CDOT Visits Greencorps Chicago Youth Program as Participants Assemble Bikes for Distribution Program
CHICAGO – Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) Commissioner Gia Biagi, along with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Pedro Martinez and 37th Ward Alderman Emma Mitts, today met with students in the Greencorps Chicago Youth Program (GCYP), a summer youth employment program that connects young people to career opportunities and service projects in the sustainability and environmental fields, including bicycling, urban agriculture, and horticulture. This year, GCYP participants are assembling many of the bicycles that will be distributed through Bike Chicago, the City’s new program to provide 5,000 free bikes and safety equipment to eligible Chicagoans by 2026.
"GCYP is one of the many ways the City is engaging our youth in safe, educational, and enriching programming throughout the summer and beyond," said Mayor Lori Lightfoot. "This latest project through Bike Chicago not only provides GCYP participants with new skills but will serve our entire city by providing reliable, free transportation to the residents who need it most."
"The Greencorps Chicago Youth Program provides young people with new skills and opportunities, while supporting the City’s climate goals," said CDOT Commissioner Gia Biagi. "This year’s participants will play an important role in Bike Chicago and promoting healthy and sustainable transportation options. Since launching last week, the overwhelming response Bike Chicago reflects the high demand for bikes and interest in cycling throughout every corner of Chicago. We’re looking forward to distributing bikes and growing the program over the next several years to make riding a bike a more affordable, safe, and convenient option for everyone."
GCYP is a collaboration between CDOT, CPS and WRD Environmental that works with youth ages 15 to 19 from CPS high schools to provide training and exposure to careers, professionals, and events involved with sustainability. This summer, GCYP will provide nearly 200 young people with 20 hours of paid summer employment for six weeks. The program is hosted at seven CPS schools, including Orr Academy in Humboldt Park, where today’s visit took place.
As part of their participation in the program this year, GCYP youth will receive a bike of their own and gain skills related to bicycle safety. Participants will learn how to build a bicycle from a box, how to properly use bicycle maintenance tools safely, and how to fix a flat tire.
Supported by Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s historic $188 million investment in climate mitigation and environmental justice initiatives through the Chicago Recovery Plan, Bike Chicago will distribute at least 500 bikes to age and income-eligible Chicagoans throughout the program’s first year. Over the next four years, CDOT will gradually increase distribution until 5,000 free bikes have been provided, as part of Chicago’s goal to increase affordable and climate-friendly mobility options.
More than 14,000 residents have applied to Bike Chicago this year, demonstrating a clear demand for bikes and interest in cycling in every Chicago neighborhood. Bike Chicago received applications from all of Chicago’s 77 community areas, with a majority of applications from areas where residents face higher mobility hardship, according to the Mobility and Economic Hardship (MOBEC) Index, a customized index that maps the combined mobility and economic hardship for all of Chicago’s community areas.