Chicago apartment renters are watching the city’s annual transformation from a chilly zone of swirling arctic winds to a bastion of sunshine and fresh vegetation. Spring in Chicago means more than the return of baseball, the eradication of “dibs” for street parking, and unfettered access to the lakefront. Now there are few excuses to stay cooped up inside the apartment. Well, not counting the must-watch TV series that’s streaming at the moment. As the flowers bloom and warmer temperatures once again grace the city, apartment renters will head outside to enjoy the many miles of bike paths in Chicago. And wouldn’t you know it, May is National Bike Month!
Whether riding for sport or as part of the daily commute, cyclists can cruise more than 100 miles of protected bike lanes that were put in place by Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) from 2011 to 2015. With more protected bike lanes and off-street paths being built since the inception of the ambitious Vision Zero plan, Chicago’s infrastructure is becoming more bike-friendly with each passing year.
But which neighborhoods are benefiting most from the plan? At a glance, these neighborhoods are probably the most bike-friendly in Chicago:
Vision Zero targets overall pedestrian safety and safety measures specifically geared towards cyclists, but it’s not a guarantee that every city street will become bike-friendly. The city has followed a “hub and spoke” design principle as it has developed infrastructure around cycling safety.
Spoke Routes are direct routes in and out of the Loop that will provide a safe, continuous bikeway and connect all areas of Chicago with the downtown. The primary goal of the Spoke Route network is to increase bicycle commuting citywide.
The seven Spoke Routes are:
- Clark Street (paving the way to Lincoln Park, Lakeview and Edgewater neighborhoods)
- Milwaukee Avenue (taking cyclists through Wicker Park, Bucktown and Logan Square)
- Lake Street/Randolph Street (heading west to Humboldt Park)
- Archer Avenue (going southwest to Chinatown, Bridgeport)
- Vincennes Avenue (spanning Auburn Gresham and Morgan Park)
- South Chicago Avenue (connecting Calumet Heights and South Shore)
- State Street/Wabash Avenue (through the heart of the Loop and South Loop)