The Chicago Transit Authority announced plans to allow bicycles on trains during summer weekends starting the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. The new policy is a collaborative effort between the CTA, the Chicago Department of Transportation, and the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation.
The pilot program will be effective Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from May 29 until September 6, 1999. Holidays include Memorial Day on May 31, Independence Day on July 4 and 5, and Labor Day on September 6. On July 3, bicycles will not be allowed due to heavy passenger traffic associated with the fireworks show.
According to CTA Chairman Valerie B. Jarrett, "Bicycle accessibility on trains has worked quite well in other U.S. cities and the CTA looks forward to combining these two convenient and environmentally-friendly modes of transportation in the Chicago area."
?This program allows bicycle enthusiasts to rely on the extensive CTA train network to get to the bike paths on the lakefront and throughout the city," added CTA President Frank Kruesi.
Cyclists ages 18 and over are encouraged to bring their bicycles onto any of the CTA's six rail lines for access to locations throughout Chicagoland. Children under the age of 12 will not be allowed to board with bicycles and an adult must accompany cyclists aged 12 to 17.
Riders will enter the system through the access gate with the help of the Customer Assistant. When using the stairs, bicyclists are asked to maintain a large amount of space between themselves and the other customers. And when available, elevators should be used. Once inside the station, two bicycles will be allowed per car and the riders must hold onto their bicycles at all times. Customers using wheelchairs will have priority space on each car.
Permitting bicycles on trains is a part of the City of Chicago's ?Bike 2000 Plan," designed to make Chicago bicycle friendly by the year 2000. The plan calls for improved coordination between mass transit and bicycles.
"There are many reasons you might want to take your bike on a CTA train this summer. You can explore an interesting neighborhood by bike, ride a new trail, visit a friend or beat the traffic and parking costs at summer events," according to Randy Neufeld, Executive Director of the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation (CBF). The CBF is a non-profit membership organization offering information on bicycle maps, safety, and events. The CBF's information line is (312) 42-PEDAL.
At the end of the summer, the CTA's pilot program will be evaluated to determine whether or not it will be continued.
The ?CTA Summer Bike Access Program? brochure that details the program's regulations is available at CTA stations throughout the system. For information on all CTA travel, call (888) YOUR-CTA.
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