Schaumburg: An early adopter takes the next big step

This blog post is one in a series of stories featuring some of the great changes happening in suburban Chicago communities. The stories will focus on Chicagoland communities that are on the forefront of the movement to encourage healthy, active transportation like walking, biking and public transit.

These are communities Active Trans had the privilege to work with as part of the Communities Putting Prevention to Work initiative, a federally-funded program aimed at creating healthier and more active lifestyles throughout the nation.


One of the many great bikeways in Schaumburg 

Schaumburg is no stranger to creating great places for bicycling. Since 1979, this large suburb of Chicago has focused on making bicycling available as a healthy travel mode for its residents. With nearly 90 miles of existing bikeways and 1,000 bike parking spaces, it’s easy to see why Schaumburg is nationally recognized as a Bicycle Friendly Community.

The people of Schaumburg know that in order to remain vibrant and competitive in the 21st century, the village needs to continue its commitment to being a world-class bicycling town. And the newly updated Schaumburg Bikeways Plan outlines a roadmap for improving bicycling for years to come.

Schaumburg is in the process of nearly doubling its bicycle route network and installing 40 new bicycle racks. The ultimate goal is to connect residents of Schaumburg to every important destination in town via bikeways.

The village has adopted a new technical toolkit to be used in all future development, including cutting-edge facilities like buffered bike lanes, modern roundabouts and raised crosswalks. The village is also pursuing updates to its bike parking requirements and local vehicle codes surrounding road use.

While building great facilities is important, it is seldom enough. Educating and encouraging residents about the benefits and responsibilities of bicycling is a major priority in Schaumburg. Top targets for this work include encouraging more students and staff to bike to college campuses and offering programs focusing on transportation safety and the rules of the road to youth, teen and adults alike.

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I'm not talking about cycle

I'm not talking about cycle tracks, I'm talking about buildings. Destinations are too far apart. They do not address the street in a way that encourages anything other than car transportation. Look at the bike to work mode share in Schaumburg and you'll see that it's very close to zero percent, despite all the bike facilities.

That's practically impossible

It would cost millions, maybe tens of millions, to change the built environment for every marked route on their bicycle network. (Cycletracks along Roselle Road, Schaumburg Road, etc.) I hope that's in the long-term plan, but long-term might be 20-25 years in this case.

To be fair, at least officials in this suburb are thinking in this direction. Most suburbs won't give it a second thought.

I have noticed new wayfinding signage being erected this summer, but owing to having a new baby, have not been able to bike up there. I'm sure the signage will be used and appreciated.

Schaumburg can build all the

Schaumburg can build all the bike facilities it wants, but it won't be bike friendly until it changes its built environment.

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