City-supplied rent-and-ride bikes
After the city gets off its parked-car ticketing ways to spot-ticket the many morons who Schwinn blithely along on the sidewalk, endangering man, dog and granny alike, they ought to get ahead with a city rent-a-bike system. While other cities have pulled it off—Lyon, France has 3,000 steeds and Paris, by the end of 2007, intends to have 20,600 bikes at 1,450 stations. (That’s one station about every 250 yards.) Mayor Daley claims bicycling is one of the most important things he can encourage in his fair city. Fine, as long as it doesn’t mean only building a garage (with shower facilities!) for several hundred Loop-bound businessmen in the Millennium Park garage. How about a Zipcar/I-Go Car-style system for bike rentals? Of course, as reported in the Tribune—which is behind the idea!—there’s an ongoing review. A study. A plan. A proposal. Expect the program to start in all the wrong places, and take a close look at the vendors once contracts are let. We’ll be less cynical when the program’s up and running, say, during Daley’s eighth term. In the meantime, there’s the vision of all the racks choked with bikes along a block-and-a-half of road at the entrance of the Hideout Block Party: an anaerobic feast for the eyes.
Best of Chicago 2007