Better Streets Chicago and Legat Architects build buzz for urban biking
Lincoln Square event unites community members to encourage safe bicycle transit in Chicago neighborhoods
On Friday, May 13, a buzzing gripped Sunnyside Avenue in Chicago’s Lincoln Square. It wasn’t a swarm of insects or a machine on the fritz. Rather, the sound came from some fifty Waters Elementary School students riding their bikes with cards click-clacking against the spokes.
A biking awareness station, coordinated by Better Streets Chicago and sponsored by Legat Architects, was part of the school’s Springapalooza outdoor community event. Children decorated their bikes with stickers, spoke ornaments, and of course, those noisemaker cards.
Volunteers from Better Streets Chicago, a safe streets and transportation advocacy organization, talked to the kids about bike safety and to parents about making city streets safer for walking, rolling, bicycling, and public transit.
Legat, design architect for the recently completed Waters Elementary School addition, made a donation to Better Streets Chicago to support the event and donated three bike racks to the school.
Biking from Barcelona to Chicago
On Earth Day 2022, Legat Director of Energy Loren Johnson saw a video of Barcelona’s “bicibus,” a bicycle caravan that allows student and adult cyclists to safely navigate the city’s streets.
Johnson, a Better Streets Chicago volunteer, thought such a system would benefit Chicago, where many parents drive children to school despite living within biking distance. He decided to start with his own project, in his own Lincoln Square neighborhood. Johnson, project architect for the addition to the 110-year-old Waters Elementary, pitched the idea for a bike-related event to the school and Better Streets Chicago. Both organizations jumped at the opportunity. And thanks to Alderman Matt Martin, a portion of Sunnyside was closed to accommodate the event.
“The biking awareness station at Waters gave us an opportunity to show community members that Chicago’s streets have the potential to offer more independence for cyclists of all ages,” said Johnson. “Then there are the benefits of physical activity and the social interaction that happens when kids bike together and with their parents.”
Johnson was also responsible for supplying the spoke cards that created all that buzzing — it’s something he did when he was a child. The cards were such a big hit that the station ran out of the clips used to fasten them to the bikes.
One parent, watching the kids riding their bikes, said, “I wish it could be like this all the time.”
Contact us to learn more about sustainable design or comment below to share your thoughts on this post.