Chicago Business Owner: No Protected Bike Lanes Is a Dealbreaker

As our Chicago readers are well aware, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has made bike infrastructure a key part of his economic strategy. Since Emanuel took office, Chicago has been adding protected bike lanes perhaps faster than any city in the United States. The famously sharp-tongued Emanuel has even pledged to attract businesses from other cities, notably Seattle, with top-quality bike infra.

Jeff Judge, owner of the Chicago-based startup Signal, says he won't consider relocating to a city that doesn't take bike infrastructure seriously. Image: ##http://www.peopleforbikes.org/blog/entry/bostons-lack-of-protected-bike-lanes-kills-startups-potential-relocation## People for Bikes##

Well here’s one indication that it’s working. Mary Lauran Hall at People for Bikes reports Chicago business owner Jeff Judge won’t consider a move to another city unless its bike amenities can match what his employees have become accustomed to:

Judge recently weighed moving his marketing startup from Chicago to Boston when a Massachusetts-based company approached him about acquisition.

“The first thing I looked at was what the bike infrastructure is like in Boston,” said Judge. “It’s so important to me. I wouldn’t even give consideration to other cities that don’t have that sort of infrastructure built out, or at least plan to. Why fight against something when there are a lot of great cities in the country making sure that it’s an important attribute?”

Judge’s company is Signal, a marketing platform for small businesses. His small team works out of 1871, a coworking space for digital startups in downtown Chicago’s Merchandise Mart.

“We’re close to many protected bike lanes downtown,” explained Judge, who rides in Chicago’s new protected bike lanes on his commute to work. “For me and for my employees, it makes a big difference.”

Elsewhere on the Network today: Stop and Move recounts an especially galling example of the business-killing impacts of minimum parking regulations. Streets.mn explains how a Twin Cities suburb is evolving into a walkable place, one small step at a time. And Vibrant Bay Area pontificates on a new design philosophy that calls for smaller, more efficient homes for livable cities.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Protected Bike Lanes Attract Riders Wherever They Appear

|
Michael Andersen blogs for The Green Lane Project, a PeopleForBikes program that helps U.S. cities build better bike lanes to create low-stress streets. Second in a series. The data has been trickling in for years in Powerpoint slides and stray tweets: On one street after another, even in the bike-skeptical United States, adding a physical […]

Does the Gender Disparity in Engineering Harm Cycling in the U.S.?

|
A study published in this month’s American Journal of Public Health finds that highly influential transportation engineers relied on shoddy research to defend policies that discourage the development of protected bike lanes in the U.S. In their paper, the researchers point out that male-dominated engineering panels have repeatedly torpedoed street designs that have greater appeal […]

U.S. DOT to Publish Its Own Manual on Protected Bike Lanes

|
Before the end of this year, the Federal Highway Administration will release its own guidance on designing protected bike lanes. The agency’s positions on bicycling infrastructure has matured in recent years. Until recently, U.S. DOT’s policy was simple adherence to outdated and stodgy manuals like AASHTO’s Green Book and FHWA’s own Manual on Uniform Traffic […]

Cleveland Traffic Engineer Puts Buffer on the Wrong Side of the Bike Lane

|
Cleveland is finally installing buffered bike lanes along some major streets, but with the buffer between the bike lane and the curb, not between the bike lane and traffic. At first, many people thought this design was a mistake. But it has now been painted on two streets at the behest of Cleveland’s traffic engineer, Andy Cross. Local blog GreenCityBlueLake reports that […]