LAKEVIEW — Lakeview may soon be a lot friendlier to bike riders.
The Lakeview Chamber of Commerce is launching itself as a bike-friendly business district next month — meaning building repair and air stops in busy areas, adding bike parking and offering discounts at local businesses for folks who arrive on two wheels.
Already, 20 businesses have signed up to offer discounts like 10 percent off or free coffee to customers who show a helmet, said Heather Way Kitzes, executive director of the chamber.
"Biking is good for business," Way Kitzes said. "Besides being fun, it's a healthy and sustainable way to get around. Shoppers who bike tend to stay in a localized area. It's great for supporting our local businesses and local commercial corridors."
Serena Dai chats about the Lakeview business plan:
The chamber serves commercial corridors on Southport, Lincoln Avenue and Ashland, though businesses outside the area can sign up to offer biker specials as well.
Way Kitzes hopes that, eventually, 100 of the area businesses will sign up. Businesses participating in the program will be given decals to post on their windows.
Beyond special discounts, the chamber and special service taxing area 27 is investing in infrastructure for bikers this year.
Some parts of bike lanes may be repainted, while others may be added. Old bike racks may be replaced, and new ones will be put in place after an analysis of where they are needed. On the Route bike shop, 3144 N. Lincoln Ave., will be funding a new bike corral in front of its store, or bike parking on the street instead of on the sidewalk.
And three bike fix-it stations, with an air pump and tools, will be placed in high-traffic areas, likely later in the year.
"We’re really excited about promoting Lakeview in this way, and getting people out and cycling around," Way Kitzes said.
Businesses and bikers interested in learning more and contributing to ideas can attend the chamber's first informational session about the district, on Tuesday, May 20 from 6-7:30 p.m. at J.P. Burke's, 2913 N. Lincoln Ave.
It's the first of many workshops the chamber plans to host to tout its new "bike-friendly" label. Future ones will likely focus more on educating bikers, Way Kitzes said.
The overall hope is that promoting biking will push local shoppers to see the neighborhood in a new way.
"You're likely to get a different perspective on a bike," she said. "you take your time to see what's available to you in the neighborhood. That's kind of our point."