Explore Chicago's boulevards by bike - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Explore Chicago's boulevards by bike

This post was written by Alex Gilbert, communications intern.

Active Transportation Alliance’s Boulevard Lakefront Tour returns Aug. 29, 2010. This is a great opportunity to explore some of Chicago’s beautiful boulevards, with three new routes added this year to show you even more of Chicago. Registration includes an event T-shirt, rest stop access and access to the post-ride festival, where you can enjoy live entertainment, delicious food and beer compliments of Goose Island. Best of all, friends of MPC get a discount! Save $5 with coupon code MPCSAVE5 when you register online at www.boulevardtour.org.

If you’re still not sold, consider the significance of Chicago’s Boulevards:

Preceding even Daniel Burnham’s The Plan of Chicago, John S. Wright created a plan to beautify the city. Wright imagined a system of parks connected by a network of wide avenues that would both encircle Chicago and travel up the lakefront. This vision led to the creation of the Chicago Boulevard system.

In 1869, the State of Illinois created three park districts: South, West and North. The state established the boundaries of the parks and their accompanying boulevards. The park districts had the power to regulate land usage within 400 feet and impose special taxes for maintaining the system. Originally outside of the city limits, this park system was meant to promote smart development of the growing city. The World Columbian Exposition in 1893 brought even more attention to Chicago’s boulevard system; visitors christened it the “Emerald necklace” of Chicago.

After World War 2, when people began to move from the city to the suburbs, the boulevard system underwent changes: Wealthy families moved away from the boulevards, and they began to decay. The Park District then gave control over the boulevards to the City of Chicago. Since then, citizen groups and government designations have protected parts of Boulevards as city landmark districts. A good example is the Logan Square Boulevards District.

So get out there and explore Chicago’s boulevard system! Register today, and don’t forget to use that coupon code to save $5.


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