Your Daley Dose of Cycling Advocacy
The Windy City is down a key bike advocate.
Last month, Richard M. Daley announced that he will not run for re-election as mayor of Chicago. The junior component of a fairly legendary father-and-son mayoral reign, Daley is an avid recreational cyclist and has been a strong supporter of utilitarian cycling, writes Mapes.
He ran the Chicagoland Bike Federation (now known as the Active Transportation Alliance) for nearly two decades and was instrumental in the establishment of the super-cool Millenium Park bicycle station—which offers secure parking, showers, bike rentals, and repairs. His picture has been on Chicago bike maps, and there’s even a group of young cycling safety advocates in the city who call themselves “Mayor Daley’s Bicycling Ambassadors.”
In the words Mapes quotes from Chicago bike advocate Randy Neufeld:
“There is no question that [Daley’s] personal attention to this has opened a lot of doors.”
“Chicago was once the center of the American bicycle industry,” Mapes writes.
What helped make it so was not only its urban density, flat topography, and good street-grid network, but also its tradition of powerful mayors, including but not limited to the Daleys.
Of the younger Daley, Mapes quotes city bike coordinator Ben Gomberg as saying:
“The mayor’s vision is very simple: He wants to make Chicago the most bicycle-friendly city in the United States.”
During Daley’ 20 years of leadership, Chicago set bicycling goals that include:
- Establishing a 500-mile network of bikeways,
- Fixing five to 10 dangerous intersections every year,
- Educating 250 Chicagoans on cycling safety annually, and
- Getting biking to constitute five percent of trips under five miles by 2015.
All I’ve got to say is:
Better get your chain greased and tires pumped to run this city, Rahm.