Look Out Portland, New York, Minneapolis: Here Comes Chicago

Chicago is making giant leaps toward bike friendliness in the Emanuel administration's early days. Photo: ##http://www.stevencanplan.com/bike-box-another-first-on-kinzie-street/## Steven Can Plan##

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is wasting no time making good on his campaign promise to make Chicago a world-class cycling city. Just 24 days after his swearing-in ceremony, Chicago has its first bike box.

The new mayor and his department of transportation head, Gabe Klein, formerly of DC, held a press conference Tuesday at the site of the Windy City’s first separated bike lane: Kinzie Street. There they announced plans to build 100 miles of separated lanes during Emanuel’s first term.

Steve Vance at Network blog Steven Can Plan has been covering the story as it emerges.

The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) installed [a bike box] Tuesday morning, on Day 2 of the Kinzie Street protected bike lane project (read about Day 1). I asked a CDOT worker if it will be painted green or another color and they replied it would probably would. It appears that the design for the project is still being done while construction proceeds. I expect a section of the next block will be worked on tomorrow.

And just three days prior

Construction of the Kinzie cycle track is proposed to begin next week, and is expected to be completed by Chicago’s Bike to Work Day on June 17th. The Kinzie cycle track will introduce features that have not been seen to date with Chicago bike lanes, including:

  • flexible posts (delineators) to separate the bike lane from motor vehicle traffic;
  • pavement markings through intersections to indicate cyclist travel;
  • special pavement markings and signage; and
  • parking shifted off curb to provide additional buffer between cyclists and traffic. [It would be nice to know

This is history in the making – for Chicago only, of course. (These cities already have protected bike lanes.) Keep your eyes peeled for subsequent construction.

Emanuel had originally promised to install two separated bike lanes by the end of his first 100 days in office, but he appears to be on pace to meet that goal and then some. Emanuel told a CBS reporter yesterday he wants to make Chicago the bike-friendliest city in the country. Exciting news for Chicago and cycling advocates everywhere.

Elsewhere on the Network today: New Jersey Future explains how the state’s innovative Urban Transit Hub tax credit has helped make Newark a magnet for business; Transit in Utah takes on the claim that long-distance Amtrak routes are responsible for the service’s unprofitability; and Cap’n Transit explains why New York City’s popular High Line park won’t work just anywhere.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

U.S. DOT to Publish Its Own Manual on Protected Bike Lanes

|
Before the end of this year, the Federal Highway Administration will release its own guidance on designing protected bike lanes. The agency’s positions on bicycling infrastructure has matured in recent years. Until recently, U.S. DOT’s policy was simple adherence to outdated and stodgy manuals like AASHTO’s Green Book and FHWA’s own Manual on Uniform Traffic […]

NYC Gets Its First-Ever Physically-Separated Bike Path

|
The Department of Transportation revealed plans for New York City’s first-ever physically-separated bike lane, or "cycle track," at a Manhattan Community Board 4 meeting last night. The new bike path will run southbound on Ninth Avenue from W. 23rd to W. 16th Street in Manhattan. Unlike the typical Class II on-street bike lane in which […]

How Should Streetcars and Bikes Interact?

|
Streetcar service could finally begin this year in Washington, DC. Trial runs are already taking place. And the debate about how people on bikes will navigate the tracks is already raging. Last week, the District Department of Transportation quietly proposed streetcar regulations that would ban bicycling within a streetcar guideway except to cross the street. Most immediately, […]

Chicago, Seattle Mayors Spar Over Bike Lanes, Tech Workers

|
Nothing like a little friendly competition between mayors. It seems a feud of sorts has developed between Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn over who can build the best bike lanes. At a speech in December marking the opening of the Dearborn Street protected bike lanes, Emanuel boasted that Chicago was going […]