p.m.
  • Thur., Oct. 10, 7 - 9 a.m.
  • Thur., Oct. 10, 3 - 5 p.m.
  • Sat., Oct. 12, 10 a.m. - Noon

Volunteers will help track ridership levels, demographic data and document the demand for bike facilities.

To volunteer, contact Dave Smith, CDOT bikeways planner, at or 312.742.7620.

Residents share ideas for improving Clark St.

Residents share ideas for improving Clark St.

Last month the Active Transportation Alliance partnered with 43rd Ward Alderman Michele Smith and the neighborhood group Bike Walk Lincoln Park to conduct a streetside community workshop of North Clark Street between West North Avenue and West Armitage Avenue.

Having heard from several residents, park goers, and local businesses that the current design of Clark Street makes people feel unsafe while walking and biking and even driving, we set out to gather community consensus on the specific problems of this half-mile stretch of road and generate creative solutions supported by the community.

More than forty community members and stakeholders participated in the workshop. We discussed what’s wrong with Clark today, including problematic intersections, fast moving traffic, and a street design that mixes different types of traffic.

Participants were encouraged to imagine their own solutions to these problems as well. Some of the ideas for improvement included:

  • Encouraging cars to slow down with traffic calming measures like narrowing the street
  • Redesigning problematic intersections with improved pedestrian crossings and signage for motorists
  • Improving biking conditions by adding a safe place on the road for bikes
  • Improving transit accomodations by giving the bus its own lane or providing extra space for passengers while they wait
  • Enforcing existing traffic laws for everyone who uses the road

Here's a description of the results of the community meeting (PDF).

It’s clear that the Lincoln Park community is interested in making big changes to Clark between North Ave. and Armitage Ave. Active Trans will share more detailed comments from workshop participants and community stakeholders with the city’s planners and continue to work with CDOT to see that plans for this street reflect the needs of the community.

No plans have been made to change Clark St. yet, so there’s a great opportunity to advocate for changes supported by the community.

Interested in staying involved in this process? Let us know! Active Trans, Bike Walk Lincoln Park and Alderman Smith’s office will continue to work together to see that your ideas are represented in a new, safe Clark St.

Building a safer Vincennes Ave.

Building a safer Vincennes Ave.

As part of Active Trans' Neighborhood Bikeways Campaign, staff from the organization recently visited the Friends of the Major Taylor Trail group to talk about changes that would make Vincennes Avenue a safer street for everyone.

Since Vincennes between 85th and 103rd Streets is currently being resurfaced by the Chicago Department of Transportation, we told group members that it's a good time to ask for bike and pedestrian improvements to the street.

When asked their top three safety issues for Vincennes, group members listed 

     1. People driving dangerously fast on the length of the street
     2. Unsafe crossings at churches, schools and Metra stations
     3. A few key intersections that are dangerous for people on foot, on bikes and in cars

Recognizing that the street would be a great bike route if it wasn’t so scary, group members asked that the city consider adding a protected bike lane to the plans. 

Several members of the group agreed that a strong, permanent barrier between bikes and cars would be an important addition.

A bike lane separated from car traffic with concrete barriers would have several benefits, the group noted. It would make it safer to bike and it would narrow the street to slow down traffic, making the street easier to cross at the many churches and schools along the route.

Some street crossings on Vincennes provide access to Metra stations, but due to the speed of the street traffic, the timing of the lights and the complicated intersections, accessing transit is difficult and sometimes unsafe.

Finally, the group agreed unanimously that it would like to expand the project a bit to include two more troubling intersections: 83rd Street on the north and 105th Street on the south.

Not all important stakeholders along Vincennes could make it to the meeting. Active Trans will continue working with the Major Taylor Trail group and others as the project moves forward.

Photo above shows members of the Friends of the Major Taylor Trail discussing how to make Vincennes safer and more inviting.  

Ride celebrates new protected bike lane in 3rd Ward

Ride celebrates new protected bike lane in 3rd Ward

To celebrate the new protected bike lane on 31st St. in Bronzeville, 3rd Ward Alderman Pat Dowell and the Active Transportation Alliance recently organized a community bike ride. Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined the ride as the guest of honor.

Some participants of the recent 3rd Ward Bike Ride, including Mayor Emanuel (right of center), Ald. Dowell (left of center) and Active Trans executive director Ron Burke (left of Dowell). 

For the 4-mile ride, Bike and Roll and Divvy provided free bike rentals, and Blackstone Bicycle Works, a bike shop in Woodlawn, provided free bike maintenance. 

