Chicago, Bike Grid Now Newsletter - Issue #2

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Chicago, Bike Grid Now Newsletter - Issue #2
By The CBGN Team • Issue #2 • View online
Upcoming Events | Bike Bus Love | Bike Grid FAQs | Chicago Works Survey | Recent Jams | Help Us Grow

Upcoming!
  • 9/7: Halsted Bike Bus (Departs 7:45 @ Elevate Coffee)
  • 9/7: Logan Square/Elston Bike Bus (Departs 7:45 @New Wave Cafe)
  • 9/14: Bike Bus Convergence at CTA meeting (Depart 7:45 @ your nearest Bike Bus)
  • 9/21: Bike Bus Convergence at City Council (Depart 7:45 @ your nearest Bike Bus)
Bike Bus: Drivers Wanted!
We’re on a roll! The first Halsted Bike Bus was a huge success, so we ran another last week. We’re hearing from people who want them on other streets. The more bike bus “drivers” we have, the more routes we can run, so give us a shout
This week, we’re running a bike bus from the north west, as a possible alternate route to the Milwaukee Ave detour. Stay tuned for updates.
 We are looking to have multiple bike-buses running downtown, so that we can converge on City Hall on September 21- Save the Date!
Bike Grid FAQ
Lots of people ask what a bike grid is, so let’s flesh it out in FAQs. 
Q: Is a bike grid more than a bunch of connected, protected bike lanes? 
A: YES! We absolutely need concrete protected bike lanes on commercial streets and we need them to be continuous and connected. The main difference is that a bike grid would use mostly residential streets that already have lower traffic volume and speeds.
Q: How would cyclists be protected on a bike grid?
A: When CDOT tested out the shared street program on residential streets, we saw that inexpensive construction barrels and signage created a much safer environment and brought more families with young kids out to the streets. Bike grid streets would be like shared streets, but would have proper signage and traffic calming. Signage would identify the street as bike-priority street with a 10mph speed limit. A concrete jersey barrier or two could be placed on each block so that motorists would have to slow down.  
Q: Why are residential streets any better for the bike grid than commercial streets? 
A: Two reasons: 1) they could be converted to safe streets in a fraction of the time, and 2) they would allow people to ride side-by-side. 
Q: How fast could a bike grid be created? 
A: To install construction barrels or jersey barriers, it could take as little as 9 weeks to roll out 450 miles (10 miles a day, 5 days a week). 
Q: Why does it matter to be able to ride side-by-side?
A:  Rather than just getting a sliver of a commercial street, bike-prioritized residential streets would create a space where everyone, including kids and less confident bike riders, could ride pleasantly side by side without having to constantly look over our shoulders for the next car or to yell over our shoulders to communicate with our fellow riders. 
Q: What are the obstacles to having a bike grid?
A: The main obstacles are CDOT’s lack of a plan and City Council’s lack of political will. CDOT could implement a shared streets program, like they did in 2020 and 2021, if directed by the commissioner and city council. Currently Mayor Lightfoot and most alderpersons are more comfortable with the status quo than making biking safe and pleasant throughout the city. Bike Grid Now is working to change that.
Q: Do any laws need to be changed in order to implement a city-wide bike grid?
A: No laws were changed to do the shared streets in 2020 and 2021. However, to actually lower the speed limit below 20mph requires changing the Illinois Vehicle Code. We would also need to add a section to the IL Vehicle Code that spells out rules of the road for streets designated as bike prioritized: 1) bikes would NOT be required to ride as far to the right so that cars may pass,  2) bikes are permitted to ride side-by-side, and 3) motorists must keep back from cyclists by at least 50 feet.
Q: Why might motorists want a city-wide bike grid?
A: By providing a safe and pleasant way for lots of people to get around by bike, fewer trips will be made by car. Imagine how many car trips are eliminated when parents don’t need to chauffeur kids to school and other activities.
Q: Why else is a city-wide bike grid needed?
A: When Chicago is a safe and pleasant place to get around by bike, more people will want to live in and visit. When there’s more joy in the streets, there will be less violence.  
CDOT wants to hear ideas for capital improvement projects. How about a city-wide bike grid?! There are two questions where you can select “other” to add an idea that’s not on the menu. Simply use any address when asked for the location of the suggested improvement. 
Here’s the wording we’d suggest for the first field: “city-wide grid of bike-prioritized residential streets”.
And for the second field: “We need a city-wide grid of bike-prioritized streets. Make 10% of the streets 10mph, start with inexpensive traffic calming, and improve it as needed. This is the quickest way to establish safe and pleasant cycling infrastructure.”
Here’s the link. Please share it with as many bike-minded friends as you can!!
Recent Jams
This past week, we jammed in Armour Square. Our route was chosen to honor the cyclist that was struck and killed over the weekend. Thank you to Blue City Bikes for partnering.
The previous week was our Back-to-School Jam in Albany Park and it was tons of fun. We ran a “contra jam”, with an “elite” team of jammers who rolled out early to jam north on Kimball to meet the southbound jam. We also jammed on Western Ave. Most importantly, we had new riders with us and we handed out lots of flyers. ‘Cause it’s all about spreading the gospel. 
Ride Leaders Wanted
To win a city-wide bike grid, we need to grow and we need to grow quickly. To do that, we simply need more people willing to help organize and lead bike jams. We’d love to see people organizing bike jams in their neighborhoods. If you’ve got the itch, we’ll help scratch it. This is a sprint to the municipal election, and we won’t have the opportunity to influence the mayoral election for another 4 years. 
Wish List
Things we’d love to have:
  • Tik Tok creator/manager
  • Introductions to community leaders and community organizers across Chicago. We want to talk with them about the bike grid and partner with them as allies.
  • Riders and ride leaders.
  • Small donations to help us keep printing flyers, flags, and other things to spread the word and make us more visible.
Thank you for believing in what we can do together. Let’s keep on jammin’ until we make the city-wide bike grid a reality! 
Did you enjoy this issue?
The CBGN Team

Chicago, Bike Grid Now Newsletter

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