Home E Tool & Asset E City of Chicago Bicycle Parking Ordinance

City of Chicago Bicycle Parking Ordinance

Objective One:
Expand the Chicago Department of Transportation’s bike parking program.


1.1 Continue installing outdoor (short-term) bike racks. Between 1993 and 2004, Chicago installed 10,000 bike racks on public property, more than any other city in the United States. The city should continue this popular program but at a slower pace, given the number of bike racks now available.
1.1.1 Performance Measure: Install between 400 – 500 bike racks per year, beginning in 2005.
1.1.2 Best Practice: Chicago, IL

1.2 Install bike parking inside office buildings. Providing indoor bike parking is one of the most effective ways to encourage people to bicycle to work. Less than 250 office buildings in Chicago currently provide indoor bike parking, however. Indoor bike parking can often be established with minimal effort and expense. Partner with the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) and other appropriate organizations to publicize this service.
1.2.1 Performance Measures: Provide free consulting services to encourage the installation of indoor bike parking at 15 – 25 buildings per year, beginning in 2005.

1.3 Provide long-term bike parking for employees at buildings owned by the City of Chicago and its sister agencies. If successful, expand and improve initiative.
1.3.1 Performance Measure: Pilot long-term bike parking in 5 – 10 buildings owned by the City of Chicago and its sister agencies in 2006.
1.3.2 Best Practice: San Francisco, CA

1.4 Partner with public institutions (e.g., universities, hospitals) to install short and long-term bike parking on their properties. Providing bike parking for employees, visitors, and students encourages bicycling, increasing the overall parking capacity of these institutions at minimal cost.
1.4.1 Performance Measure: Partner with 3 – 5 public institutions per year, beginning in 2006.

1.5 Encourage installation of bike parking at retail locations.Shopping centers and other retail outlets often have insufficient bike parking. Whatever bike parking is provided is often inconveniently located and/or poorly designed, further discouraging use. Providing bike parking is an inexpensive way to encourage people to shop by bike, increasing overall parking capacity at minimal cost.
1.5.1 Performance Measures: Encourage 10 existing shopping centers to provide adequate bike parking by 2007, and an additional 25 – 50 existing shopping centers by 2010.

1.6 Place stickers on selected parking meters to advise bicyclists that they are appropriate locations for bike parking.
1.6.1 Performance Measure: Attach stickers to 100 – 200 parking meters per year, beginning in 2007.

1.7 Install shelters to protect parked bicycles from inclement weather. Offset costs through advertising, much like the Chicago Transit Authority’s bus shelter program. If successful, expand initiative.
1.7.1 Performance Measure: Install bike parking shelters at 3 – 5 locations by 2015.
1.7.2 Best Practices: Corvallis, OR; Ottawa, ON

Objective Two:
Install bike parking with new development and construction.


2.1 Enforce the bike parking requirements of Chicago’s zoning ordinance. Short-term bike parking is now required with the development of commercial, office, multi-family residential, and institutional buildings; planned developments; and some commercial parking garages.
2.1.1 Performance Measures: Prepare permitting guidelines, train appropriate staff to enforce the bike parking provisions of Chicago’s zoning ordinance, and publicize the advantages of bike parking when issuing appropriate building permits, beginning in 2006. Make minor changes to City’s permit tracking database to provide accurate information regarding the number of bike parking spaces provided yearly in conjunction with new construction and renovation building permits. Submit an annual report to the Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Council on the successes and challenges in enforcing these regulations, beginning in 2006.
2.1.2 Best Practice: Vancouver, B.C.

2.2 Reinstall bike racks removed for sidewalk reconstruction.Reinstalling bike racks immediately after sidewalk reconstruction ensures that they are not discarded or stolen.
2.2.1 Performance Measures: Require bike rack reinstallation as a condition of construction permits and arrange for this requirement to be enforced, beginning in 2006.

2.3 Provide bike parking in appropriate city, county and state transportation projects.
2.3.1 Performance Measures: Prepare guidelines for appropriate city, county and state agencies in 2006. Review the plans of streetscape, transit and other appropriate transportation projects once or twice a year to ensure that bike parking is provided, beginning in 2006.
2.3.2 Best Practice: Ottawa, ON

2.4 Continue replacing bike parking lost when parking meters are removed for “pay and display” parking. Parking meters are often used for parking bicycles. With their removal, provide bike parking at appropriate locations.
2.4.1 Performance Measures: Determine where to provide replacement bike parking at least two months before removing parking meters. Install bike parking before or within two weeks of the removal of the parking meters.
2.4.2 Best Practices: Toronto, ON; Chicago, IL

2.5 Consider expanding the bike parking requirements of Chicago’s zoning ordinance to provide indoor bike parking, showers, and changing areas with the development of appropriate land uses.
2.5.1 Performance Measure: Determine appropriate changes to Chicago’s zoning ordinance by 2007, including the appropriateness of bonus provisions.
2.5.2 Best Practices: San Francisco, CA; Cambridge, MA; Vancouver, B.C.

