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Let’s install cheap, quick plastic curb-protected bike lanes all over Chicago – Streetsblog Chicago

Let’s install cheap, quick plastic curb-protected bike lanes all over Chicago – Streetsblog Chicago 2020-09-13Leave a comment

electrical bike Let’s set up low-cost, fast plastic curb-protected bike lanes throughout Chicago – Streetsblog Chicago

Chicago has been putting in bike lanes frequently for the reason that early Nineties, and guarded bike lanes since 2011. However we nonetheless don’t have a cohesive, intuitive bike community, not to mention one with constant bodily safety that makes it appropriate for bike riders of all ages and talents.

A part of the rationale protected bike lanes aren’t that frequent in Chicago is that the types of PBLs the town usually installs are comparatively costly, labor-intensive, politically difficult, and/or logistically difficult to implement. Curbside bikeways sheltered from site visitors by concrete curbs are dear and time-consuming to construct. And if the bikeway design must be modified, its a trouble to interrupt up the concrete and reinstall it.

Concrete curb-protected bike lane on 31st Street by the IIT campus. Photo: John Greenfield
Concrete curb-protected bike lane on thirty first Avenue by the IIT campus. Photograph: John Greenfield

Bike lanes which are protected by parked vehicles typically require eliminating some automotive spots close to intersections to keep up protected sight traces, which may draw a backlash from retailers and motorists, and infrequently requires compensating the meter concessionaire for misplaced income. In some areas with no parking, the Chicago Division of Transportation has put in curbside lanes delineated by sporadically-placed versatile posts, however that’s not particularly efficient for preserving motorists from driving or parking within the bikeway.

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Bollard “protected” bike lanes on Polk close to Damen. Picture: Google Maps

However an upcoming bikeway undertaking in Logan Sq. will exhibit a reasonably low-cost, fast, versatile, and efficient strategy to putting in protected lanes that needs to be repeated throughout the town. In line with a report from Block Club Chicago’s Mina Bloom, on Monday CDOT will begin putting in plastic curb-protected bike lanes on Milwaukee Avenue — Chicago’s busiest biking road — between Western and California avenues. The undertaking needs to be completed in about two weeks.

Native alderman Daniel LaSpata instructed Block Membership CDOT is utilizing  plastic curbs and bollards from Qwick Kurb for his or her “price, flexibility, and quick timeline for set up.” It’s not clear whether or not the corporate is donating the supplies as an indication undertaking. Some metered parking spots on Milwaukee shall be eradicated as a part of the undertaking, with new metered areas created elsewhere within the ward to compensate the concessionaire.

Rendering of the new curb-protected lanes on Milwaukee Avenue.
Rendering of the brand new curb-protected bike lanes on Milwaukee Avenue.

CDOT may also be striping new crosswalks, constructing curb extensions, and putting in a bus boarding island at Milwaukee and Maplewood, plus about about three dozen new bike racks, later this fall. The latter is a good suggestion, since some cyclists have been grumbling in regards to the new “lock-to” dockless electrical scooters hogging space on racks.

Granted, the plastic curbs gained’t assure that drivers will hold out of the bike lanes, however they need to be way more efficient than simply paint and some plastic posts. I’ve seen plastic curb-protected bike lanes in Latin-American cities like Lima, Peru, and Mexico Metropolis, they usually appeared to supply pretty efficient safety.

A plastic curb-protected bike lane in Mexico City. Photo: John Greenfield
A plastic curb-protected bike lane in Mexico Metropolis. Photograph: John Greenfield

So why not begin putting in curbside plastic curb-protected throughout Chicago in areas the place parking is prohibited, maybe utilizing considerably taller, extra sturdy plastic curbing that what’s deliberate for Logan. And whereas we’re at at it, let’s use plastic curbs to assist hold automotive drivers out of bus lanes as nicely.

Comply with John Greenfield on Twitter at @greenfieldjohn.

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