WICKER PARK — New "dashed" bike lanes debuted this week along Milwaukee Avenue as part of a pilot project to make the busy "Hipster Highway" safer for the thousands of cyclists who use the thoroughfare.
Mike Amsden, a Chicago Department of Transportation planner, said that the pavement striping — adding bright white "dashed" lanes to create a visual separation between parked cars and moving traffic — started on Tuesday and will continue for the next few weeks.
After all the white stripes go in along Milwaukee between Division Street and Western Avenue, green and tan pavement markings will be added, which should take a week. Then, bollards — short flexible poles to create a physical separation between bikes and cars — will be installed.
Signs explaining the dashed lane concept will be posted next week, Amsden said.
Streetsblog Chicago was the first to report on the new dashed lanes and included a drone photo of what the dashed lanes look like at the Milwaukee and Ashland avenues intersection.
Watch Thursday morning cyclists at Wicker Park's main hub use the new lanes, around 8:15 a.m. during rush hour.
John Greenfield, a transportation reporter for Streetsblog Chicago, said on Thursday that he and Steven Vance, a transportation planner and advocate, had "heard a lot of pessimistic comments arguing that there's no way that drivers will respect the dashed lines."
"But from checking out the lanes yesterday — and they didn't even have bike symbols yet — car drivers seem to be doing a pretty good job of staying out of the lanes. That means there's more breathing room for cyclists, which makes it easier to ride outside of the parked car 'door zone' and avoid dooring crashes," Greenfield said.
He added, "Obviously, it would have been better if conventional bike lanes or protected bike lanes could have been installed, but that would have required stripping all of the car parking from one side of the street, which would have required some heavy lifting politically, as well as compensation for the parking concessionaire for any lost meter revenue. We should keep pushing for a better long-term solution, but the dashed lanes represent a modest improvement over the status quo."