Urban Velo

The White Lanes Of Gentrification

In some communities bike lanes can be seen as an intrusion from the hip white guys up the street, “the white lanes of gentrification” as some would say. Urban Velo contributor John Greenfield penned a piece for Grid Chicago about the change in how bike lanes have been viewed in his hometown.

“Community organizations with strong Puerto Rican roots had a big influence on Billy[local alderman, opposed lanes in 2003, supports them now],” explains Alex Wilson, executive director of the nonprofit bike education center and retail shop West Town Bikes / Ciclo Urbano, located on the Paseo at 2459 W. Division. “Back then bicycles were seen as a tool of gentrification rather than a tool for community building. There was a sense that bike lanes were being imposed rather than proposed, and Humboldt Park and the Paseo Boricua do not like being told what to do. There was the question, are you accommodating wealthy white people riding their fancy bikes, or are you working with a community that has struggled to preserve its cultures and traditions?”

Read the entire story at Grid Chicago, and John’s cover story in Urban Velo #31, Can Bike Shop Deserts Bloom On Chicago’s Southside?


  1. TMay 24, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Yes. Those fancy, complicated bikes.

  2. GreggMay 30, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    Dear God.What? I can’t believe such a thing as ” Are you accommodating wealthy white…. etc.” Gentrification on bikes ?? Wth? Are they all in a field on S-works Tarmacs and Serrota’s running down anything in their wake?

    I live in Texas for Pete’s sake and even here I have never heard such crap.And I have brown skin!!!

    Hey guys’s, it’s 2003 and all kinds of people ride bikes now,you may not see it on your hd t.v. but it’s true.Nice,there is yet another city I will now never visit.Really wanted to get a pizza there too.

  3. Dollar Signs « Bikeable RichmondJune 11, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    [...] white folks.  As reported in a piece in Grid Chicago (see also this piece by the same author on Urban Velo), this has sometimes translated into opposition to bike lanes based on fears of gentrification. [...]

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