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‘Lincoln Biking District’ Planned to Offset No. 11 Bus Cancellation

Lake View officials are working to make Lincoln Avenue the most pedestrian and biker friendly street in the area to compensate for an important bus line being cut.

While some consider the cancellation of the No. 11 bus to be a crippling blow to Lincoln Avenue businesses, one local organization is already focusing on another way to get shoppers on the street.

Heather Way, the executive director at the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce, says her team is working on making Lincoln Avenue the best pedestrian and biker-friendly corridor in the area. She says its something they’ve always wanted to do, but it was lower on the list – until now.

“Every smart business owner opens where there’s transit,” Way said. “Independent, small businesses rely on public transportation to get people to them… We were advocating for the No. 11 bus, but now that the bus is gone, we’re going to shift gears and make Lincoln Avenue the most walkable, bikeable commercial corridor that it can possibly be… It’s bumped toward the top (of our list).”

Way says she’s already meeting with an urban planner educated in creating bikeable corridors. It wasn’t long after the No. 11 bus’ cancellation that the consultant reached out with a proposal.

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Now the Lakeview Chamber is looking to potentially put together a two-year plan that will work to brand the area, calling it something like the Lincoln Biking District.

“She reached out to us because she knew about Heritage Bikes, she knew about our master plan for the area, and she was a fan of our new People’s Spot,” Way said. “She just came back from a conference in Long Beach, California that was all about building bikeable communities. She reached out and said, ‘I have these great ideas,’ and I just said, ‘I would love to hear them!’”

“It’s going to take some effort, but I think we have the resources, the passion and the drive to make something happen.” 

Along with simply restriping the current bike lanes on Lincoln Avenue, Way says the group is looking into bigger infrastructure improvements like protected bike lanes. In addition, she said there might soon be bike-based promotions for shoppers who can prove that they biked to the store. Way said they’re currently fleshing out what the top priorities will be.

The bulk of the funding for the project will come from taxes from the neighborhood’s Special Service Area (SSA) program, Way explained, with additional funds coming from private and public donations.

And the project might soon be getting a big help from the City of Chicago. The Chicago Department of Transportation announced details for its multi-million dollar bike-sharing program on Tuesday, asking residents to choose where they’d like to see bike kiosks in the city.

So far, one of the most popular locations in Lake View – and one of the most popular thus far in Chicago – is at the corner of West Wellington and North Lincoln avenues with nearly 20 residents voting to support the choice.

“(This location) connects to a growing business district on Lincoln that now has poor transit access at this corner since the #11 bus is being cut,” writes Lake View resident Lee Crandell of the suggestion.

With obvious support from the residents, Way says she’s happy everyone, including the City of Chicago, is thinking along the same lines.

“It’s going to take some effort,” said Way, “but I think we have the resources, the passion and the drive to make something happen.” 

