Tuesday, February 28, 2012

coming soon to more Chicago neighborhoods

The Streets for Cycling 2020 Plan is in the process of gathering public input for the planning and design of a more complete network of bike routes throughout the city of Chicago.  The added bike routes will take two forms: bike lanes (protected, buffered or regular) and bike boulevards (old name) or neighborhood greenway (new name).

Bike lanes are used on major streets to provide dedicated space for cyclists.  We've been seeing regular bike lanes for a while.  The plan will introduce protected and buffered lanes to the city.  Last year the first protected bike lane was introduced on Kinzie - part of a major bike commute route into the Loop.  The video below shows before and after conditions on this congested street.

The bridge has textured plates to cover the steel grating of the bridge deck.  Sections with parking have the parking lane relocated so that the bike lane is next to the curb, and parking is between the bike lane and traffic lane, with a buffer space to keep cyclists clear of the hazard of opening doors and allow car passengers to get in and out of cars safely.  With these safer conditions, the bike percentage of total traffic has risen over 50% on this section of Kinzie.

Here's an example of a buffered bike lane, another new type of lane that will be introduced in Chicago.  This type is wider than a regular lane, to allow a little more space for cyclists to stay clear of moving traffic and opening car doors.  It may be used where street width isn't sufficient to allow for protected lanes.

On quiet residential streets, neighborhood greenways (also called bike boulevards) use a mixture of traffic calming measures to create routes suitable for riders of all ages and abilities.  The goal is to

Here's a video from Portland, OR, illustrating how a greenway works.  This video from Berkeley, CA, gives additional examples.  For more information, here's an illustration and a text description of a greenway.  The goal is to create greenway routes that are safe to ride for anyone from the ages of 8 to 80 or beyond.

The overall goal of the plan is to create more favorable conditions for a wider range of people to use bicycles for everyday transportation, so that bicycles are a viable alternative to the car for many more people.

Do you ride for transportation now?  Or do you watch other people and hesitate to join them because you feel unsafe on city streets?  This plan is for all of you.  Where would you like to see bike lanes or greenways in the 19th ward?

Public meetings will be announced soon to give a preview of the route network and offer a final opportunity for input.  Please join us - in the meetings and on the road.

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