“The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) will take advantage of favorable weather this weekend to begin the installation of the Dearborn Street two-way barrier-protected bike lanes, beginning late Friday night, November 30th.
It will be the first two-way bike route with dedicated bicycle traffic signals in Chicago.”
“CDOT will open the two-way protected bike lane for bicycle traffic only after all striping, signage, bollards installation and traffic signal timing are complete by mid-December, weather permitting.”
Great little experiment. Glad Mayor Rahm Emanuel has made it a mission of his to add 100 miles of protected lanes in Chicago. It makes a huge difference.
“In case any drivers need a reminder, you do not own the road, you just own a car. For the first time in recent history, Chicago cyclists have space that is dedicated directly for us and a pathway to increasing safety. Please respect this.”
If you’re at work, you’re most likely bored, so might as well read my new HuffPo post. It’s basically a rant against cars in the bike line.
My first ride on the new Lake Street Protected Bike Lanes
After a public meeting for Berwyn’s new comprehensive plan that I am working on ended, I decided I was going to ride my bike all the way home to the near west side of Chicago. It was a nice early evening, still light out, and I was feeling motivated. The ride from Berwyn to my apartment is really easy: north on Oak Park Ave, west on Washington (bike lanes start at Laramie), little jog through Garfield Park, west on Lake Street, north on Damen, then Hubbard to Noble and I’m home. The Lake Street portion is what I was most excited about as they just installed protected bike lanes, as you can see in the photo above. The bike lane runs between the parked cars and the curb. Overall, the new lane was really nice, as was the overall ride taking approximately an hour total. The one issue I see is the area around Garfield Park. For those who don’t know Garfield Park, it is a heavily used park on the west side of Chicago. People generally park their cars next to the park (curb) and hang out right there, listening to music and generally enjoying the nice weather. This is a big problem when there are supposed to be bike lanes between the cars and the curb. I had to travel out around cars and basically into narrow street lanes. I would suggest the City look at adjusting the lanes around the park. Cars should be allowed to park next to the curb and the bike lanes should be between the road and cars. The only other issues I encountered were people parking in the lanes who obviously didn’t know any better. With enforcement and education, I anticipate these issues working themselves out over time. What was totally unacceptable was the City employees and police officers I encountered that were parked in the lanes. I mouthed something on my way by, but I don’t think they cared much. But overall, it was a very pleasant ride and I will be taking it much more often thanks to the new protected lanes.
Chicago’s new protected bike lanes
I recently sent an email to CDOT stating my concerns about people walking/running in the new protected bike lanes. It took about a month, but I did get a response!
“There will certainly be enforcement in the protected bike lanes this summer (beginning in June.) Bicycling Ambassadors and Chicago Police will work to enforce all of the laws related to the protected bike lanes.
For any other questions, please contact Charlie Short at email@example.com”
It remains to be seen if this actually gets done. My guess is the Chicago Police haven’t necessarily been properly trained on how to handle these situations yet. There also needs to be a general marketing/educational campaign around this subject. The general public needs to recognize the potential danger they create when running/walking in these new lanes. They are intended for bikes only! Walkers/runners have sidewalks (notice ‘walk’ in that word). Just like bicyclists should not be on sidewalks, runners/walkers should not be in bike lanes. Seems pretty basic, but I’ve encountered this danger every time I ride the new lanes. Please, bikes only in the new protected lanes. For everyone’s safety.