Madison’s Mansion Hill – A Rumination on the Role of Historic Preservation

A battle is brewing in Madison, WI over the proposed construction of three four and five-story apartment buildings in one of the city’s designated historic districts: Mansion Hill. News like this is far from rare in Madison. The city is populated by a politically engaged people with an eye towards preserving the unique place they call home–those “60 square miles surrounded by reality”–the best they can. But the newest fight may be showing more about how Madison’s characteristic reluctance towards new development and self-consciousness about its small size is creating a mix of qualities that, if not handled properly, will lead to worse outcomes for the city.

Thinking a lot about historic preservation and the conflict that often arises between preservationists and developers I recognize both the incredible importance of preservation, but also an argument for development that alters historic spaces in some way. Madison is becoming a city of contrasts. While some areas get more than enough attention just blocks away, huge developments are going up in a cookie-cutter post-modernist style. They take up entire city blocks, overwhelm smaller buildings nearby and are more like big-box developments in the sky than smart urban projects. They don’t always get built with the character of the area taken into account and also threaten the character of non-historic parts of the city. These are getting built with little interruption and usually the biggest fight is over the height (none are ever much more than 9 or 11 floors).

In this way Madison offers ample examples of the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to preservation versus development; the most recent fight is growing in the heart of Mansion Hill over three proposed apartment buildings. The project calls for an undesirable mid-rise building from the 60s to be demolished, an historic home to be moved to another lot on the block and another dilapidated older home to be demolished. The developer designed the buildings with the intention of matching the character of the area by choosing the New York City style brick walk-up apartment style as the inspiration. The designs do the job well and the developer is careful to use dark brown, cream and red bricks for the entire exterior and even features well designed décor on the façades in the manner of older pre-war buildings.

This is what most of the blocks in Mansion Hill in Madison, WI look like.

This is what most of the blocks in Mansion Hill in Madison, WI look like.

Mansion Hill rises above Lake Mendota’s southern end and overlooks Capital Hill and Downtown Madison to the south and the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus to the west. Mansion Hill is a beautiful neighborhood in a beautiful city dominated by lakes and hills, whose loss would be a shame for the cultural and architectural heritage of the city. The area is a vintage impression of Victorian era America in the heart of this burgeoning American city. The neighborhood is dominated by stately old homes with ample gardens, frat and sorority houses and the ubiquitous house-turned-apartment, a standard of any college campus. The area is quiet and in many ways the ideal neighborhood for an urban-minded but small American city. It is leafy, but has access to other neighborhoods and Downtown that allows for low car ownership, walkability, and bike-friendly streets. The buildings being proposed would be fitting additions to the neighborhood and if they were being built on empty lots there would likely be little problem.

In Madison though, no project could go through without major opposition, especially in a neighborhood like Mansion Hill. Opponents of the project address scale and height in arguments against the project. The biggest issue however is the supposed precedent it would set for new projects in Madison’s historic districts. The fear being that if this is allowed (the removal of an ‘historic’ building), then other projects like this might be successful in other parts of the city and wear away the power of Madison’s landmark and preservation laws.

This is the site of the proposed development in Mansion Hill. The taller concrete structure would be demolished as would the building next door. The next building to the right would be moved to another lot on the block.

This is the site of the proposed development in Mansion Hill. The taller concrete structure would be demolished as would the building next door. The next building to the right would be moved to another lot on the block.

The precedent preservationists speak against involves the small white building at 127 W. Gilman Street. The building is in a poor state and from looking at it that is reasonably concluded. Although preservationists claim it can be salvaged the development firm, Steve Brown Apartments, claims multiple parties have declared it beyond its useful life and appropriate for demolition. And I agree with them on that last point. The firm should be applauded for thinking so deeply about how they would design buildings that bring more units to the area (which is desperately needed in Downtown Madison, which has high rents and low vacancy and unending demand for apartments), but respect the character of the neighborhood and maximize preserved buildings.

The building at 127 W. Gilman is far from historically and architecturally significant. Other than being old, there is nothing innovative or special about the building, which prompts reason for preservation. Secondly, the building’s story is far from unique. Like many places in Madison it became home to a fraternity and housed other local organizations. In this case it was an early Jewish fraternity. Other than that though, there was nothing remarkable about who built it, lived there, or worked there. The loss of this building doesn’t signal a blow to Madison’s heritage. Nor does this signal a net loss for Madison. The area needs more apartments and it needs more thoughtful contemporary architecture that accomplishes that goal.

