Eyes on the street: Roads become a little sweeter each day for people who want to bicycle

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Photo by Adam Herstein. 

The City of Chicago is running full steam ahead in this wacky period of warm weather to meet its goal of installing 30 miles of protected and buffered bike lanes before the end of the year.

The photo above shows a little more sanity has been added to the Desplaines/Milwaukee/Kinzie intersection: a green-painted left-turn lane for bicyclists has been added for the left turn from northbound Desplaines Street to northwest-bound Milwaukee Avenue.

However, and this is very important: CTA buses have a different path than most people who are making a left turn. They are aiming for the bus stop in front of the restaurant The Point and cyclists on the outside (right side) of this left turn could cross paths with the bus on the inside (left side) of the turn. See the map below.

Read more about the bikeway additions to Desplaines Street. We hear on #bikeCHI that the flexible posts have been installed, but we’ve also heard of problems in front of Old St. Patrick’s church and school, between Monroe and Adams Streets.

View CTA and bike left-turn path from Desplaines to Milwaukee in a larger map

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Desplaines boss, Desplaines! A new protected bike lane takes shape

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Cars are currently being parked in the Desplaines bike lane, but probably not for long. Photo taken just south of Madison Street. 

This is an exciting moment for cycling in Chicago as the department of transportation races to meet its goal of reaching a total of thirty miles of protected and buffered bike lanes before it gets too cold to lay thermoplastic. As Steven wrote yesterday, CDOT began installing new traffic signals last weekend for the eagerly awaited, two-way protected lane slated for a 1.2-mile stretch of Dearborn Street between Polk and Kinzie streets.

Since Mayor Emanuel himself declared the lane would be built this fall, if the weather holds up it’s likely this “game-changing” facility will soon be completed. As the first protected lane in the central Loop and the first two-way protected lane, Dearborn will probably draw some criticism from the anti-bike crowd. But the 4,500 signatures the Active Transportation Alliance recently collected in support of the lane prove that plenty of Chicagoans are looking forward to getting a first-class downtown bike commuting route.

Grid Chicago readers alerted us that CDOT also began striping new protected bike lanes on Desplaines Street in the West Loop last weekend, so yesterday afternoon I pedaled downtown for a look-see. From Kinzie to Fulton Street, a two-way section, the department is putting in “enhanced” shared lane markings, the same type that were recently installed on Wells Street south of the river. These markings encourage cyclists to ride in the middle of the lane; presumably “Bikes may use full lane” signs will be installed, as they were on Wells.

Continue reading Desplaines boss, Desplaines! A new protected bike lane takes shape

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