Here’s some good news to kick off your weekend. CDOT announced today that they will begin striping the Dearborn Street two-way protected bike lane this weekend and hopefully have the facility ready to ride by mid-December. Here’s hoping that backlash to this “game-changing” new facility will be minimal, so Chicago won’t have to endure another Battle of Dearborn.
The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) will take advantage of favorable weather this weekend to begin the installation of the Dearborn Street two-way barrier-protected bike lanes, beginning late Friday night, November 30th. It will be the first two-way bike route with dedicated bicycle traffic signals in Chicago.
“We are committed to improving the safety for all roadway users throughout Chicago,” said CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein. “The Dearborn Street barrier-protected bike lanes will provide bicyclists with a safe and comfortable route, making a key connection for people who commute via bicycle through the heart of the Loop.”
CDOT will open the two-way protected bike lane for bicycle traffic only after all striping, signage, bollards installation and traffic signal timing are complete by mid-December, weather permitting.
For motorists, new left turn lanes and dedicated left turn arrows at westbound cross streets will allow for more efficient turns off Dearborn. Loading zones will also be clearly marked to ensure their proper use.
CDOT has been working to notify the neighborhood about the Dearborn project through meetings with the surrounding businesses, neighborhood organizations and local elected officials.
CDOT will begin work at Polk Street and continue north with the goal of completing the roadway striping this weekend and officially opening the new bike lanes by mid-December, weather permitting. The estimated construction schedule is as follows:
· Friday night (11/30) into Saturday (12/1): the west curb lane and the western-most travel lane on Dearborn Street between Polk Street and Madison Street will be closed. Motorists will be able to pull to the curb for delivery or loading operations, but parking will be prohibited on the west side of the street.
· Saturday night (12/1) into Sunday (12/2): the west curb lane and the western-most travel lane on Dearborn Street between Madison Street and Kinzie Street will be closed. Motorists will be able to pull to the curb for delivery or loading operations, but parking will be prohibited on the west side of the street.
· Parking will generally be prohibited on the west side of Dearborn throughout the weekend, as striping work is performed from Friday at 9p.m. to Monday at 5 a.m. As construction crews move north after finishing each block, the new parking lane will be reopened, which will be situated between the two-way protected bike lane and the motor vehicle travel lane.
This stretch of Dearborn Street will continue to be one-way northbound for vehicle traffic. With this project, which Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced this summer, Dearborn will function as a two-way street for bicyclists, with southbound bicyclists located adjacent to the west curb and northbound bicyclists located between southbound bicyclists and parked cars. To install the protected bike lanes, one motor vehicle travel lane will be removed between Polk Street and Wacker Drive.
Every intersection will have bicycle traffic signals to provide guidance for southbound bicyclists, and to separate northbound bicyclists from motorists turning left off Dearborn Street onto westbound cross streets. The bike traffic signals were installed in mid-November, and will be activated when the bike lanes are complete.
“The Dearborn Street two-way protected bike lane project will balance roadway space to ensure pedestrians, transit users, bicyclists and motorists can travel along and across the street safely,” Klein said.