The Chainlink

I know you think the suburbs are the antithesis of bike-friendliness, but...

... I live in Glenview, and we're a different kind of family-friendly living. 

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/suburbs/glenview/ct-tl-n-0...

Tags: bikes, convenience, suburbs

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The article says the location will be more bike-friendly, but doesn't really explain why. And I'd imagine the huge parking lot will still remain.

It's nice to see businesses being more pedestrian-friendly, but I'd imagine there won't be many people walking to this store in Glenview.

From the article, the site will be rearranged so that the building front is to the street instead of the parking like the old store and most suburban retail. Also the main entrance will be on the street side of the building.

 

The site is less than 0.5 mi from a Metra station and surrounded by a mix of residential and small retail areas, giving pedestrian friendly retail a good chance. Not all suburbs are created equal, many of the old railroad suburbs have pedestrian friendly downtowns.



Adam Herstein (5.5 mi) said:

The article says the location will be more bike-friendly, but doesn't really explain why. And I'd imagine the huge parking lot will still remain.

It's nice to see businesses being more pedestrian-friendly, but I'd imagine there won't be many people walking to this store in Glenview.

I have  lived in several suburbs along Metra lines, and I'd say that it's not uncommon for them to have decently walkable little downtown areas and bikeable residential neighborhoods.  Within a given suburb, walking and biking can be quite pleasant.

Where it all goes to hell is when you try to bike any significant distance through several suburbs.  Typically the quiet side streets are disconnected, and you have to get on streets with  very fast car traffic.  It's possible to find routes if you really study the map, but you just can't start riding without a route in mind and figure it out as you go like you can in the city.

Very true. And it is cool how many of the suburbs have cute little "downtown" areas; I find it legitimately charming.

Jeff Schneider said:

I have  lived in several suburbs along Metra lines, and I'd say that it's not uncommon for them to have decently walkable little downtown areas and bikeable residential neighborhoods.  Within a given suburb, walking and biking can be quite pleasant.

Where it all goes to hell is when you try to bike any significant distance through several suburbs.  Typically the quiet side streets are disconnected, and you have to get on streets with  very fast car traffic.  It's possible to find routes if you really study the map, but you just can't start riding without a route in mind and figure it out as you go like you can in the city.

I wonder if the mentality of "you can start riding without a route in mind in the city" comes from familiarity with city streets? I would tend to avoid some fast and/or crowded streets in the city, such as Western Avenue, Cicero Avenue, Harlem Avenue, North Avenue ...

Having just ridden from Lakeview to Downers Grove last weekend, I'll say that getting between 'burbs was surprisingly easy.

The worst part of the ride was taking Diversey out to Elmwood Park. Once we hit Oak Park, we just cruised through towns like Berwyn, Brookfield, Western Springs, Hinsdale and more. The roads were in great condition and google maps gave us a route that put us on reasonably quiet arterials and side streets. The route required only a modest number of turns and got us to our destination safe and happy.


Jeff Schneider said:

I have  lived in several suburbs along Metra lines, and I'd say that it's not uncommon for them to have decently walkable little downtown areas and bikeable residential neighborhoods.  Within a given suburb, walking and biking can be quite pleasant.

Where it all goes to hell is when you try to bike any significant distance through several suburbs.  Typically the quiet side streets are disconnected, and you have to get on streets with  very fast car traffic.  It's possible to find routes if you really study the map, but you just can't start riding without a route in mind and figure it out as you go like you can in the city.

Familiarity definitely helps, but many parts of Chicago are on an uninterrupted grid, so if you start riding and don't like the street you're on, you can jog over to a residential street or another collector street and keep going in the same direction.  The suburbs (outside of the inner ring suburbs) generally don't have this level of connectivity, so you need to be more careful when selecting a route.

Matt said:

I wonder if the mentality of "you can start riding without a route in mind in the city" comes from familiarity with city streets? I would tend to avoid some fast and/or crowded streets in the city, such as Western Avenue, Cicero Avenue, Harlem Avenue, North Avenue ...

Perhaps this is a call for local riding groups to invite groups from the next town over for planned rides. In this way, clubs or groups could learn from one another and take that knowledge back to their own communities. Personally, I'd love to learn how to safely navigate from outward from my own town on routes safe enough for my five year old on a trailer (tag-along / attached half-bike).

In general I avoid any road that eventually has an interchange with an interstate or freeway.

