This morning, Active Trans attended Mayor Emanuel’s press conference to introduce Chicago’s first protected bike lane. Chicago’s new Department of Transportation Commissioner, Gabe Klein, was also on hand. We were excited to be there in person to show our support for this bold step forward for safer streets.
Both the mayor and the CDOT commissioner talked about the importance of providing safe and affordable transportation options for all Chicagoans, regardless of age or ability. Mayor Emanuel stated a clear goal of making Chicago the most bike-friendly city in the country.
The first half mile of protected bike lane is a great step in the right direction. It will help connect two of the busiest cycling corridors in the city and will certainly provide a safer passage into the loop.
Ultimately, we will need a robust network of protected bikeways to have a significant impact. Our Neighborhood Bikeways Campaign will focus on building a 100-mile network of protected bike lanes around the city -- a goal we share with the mayor and CDOT.
Active Trans has been advocating for safer and more innovative bikeways for years, and I don’t believe we’d be where we are today without the strong community of supporters and advocates we’re fortunate to have in Chicago.
As CDOT started work on the project yesterday, I was reflecting back to our member meeting last November, when we outlined some of our priorities for this year. During a feedback session, members had emphasized the importance of protected bike lanes. We committed to making protected bike lanes and educating mayoral candidates priorities for this year. We then went on to create a Sustainable Transportation Platform, which highlighted protected bike lanes.
We met with Mayor Emanuel, among other candidates, to discuss our platform during the campaign. After the election, we were represented on Mayor Emanuel’s Transportation and Infrastructure Transition Committee. We were excited to see Mayor Emanuel’s transition plan prove that he was serious about improving conditions for biking, walking and transit in Chicago.
We’re excited to see Emanuel’s commitment to this work, but ultimately we’ll need your support and support from aldermen and community groups across the city to reach the 100-mile goal. We look forward to working with you to make it happen!