Compare this project to other Downtown and Campus proposals in Madison and the state of preservation and development becomes clear: Madison has no real sense of what it wants out of its buildings and what preservation is truly considered important. At one end, scale is always argued. Yet, the city has allowed for a number of gargantuan projects along the corridor between Downtown and the UW-Madison campus which are not just out of scale with the neighborhoods, but the city itself. Madison has strict height limits to preserve views of the state capitol so many of these huge buildings have larger footprints to make up for lost height. But ultimately they turn into big box stores in the air and tower over the surrounding neighbors. The buildings at Gilman are larger than most neighbors, but try to make up for the modestly larger scale with aesthetics.

Preserving access and costs to storefronts and apartments also play into preservation. Madison as a whole seeks to preserve its character, which includes good prices for apartments, a mix of people, and small businesses. The Isthmus as a whole is getting expensive and if the city is going to keep prices low it needs to increase supply for things there is a lot of demand for: apartments and commercial space.* Again, preservationists said nichts when a building hosing a number of local restaurants and businesses as well as an affordable hotel on State Street, the city’s main commercial district, was demolished for a massive new development. This pushed a number of businesses to extinction, because they depended on the cheap rent at their old location.**

This is a rendering of what the buildings on West Gilman in Mansion Hill, proposed by Steve Brown Apartments, would look like.

This is a rendering of what the buildings on West Gilman in Mansion Hill, proposed by Steve Brown Apartments, would look like.

Preservation is a careful and thoughtful process, and in Madison it doesn’t to take that into account. Rather than putting their efforts into saving a mediocre old building, the city and the local preservationists’ community should be thinking about how to maximize saving what is most important to them. They should focus on saving buildings with the most historical and architectural value, not just buildings that are old and save them for the sake of being old. In the historic districts the additional work should be to make sure new buildings fit into the aesthetic and social character of the neighborhood. Firms like Steve Brown should be rewarded with approval for the good projects they propose, not rejected because it includes demolishing one insignificant building. Finally, the city should examine how preservation can be used as an economic tool to keep Madison an affordable city for important characteristics of the city: students, small businesses, independence. This is where preserving older buildings like the one formerly at the corner of State Street and Francis Street comes into play.

The city of Madison has the ability to create a strong and sustainable, but also practical and realistic plan for historical preservation and development. One that prevents unnecessary and harmful intrusions into the city, but also allow for positive growth and rewards developers for work well done.

As it is now, Madison has a haphazard plan, where sometimes overzealous preservationists are given too much power in one place unnecessarily and prevents the developments the city deserves, whereas in other areas developers have too much power to go-go-go for the sake of development. This is exemplified in the unfortunate contrast in Madison’s policy between the large new developments going up with little hinderance and the well-designed thoughtful proposal presented for Mansion Hill. The city should be encouraging the latter and not the former to achieve the goal of preserving the city’s character and history while supported necessary new development.

As Madison grows it needs to take a step back and seriously and carefully think about the future it wants. Otherwise the city might change before its very eyes, perhaps for the better, but maybe not. It can’t be said what will be lost or gained, but good work should be done.

*For people unfamiliar with Madison, the Downtown population is dominated by college students and young professionals who need affordability more than most people. The city also has a history of supporting small businesses and socially mixed neighborhoods. The rising costs of rent Downtown are pushing these people and businesses out. 

**This building was in a Mid-century Modern style and even though it was certainly overdue for a makeover in my opinion it was actually more architecturally significant than the building on W. Gilman. It added a level of aesthetic variation that doesn’t otherwise exist in Downtown Madison.

Videos!

It’s time for some more videos: all things Chicago today. The first video is linked from Chicagoist.com, and explores the diversity of Bridgeport, the South Side neighborhood and legendary home of the Daleys. The second and third videos are just general portraits of Chicago and the final video is a spec commercial featuring the city, which was incidentally made by my brother, Kevin Podgers.

Enjoy!

Jefferson Park development proposal sees opposition — Petition overlooks value of new development

The Northwest Side seems to be going through some serious growing pains. The recent spurt of news about and backlash against new development proposals and streetscaping projects is evidence that this more or less residential swath of the city, dominated by its single-family homes and above ground pools is not emotionally prepared for the slow advancement of more dense features likelier found in Lakeview or Andersonville. Yet such projects also have the potential to transform the area with less impact that expected. The most recent frustration comes from the proposal for a dense five-floor apartment development in Jefferson Park adjacent to CTA, Pace, and Metra transit center.

