Mayor Emanuel announces Kinzie St. protected bike lane

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!

Protected Bike lanes

I think the lanes are confusing for bikers and drivers. I have been riding the stretch for about 10 years and always felt comfortable along Kinzie. With the new paint the whole street gets confusing and is dangerous right from the top of the Kinzie/Milwaukee intersection. Add the speed you get coming down the hill headed east, the occasional heavy traffic when the Mart has a big show (like this week) and you're set up for problems for everyone. I am not sure where cars are supposed to park and where bikes are to drive so street and lane signage needs to be increased.

If I have this right, the cyclists will be riding at the curb with parked cars kicked out about 8 feet into the street. But this takes the cyclist out of the traffic flow. The Jefferson and Clinton intersections funnel cyclists into the flow of traffic after the cyclists and cars have been separated. A car turning right may be unaware of a cyclist on their far right and the cyclist is unable to see the right turn signal of the car on their far left.

The Kinzie St bridge is really wide enough for one car but when traffic is bad, side by side cars are the norm. For the biker it means an abrupt dead end to the bike lane and possibly being pushed up on the sidewalk. This has always been an issue at the location. It would be ideal to pave a bike lane into the bridge deck to help keep cars off the bike lane and keep bikes having to navigate around side by side cars on the bridge.

Continuing east on Kinzie, the street seems to be wider (maybe because there is no parking on the south side of the street) and the cars ride side by side. I am not sure how the city will divide up this area but if car lanes are reduced to one lane in each direction, I guarantee the bike lanes will be ignored. What we will then have is a bike lane farther out in to traffic and more aggressive drivers trying to take back the space.

I'd rather ride with the flow than coming in and out of it every block. I know this is not perfect but it seems that it is going to take some time for drivers, cyclists, parkers and pedestrians to get used to this layout. I cringe every morning coming thru this area.

Not a coincidence

That the cyclist sting was held at the exact spot where the new Kinzie lane begins is not a coincidence at all - and neither was the press coverage of it.  Take a look at the backlash in NYC and be glad we have this kind of well-integrated media coverage in Chicago.

It's a good thing. 

Kinzie Bike Lane

Ditto to the Red Eye & the Tribune 'bike' coverage.

Glad I now understand, from this site, that the curb lane is the bike lane. For me at least riding after the painting was confusing. The paint is really nice but only as good as the education and enforcement follow-ups.

This lane concept seems good PR, but for coverage all over our city it requires education for Motor Vehicle Operators. MUCH more education, signage and enforcement will be needed at the IL DMV and the 'Riding City Police' to hope that these lanes will work.

I do hope for more press and signage to impact cycling safety.

Adolfo, I wish this had been

Adolfo, I wish this had been the story in the Red Eye today, rather than one about the CPD and IDOT cracking down on scofflaw cyclists. The story was related to the same corner and everything.

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