ROGERS PARK — A proposal for a new bike route that would run from Edgewater north to Evanston could include protected bike lanes and fewer stop signs and roundabouts, according to sources familiar with the plan.
The route would follow Glenwood Avenue from Devon Avenue, turn slightly to the west at Pratt Boulevard and then continue north on Greenview Avenue, according to plans.
The exact plans for the route have not been established, but avid bicyclists working on the project with the city said stop signs could be removed on Greenview and Glenwood for northbound and southbound traffic so cyclists could travel uninterrupted. On Sunday, the city announced a plan to add 20 miles of protected bike lanes this spring and summer, though it did not provide specifics.
Traffic-calming roundabouts could also be installed, as well as protected bike lanes, said Paul Estrich, a longtime cyclist who is also part of the 49th Ward participatory budgeting process, which is considering the proposal as one of this year's projects.
"The main idea is ... to get bikes safely from the south side of the neighborhood to the north side and back down," Estrich said. "There was no good way."
Far North Side bicyclists, like Estrich, have long called for a viable north-south route that would connect the lakefront bike path, which ends at Ardmore Avenue in Edgewater, to Rogers Park.
Estrich said the proposed route would help to keep cyclist off Sheridan Road, which is "very dangerous" for bicycles.
Betsy Vandercook, chief of staff for Ald. Joe Moore (49th), said the "project is really interesting, but is definitely a work in progress."
She said the city was interested in creating better bike routes in the neighborhood.
Vandercook also said it was more likely that shared or designated bike lanes would be installed, rather than protected lanes.
The cost for the route has not been determined, but could be similar to a "greenway" that was done on Berteau Avenue in Lincoln Square, according to plans. Federal matching funds could be available as well.
A Chicago Department of Transportation spokesman didn't respond to a request for comment.
Vandercook said the proposal might not make it on the 2014 participatory budgeting ballot, which is used to determine how Moore spends his discretionary budget. A neighborhood meeting with the city was being planned for sometime in the next few weeks that would serve as a "forum for all things biking" — including possible locations for Divvy bike-sharing stations.
Tzippora Rhodes, 28, who works at the Recyclery, a nonprofit bike shop, said anything that makes biking safer would be a welcome addition to the neighborhood.
There also needs to be a better bike route going east to west, too, she said.
"That’s all well and good, but from my perspective, Glenwood and Greenview are [already] used as nice bike routes," she said. "Howard isn’t good for going east-west, Touhy isn’t very good. There isn’t really an east-west route."
Don Gordon, an avid cyclist who also is running for 49th Ward alderman in 2015, said the route, if constructed, would need to be more than "a street that has a painted line down it."
"The cyclists like myself who are either fitness devotees or are using it to get to or from work, which is typically some distance, want as much of an uninterrupted ride as possible," Gordon said.
Gordon said he supports protected bike lanes that separate motorists and cyclists to prevent cyclists from getting hit by doors of parked cars.
"The more you cycle, the more the probability is that you’re gonna get doored," he said. "It’s putting so many people together in such a small space."