The site’s location adjacent to the numerous bus routes, the CTA Blue Line, and the Metra Union Pacific NW line is ideal, because it increases the chances residents will commute to work by public transit instead of a car. It puts more people within walking and biking distance of the Lawrence/Milwaukee and Milwaukee/Central business districts, which both sorely need vitalization and investment. The opponents argue that the project is just too large and out of scale with the area, it would put undo burden on the nearby Beaubien Elementary School, and that this project would set a negative precedent for the entire area.

The petition against this development totally overlooks the value such changes can bring to an area. This is particularly true for Jefferson Park and many other neighborhoods on the Northwest Side, which have a very limited scope of housing options and development types. Dominated almost entirely by single-family homes, the Northwest Side is essentially out of the question for young couples looking to start a family in a smaller place, small families who don’t need or want a larger house, and empty nesters wishing to stay where they raised their families and have friends. Introducing some housing options like this is a potentially vital move in this part of the city as a means to attract new families and retain residents, because housing options specific to their needs become available.

What is apparent looking at a map of Jefferson Park is its potential for higher-density development, because of the transportation connections, potential to support local business, and the availability of land.

What is apparent looking at a map of Jefferson Park is its potential for higher-density development, because of the transportation connections, potential to support local business, and the availability of land.

And it is true that this type of development will likely set a precedent, but one that is actually good for the area, not bad! Jefferson Park needs a boost to its economic vitality and economic investment. The area has definitely stagnated and isn’t moving anywhere fast. While attempts to improve the situation are in the works (the improvements to the far northern end of Milwaukee Avenue, potential expansion of Divvy into the area, and Blue Line investment) a major boost would likely come from building more higher-density condo and apartment buildings within the immediate vicinity of the Jefferson Park Transportation Center and the intersection of Milwaukee and Lawrence. This area has the space available and the connectivity to support such developments and it would be a huge lose to the neighborhood to work against positive development proposals.

The precedent being set shouldn’t be feared either, because it is one that seeks to fill in long vacant lots, which in theory should be something neighbors welcome. The lot at Argyle and Long was in fact and old industrial storage yard.

The only legitimate problem may be requiring the local elementary school to take on more students, but considering the proposal only calls for 48 units, which families with children may not even rent, it is hard to imagine a huge influx of students suddenly.

Killing this project on unfounded fears and speculation would be a small blow for the neighborhood that is representative of a larger movements to halt projects that have a collective potential to hugely benefit the area. One way or another, it is important that this project or at least a revision of the same project go through, so it can become an example for Northwest Side residents that such development projects are both possible and beneficial. That is necessary if needed development elsewhere in the neighborhood is to go through. Indeed, there is a small number of three to six floor buildings in the neighborhood that exist side-by-side blocks of single-family homes; buildings old enough that the residents likely voluntarily chose to live near them.

Options exists to soften the potential impact of the Long-Argyle project: make the building closest to homes on Argyle three or four floors instead of five for example. Whatever happens, a proposed solution would be much better than an outright rejection of the project. Living in a city means providing and living in an environment of mixed-use and mixed-design buildings. This is a benefit of city living, because it affords options and diversity that positively impact neighborhoods. It is diversity of people, diversity of economy, and social diversity. This quality of city life shouldn’t be lost in Jefferson Park.

Six Californias!? What about the great states of Chicago, New York City and Philadelphia (maybe?)

While I don’t foresee California being divided into six new states quite yet (hey, who knows though), I do concede that I can’t help thinking that the plan proposed by Silicone Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper is on to something about the shape of US states: maybe bigger isn’t always better? His argument for splitting California into 6 new states is based on his belief that the state has become too big to govern properly and that sometimes it is better to let smaller regions and more homogenous social and economic ecosystems govern themselves in their own interests. Granted, his plan may just be a “silly con” for Silicone Valley’s benefit and it also raises a lot of questions about how state-wide structures in California would be governed post partition. (The water system, California high-speed rail–what happens to those?) Nonetheless, it makes for a dreamy vision of other parts of the country where political differences can cripple government and others  where multiple layers of government overlap to create a recipe for even more dysfunction.

