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Bike Racks on Parade


I've lived all over the country and world, my background is in International Affairs, Political Science, and Economics, and I'm a Chicago boy born and bred.

Why can't Chicago be more like Louisville?  I bet you think about that all the time, don't you? Well, good news, now we can be.  As of earlier this week, Chicago will soon unveil a project, partially adapted from our friends down in Louisville, KY, to install a series of around 10,000 artistically designed usable bike racks throughout the city.  Read about it here.  What an awesome idea.  This program was approved by the City Council Transportation Committee on Sunday, and will hopefully show results in only a few months time.

Lville Rack.jpeg
Photo courtesy of the City of Louisville

Who remembers the famous cows on parade?  What about the weird couches?  All of these public art displays do a great service for the city, the new bike racks included.  First, these exhibits attract tourism to Chicago; people come from all over the Midwest to check out the new wacky thing that Chicago is doing.  Second, programs like this promote local artists. Third, more bike racks will hopefully encourage more biking; "if you build it, they will come." With more bike racks, we are more easily able to bike to the grocery store, bike to the bank, bike to the library, etc., and not need to drive.  With the elimination of the old parking meters for the new parking boxes in Chicago, there's nowhere to park a bike.  Hopefully this new project will alleviate this problem.


One last interesting factoid about the new bike rack display, unlike past public art expos, the artists will design the racks for specific neighborhoods and will show off either its history or its future.  In Andersonville, for example, the bike racks will be Swedish themed, in Lincoln Square there will be German themes, and so on.  Since Chicago prides itself as being a "City of Neighborhoods," and since our inception as a city we've always had very distinguishable neighborhoods, I think this is a great component to the plan.  Lincoln Park will be the first location for the new racks, so keep your eyes peeled.



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