Bill Dahl October 19, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Heather Way clearly is insane. With no No. 11 bus (the dumbest move the CTA has made in years--so much for the input of all the regular riders that signed petitions urging the CTA to retain it), she believes that people in their 60s and 70s will joyously ride bikes in January when it's zero degrees and those bike lines are coated with ice and snow. Wait until a few of 'em get killed sliding under the wheels of taxis. Having been doored on Lincoln Avenue just south of Fullerton, I can tell you that it's not safe in the best of weather. Lots of small businesses will fail because of the CTA's short-sighted idiocy; meanwhile, they're willing to flush millions of dollars down the toilet retrofitting Ashland and Western with bus lanes (the traffic jams for cars and trucks will make the CTA board look like the fools they are). Though I'm a fairly accomplished bike rider, at age 56 I don't ride in cold weather and have no idea how I'll get up and down Lincoln Avenue (contrary to the CTA propaganda machine, the Brown Line does not conveniently double the Lincoln bus line). When you hit an icy patch and break your hip, ex-Lincoln Avenue commuters, blame Forrest Claypool, a privileged lout who no doubt has never taken the #11 Lincoln bus in his life. I cannot believe he and his equally rich board members would do something this stupid--but then again, when a career politician is put in charge of an urban public transportation system, this kind of idiocy is what happens. Bill Dahl
Heather Way October 19, 2012 at 02:36 PM
I agree with all of your comments. Including the part about me being insane. I'd have to be to keep taking on the CTA and believing that they actually listen to us; the taxpayers, residents and business owners of these affected districts.
Brian Fons October 19, 2012 at 03:10 PM
This post doesn't make alot of sense to me. As a business owner in the neighborhood and a cyclist, I was sad to see the #11 cuts happen. I'm pretty sure nobody expects cyclists to "Joyously ride bikes in January when it's zero degrees", including Heather Way. The fact that we have cold winters and snowy months in our city shouldn't prohibit development of safe cycling areas for us to use during the rest of the year. Congratulations to the Lakeview Chamber Staff on their hard work in adapting to the ever changing conditions in our booming neighborhood!
Charlene October 19, 2012 at 03:21 PM
I agree with Bill but I don't think Heather is insane. Most of our customers who took the Lincoln Ave. bus to our business were older folks who wouldn't be riding a bike. And we're not California; we have 6 months of non bike rideable weather. I wouldn't wast the money on this project. I'd keep fighting to get the bus back or more small businesses will end up moving or closing leaving Lincoln Ave. a ghost street.
Safe Biker October 19, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Until there is some enforcement for bikes to follow the rules of the road so they can safely coexist with the thousands of cars for which Lincoln Ave was built, this is a bad idea. Delivery trucks block the bike lane and that's a fact of life where there are businesses. Bikers dart into the car lane without looking, and there are big problems. I see way more bikers than cars blatantly running red lights too. And they do this because there is zero enforcement of the rules they are supposed to be following.
garry albrecht October 19, 2012 at 05:40 PM
need to reset the struggle and remain strong on this issue as an organized group constantly communicating with all the alderman of Lincoln Avenue. Call yourselves LABE - Lincoln Avenue Bus Eleven............ my humble opinion
Lee Crandell October 20, 2012 at 05:36 AM
Everyone needs to follow the rules of the road -- people biking and driving. The Biking District could be a great way to provide programs to educate people about bike safety and improve compliance with the law. And let's remember Lincoln Ave. was not built for cars -- the automobile had not been invented yet when most of this city was built out, and our streets were first paved in order to provide a better surface for bikes, not for cars. In the history of Chicago, the idea that streets are only for cars is a very recent concept that came along with the suburbanization of the city. Our streets are public space that should serve the needs of all people.
Johnny Sisson October 22, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Based on your logic, breaking laws is "just a fact of life" based on convenience. Since you say it's ok for delivery trucks to illegally block the bike lane (http://chicagobikes.org/bikelaws/?show=search&chapter=24&db=chi) why is it a problem when I run a red light on my bike? Also, Lincoln Avenue was originally a native American foot path and roads don't exist just for cars. Just FYI.
John Krause November 02, 2012 at 04:50 PM
Winter riding is not quite as crazy as you think, as long as you're on a safe, separated bikeway. I rode year-round in Sweden for many years, but they have cycle tracks everywhere. The street needs to be plowed, and people just switch to studded tires for the winter months. Because you generate heat, it's actually not as cold as walking and waiting for the bus. It's definitely not for everyone, but it's worth noting that in the city of Copenhagen, 55% of trips are made by bike and the average person over 65 rides a bike 3 times a week. We're different, but we're not all that different.
John Krause November 02, 2012 at 04:57 PM
I agree that cyclists should obey traffic laws, but since you're about a thousand times more likely to seriously hurt someone else by breaking the law in a car, you've got a lot more responsibility to stay in your lane, stop for pedestrians at crosswalks, don't speed, don't drink and drive, don't use the phone while driving, and any number of other things drivers routinely do because everybody else does.
Stephanie S. June 24, 2013 at 02:44 PM
Is there anyone still actively working to bring back the #11? I'd love to support them if they're out there.

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