Thus, I invite you all to imagine the great states of Chicago, New York City and Philadelphia! One of the things that intrigues me most about the United States compared to many Western peers is the noticeable lack of city-states as a political unit. With the exception of Washington, D.C. none exist here even though a number of urban regions throughout the country have populations and economies comparable with sovereign states. This is opposed to Spain, Germany, and France all of which have at least one provincial unit that is a city-state. Spain has Madrid, France has the Ile-de-France around Paris, and in Germany Hamburg, Bremen, and Berlin are all clearly defined city-states. While in the case of Germany, Bremen and Hamburg are the historical remnants of the Hanseatic League, the Berlin city-state is similar to the Ile-de-France, Madrid, or Greater London in that it gives the nation’s capital and largest city a degree of autonomy to do as it wishes according to its needs. Inspired by a call for 6 Californias based on the same model it would seem prudent to add a few city states to the United States’ collection and call it a day.

So why Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York City? For me, the city-state model seems most prudent when an urban region is divided into administrative levels which make it difficult to govern or creates a system in which competition becomes detrimental to the entire urban unit. Or in some instances prevents beneficial improvements across borders. In fact, the bickering of states might make it impossible for cities to compete on a larger stage. Of these three cities, the larger urban region sprawls across multiple state lines (in each case three).

An example of problems with this is in Chicagoland. With the exception of the single branch South Shore Line, there is almost zero mass transit between Cook County and the City of Chicago in Illinois to Northwest Indiana and more than 770,000 people living in LaPorte, Porter, and Lake counties. This is only one example of how policies on one side of a border make it difficult for a larger urban region to build an interconnected infrastructure network and a small nod to the barriers created by multiple political borders. Another is how Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker gloated (once upon a time) about taking jobs from Illinois rather than seeing the potential in connecting the urban mega-region that includes Milwaukee, Chicago, Rockford, Madison, and Northwest Indiana. The cross-border changes and competition makes it impossible for the region to function as a whole. This is surprising given these are just states and yet in places like Scandinavia sovereign countries are looking to improve connectivity in mega-regions. So US states are hindering urban regions true potentials it seems.

While other cities straddle state lines (Omaha, Nebraska; Saint Louis, Missouri; or Kansas City, Missouri for example) the three mentioned above are by far the largest and most influential and could above all others benefit form a uniform government, which encompasses the entire region and can more directly address the needs of each region. It would also free these regions from the frequent tumult of state politics and the not-so-unfamiliar urban-rural conflict that seems to constantly plague states with large swaths or rural area and a domineering urban center. Indeed, calls for to separate Cook County in Illinois from the rest of the state have frequently come from Downstate politicians. This would be detrimental though in that it would add another layer of governance to Chicagoland.

This map shows the NFL teams that got the most Facebook 'likes' in each US county. Notice how the Bears did well into Indiana and even Michigan, well within Chicago's sphere of influence.

This map shows the NFL teams that got the most Facebook ‘likes’ in each US county. Notice how the Bears did well into Indiana and even Michigan, well within Chicago’s sphere of influence.

A city-state around Chicago would be better served by including Cook, Lake, DuPage, Will, and Kane counties in Illinois, Kenosha County in Wisconsin and at least Lake and Porter counties in Indiana. Around Philadelphia it would make the most sense to cut out a chunk or northern Delaware including Wilmington, southwestern New Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania to create a new city-state, while the communities along the Hudson River in New Jersey and New York and southwestern Connecticut would make for appropriate additions to the city-state of New York.

The city-state isn’t an idea that shouldn’t go unnoticed. Yes, history and culture and identity and politics would play preventative roles (and reasonably so) in blocking such dramatic changes to the geopolitical map of the United States, but such changes could be hugely beneficial to cities and potentially make a balance of power that is more reasonable across the country. First, many major cities would be able to determine their own destiny better. They would be free from the conflicts of state politics and potentially have more money, because taxes produced in urban centers would no longer go to supporting rural areas. Additionally, three new cities states would add a number of new urban representatives in Congress. There would be 6 new senators all guaranteed to be representative of urban areas and depending on how congressional districts get redrawn potentially 30-40 House members would be from these states. This could make cities gain more influence in federal affairs to their benefit.

