Transportation Advocates and Community Leaders Praise City for Installing the Loop’s First Protected Bike Lane on Dearborn Street
CHICAGO (November 30, 2012) The Active Transportation Alliance, Chicagoland’s voice for better biking, walking and transit, praises Mayor Rahm Emanuel, 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly and 2nd Ward Alderman Bob Fioretti for installing the Loop’s first protected bike lane on Dearborn Street. The Chicago Department of Transportation announced today that it will stripe the new 1.15-mile bikeway this weekend.
After the announcement of the Dearborn bikeway in August, nearly 4,700 people signed a petition supporting the project. By staying on schedule to complete the project before the New Year, the mayor is keeping his commitment to create safer streets where Chicagoans of all ages can bike safely and comfortably in their neighborhoods.
“Protected bike lanes create a more organized traffic flow that is safer for everyone, whether you are walking, biking or driving a car. This is especially important in the congested Loop,” said Ron Burke, executive director of the Active Transportation Alliance. “Mayor Emanuel, Alderman Fioretti and Alderman Reilly’s support for protected bike lanes in the Loop is a major milestone in the development of Chicago’s bikeway network and will make our downtown streets more orderly and safer for everyone,” said Burke.
Protected bike lanes use physical barriers to separate people riding bikes and motorized traffic. By providing people on bikes with their own protected space, the design helps people of all ages feel more comfortable biking on city streets. Statistics show protected bike lanes encourage more people to bike while improving a street’s overall safety for everyone whether they walk, bike or drive. A study recently published in the American Journal of Public Health found that risk of injury is 89 percent lower biking on protected bike lanes compared to major streets with no bike infrastructure.
Demand for safer streets for biking has been growing in Chicago and around the country. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration survey found that 71 percent of Americans would like to bicycle more, but fewer than half feel that their community is designed for making biking safe. This pent-up demand for safer bike infrastructure has been on full display in Chicago. Following installation of a protected bike lane on Kinzie Street last year, bicycle ridership on Kinzie increased 55 percent.
Business owners and downtown advocates also applauded the new protected bike lane on Dearborn Street.
“Protected bike lanes will make the Loop an even more vibrant and livable place,” said Michael Edwards, executive director of Chicago Loop Alliance. “By providing safe, comfortable and appealing places for people to bike downtown, the new protected bike lanes will contribute to the Loop’s growing energy and economic vitality.”
Cities throughout the country and around the world are increasingly expanding their biking facilities. Demand for safe, convenient and affordable transportation options, including the ability to ride a bike to work, are major factors for in-demand talent, businesses, residents, students and potential visitors.
"A bike friendly environment will boost Chicago's ability to attract the young, vibrant talent that this city needs to ensure its future growth," said Donald R. Wilson, founder and chief executive officer, DRW Trading Group. "The 100 miles of protected bike lanes being installed across the city, including those on Dearborn, will support that status and make biking a more attractive mode of transportation throughout Chicago."
Chicagoans can track progress and support other new bike facilities by signing on to the Active Transportation Alliance’s Neighborhood Bikeways Campaign, which advocates for a 100-mile network of protected bike lanes by 2015 by organizing residents across Chicago neighborhoods and building aldermanic support to move bikeway projects forward. To learn more, visit www.activetrans.org/bikeways.
The Active Transportation Alliance is a non-profit, member-based advocacy organization that works to make bicycling, walking and public transit so safe, convenient and fun that we will achieve a significant shift from environmentally harmful, sedentary travel to clean, active travel. The organization builds a movement around active transportation, encourages physical activity, increases safety and builds a world-class transportation network. The Active Transportation Alliance is North America’s largest transportation advocacy organization, supported by more than 7,000 members, 1,000 volunteers and 35 full-time staff. For more information about the Active Transportation Alliance, visit www.activetrans.org or call 312.427.3325.