Great news for Chicago! Another project for biking improvement and better air quality has come to fruition, adding two-way protected bike lanes, on Dearborn Street through the Loop, to the city’s bicycling network.
Every time a new piece of infrastructure is installed, more people are drawn to riding their bikes, whether it’s for fun, navigating neighborhood streets with family and friends, going to the grocery store or catching a breeze along the lakefront on the way to work. Protected bike lanes mean fewer crashes and fewer injuries for cyclists, in addition to the regular benefits of bicycling that include creation of healthier, more sustainable and cost-effective lifestyles.
Bicycling can also be a good alternative to driving when you’re looking for a way out of Chicago’s clogged roads and hectic traffic. Many trips are faster by bicycle than by car, especially short trips under three miles. For longer trips, try combining biking and transit (See bikes on CTA, Pace, or Metra).
Dearborn Street will continue to be one-way northbound for vehicle traffic, but will now function as a two-way street for bicyclists: southbound bicyclists will travel adjacent to the west curb; and northbound bicyclists located between southbound bicyclists and parked cars. To install the protected bike lanes, one motor vehicle travel lane was removed between Polk Street and Wacker Drive.
Each intersection now has bicycle-specific traffic signals to provide guidance for southbound bicyclists, and to separate northbound bicyclists from motorists turning left off Dearborn Street onto westbound cross streets.
For motorists, new left turn lanes and dedicated left turn arrows at westbound cross streets will allow for more efficient turns off Dearborn. Loading zones and parking lanes are clearly marked to ensure their proper use.
“The Dearborn Street two-way protected bike lane project will balance roadway space to ensure pedestrians, transit users, bicyclists and motorists can travel along and across the street safely,” said CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein in a statement. The barrier-protected bike lanes will provide bicyclists with a safe and comfortable route, making a key connection for people who commute via bicycle through the heart of the Loop.”
This year was a prolific one for cycling lovers. The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) has constructed approximately 30 miles of new bicycle lanes in several neighborhoods across the city, and upgraded another nine miles of older bike lanes with new paint.
Let’s end with an ode to bikes, Queen’s “Bicycle Race.” Raise your glass…or Camelbak.