Bike lanes debated at community meeting

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.

 

9 comments

  • Carrie

    Another example of something that will benefit a few, but cost many. Unfortunately, the few have the loudest mouths.

  • Rob

    I agree with Carrie! They just did the same thing on Broadway south of Foster, and the resulting traffic back-ups are ridiculous — solving a “problem” that doesn’t truly exist…

  • russ

    Fantastic idea and much needed. Vacancy rates are high on this stretch of Milwaukee and anything to make it safer, more vibrant for people to shop and stay would be welcome.

  • Carrie

    Do you really think a bike lane is going to improve the business district? Really? What evidence is there to support that?

    • Common Sense

      There’s actually lots of evidence to support that. Start with the simple fact that people speeding by on a very wide street with little traffic at 40 mph are very unlikely to notice or stop at the local businesses along the way. The part of Milwaukee north of Central is a wasteland with high speeds, low congestion, and few traffic lights, that motorists are using as a highway. That’s the stretch with the high vacancy rates. This project will make it more walkable and more neighborly, which will improve the business climate.

  • Common Sense

    This article is inaccurate right from the start. CDOT presented THREE different options for this project, one of which does not reduce the number of lanes on Milwaukee. The problem is that “opponents” show up to the meeting ready to howl in opposition to ANYTHING without bothering to take the time to see what’s being proposed.

    Case in point, this joke of a petition in opposition to the project, which had thousands of signatures BEFORE CDOT ever revealed their proposal.

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