Cycling Chicago

Pioneering Bike Paths Promise Easy Commutes




William Perugini/Shutterstock.com

Chicago has created 100 miles of new bike lanes in the last five years and plans to add another 50 miles of upgraded lanes with curbs to protect riders from cars by 2019. Beyond that, a series of floating, solar-powered bike paths along the edge of the Chicago River is on the drawing board; each mile of pathway may cost between $5

The architecture firm SecondShore first proposed the idea. “You look at the river, and while it used to be the main commercial artery in the city, it’s not much of one anymore,” says firm cofounder James Chuck. “This fits with the mayor’s general economic strategy for the city—how to make use of latent infrastructure.”

The floating bike paths, named RiverRide, would give pedalers a truly auto-free place to ride for part of their commute and connect with existing bike lanes. The system would fill gaps in the network, creating around a 17-mile stretch of continuous bike paths connecting 28 neighborhoods.

Floating on concrete pontoons, the paths would use solar power for lighting. Solar panels could also heat the surface so the path doesn’t ice up in winter. Plans call for the path to intersect with river bridges so bikers can cross to the other side.


This article appears in the May 2017 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Read Our Current Issue Below

Warming Planet Will Worsen Sleep

Rising temperatures could cause six additional nights of poor sleep per 100 people by 2050 and 14 by 2099, say scientists.

Exercise Benefits Cancer Survivors

Breast cancer survivors that regularly perform moderate-to-vigorous physical activity show improved attention, memory and multitasking abilities.

Eating Apples and Tomatoes Repairs Lungs

Fresh tomatoes and fruit, especially apples, help heal damaged lungs of ex-smokers and can slow the natural decline of lung function that typically occurs after age 30.

Steam Baths Ease Allergies

Thais with hay fever that soaked in half-hour steam baths three times a week reported fewer symptoms such as sneezing, nasal itching and congestion.

Add your comment: