Residents on Chicago’s Northwest side met with community leaders tonight to discuss the plan to create bike lanes on Milwaukee Avenue – which is hitting some speed bumps.
A plan calls for car traffic to go down to one lane in each direction on Milwaukee from Lawrence to Elston.
Some motorists who use Milwaukee Ave are fighting to keep their lanes open to traffic.
Both sides agree changes to the stretch of road are necessary but how far to go is up for debate. The city says the project would improve traffic flow and make it safe for everyone.
If Milwaukee is put on a “road diet,” the bike lane moves to the curb and parking goes outside the lane Those lanes are widened so a lane of traffic is lost each way.
Opponents say losing a lane of traffic will cause traffic nightmares and hurt business because drivers will avoid the area.
45th Ward Alderman John Arena says the new plan will actually improve business. He says right now 60% of businesses are vacant.
“Occupancy is down and use is down,” he said. “There’s not a lot of pedestrians.”
The Chicago Dept of Transportation says from Lawrence to Elston between 2008 and 2012, there were 910 crashes, in 129 of them someone was injured, one person died and 17 people were seriously injured.
Tonight, most residents in attendance said they are against the bike lane.