Objective Three:
Provide bike parking at train stations.


4.1 Continue installing bike racks outside train stations. Bike parking is available at 110 of the 124 CTA stations in Chicago and 50 of the 76 Metra stations. Wherever possible, bike parking should be covered, illuminated, and in highly visible locations, to encourage use and reduce the likelihood of bike theft.
4.1.1 Performance Measure: Improve bike parking outside 5 – 10 stations per year, beginning in 2006. Bike racks installed outside every CTA and Metra station in Chicago by 2007.
4.1.2 Best Practice: Chicago, IL, CTA

4.2 Continue installing bike racks inside existing train stations.Install bike parking inside every CTA station to provide weather protection and greater security, space permitting. Indoor bike parking is currently available at 66 CTA stations in Chicago (more than any other transit agency in the United States).
4.2.1 Performance Measure: Install bike racks inside an additional 10 – 25 CTA stations by 2007.
4.2.2 Best Practice: Chicago, IL, CTA

4.3 Test the viability of long-term bike parking at train stations.If successful, expand initiative.
4.3.1 Performance Measure: Test 3 – 5 long-term bike parking options, including lockers, by 2007.
4.3.2 Best Practices: Portland, OR, TriMet; San Jose, CA, VTA; Vancouver, B.C., TransLink

4.4 Consider providing indoor bike parking during the planning, design, and construction of new and reconstructed train stations. Provide indoor bike parking for a minimum of five bicycles per station, where possible.
4.4.1 Performance Measures: CTA, Metra and the Chicago Department of Transportation develop and apply guidelines for providing indoor bike parking in new and reconstructed train stations by 2007. Widely distribute to appropriate staff and consultants, beginning in 2007.
4.4.2 Best Practice: Chicago, IL, CTA

4.5 Maintain bicycle access during train station remodeling and reconstruction. Provide advance notice and directional signage for bicyclists.
4.5.1 Performance Measure: Develop and implement a policy for maintaining bicycle access during train station construction by 2007.

4.6 Provide bike parking whenever park-and-ride facilities are established or expanded. Encouraging bicycle use may reduce project costs since fewer spaces for automobile parking would be required.
4.6.1 Performance Measure: Install bike parking whenever park-and-ride facilities are established or expanded, beginning in 2007.
4.6.2 Best Practices: King County, WA, Metro Transit; San Diego, CA, Ridelink

4.7 Post signs at train stations publicizing the availability of bike parking.
4.7.1 Performance Measure: Install signs at 10 – 25 stations with bike parking by 2007 and at 25 – 50 additional stations by 2015.
4.7.2 Best Practice: Washington, D.C., Metrorail

4.8 Establish another bicycle station. The Millennium Park Bicycle Station is very successful, encouraging thousands of bicycle trips annually. Establish the bicycle station at a popular train station, such as the Ogilvie Transportation Center, to encourage bike-transit use. Prepare a feasibility study and a business plan to determine capacities, costs, and revenues. Potential services include day and overnight parking; showers and/or changing facilities; lockers; bicycle rentals; repairs; and sales.
4.8.1 Performance Measures: Complete feasibility study and business plan by 2007; complete bicycle station design by 2009; construct by 2010.
4.8.2 Best Practices: Berkeley, CA, Berkeley Bikestation; Long Beach, CA, Long Beach Commuter Bikestation; Seattle, WA, Seattle Bikestation

4.9 Establish large bike parking areas at select CTA and Metra train stations. Indoor or weather-protected bike parking will be established at four CTA stations in 2007. Prepare a feasibility study to determine the best locations to establish similar bike parking at three to five additional stations. Determine capacity and costs, using methodology established in the CTA/CDOT effort and the CTA’s Bicycle Parking Design Guidelines. Develop designs that provide, at a minimum: secure bike parking, either inside the station or protected from the weather; convenient access; signage; and lighting.
4.9.1 Performance Measures: Complete feasibility study by 2007; complete designs for 3 – 5 bike parking areas by 2009; construct by 2010.

Possible Funding

Federal transportation programs including the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program and the Surface Transportation Program; Chicago Department of Transportation; Chicago Park District; Mayor’s Office of Special Events; event managers; sports facility operators; Cubs Fund; private sector.

Back to all City Bicycle Parking Ordinances