Photo by Marcelo Marcos

Which neighborhoods do you think should make the list? Which neighborhoods do you think need a lot more work?

Bicycling has exploded in popularity in Chicago and on most warm and sunny mornings, hundreds of bike commuters can be spotted riding down Milwaukee Avenue from neighborhoods like Avondale, Logan Square, and Wicker Park into the Loop. Walking is no different, either. City planners and businesses are activating the once sleepy Chicago River not only for recreation, but also for revenue generation.

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My initial thought is that many/most neighborhoods are themselves bike-friendly, in the sense that it would be easy to get around them on bike by using side streets, etc.

The issue is that there is not always a bike-friendly way to travel BETWEEN neighborhoods. (One example being the difficulty of crossing the Chicago River on the northwest side or the freight yards in the southwest side.)

EXACTLY! McKinley Park, like most or all 'hoods, is perfectly fine to putter around in, but try to get from there to the loop or back? It requires either going miles out of ones way to take the lakefront, or enduring the treacherous urban super-highway that is Archer Avenue.

I love it when someone responds to my Chainlink post with "EXACTLY!" Actually this may be the first time it's ever happened... ;)

Do you live in McKinley Park? A friend of a friend moved there recently. I looked it up on the map and realized I've spent virtually no time there. I have biked south on Western across the river and I-55 a few times, usually on a weekend morning while attempting to "bike the boulevards." But other than that I've barely been west of Halsted in that area.

I don't have much experience biking Archer, so my impulse if going to the Loop would be to bike east on 35th or Pershing and then north on Halsted. What's been your experience?

I do sometimes get over to Halsted, (avoiding as much of 35th as possible as there are four lane sections that get gruesome to share with cars) but that adds like 15 or 20 minutes to a downtown trip. For commuting, that just takes too long - for me.

Our normal commute minimizes Archer by getting off on Lock -> Elenor -> Loomis especially now that Loomis has a bike lane south from the river to Cermak. For the evening commute, especially later in the week, we often do some variation on the Halsted route, as Bridgeport and Pilsen have a lot more dining and drinking opportunities. (Which usually ends up being The Skylark and or Moody Tongue)

+1 I agree with your comment about sections of 35th being brutal. Have they finished construction work on the 35th St. bridge over the river, or is that still narrowed to one lane in each direction?

Lock/Eleanor/Loomis is a good combo for traveling between Bridgeport and Pilsen. I've used it many times.

Bridgeport should make the list:

Easy to get around the neighborhood by using side streets, several of which are blocked to through traffic but passable by bike. Easy to get downtown, the lakefront, and other neighborhoods by using bike lanes. Two easy river crossings (Halsted and Loomis) or avoid the river completely by taking State St. Huge number of restaurants, bars, coffee shops, stores, schools, parks, libraries, museums, etc. within a 5 mile radius. Almost no open hostility to bikes.


University Village / Taylor Street could use some work:

Harder to get around by side street. Despite ample bike lanes on major streets, they routinely are used as parking spaces by hostile drivers who probably do not even live in the area.

Good observation about the UIC/Taylor St area being an exception to the general rule that intra-neighborhood travel tends to be bike friendly or bike friendly-ish (taking your word for it--I've biked past UIC on Halsted a lot but haven't biked around that area much).

Could Avondale be another example of a neighborhood that's not bike-friendly within its own confines? I think of it just because it's bisected by the interstate. Again, not much more personal experience. Also once some friends and I were on bike trying to find someone's apartment in Avondale and had a hard time. LOL.

Amen on Avondale. I used to live there, and that Kimball Belmont intersection in particular never felt safe as a pedestrian let alone biker. Everyone in their cars is in a super rush and acting like they're already on the highway.

I don't think its crybaby-y to want some E/W connector routes that don't subject you to four lanes of fast-moving car traffic.

+1  I don't think it's unreasonable to want some decent E/W connector routes. We have too few of them.

I live in the Loop, which believe it or not is a neighborhood because a lot of us live here, and with the Clinton, Washington and Dearborn PBLs I feel friendliest riding my neighborhood's streets. All Loop streets are friendly on the weekends, by the way. Sunday is a great time to explore the Loop by bike.

Agree about weekend Loop riding.


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