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City to Add 20 Miles of 'Protected' Bike Lanes This Spring and Summer

By Alex Parker | April 6, 2014 3:14pm
 The city is halfway to adding 100 miles of "protected" bike lanes by 2015, the mayor said.
The city is halfway to adding 100 miles of "protected" bike lanes by 2015, the mayor said.
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DNAinfo/Paul Biasco

CHICAGO — Saying Chicago is on its way to becoming the nation's most bike-friendly city, Mayor Rahm Emanuel Saturday said the city has completed half of its goal of adding 100 miles of barrier- and buffer-protected bike lanes by 2015.

Twenty more miles of the bike lanes — which include lanes separated from traffic by a physical barrier as well as lanes that have been widened but have no physical barrier — are expected to be added this spring and summer, with an additional 30 miles planned to be installed later this year and early next year, he said.

"Improving our bicycling facilities is critical to creating the quality of life in Chicago that attracts businesses and families to the city," Emanuel said in a statement.  "We are making Chicago the most bike-friendly city in the United States."

Last year the city's Department of Transportation installed 19 miles of barrier- and buffer-protected bike lines, bringing the total to 49 miles of such bike lanes installed since Emanuel took office in 2011. In all, when traditional bike lanes with no buffer or barrier are counted, the city has 207 miles of bike lanes, according to a CDOT report.

Emanuel's pledge to make Chicago the most bike-friendly city in the country has resulted in numerous initiatives.

In November 2012, the city installed its first protected bike lane on Dearborn Street; a cycling advocacy group named it the country's best protected bike lane last December.

In September, riders of the city's popular bike-share program, Divvy, logged one million miles on the powder-blue bikes. As many as 175 new stations could be installed this year, CDOT has said. About 300 Divvy stations were installed last year.

The city also restriped or added 31 miles of bike lanes across the city last year, according to a statement.

This spring, CDOT will add five miles of barrier-protected bike lanes, including: on Broadway, from Montrose to Foster; Harrison Street, from Desplaines Street to Wabash Avenue; and Lake Street, from Austin Boulevard to Central Park Avenue.

In addition, 15 more miles of buffer-protected bike lanes will be installed this spring, including: California Avenue, from Augusta Boulevard to North Avenue; Halsted Street, from 31st to 26th streets; and Stony Island Avenue, from 63rd to 56th streets.