BRIDGEPORT — Biking to and from the Loop is about to get easier for Bridgeport cyclists with the widening of bike lanes on Halsted Street just north of Archer Avenue.
Crews on Wednesday painted the stretch of road near the intersection, part of a larger Chicago Department of Transportation "complete streets" project that redesigns Halsted between 26th and Van Buren streets.
That stretch, CDOT says, saw 985 reported crashes between 2007-2011, including two fatal wrecks. Nearly 50 percent of the crashes involved pedestrians and bikes.
The "complete streets" concept is designed to ensure motorists, pedestrians and cyclists have equal safety when getting around town.
Included in the Halsted project are the creation of "continental" crosswalks and shortened pedestrian crossing distances at all intersections from 26th to Van Buren, as well as the installation of barrier, buffer and traditional bike lanes throughout the corridor.
As noted on the Chicago Streets blog, there's been a bit of confusion on what constitutes a protected bike lane, but CDOT summarizes it like this: barrier lanes are located next to the curb and use physical barriers, such as parked cars and short posts called bollards, to separate bikes and cars, while buffered bike lanes are similar to a traditional bike lanes, but with extra space.
The downloadable Chicago Bike Map shows the route already contains traditional bike lanes, but a CDOT spokesman said crews will upgrade the bike lanes "where we have enough room," so it's unclear what type of lanes the project's Bridgeport portion — located near the CTA Orange Line stop and a docking station for the Divvy bike-sharing program — will become.
Work is expected to wrap up sometime next week.
The work is taking place in conjunction with a similar project a little further south with the installation of buffered bike lanes on Halsted Street from Garfield Blvd. to Pershing Road.