It is difficult to ignore how cities often don’t align with states and inevitable conflict seems to arise. Even from a sociocultural stand point it might make sense to establish city-states. Ironically, I think an argument for the importance of states based on maps from Aaron Renn’s blog/website Urbanophile shows more about how some areas just don’t belong together than do. In each three maps he shows, the sociocultural unity of the regions around Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York City are clearly expressed. Indeed, the sphere of influence for Chicago goes as far as Michigan in some instances. This again makes it seem plausible that city-states could succeed. If they are large enough to include a decently sized rural hinterland that if not politically is at least culturally connected enough to the urban core of such states to function well within it. This might make for states actually more similar to Massachusetts with a strong urban core in Boston, smaller urban centers like Springfield, but enough rural area to mix it up.

This map shows where the most county-to-county phone calls were made. Again notice how around certain cities with cross-boarder urban areas the calls stay within those regions.

This map shows where the most county-to-county phone calls were made. Again notice how around certain cities with cross-boarder urban areas the calls stay within those regions.

This map shows the same thing as the map above, but with county-to-county texts. Notice the same phenomenon and the indication that in some places, urban influence is significantly greater than state influence. While Renn manages to show how some states are closely connected as a community, he also gives evidence to where urban regions might be better independent communities.

This map shows the same thing as the map above, but with county-to-county texts. Notice the same phenomenon and the indication that in some places, urban influence is significantly greater than state influence. While Renn manages to show how some states are closely connected as a community, he also gives evidence to where urban regions might be better independent communities.

These maps also show why some places, like Chicago or New York City, might be better fit for city-state status than say Atlanta. The capital of Georgia is more closely linked to the state politically and culturally than Chicago is to Illinois or New York City   to the Empire State (neither are state capitals and relatively isolated geographically in corners of the state). Growing up in Chicago for example, I can say I almost never met somebody who was from northeastern Illinois and identified with the state–we all identified with the city. Even people from Kenosha, Wisconsin identified more with Chicago than their home state. On the other hand, Atlantans seem proud of their city and state, and looking at some of the above maps, the spheres of influence that include Atlanta and Georgia seem to go much beyond urban boundaries and indeed include multiple states. Indeed, just thinking about Atlanta as I write this I can’t help but think about Georgia.

There is still the problem that states matter to some extent and even in places like Illinois, where urban-rural conflict is high some projects might benefit from the presence of large cities in the state. This includes high-speed rail. Or what about the instate tuition Chicagoans get to pay at the University of Illinois? While this might create conflict as to the benefits of building high-speed rail through Illinois from a Chicago city-state or access to higher education it doesn’t necessarily mean those cons outweigh the potential benefits. However, this is based on unfounded evidence and it may be that a stronger city-state in the heart of the Midwest would create an economic output strong enough to benefit the entire region and give it more leverage region wide. It shouldn’t even be assumed rural states would be unwilling to work with city-states. Either way, it shouldn’t be assumed that it is just the states that keep these projects together.

States are incubators for experimentation and perhaps that’s the best thing that is coming out of the proposal to divide California. No matter what happens it is an opportunity to critically think about how we divide and unite ourselves at different levels. None of this will likely happen, but thinking about it can produce new methods of improving how urban regions function and how they relate to the federal and states’ governments. In the case of Chicago a more appropriate option may be establishing a port authority similar to that in New York that crosses boarders and operates the region’s complex infrastructure in a more uniform way. On the other hand, maybe a Silicone Valley like city(ish)-state will be so successful that there is no other option but to join that bandwagon and enjoy the ride. Hey, Chicago missed out on its opportunity to add a fifth star with the 2016 Olympics, maybe this is the next best chance.

 

 

 

 

The lack of better bike lanes: I just don’t get it

Streetsblog Chicago did a great job again today of keeping two-wheeled Chicagoans informed as to what is going on with the city’s improving bike infrastructure. One of the newest additions to the city’s growing network of buffered bike lanes is the half mile stretch along Noble Street between Augusta Boulevard and Erie Street near Eckhart Park. Pictured below, the freshly painting bike lane and newly paved street looks great, but I really can’t help but ask why wasn’t this route turned into a barrier protect or curbed bike lane?

This bike lane includes a nice buffer along the right-hand side adding room between cyclists and cars helping to prevent safety hazards for cyclists such as drivers opening car doors directly into the bike lane. This is a much welcome improvement to the types of stripped bike lanes Chicagoans used to know well, which had the bike lanes flush up against parked cars.

This bike lane includes a nice buffer along the right-hand side adding room between cyclists and cars helping to prevent safety hazards for cyclists such as drivers opening car doors directly into the bike lane. This is a much welcome improvement to the types of stripped bike lanes Chicagoans used to know well, which had the bike lanes flush up against parked cars.

