NPR's report on Chicago's latest effort to encourage bicycle commuting

Chicago, which is making a tremendous effort to become the most bicycle-friendly city in the U.S., has created a "Bike Station" for bicycle commuters. The station has secure places to park your bike, showers, changing areas, a mechanic to fix any mechanical problems.

Chicago is planning to install 10,000 bike racks around the city this summer.

NPR's report points out that in an urban area like Chicago, bicycling is actually faster than driving a car for distances up to 3 miles, and about the same overall speed as driving a car for trips of 3 to 5 miles.

Hear NPR's report here [RealAudio format]. The Chicago Bike Station home page is here.

A Copley News Service article about that Bike Station adds this:

Mayor Richard Daley set up a commission in the early 1990s to recommend ways to improve the urban landscape for bikers. The city now boasts more than 9,500 bicycle racks, 90 miles of on-street bike lanes and more than 30 miles of dedicated paths.

"These efforts are all aimed at encouraging people to ride their bikes, not just for recreation, but for work, for school and for shopping," Daley said at the station's ribbon-cutting last Monday. "Bicycling has so many benefits — it's good for the environment, it helps reduce traffic congestion, it's less expensive than a car."