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New bike lanes protect Logan Square cyclists but keep customers away, some business owners say

New bike lanes protect Logan Square cyclists but keep customers away, some business owners say 2020-10-03Leave a comment

electrical bike New bike lanes shield Logan Sq. cyclists however preserve prospects away, some enterprise homeowners say

Milwaukee Avenue in Logan Sq. is now residence to the town’s latest public security initiative for bicyclists: bike lanes protected with plastic curbs and bollards.

The road is without doubt one of the most closely traveled routes in all of Chicago, with practically 500 accidents in lower than 5 years, based on Ald. Daniel La Spata (1st). Chicago’s visitors security knowledge exhibits two-thirds of crashes from 2014 to 2018 on Milwaukee Avenue concerned folks strolling and biking. The $320,000 bike lane growth venture funded by the Chicago Division of Transportation is anticipated to dramatically decrease that quantity.

“Nearly 500 crashes in 5 years isn’t sustainable. That’s not wholesome, significantly as we see an uptick in elevated biking throughout this pandemic, an uptick that we wish to see keep,” La Spata mentioned Friday afternoon on the unveiling of the improved bike lanes.

“That mentioned, it was crucial, not solely to restructure our infrastructure for the best way Milwaukee Avenue is definitely used, however to additionally reply to public security considerations.”

Utilizing plastic curbs and bollards as an alternative of concrete saved money and time; they took three weeks to put in as an alternative of months, based on David Smith, Chicago’s bicycle and pedestrian program supervisor. And in winter, snowplows can go over them, as an alternative of round them.

The venture is a part of CDOT’s Vision Zero traffic safety program, which additionally contains pedestrian security infrastructure and transit entry enhancements. Imaginative and prescient Zero started in 2017, as the town recognized 43 “excessive crash corridors” — areas the place a disproportionately excessive variety of folks have been killed or severely injured in visitors crashes.

The Milwaukee Avenue venture was designed in partnership with residents, companies and the Logan Sq. Chamber of Commerce; it joins practically 30 miles of recent bike lanes being carried out throughout the town this yr.

Map of accomplished and anticipated bike lane expansions all through Chicago in 2020.
Chicago Division of Transportation (CDOT)

Nonetheless, for some companies alongside the busy road, the general public security initiative solely added to a cycle of disappointment, coming after enterprise losses from the COVID-19 pandemic.

To put in the curbs, 100 parking spots alongside the road have been moved to intersecting aspect streets. Jessica Wobbekind, government director of the Logan Sq. Chamber of Commerce believes this can spur shopper spending; cyclists, she mentioned, usually tend to cease and buy objects than motorists.

Gillman’s Ace {Hardware} on Milwaukee Avenue has been run by the Gillman household for 75 years, however proprietor Alan Gillman says he doesn’t know the way he’ll keep open. Within the week for the reason that protected bike lanes have been accomplished — and parking spots in entrance of his retailer have been eliminated — he estimates he has misplaced about one-third of his enterprise.

“I can’t make use of anyone and I can’t feed my household in the event that they’re going to take my parking away,” he says. “I’m a taxpayer and I’m going to protest this. I’ve nothing towards bikers in any respect, however they’re taking away our livelihood.”

Alan Gillman, owner of Ace Hardware in Logan Square, poses for a portrait Friday afternoon, Oct. 2, 2020. Gillman is opposed to the new protected bike lanes along North Milwaukee Avenue and said it has caused a decline in customers because they have no place to park.

Alan Gillman, proprietor of Ace {Hardware} in Logan Sq., is against the brand new protected bike lanes alongside North Milwaukee Avenue. He’s misplaced prospects, he mentioned, as a result of they not have a spot to park.
Pat Nabong/Solar-Instances

Ald. La Spata mentioned through the implementation course of, his workers and CDOT representatives held online forums and canvassed door to door along the street to get the neighborhood’s perspective. Although, Gillman says he was by no means requested for enter.

Within the weeks for the reason that venture was accredited, Gillman mentioned he has constructed a coalition of seven companies who oppose the venture and gathered over 600 signatures on a petition. He suggests lowering the width of the sidewalk to permit room for each a motorcycle lane and parking, although if the sidewalks are too slender, they’d violate the Individuals with Disabilities Act.

Within the meantime, work on Milwaukee Avenue is anticipated to proceed later this fall with the set up of two new crosswalks and expanded pedestrian house at a number of intersections.

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