Construction of "cycle tracks" along Kinzie between Milwaukee Avenue and Wells Street began Tuesday as part of the mayor's effort to make Chicago one of the most bike-friendly cities in the country.
Now that Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been in office 100 days, Ward Room has discovered the best way to celebrate the difference between the new mayor and his predecessor: ride a bicycle.
Shortly after taking office, Emanuel declared his intention to make Chicago “the bike-friendliest city in the country.” That’s probably not going to happen, because Chicago isn’t a year-round cycling city, but Emanuel is making an effort. He fulfilled a promise to add two miles of bike lanes in his first 100 days, on his way to laying 100 miles by the end of his term. Two WBEZ reporters took a ride down a new lane on Kinzie, and were pleased to discover that “the protective barriers…keep bikers at a safe distance from motorists.”
Even where the city isn’t setting up barriers, it’s painting fresh white stripes and bicycle symbols on streets, to encourage motorists to make room for cyclists.
Mayor Daley was also an avid bicyclist. So how is cycling a way to reject his legacy? Because if you ride a bike, you don’t have to pay the extortionate parking rates Daley left us with. You can lock your bike to one of the old meters left standing as “a courtesy to bicyclists.”
Earlier this month, Your Ward Room Blogger bought a barely-used Specialized road bike for $200, tax included. Now, I almost never drive my car. I figure I save $5 on gas and parking every time I ride. To help you do the same, here’s a list of used bike shops around the city:
Buy this book! Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland's book, Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President , is available Amazon. Young Mr. Obama includes reporting on President Obama's earliest days in the Windy City, covering how a presumptuous young man transformed himself into presidential material. Buy it now!