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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Suburbs turning more bike-friendly

Image of a left-turning cyclistFrom the Chicago Tribune, 12.25.07:

Suburbs turning more bike-friendly
Car-loving towns are having change of heart for cyclists

Steve Buchtel knows you can't turn around a culture of car dependency overnight. That's particularly true in Chicago's ever-growing suburbs to the west and south where bus and train schedules are erratic and well-defined bicycle routes scarce.

The glut of traffic clogs roads through quaint downtown centers and jams parking spaces at the neighborhood supermarket. It creates long lines at the gas pump and in front of schools. While traffic hassles are not unique to the suburbs, they are exacerbated in sprawling bedroom communities that are not designed for pedestrians and have limited public transportation options.

"In Chicago, public transit can get you pretty much anywhere anytime. In the suburbs, it can take you some places some of the time," said Buchtel, a lifelong cyclist and project coordinator for the non-profit Chicagoland Bicycling Federation. "Bikes can help fill that void."

Slowly, small towns growing in the shadow of Chicago are getting the message. Like Homewood, communities such as Oak Park and Hinsdale have crafted comprehensive bicycling plans to improve safety, upgrade bike routes, establish new ones and drum up interest in two-wheel travel. (Read more.)
This article suggests the challenges confronting bike advocates in car-dependent suburbs.

Image: Web capture.
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips


Anonymous said...

Suburbs are where bikes can make the most difference. Dense cities provide substantial access within walking distance, including access to transit. Since bikes more at three or four times the speed, they provide the same access at one third to one quarter the density.

Anonymous said...

This is great! It's really all about the infrastructure. People tend to go along with the way things are designed. The reason they drive a car to go five blocks is because things are set up that way.

Unknown said...

My fiancee is a suburb girl. I'm from middle of no where West Virginia, but I'm a city person now. I cycle everywhere. To come to a middle ground we needed to decide where we'd end up to raise kids. Homewood is where we would both like to end up. Her for it being a burb, and me for the cycling infrastructure.