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Chicago to Add 20 More Miles of Protected Bike Lanes

Chicago is halfway toward its goal of 100 miles of protected bike lanes

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    Chicago cyclists will soon have an extra 20 miles of bike lanes to ride.

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Monday that the Chicago Department of Transportation plans to install the extra miles of buffered and protected bike lanes this spring and summer. An additional 30 miles of bike lanes are in the works for late this year and early next year.

    By early 2015, the mayor’s goal of installing 100 miles of protected bike lanes will be achieved as long as this year’s installation plans pan out.

    Protected bike lanes are technically only those lanes with physical barriers between cyclists and cars. The 100 miles of protected bike lanes in the mayor's plan, however, include buffered lanes as well. The buffered lanes provide additional space between cars and cyclists, but no physical barrier.

    Five miles of barrier-protected bike lanes will be installed on the following streets this spring and summer:

    •    Broadway, from Montrose to Foster Avenues
    •    Harrison Street, from Desplaines Street to Wabash Avenue
    •    Lake Street, from Austin Boulevard to Central Park Avenue

    The other 15 miles of lanes to be installed this year will have slightly less protection with buffers instead of barriers. These lanes will be installed on the following streets:

    •    California Avenue, from Augusta Boulevard to North Avenue
    •    Halsted Street, from 31st to 26th Streets
    •    Stony Island Avenue, from 63rd to 56th Streets

    With more than 207 miles of bikeways, Chicago has made a name for itself as a bike-friendly city, perhaps to the dismay of regular drivers. In 2012, Bicycling Magazine ranked Chicago as the fifth best U.S. city for cycling.

    While there is no official number on the cost of previous bike-lane construction, a spokesman for CDOT said the installation of new bike lanes will piggyback off of street resurfacing projects to minimize the cost.

    To further the plan to make Chicago a more bike-friendly city, the mayor and the Chicago Department of Transportation unveiled the popular bike-share program Divvy last summer. The city has also made plans for another Chicago Bike Week this year, which will be held June 13-20.