After her trip to Copenhagen, Denmark last summer, Ald. Dowell developed a strong interest in boosting the number of people riding bikes in her ward.

As part of that strategy, she wants to see more protected bike lanes in her ward and ensure that residents in the ward have access to Divvy.

In addition to the new protected bike lane on 31st St., here are some other exciting developments happening in the ward.

  • Blackstone Bicycle Works has been offering “pop up” bike repair stations.
  • A local group called Bronzeville Bikes has been hosting a series of community bike rides and is working to enlist bike-friendly businesses in the community.
  • Black Metropolis Convention & Tourism Council is working to get a bike co-op started in Bronzeville.

Help Bring Protected Bike Lanes to Uptown: Please Attend Public Meeting 7/31

Help Bring Protected Bike Lanes to Uptown: Please Attend Public Meeting 7/31

If you want to make Broadway Ave in Uptown better forbiking and walking, then you won’t want to miss 46th Ward Alderman James Cappleman’s upcoming public meeting to discuss planned biking and pedestrian improvements to this busy northside corridor.

City transportation officials will review exciting plans to bring enhancements like protected bike lanes that will help calm traffic and make the corridor more people friendly.

What: 46th Ward Complete Streets Community Meeting
When: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 7:00-8:00 p.m.
Where: Weiss Memorial Hospital, 4646 N Marine Dr, (In the auditorium accessed from the main drive off Marine)

Let us know if you plan on attending – please RSVP here.

Please come out and voice your support for making Broadway safer and better for everyone!

Click here to let us know if you plan on stopping by and we’ll send you a reminder.

Photo courtesty of Flickr user swanksalot.

Share your thoughts about statewide bike plan on Tuesday, July 9

Share your thoughts about statewide bike plan on Tuesday, July 9

Do you wish there were more safe streets for cycling in Illinois? We certainly do. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is looking for feedback on its first statewide Bike Transportation Plan, and an upcoming public meeting on Tue., July 9, is a great place for you to share what’s needed to make biking safer and easier for you. 

Please consider telling IDOT that while protected bike lanes may not work on every state route, they need to be included in IDOT’s toolbox of solutions for making streets safer, rather than being prohibited outright.

Despite the success of local protected bike lanes and national studies showing that protected bike lanes boost safety, IDOT continues to ban construction of protected bike lanes on roads it controls until more data is gathered. This negatively impacts the ability of Chicago and the suburbs to provide safe streets for cycling.

The Illinois Bike Transportation Plan aims to guide future policy decisions and infrastructure improvements to make cycling a safer, more convenient and more accessible transportation option for Illinoisans.

Topics covered in the plan will include bicycling-related planning and policy, funding, bicycling safety, design and maintenance. It will also include information about a regional biking network, implementation and prioritization guidelines for bike paths and lanes, state bicycling performance measures, education, outreach and enforcement.

Chicago Public Meeting
Tuesday, July 9
6:30-8 p.m.
Thompson Center, Concourse Level Assembly Hall
100 W. Randolph Street

Live outside the Chicago region? Public meetings will be held in other areas of the state as well.

Can’t attend the meeting? Illinois residents will be able to provide feedback through an online survey launching soon at Or join IDOT for an online, interactive webinar on July 30, 6:30-8:00 p.m. RSVP for the webinar. 

Volunteers needed for downtown Chicago bike count July 23 and 27

Volunteers needed for downtown Chicago bike count July 23 and 27

Help raise awareness of bike issues by documenting the demand for more bikeways in Chicago!

The Chicago Department of Transportation's Complete Streets Program is recruiting volunteers to help with the Summer 2013 Downtown Bike Count during one or more of the following times:

  • Tue., July 23, 7 a.m. – 9 a.m.
  • Tue., July 23, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Sat., July 27, Noon – 2 p.m.

Approximately 25 volunteers are needed for each of the three shifts.

Since the Chicago Downtown Bike Count began in September 2011, it's been a success due to the enthusiasm and dedication of volunteers from across Chicago and the suburbs.

Data collected by volunteers is used to track changes in seasonal ridership, document the need for bicycle infrastructure and help advance Chicago’s commitment to be the most bicycle-friendly city in America. 

Bike count data from 2011-2013 is now available. (Spring 2013 Downtown Count results coming soon!)

To volunteer or to get more information, please contact David Smith ( or Katie Gallagher (

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