Posted on Jun 29, 2011
Chicago joined the ranks of New York City, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Long Beach, Minneapolis and more this month when the city began construction on its first protected bike lane. The new lane runs a half-mile on Kinzie Street between Milwaukee Avenue and Wells Street in Chicago, and is being funded by a federal grant awarded to the Chicago Department of Transportation as a pilot program.
Protected bike lanes, also sometimes called cycle trakcs, place all motorized traffic to the left of the rider, with the lane protected by a raised divider or median. Often, the protected lane features a color, such as red or green, to show its special usage. The idea is to create a designated route that’s protected and separate from car traffic, parked cars and their doors, pedestrians, and other obstacles.
In Mayor Rahm Emanuel's recent campaign for office, he promised to install 100 miles of protected bikeways in the city. This half-mile stretch marks the first step of that promise. “Those who know me, know that I am a bike enthusiast,” Emanuel said in a Chicago Journal article. “It’s another means of transportation, but it also helps attract new businesses to the city of Chicago.”
New Chicago Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein is also on board. “We’re trying to make it easier for people to make their way into the downtown corridor without driving,” he said.
Although protected bike lanes are just starting to gain traction in the U.S., they are full steam ahead in parts of Europe. Read our recent blog post about Seville, Spain's remarkable transformation after installing a citywide protected bikeway network.
Learn more about Chicago's exciting leap into safer bicycling on centredaily.com.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein review the protected bike lane in progress. (Photo from Chicagojournal.com)
Source: people for bikes.org