A new bike route connecting The 606 with downtown
A new bike route connecting The 606 with downtown.
In the last few years, Chicago has experienced a big surge in bicycle usage, with an estimated 15,000 commuters riding their bicycles into the city each day (a 150% increase over the last 10 years).* The network of bicycle lanes has continued to expand, in some cases with the establishment of “bicycle highways,” a series of direct links that take riders from point A to point B in the most efficient way. While some of those bicycle corridors using main streets are indeed necessary (Milwaukee Avenue for example), there is an opportunity to create new routes that take biking the city a little further.
This is a proposal to experience the city through biking. One that links two major areas of the city (the new 606 and the Loop) while tying together residential neighborhoods, green spaces, commercial districts, schools, and workplaces. It uses currently underutilized streets, providing a safe ride along the east bank of the Chicago River. With part of the proposed route currently transitioning from industrial to other uses or with plans to do so in the near future, it is the right time to consider new ways of biking through the city and the opportunities available.
The proposal connects the 606 and the Loop using Cortland St, Marcey St, Kingsbury St., Scott St., Cleveland Ave, Hobbie St and Hill St until Wells St. It places special emphasis on connecting schools, public amenities, and green spaces along the route. While it might not be the most direct or fastest route to downtown, it provides a continuous, safe, and enjoyable connection on the East bank of the river. When existing, it uses bike lanes making them protected, and ties public spaces, parks and schools along the route.
Still in development, this initial study is meant to start a conversation about the possibilities of biking in Chicago. We think it’s important to connect the dots, link different parts of the city with safe routes, and provide alternative routes to experience the city in new ways.
*City of Chicago 2012 Bicycle Crash Analysis. Summary Report and Recommendations.