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Bike Lanes Belong on Randolph St., Not Lake St., West Loop Group Says

By Joe Ward | October 2, 2015 2:19pm | Updated on October 5, 2015 8:52am
 A neighborhood group is asking the city to build a bike lane on Randolph Street rather than Lake Street
A neighborhood group is asking the city to build a bike lane on Randolph Street rather than Lake Street
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DNAinfo/David Matthews

CHICAGO — A group made up of Near West Side neighbors and residents is asking the city to abandon its plans for new Lake Street bike lanes and build them on Randolph Street instead.

The Randolph/Fulton Mark Association agrees a westbound bike lane from Downtown is sorely needed, but said lanes on Lake Street would be less safe because of the street's condition and because of the industrial businesses lining sections of the street.

The Chicago Department of Transportation has proposed building westbound and eastbound bicycle lanes on Lake Street from Halsted Street to Ashland Avenue. But after hearing from residents at a community meeting on the topic, the community group issued a statement calling for changes to the plan.

Instead, the group is asking the city to build a westbound bike lane along Randolph Street, beginning Downtown and connecting to Ogden Avenue.

"Randolph Street is the solution to revolution bicycle access to the West Loop-Fulton Market community," Roger Romanelli, executive director of the neighborhood group, said in a statement.

The group said Randolph Street's three westbound lanes could be turned into two, with one for a bike lane along the stretch from Michigan to Ogden. This plan would better connect residents with the restaurants businesses and offices along Randolph Street that have made the community so popular.

In addition, the group notes that while Randolph offers a continuous westbound route from Michigan to Ogden, Lake Street is actually one-way eastbound between Wacker and Michigan.

The group sited the new development at 1000 W. Fulton St. that will house Google offices, among other businesses and a hotel.

Whereas the group said Lake Street is deteriorating because of heavy truck use, Randolph Street has received $10 million in new improvements, including street planters and traffic signage.

The group has previously called on the city to make improvements to Lake Street. They are asking neighbors to sign a petition against the Lake Street bike plan on its website.

"Since our community doesn't have a westbound bicycle lane from downtown, a westbound Randolph St. bicycle lane together with the eastbound Washington Blvd. lane would grant monumental new access to jobs, restaurants, retailers and housing," Romanelli said in a statement.

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