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A Better Community Through Biking

Homewood Village Trustee Anne Colton on how a commitment to biking improves our community

As we draw to the close of another biking season, I have found myself riding even more than usual.  I do this every year – it’s like I want to get every possible ride in before the weather gets too cold or messy to ride comfortably.  And every time I get on my bike in Homewood, it reminds me of how much I love living here.

The bike lanes are amazing.  I was happy when they went in, because it showed how committed our community is to progressive thinking and healthy living.  But I had no idea how much I would love using them.  Bike lanes make us safer by demonstrating the need to share the road.  They encourage people to use their bikes for short trips, by reminding them that it’s a viable option.  And best of all, they help keep cyclists off the sidewalks downtown, making room for more pedestrians.

Of course, my bike errands to Walt’s have been more difficult the last couple months, with the construction on 183rd Street.  But truthfully, my car trips on 183rd haven’t been so great either.  Outside of that, though, biking in Homewood has been a real joy this year.

And more bike riding is good for the whole community, not just the individual rider.  A single bike lane has the same people-moving capacity as two lanes for motor vehicles. Striping two bike lanes is like adding four motor vehicle lanes of capacity - for the cost of paint! 

When I ride, I have nowhere near the parking headaches either.  Providing a parking space for a customer's car costs $7000. Providing parking for 10 customers on bikes costs $500, in the same amount of space, and makes it easier to find parking for customers who have to drive. So everybody wins.

When you look at the some of the most successful, progressive communities in Chicagoland, you will see that they have cycling as a viable transportation option.  I am proud to live in a village that shares those values.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Kate Duff October 21, 2012 at 01:24 AM
I am became an even bigger fan of the bike lanes when I read that just having the painted symbols on the roadway will tend to slow motorists down, because people adjust their speed to their perception of how wide the lane is. I believe the stat was a 5% reduction in speed. ANYTHING that results in a 5% reduction in speed on Ridge Road is good in my book!
Kate Duff October 21, 2012 at 01:35 AM
Er, became, not "am became." I would like to blame that typo on Grape & Grain.
Barb Ferrari October 25, 2012 at 02:06 AM
Thanks Anne for sharing the thoughts and feelings of other Homewood bicyclists, like myself. My bike rides to and from work not only benefited my personal health, they better connected me to my community. Now if we could only enlighten more car drivers to open their eyes, share the roads, and play nicer with us.

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