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Rack ‘Em Up: Chicago to Reach 25 On-Street Bike Corrals This Summer

Gabe Klein speaks at the ribbon cutting for the Cheetah Gym corral. Photo: John Greenfield

It was a sign of the times when the Chicago Department of Transportation celebrated the city’s 13th on-street bike parking corral this morning at the Cheetah Gym, 5248 North Clark in Andersonville. Nine years ago, when I worked as CDOT’s bike parking manager, I put plenty of blood, sweat and tears into trying to get a corral installed at this very same location. The gym’s owner was ready to bankroll it, and we had the blessing of the local chamber of commerce and alderman, but the CDOT higher-ups deep-sixed the plan, questioning the safety of placing racks in the street, although corrals were already common on the West Coast by then.

CDOT’s recent announcement that it plans to reach 25 corrals, which usually involve converting car-parking spots to bike spaces, by the end of the summer is further evidence of the department’s new attitude of prioritizing sustainable transportation. On-street racks are slated for locations ranging from the Medici restaurant, 1327 East 57th in Hyde Park, to Simone’s tavern, 960 West 18th in Pilsen, to the Six Corners Chamber of Commerce, 4710 West Irving Park in Portage Park, to four FLATS Chicago apartment buildings in Rogers Park.

The Cheetah Gym rack is one of six Andersonville corrals, which, along with an existing “People Spot” parking-to-park conversion at 5226 North Clark and another parklet slated for the Coffee Studio, 5628 North Clark, cement the neighborhood’s reputation as Chicago’s leader in public space initiatives.
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