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Send Segways to Bike Lanes, Says New Ordinance Proposed by Ald. Reilly

 Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) proposes strict regulations for Segway tour groups operating Downtown.
Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) proposes strict regulations for Segway tour groups operating Downtown.
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Flickr/Seth Anderson

DOWNTOWN — In his ongoing battle to strike a compromise between Downtown residents and the Segway tours that clog their neighborhood's sidewalks, Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) has a new ideak: kick the Segways to the curb.

Or more accurately, off the curb. The alderman introduced a new ordinance last week proposing that Segway tours be allowed to use a bicycle lane on the south side of East Randolph Street instead of traveling on the sidewalks. The sidewalk is on the northern border of Millennium Park and near the Harris Theater and sees a large number of tours.

"During the summer months, the alderman ... receives a large number of complaints of conflicts between Segways and pedestrians on the sidewalks along E. Upper Randolph Street," Reilly's office wrote in a neighborhood announcement Friday.

"Alderman Reilly will continue to work with the Chicago Department of Transportation's Pedestrian and Bike Safety Program, the Chicago Police Department, and local bicycle rental companies and Segway tour companies to ensure bicycles and Segways utilize this designated lane, and do not travel on sidewalks on E. Upper Randolph Street," the alderman's office continued.

It's the second ordinance addressing Segway congestion Downtown to move through City Council this season. In May, it passed another Reilly-sponsored ordinance imposing an 8-mph maximum speed for Segway tour riders and a 12-mph maximum for tour guides. It also limited tour groups to a maximum of eight Segways per tour.

At the time, Reilly defended his stance prioritizing residents and commuters' needs.

"I understand they're very popular for visitors to Chicago, and I'm not looking to get rid of them, but having 30 Segways going down the middle of the sidewalk is not necessarily safe for folks, especially folks with mobility issues," Reilly said when the first ordinance was introduced.

The new ordinance accompanies a package of infrastructure improvements targeting East Randolph Street, which also includes adding new pavement markings and bollards to better designate the bike lane. Reilly's office is funding these improvements with money from his aldermanic menu budget.


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