NORTH LAWNDALE — After landing Riot Fest earlier this week, Douglas Park now has another reason to brag — the park is the first in the city to land curb-protected bike lanes.
The lanes were installed this week as part of a resurfacing project in Douglas Park, according to Michael Claffey, Chicago Transportation Department spokesman. The quarter-mile stretch of bike lanes is on Sacramento Boulevard between Ogden Avenue and Douglas Boulevard.
"We picked Sacramento because it was being resurfaced," Claffey said Thursday.
The concrete curb, which measures 6 inches high and 2 feet wide, helps protect bikers by providing a physical barrier between vehicle traffic and bike traffic. The bike lane is 7½-feet wide in both directions on Sacramento and features breaks at drainage basins.
The concrete curb is also more aesthetically pleasing than pavement markings or vertical posts used on other bike lanes in the city, Claffey said.
Because parking on Sacramento is already prohibited, the new curb-protected lanes did not affect parking on the stretch.
The Illinois Department of Transportation also is in the process of installing curb-protected bike lanes on Clybourn Avenue between Division Street and North Avenue in Old Town.
The city is in the process of installing 4½ additional miles of protected bike lanes citywide, including on Elston Avenue and Vincennes Avenue.
While the concrete curb-protected bike lanes were a good fit for Douglas Park, they won't work in every bike lane scenario, Claffey said. Curb-protected bike lanes need to be wide enough to ensure maintenance vehicles can clear snow and debris on the path and drains can be maintained. Installation cost is also a factor, he said.
The city's first curb-protected bike lanes were installed this week in Douglas Park in North Lawndale. [DNAinfo/Stephanie Lulay]
The city features 90 miles of buffered bike lines and barrier-protected bike lanes, Claffey said.
A series of federally funded summer projects, including extending spoke routes on Lake Street to Halsted Street and Milwaukee Avenue up to Division Street, are expected to bring the amount of buffered and physically protected bike lanes up to 100 miles.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel pledged to build 100 miles of protected bike lanes during his first term.
In April, Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) filed a City Council order aimed at removing protected bike lanes from Kinzie Street The move prompted an online campaign that solicited "thousands" of complaints from Chicago bicyclists.
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