Following the lead set forth by the City of Chicago, the 25th Ward works hard to be as bike- and pedestrian-friendly as possible. Not only has the ward made strides in developing protected bike lanes and covering metal bridge grates, but many streets have bike lanes.
City’s First Year-Round, On-Street Bike Corral
Alderman Danny Solis has negotiated a deal to get a bike corral donated and installed by Saris Racks in a popular Pilsen hang-out, the Jumping Bean coffee shop, located at 1439 W. 18th Street. “The Jumping Bean was a natural choice for this first-ever, year-round bike rack located on the street.” Explained Solis. “Coffee shops are natural gathering spaces and this business in particular, is a hub for residents, being so centrally located on 18th Street.” This will be the fourth bike corral installation by the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) Bicycle Program this year as part of the “Make Way for People” program.
A long-time advocate of biking in Chicago, Solis returned from a trip to the Netherlands last year to study Europe’s bike infrastructure and was inspired to do more locally. Because of his efforts, the 25th Ward now boasts a half mile of one of the City’s first protected bike lanes, eight miles of additional bike lanes, almost 300 bike racks and two new bike corrals. Many of these improvements were inspired by Solis’ educational trip abroad, including two new bike corrals – the other to be located under the Pink Line el tracks at the 18th Street stop.
“What I saw in the Netherlands was transformative, whole families would be on bikes riding to and from work, out to social engagements and back and forth to stores, so I’m pleased to be hosting such a great event for local families to also get out and get active,” Solis said. “The economic impact is particularly fascinating; studies have shown that bikers spend more on average than people who drive cars, so investing in biking also brings benefits to local businesses and the community.”
The new bike racks have been installed on Bishop Street at 18th Street and are a vibrant red, selected by the community in an on-line poll earlier this year. Participants that made this happen were: Saris Bike Racks, CDOT Bicycle Program,Café Jumping Bean Incorporated, Alderman Daniel Solis and Christy Weber Landscaping.
3rd Annual Bike the 25th Ward
Alderman Danny Solis presents his annual Bike the 25th Ward family event in September touring the neighborhoods he represents in the Near West Side ward. The family event and ride attracts more and more riders every year – this year over 200 bikers took to the streets with several community partners. Riders lined up and began the 6-mile route, winding through Pilsen, across the new 18th Street protected bike lane, through Chinatown, up Halsted through University Village, along Taylor Street through Little Italy and back to Pilsen. Once the ride was over, bikers were invited to mingle with other residents and enjoy a post-ride BBQ with free hot dogs and warm cider.
The mission of Bike the 25th Ward is to promote physical activity the whole family can enjoy, but to also get people out on bikes and feeling more comfortable with using bike lanes and hopefully inspire them to consider using bikes as an option for everyday trips to the store, work or school.