Here’s my thinking: if you look at the buffer on the right side of the bike lane, the width of the street, and consider the obviously low traffic flow along Noble, there is no reason to think that this half mile stretch through a relatively dense residential area wasn’t ideal for a bike lane that was either barrier protected or built up on or with a curb to physically separate it from automobile traffic. The space was clearly available and the disruptions to parking or car traffic would like be little to none. So why just implement the simpler solution?

This is a barrier protected bike lane in Amsterdam. Just glancing at the photograph it is clear a bike lane like this isn't much wider than the bike lane along Noble Street in Chicago, While the barrier is a bit wider than the space available in Chicago this image goes to show that a barrier protected bike lane need not be particularly extravagant.

This is a barrier protected bike lane in Amsterdam. Just glancing at the photograph it is clear a bike lane like this isn’t much wider than the bike lane along Noble Street in Chicago, While the barrier is a bit wider than the space available in Chicago this image goes to show that a barrier protected bike lane need not be particularly extravagant.

While I recognize that it is significantly easier and cheaper to put in buffered bike lanes with paint I really am beginning to wonder as to the reason why all these buffered bike lanes aren’t just taken to the next level in the first place? While more expensive to build than the example we see along Noble, a protected bike lane is still significantly cheaper than other transportation options and really is one of the keys to getting more people out of cars and onto bikes. Shouldn’t that be a priority in a city that is trying to ease its collective environmental impact, make itself more livable, attract middle-class families and young professionals, and ease car congestion on its streets?

While this is a point of frustration for me, I do recognize that buffered bike lanes, even if only made out of paint, are a big step in an American city and one we should be proud of. As we expand Divvy and look towards biking as a reliable alternative to cars as well as a key player in developing a truly intermodal transportation network, we have to stop relying on the crutch of buffered bike lanes and begin building more barrier protected and curbed bike lanes. I can’t say whether it is a financial bottom line, cultural resistance, even laziness on the part of CDOT to go further that results in the bike lanes we have, but when are we really going to make this a true biking city and get past to model we’re currently using for most bike lanes?

Here is another Dutch lane (presumably in Amsterdam) that includes a barrier adjacent to parking spaces for cars. The bike lane appears to be a bit wider than the images above, but what is exemplified here is that protective barriers need not be extravagant either. Here they consist mostly of space between parked cars and the bike lane created by a slightly raised curb and differently colored and textured paving surfaces.

Here is another Dutch lane (presumably in Amsterdam) that includes a barrier adjacent to parking spaces for cars. The bike lane appears to be a bit wider than the images above, but what is exemplified here is that protective barriers need not be extravagant either. Here they consist mostly of space between parked cars and the bike lane created by a slightly raised curb and differently colored and textured paving surfaces.

None of this is to say I don’t welcome the expansion of buffered bike lanes in Chicago. It is great that CDOT and the mayor support such projects and expanding bike infrastructure has long been a goal of the mayor’s office that thankfully continues. But what gets me is how the city has for so long plodded along content with its merely acceptable bike infrastructure despite a desire to make Chicago the most bike-friendly big city in the United States.

The mayor’s office and CDOT just showed how easily they are capable of missing great opportunities to put in better bike infrastructure with the example of the Noble Street bike lanes. I realize high quality bike lanes are not possible in every part of the city, and in some places we will need to remain content with stripped lanes or plastic poles, but it is the few opportunities to build world-class bike infrastructure that we are missing out on that will prevent us from 1) becoming a truly bike-friendly city and 2) create that first example of what really could be that will help grow support for high quality bike lanes.

Even the Dutch have to share bike lanes with cars sometimes. Notice the use of different colors to make the different spheres as clearly visible as possible though.

Even the Dutch have to share bike lanes with cars sometimes. Notice however the use of different colors to make the different spheres as clearly visible as possible.

I kind of see it like the city is somebody going on a jog: they do 5 miles every day and are doing really great getting to that 5 mile mark, but they keep stopping there just because that’s where the jog is supposed to end rather than going that extra mile or two or three even when the momentum and energy is there and ready. This may be just a peep in the larger conversation about transportation infrastructure in Chicago, but perhaps if enough people start talking about the need to really begin taking things to the next level, and city-wide for that matter, the ball will get rolling and better bike infrastructure will make an appearance all over. The Netherlands is famous for its bikes for a reason. Wij zullen een voorbeeld aan ze nemen.