EDGEWATER — More bike lanes could be coming to Edgewater and Uptown — for both casual and experienced riders.
Aft the installation of a family-friendly bike lane that runs the opposite direction of traffic on residential Glenwood Avenue, city officials are planning a pilot program which seeks to connect riders and walkers through a better network of transportation routes.
Susan Hofer of the Chicago Department of Transportation said the 48th Ward was selected as the site for the pilot on the heels of community engagement over the Glenwood Greenway project. The city hopes to harness the high level of interest in that project to quickly create a connected network of bike paths, improve the public input process and speed up planning and design work, which will hopefully result in increased ridership.
The plan involves identifying routes between Devon, Clark, Argyle and the lake that will help connect riders to schools, shops, parks, the library and elsewhere.
"We aim to be a model community when it comes to safe and accessible multi-modal transportation," said Ally Brisbin, a spokesman for Osterman. "Ensuring everyone in the neighborhood can get around safely on a bicycle will encourage more ridership, creating a healthier and happier community."
There are already some existing walking or riding paths designated throughout the ward, such as the Lake Front Trail, Glenwood Greenway and a few other bike lanes, but they lie mostly along the ward's outer limits and don't cut through its center.
Existing and proposed bike routes in the 48th Ward [Chicago Department of Transportation]
Under the pilot, new routes will come in two forms: neighborhood and commercial.
Along the lines of the Glenwood Avenue lane, neighborhood lanes would be geared toward riders who prefer a more insulated, slower thoroughfare.
Those routes would take advantage of existing traffic-calming features found at residential intersections like curb extensions, bump-outs and raised crosswalks, as well as adding new ones, like signs painted on streets and lanes that flow against the direction of car traffic.
Some streets that have been highlighted for neighborhood routes include Berwyn, Balmoral, Winthrop, Kenmore, Glenwood north of Ridge, Ardmore and a small section of Sheridan.
For more experienced riders and commuters, the plan also calls for better routes to the ward's commercial corridors and Lakefront Trail, which includes parts of Clark, Thorndale, Granville and Bryn Mawr.
Those routes would consist of two different types of bike lanes: protected and buffered.
For the pilot, protected lanes would run along the curb and use parked cars to separate bikes from traffic. Buffered lanes are generally wider but parking would be along the curb.
Safety improvements for those lanes call for new signs at intersections, crosswalk signals, refuge islands, curb extensions and lowering speeds.
According to transportation officials, the project will get 80 percent of its funding from federal sources and the remainder from the city.
This summer, Osterman's office and transportation officials will lead a community bike ride through the ward to help gather input from residents, and another community-wide meeting is planned for the winter.
The project's engineering would be studied over the course of 2018 and the new lanes are expected to be implemented in 2019.
Residents who want to give feedback on the project in the meantime can do so by emailing Brisbin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Protected lanes vs. buffered lanes [Chicago Department of Transportation]