2012 Chicago Best Bike Parking Awards!

Even though Chicago has made great strides to become a more bike-friendly city, it still has a ways to go when it comes to good everyday bike parking. Steven Vance of   Grid Chicago and I have been writing about bike parking in our fair city over the last couple of years, often bemoaning less-than-stellar examples of bike parking facilities.  Now we’ve decided it’s time to award those businesses (and civic institutions) that go above and beyond and provide excellent bike parking for their customers. We solicited nominations from around the Chicago cycling community, created rating requirements, reviewed photos and nominations, and came up with the winners. So without further ado.. Here are your 2012 Best Bike Parking in Chicago Winners! Best Civic or Institutional Bike Parking: SAIC (School of the Art Institute of Chicago). It was a close one between SAIC and 30 North LaSalle, but the bike tool stand and shelter at SAIC’s Columbus Drive campus location put it over the top.

Bike Parking Racks and tool stand at the School of the Art Institute Chicago (photo courtesy Steven Vance)

Best Grocery Store Bike Parking:  the Jewel on Southport/Addison When they recently rebuilt this store, they also install U-rack style bike racks out front, up and down the sidewalk, properly spaced between planters or benches and near each entrance.  It makes going to the grocery store in this neighborhood incredibly easy.

Bike racks at the Jewel grocery story on Southport

Best Non-Grocery Store Business: The Publican A European beer hall meets a gastro pub, right in the West Loop. And they have enough custom-designed bike racks for you and all your friends.

Bike racks at the Publican (photo courtesy Steven Vance)

And we did end up with two losing categories as well. Most in Need of Bike Parking: The Jewel grocery store at Paulina/Milwaukee/Ashland This Jewel grocery store location has gone through a renovation but still no bike racks. Most cyclists lock their bikes to the fences out front which appear very handy, as long as your bike doesn’t get slammed by carts (the fences are intended to keep shopping carts in), or by shoppers who pull up their cars to load up their purchases.

Lack of bike racks at the Jewel grocery story at Milwaukee & Paulina

Most in Need of Improvement: The Jewel grocery store on Desplaines and Milwaukee. Well, what do you know, the Jewel chain wins in three categories this year. They should be proud. Or perhaps not. Unlike their store up on Southport, this store does not have good bike parking; both stores are LEED-certified, though, meaning they’ve met certain requirements to be considered a leader in energy and environmental design. The Southport store leads in the bike parking arena. The Desplaines store has a grill rack placed so that only one side can be used as the opposite side hangs over the curb to the parking lot. The bike rack also has a deficient design: it’s not suitable for locking bikes and is not acceptable by bike parking planners (like Steven). Period.  Be careful placing your wheel through this rack as drivers have been known to pull up in the no-parking zone on the other side. The store has also been known to pile their snow on this bike rack too.  Many cyclists have to lift their bike over the top of the bar in order to lock to this rack.  Those cyclists with cargo bikes or Dutch bikes can’t do that as their bikes are far too bulky and/or heavy. If an end is not available to lock to, what is a cyclist to do?

Bike parking at th the Jewel grocery store on Desplaines

Thanks to everyone who sent in nominations! We’ll be sending out certificates to the winners!

Tags: , , ,