Chicago’s Streets for Cycling 2020 Plan recommends a 645-mile network of bike facilities for innovative treatments with the goal of making all Chicagoans feel safe bicycling on the city’s streets.

Alta  worked as part of a team to prepare Chicago’s Streets for Cycling 2020 Plan. The goal of the plan is to identify up to 250 miles of innovative and enhanced on-street bicycle facilities to be established in Chicago by 2020 that will allow all cyclists, from children on their first bike ride to senior citizens on their way to the grocery store, to have opportunities to ride comfortably, confidently, and safely.

Chicago’s Streets for Cycling 2020 Plan recommends a 645-mile network of bike facilities for innovative treatments with the goal of making all Chicagoans feel safe bicycling on the city’s streets. The network was divided into three types of routes:

  • Spoke Routes (60 miles) – Seven bicycle priority corridors radiating in all directions from downtown, with protected bike lanes and buffered bike lanes as the preferred design treatment, colorized pavement, and extra branding effort.
  • Crosstown Bike Routes (275 miles) – Major through streets with protected bike lanes and buffered bike lanes as the preferred design treatment.
  • Neighborhood Bike Routes (310 miles) – Local streets with neighborhood greenways as the preferred treatment. Neighborhood greenways would prioritize traffic control for the bike route and use traffic calming to reduce automobile speeds and volumes.

The team identified opportunities and challenges with a GIS base map and shape-files featuring all bicycle facilities in Chicago, and identified gaps in the existing bicycle network. As part of the project, Alta led efforts to develop a Chicago-specific Bikeway Facilities Design Guide modeled after Alta’s previous work on the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide. The team developed implementation criteria for selected treatments, including the necessary right-of-way, traffic volumes, parking and bicycle volumes, as well as factoring in unique features to Chicago, such as diagonal streets (and complex intersections), alleys, and snow removal.

Alta is currently assisting with design, engineering, and implementation of 44 miles of bikeways identified in the plan.  We are preparing construction documents for high priority corridors that include buffered bicycle lanes, bicycle boulevards, parking protected cycle tracks, and bus islands on the cycle tracks. Our designs utilize the full toolbox of Complete Street treatments to create environments that are safer for walking and bicycling.