Parking Meter Update

I wanted to give an update after our Director of Planning, Carolyn Helmke, and I met with the City of Chicago on the issue of parking meter removal affecting bike parking.  The scope of the problem is that between 25,000 and 30,000 parking meters are currently in process of being removed under the current contract.  The meeting was generally good and it is clear that the City is working hard to hold on to meters and replace meters with racks wherever appropriate.  The big issue is funding of any manufacturing and installation of new racks and of retrofit options for converting parking meter poles into bike racks.  Yes, it would have been great if the funds were built into the existing contract for meter removal.  However, the reality is that they were not and in today’s economic environment where the City is rumored to lay off 1,000 employees in the next few weeks, it is hard to imagine the missing pot of gold turning up to save the day.

Where does this leave us?  The City recommitted to leaving one parking meter for every six that are removed.  This would leave more than 4,000 meters.  The City is currently testing various bike rack devices that can be permanently attached to parking meters poles. When the best design is identified, the City hopes implement this solution in 2010. Secondly, 500 – 750 underutilized racks may be relocated to areas affected by meter removal.

There was discussion about placing a cover on the meters that remain that would identify these meters as bicycle parking locations either by stenciling something additional on the green hoods, or by adding signs.  As the racks or meter retrofits become available, they will replace the hoods.  Additional possibilities include working with aldermen to add funds from their discretionary infrastructure resources to match funds the City already has at its disposable.  Chambers of Commerce and SSA’s can assist in these matters if they are inclined.  Both of these are great ideas and members can help with encouraging this activity.

The City has also asked us to help with to things:

1.      When meters are removed and aren’t replaced with bike parking (racks or a meter pole retrofit), let us know. Send the location (as close to a street address as possible) to and we will forward to the City’s Department of Transportation.  You can also call 311 and make this request.

2.      If you are already missing bike parking because of the removal of parking meters, call 311 and tell us about it at

What are some next steps?  The City has some work to do to identify resources for a long-term solution.  All of this will likely get reported to the quarterly Mayors Bicycle Advisory Council.  These meetings are open to the public.  More info about these meetings can be found at



Bike parking being saved?

Check out a great blog/article on bike parking in Chicago

Extending your lakefront access

A contiguous lakefront path from Evanston to Indiana?  Check out the Tribune’s coverage of the Last Four Miles: Completing Chicago’s lakefront.  Better yet, come hear the authors unveil it themselves at Active Trans' and Friends of the Parks' Creative Living in the City lecture today.  12:15pm, Claudia Cassidy Theater, 2nd Floor, Chicago Cultural Center.  78 E. Washington Blvd., Chicago.  Admission is free of charge!



Footprints in your face!

Active Transportation Alliance's Footprints coaches will be parking bikes and finding bike & transit routes all over the Chicago Southland this summer. Farmers Markets from Park Forest to Tinley Park and towns in between will feature valet bike parking thanks to Footprints and donated portable bike racks from Saris Cycling Group. Coaches are bringing big laminated Chicagoland Bicycle Maps and whiteboard markers ["Wipe on, wipe off...."] to show you routes on the spot, and can send south suburban residents home with a prescription for replacing one local car trip a week with a bike, walk or transit trip.

Lead coach Mary Lynn Wilson [] brought the racks and new sign out to Park Forests' Farmers Market last Saturday - and valet parked four bikes! Look for Footprints Coach appearances on the calendar. Or sign up on-line -

Footprints at Park Forest Farmers Market Step Up with Footprints sign

Daniel Burnham takes corporeal form, blesses trail

Also on June 6, National Trails Day, 10 concurrent dedication ceremonies were pulled off flawlessly up and down the Cal-Sag and Calumet River by the Calumet-Sag Trail Coalition [towns & agencies building the trail] and the Friends of the Calumet-Sag Trail [the residents, trail users and businesses supporting its completion]. And Rails to Trails Conservancy with The Coca-Cola Company granted $35,000 to the Friends. It was that kind of wondrous day. Pictures and Mr. Burnham caught on video are popping up at - here's the quick link:


Daniel Burnham dedicates Calaumet-Sag Trail

15th Ward Bike Ride – Saturday June 20th, 2009, 8:30am – 1pm

15th Ward Alderman Toni Foulkes, Healthy Chicago Lawn, the 63rd St. Growth Commission, and the Active Transportation Alliance are sponsoring a bicycle ride and safety check on Saturday, June 20th, 2009, at 8:30am. The event will begin and end at Lawn Terrace, 3214 W. 63rd Place.

The ride will go through the Chicago Lawn neighborhood and will include light refreshments at the beginning and during the ride and a light lunch at the end. Mayor Daley’s Bicycling Ambassadors will offer safety tips and conduct pre-ride bike check-ups and helmet fittings. There will also be free T-shirts for the first 50 participants, and all will be entered into a raffle for free bike helmets.

For more information about this event or other active living events in Chicago Lawn, please contact Ilana Bodini, Healthy Chicago Lawn Coalition Coordinator at 773-884-4925 or or contact Alderman Foulkes’ office at 773-863-0220.


New Active Trans t-shirts!

Do you love the way you get around? If so, we've got the shirt for you! Our T-shirt design for Summer 2009 is now available!

Love the way t-shirtAvailable in mens *and* women's sizing, our attractive shirts feature an athletic cut, stylish colors, and recession-friendly pricing: just $10 each!

Pick one up in our online store today, or watch for them at our Bike Commuter Stations during Bike to Work Week, June 13-19.

I-Pass for bikes?

A system to track kids riding to school in suburban Madison, WI, sounds a lot like the I-PASS lanes on the Illinois Tollway.  Unlike the I-PASS, however, the kids are credited for their transportation choice.   Read the story here:

Creating a bike culture one activist at a time

Last Saturday, May 30, approximately 100 people rode to the Hyde Park Art Center to share a meal and to witness a dialogue among some key voices in the movement for better biking.  Alex Wilson, Kathy Schubert and Adolfo Hernandez participated in the Hubs and Spokes panel moderated by Zach Furness. 

As an Active Trans staffer, I was particularly impressed to hear how each of these panelists lives out an activist message in his or her life.  One interaction that struck a chord with me was Alex Wilson's response to Howard Zar's question about cyclists and traffic laws.  Alex noted that respecting the law is not the same thing as obeying the law.  He cited the Civil Rights Movement as an example of that attitude.  After the presentation, I complimented Howard on his question, though he was quick to point out that he disagreed with Alex.  Hearing Howard and Alex and all the voices at the Hubs and Spokes event, I am reminded that one of the beautiful things about Chicagoland’s biking community is that there is room for everyone at the table. 

We’re very fortunate to have so many impassioned contributors to culture.




bike valet missing in chicago

You won't find bike parking at your favorite Chicago events this year.

"We've had a few presenting sponsors not renew for this year, and we're working to bring in new and different ones, but so far we've done much like many city departments and are trimming here and there," Gatziolis said. "But it's never too late for someone to ride in on a white horse -- or a white bike -- to save the day and help have bike valet."

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