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6064Re: [carfree_cities] RE: Bike-Friendly Cities in the U.S.

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  • Robert J. Matter
    Jul 24, 2003
      Claude Willey wrote:
      > I lived in Chicago for 5 years and rode my bike everywhere, even when it was
      > zero degrees and everyone else was on the CTA.

      Thanks to Chicago Bike Winter http://www.bikewinter.org (started by activists from Critical Mass in 1999) there is a formidable and growing number of winter cyclists in Chicago. It turns out that winter cycling in Chicago isn't really that bad. Usually there are only 10 days between Nov. 1 and Apr. 30 that have 1" or more of snow. And it is +21F or warmer 60%-80% of the time.

      > I would say Chicago is a very
      > bike-friendly city, but you do have dense traffic and (on-road) bike lanes
      > that are not maintained or just ignored by motorists.

      I'd say Chicago's bike lanes are very well maintained. Maybe the city didn't have a bicycle coordinator when you were there. There is one now and he is quite responsive to cyclist complaints about such things. Cagers still double park in the bike lanes in some areas, but the police are supposed to start enforcing that better. There is a story about it at the CBF web site, http://www.biketraffic.org About a week ago a cager a cager was driving in the bike lane on Elston and when a cyclist pointed it out to a cop, the cop pulled the guy over and gave him a ticket. Like most cities Chicago is in a financial bind so ticket revenues are especially attractive.

      Chicago also has about 8,000 bike racks now too.

      > I would get soaked all the time in Chicago
      > and the many careless urban drivers almost did me in more times than I can
      > mention. Los Angeles has great weather and you can use the MTA with your
      > bike (they allow you to place your bike on the front rack of the busses).

      As of June 13 this year all CTA buses have bike racks. We can use them any time. We can take our bikes on the L anytime except weekday rush hours.

      Perhaps the best thing about Chicago is the strong bike culture there. The Bike Winter program has events like a bicycle art show, bike film festival, bike poetry night, a polka ride, a tikki ride, free winter cycling classes, and much more. There is now free valet bike parking at big city festival events, a big Bike to Work Day Festival, the Bike the Drive ride where Lake Shore Drive is closed off in the morning for 15,000 riders, and the L.A.T.E. ride where LSD is closed off at night for 10,000 riders. There is the Chicago Cycling Club and the Windy City Cycling Club, and of course there is the big monthly Critical Mass ride that meets at Daley Plaza the last Friday of the month at 5:30pm, which happens to be tomorrow! About 1,000 riders are expected.

      Probably the only place I could live in Mexifornia would be San Francisco because of the strong bike culture there. I like all the cultural events offered by a big city like Chicago-- the free symphonies and festivals, dozens of theatres, foreign/indie film venues, ethnic restaurants, literary events, etc. New York is too big. Chicago is just right.

      -Bob Matter
      "War in Iraq is inevitable. That there would be war was
      decided by North American planners in the mid-1920s.
      That it would be in Iraq was decided much more recently.
      The architects of this war were not military planners
      but town planners. War is inevitable not because of
      weapons of mass destruction, as claimed by the political
      right, nor because of western imperialism, as claimed by
      the left. The cause of this war, and probably the one that
      will follow, is car dependence."
      --Ian Roberts, The Guardian
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