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Bucktown Bike Lane Extension To '606' Focus of Public Meeting Wednesday

By Alisa Hauser | May 24, 2016 1:29pm
 A proposed Wood Street bike lane extension is in the works.
A proposed Wood Street bike lane extension is in the works.
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Google Maps; Ald. Brian Hopkins (Cyclist)

BUCKTOWN — A meeting on a proposed Wood Street bike lane extension through Wicker Park and Bucktown and a Cortland Street greenway is scheduled for Wednesday evening.

The extension is backed by Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd), who says it could "increase comfort for bicyclists and pedestrians and improve accessibility to the existing bicycle network and 606 trail and parks." 

A bike lane for Wood Street — a north-south side street that runs past the elevated 2.7-mile long Bloomingdale Trail — part of The 606's network of parks connecting four neighborhoods — could lessen northbound bike traffic on Damen Avenue, supporters say.

Cortland Street runs east-west and is parallel to the Bloomingdale Trail.

The public meeting, set for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Bucktown-Wicker Park Library, 1701 N. Milwaukee Ave., is being hosted by the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT). Residents will be able to see design draft plans, give input and ask questions.

If approved, construction is estimated to start in 2017.

The bike lane was first announced in February.

CDOT has been working with "a small group of neighborhood representatives/stakeholders" to develop and modify the lane and the Cortland greenway, Hopkins said in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

The Cortland greenway would extend along a 0.3-mile stretch between Damen and Ashland avenues, while the Wood Street lane would run along a 0.7-mile strip between Milwaukee Avenue and Cortland Street.

The goals of the projects include reducing speeding and cut-through traffic by motorists and making it more comfortable and safer for people to walk and ride bikes, Hopkins said.

Michael Claffey, a CDOT spokesman, previously said that the bike lane will consist of "minimal pavement markings, signage, and traffic calming devices."

The proposed Wood Street stretch would extend a bike lane that currently ends at the Milwaukee Avenue and Wood Street intersection near Walgreens, 1372 N. Milwaukee Ave.

"It will ultimately extend the existing Wood Street Neighborhood Greenway that currently exists between Augusta and Milwaukee Avenue," Claffey said.

No cost of the extension was available but Claffey said the bike lane will be funded primarily through a Federal Congestion Air Mitigation Quality or CMAQ grant. A local match covering one-fifth of the project cost would be needed, he said.

The fund structure outlined by Claffey is similar to the $95 million Bloomingdale Trail/606 project, which was funded in large part by a CMAQ grant.

CMAQ commuting dollars are intended to "support surface transportation projects and other related efforts that contribute air quality improvements and provide congestion relief," according to the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.

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