With 4,000 miles of streets and most of Chicago paved over to accommodate cars, it's hard to fathom how adding protected bike lanes and bus lanes to a tiny percentage of streets will force people out of their cars, as John McCarron insinuated in his article last week in the Chicago Tribune, "Chicago's war on Cars.”
This is no "war on cars." It is the city providing what most Chicagoans want: good alternatives to buying pricey gasoline to drive on congested roads, and safer streets that are walkable and vibrant.
Biking may not work for everyone, including McCarron, but it is an option for more and more people. Cycling has roughly doubled in Chicago over the past 10 years.
People cycle even more when you add protected bike lanes. Bike ridership took a huge jump during morning rush hour on Kinzie Street after installation of a protected bike lane.
A CDOT traffic count found that during the morning rush hour, bikes accounted for 53 percent of eastbound traffic on Kinzie. Protected bike lanes also reduce crashes of all types.
McCarron scoffs at new bus lanes, but you cannot compare the poorly designed State Street busway from the 1980s to modern bus facilities. Chicago needs to move people faster and more dependably by bus, and modern bus lanes all over the U.S. and the world prove that it can be done. And in many cases, cars move faster as well because the streets are less congested.
Active Trans and others encouraged people to write the Tribune in response to McCarron's ridiculous column, and wow did we write! These letters ran in the print edition yesterday, December 5.
The Tribune also ran what I wrote (included above) and other letters taking McCarron to task in the on-line edition. We must have really outnumbered any letters supporting McCarron—because the Trib didn't publish any!