RIVER NORTH — The protected bicycle lanes on Kinzie Street will remain despite an alderman's push to remove them earlier this year, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) said.
Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) filed a City Council order in April pressuring CDOT to temporarily remove the lanes to accommodate nearby Wolf Point construction, but on Wednesday CDOT Spokesman Michael Claffey said that both parties have since agreed the lane removal "is not necessary at this point."
Though Reilly issued the order in April, the Kinzie bicycle lanes never really left. Some protective bollards separating bicyclists from cars were removed, but the lane markings remained and bicyclists were still using the thoroughfare. Kinzie in 2011 received the city's first high-profile protected bike lanes, and the street is considered a major connector to Downtown for bicyclists riding from Milwaukee Avenue and other streets. The Active Transportation Alliance ran an online petition to save the bike lanes after Reilly's order.
Reilly, who had proposed moving the protected lanes to Grand Avenue during Wolf Point construction, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
Now, Claffey said CDOT and the alderman will work to improve the street for all by replacing the bike lane bollards, repainting street markings, and installing better signs and lights. He said the proposal to remove the bike lanes will continue to be "evaluated with future phases of development." The first of three new towers planned for Wolf Point is scheduled to open next year.
Bicyclists passing through the Kinzie Street bridge Wednesday were pleased the lanes will stay. One of those riders, Sean Samet of Wicker Park, said he uses the lanes every day.
"I wouldn't want to see it go. People have chosen this route because it's laned," he said. "This has been a good addition and kept me riding even more because it's here."
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