In late March, at a luncheon for the city’s political and business elite, Chicago transportation Commissioner Gia Biagi declared the metropolis would be providing away 5,000 bicycles.
“Free bikes. And a helmet. And a bike lock,” Biagi reported in her Town Club speech.
For months since, the Chicago Section of Transportation has held again critical specifics of the software, but on Monday it introduced a timeline demonstrating the bicycle giveaway will roll out slowly. The 5,000 bikes and extras will be introduced about the following 4 years and at the very least a single-tenth of them will go out in the very first yr, metropolis officials reported.
Members in a youth eco-friendly work education method and CDOT mobility systems will get very first dibs, then other qualifying citizens, according to the city.
City officers in the beginning did not reply Tribune queries about how quite a few bicycles the metropolis experienced acquired, but immediately after the Tribune submitted a Independence of Facts Act request they said the Division of Transportation has 680 bikes for the system. So significantly, the town estimates the system has charge $231,068.
The city acquired 350 bikes this spring through environmental company WRD, according to invoices unveiled by the city. Another 330 bikes the metropolis is putting towards the application have been in the beginning ordered for the Greencorps Youth Plan, a environmentally friendly task education system for high university learners whose participants are now amongst those set to get bikes under the giveaway, the town stated.
CDOT reported it will slowly enhance distribution of the bikes in the coming decades, right until all 5,000 single-velocity, commuter-model bikes have been delivered. The city did not have an estimate of the total expense of the plan, and spokeswoman Amanda Bolton said officials hope this yr to find aggressive bids to supply bikes for the program’s afterwards years.
“CDOT is committed to building biking a a lot more preferred and simple option for all residents — and Bicycle Chicago will do just that,” Biagi stated in a statement.
The software comes as the town just lately introduced a climate motion program that referred to as for prioritizing going for walks, biking and transit use to lower emissions.
“Every resident in our town warrants equitable entry to safe, responsible and affordable thoroughly clean transportation options,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot explained in a assertion. “Bike Chicago accelerates each the city’s local climate and equity targets by giving new workforce pathways, bikes and supportive resources that market harmless biking and a nutritious small-carbon transportation ecosystem for all Chicagoans.”
Amongst individuals set to acquire bikes in the to start with year of the giveaway are members in CDOT mobility packages like Chicago Harmless Ambassadors and Open up Boulevards events, alongside with the Greencorps Youth Software, wherever significant university college students find out how to assemble and sustain bikes amid other capabilities. Bikes will then be distributed on a initially-arrive, initial-served foundation to qualifying candidates.
The metropolis estimates about 250 bikes will be accessible to those who implement via mail or on the internet.
Candidates for the system will have to be Chicago people at the very least 14 years aged and have a home cash flow at or under the space median revenue for the town. They have to not presently very own a bicycle, and either facial area a “higher mobility hardship” or participate in a single of the CDOT mobility applications.
Applications will open up July 18, and distribution is anticipated to start out in August.
The Lightfoot administration is producing its moves as Lightfoot gears up for what is anticipated to be a difficult reelection struggle in February 2023. So considerably, the mayor has declared gas card giveaways, reversed her former opposition to a fundamental profits method very first floated by an alderman, and is also offering rebates to householders and corporations so they can acquire protection cameras.
Even as the metropolis prepares to give absent free bikes, a sequence of recent bike owner and pedestrian visitors deaths have led to renewed calls by advocates for citywide infrastructure that prioritizes pedestrian and bicycle owner basic safety, like more bicycle lanes and more protected lanes. The metropolis has about 400 miles of bikeways on and off town streets, and has not too long ago undertaken do the job that will guard about 45 miles with concrete curbs.