BruceBikes said:

Familiarity definitely helps, but many parts of Chicago are on an uninterrupted grid, so if you start riding and don't like the street you're on, you can jog over to a residential street or another collector street and keep going in the same direction.  The suburbs (outside of the inner ring suburbs) generally don't have this level of connectivity, so you need to be more careful when selecting a route.

True. I've found that in many suburbs, and the far south side of the city, there are lots of great rideable areas/neighborhoods, often separated by streets or areas that are more hazardous to cyclists.  Some of the inner ring suburbs (such Evanston, Skokie, Oak Park, Berwyn and others) are fairly easy to ride without a planned route.  Others are a challenge unless you've got local knowledge or the Chicagoland bike map.  Even with that knowledge, some areas don't have any safe rideable routes.

Richard's suggestion is a positive one. Sharing this type of knowledge is helpful.

Jeff Schneider said:

I have  lived in several suburbs along Metra lines, and I'd say that it's not uncommon for them to have decently walkable little downtown areas and bikeable residential neighborhoods.  Within a given suburb, walking and biking can be quite pleasant.

Where it all goes to hell is when you try to bike any significant distance through several suburbs.  Typically the quiet side streets are disconnected, and you have to get on streets with  very fast car traffic.  It's possible to find routes if you really study the map, but you just can't start riding without a route in mind and figure it out as you go like you can in the city.

OK, it looks like it's time for a suburbanite to school all y'all city folk! Guess who has done a lot of this research already? I.D.O.T.!

Here you go.... links to IL County bike maps that cover ROADS, not just trails (although trails are included too). The legend is easy to use. Green roads are considered the most suitable for biking and the colors go through dark green (less safe) yellows (caution) reds (not recommended) black (you're suicidal). If you want to bike through an unfamiliar suburb, just download the appropriate County map in PDF format to your smart phone.

>> IDOT Bicycling Information (Main link)

>> County Maps (Use the drop down to select the desired county to see the detailed map)

>> IL bike trail list (Just lists sorted by county, no maps, but you've heard of Google right?) ;)

Z Bicyclist posted a ride called the  Techny Basin Ride with the Evanston Bike Club that helped navigate us to Northbrook.   It was back on September 27, 2009.   Wow! That's almost 4 years ago. It was my first ride with EBC and I signed up soon after to be a member.    

Ride description below:

This ride will visit some of the low points of the Techny basin in southern Northbrook and northeast Glenview. We'll see two large retention basins, discover how to get to REI or Whole Foods safely by bike, see the "natural" roof of the Glenview Prairie Preserve, and contrast areas that have turned their back on the river from those that are now embracing it.

The ride leaves from Chandler-Newberger Community Center. The street address is 1028 Central St., Evanston, although the building itself is nearer to Lincoln St. There is ample on-street parking available on Lincoln St. in Evanston on weekends.

This is a SLOW PACED ride (10-12 mph cruising speed) of 24 miles. This ride is sponsored by the Evanston Bicycle Club, although you do not need to be a member. There is no charge. There will be a food stop.
Richard said:

Perhaps this is a call for local riding groups to invite groups from the next town over for planned rides. In this way, clubs or groups could learn from one another and take that knowledge back to their own communities. Personally, I'd love to learn how to safely navigate from outward from my own town on routes safe enough for my five year old on a trailer (tag-along / attached half-bike).

In general I avoid any road that eventually has an interchange with an interstate or freeway.

BruceBikes said:

Familiarity definitely helps, but many parts of Chicago are on an uninterrupted grid, so if you start riding and don't like the street you're on, you can jog over to a residential street or another collector street and keep going in the same direction.  The suburbs (outside of the inner ring suburbs) generally don't have this level of connectivity, so you need to be more careful when selecting a route.

That's it exactly.  In my suburban life I was often able (with some effort) to find routes to where I wanted to go, but they sometimes got pretty complicated.  That was a PITA.

BruceBikes said:

Familiarity definitely helps, but many parts of Chicago are on an uninterrupted grid, so if you start riding and don't like the street you're on, you can jog over to a residential street or another collector street and keep going in the same direction.  The suburbs (outside of the inner ring suburbs) generally don't have this level of connectivity, so you need to be more careful when selecting a route.

Matt said:

I wonder if the mentality of "you can start riding without a route in mind in the city" comes from familiarity with city streets? I would tend to avoid some fast and/or crowded streets in the city, such as Western Avenue, Cicero Avenue, Harlem Avenue, North Avenue ...

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