Benesch Engineer Joins in Chicago/Netherlands ThinkBike Workshop; Gets Wheels Turning on Better Biking 

Chicago, Illinois – October 2013 - The City of Chicago took pointers from The Netherlands in its quest to improve the City’s bicyclist conditions – and one of Benesch’s Senior Project Managers went along for the ride. Michael Magnuson, PE, PTOE, LEED AP, participated in the ThinkBike Workshop held on September 23rd and 24th. This two-day workshop, put on by the City of Chicago, local transportation groups and the Consulate General of the Netherlands, focused on improving Chicago’s bike-ability by exploring possible solutions to integrate bicycle-friendly infrastructure into Chicago’s transportation system. Magnuson brought firsthand local knowledge to the workshop. He currently serves as Project Manager for the city’s Streets for Cycling Project, helping design dozens of miles of protected bike lane, priority bikeways, and bikeway upgrades throughout the city.


In the Netherlands, nearly one-third of all trips are made on bikes throughout the capital city of Amsterdam, with other Dutch cities reporting as much as 50% of commuter trips made on two wheels. Statistics show Chicago, in comparison, with only 1.6% of commuters that bike to work on a daily basis. The ThinkBike workshop served as a collaborative effort to apply lessons learned from the Dutch to streets in the Windy City. Two workshop groups were formed: Benesch’s Magnuson joined a multi-disciplinary team of local transportation officials on bicycles to survey Monroe Street (from the Loop to the Lakefront Trail); the second group explored Milwaukee Avenue (from Division Street to North Avenue). The teams developed proposed improvements for their respective corridors and shared their ideas during the workshop’s public closing presentation. The group’s recommendations will reviewed by CDOT for implementation as part of future projects.


This is the second time the City of Chicago has looked to the Netherlands’ as a model for successfully implementing segregated bicycle infrastructure. A similar workshop was held in 2010.