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Today Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) Commissioner Gabe Klein commemorated the beginning of construction on the City’s first one hundred miles of protected bike lanes.
“I promised the people of Chicago that we would create 100 miles of shared bike lanes in the city to ensure our transportation network supports diverse and affordable ways of getting around,” said Mayor Emanuel. “These bike lanes will help ensure that all Chicagoans can get to work and travel in their neighborhoods in the safest and most efficient fashion possible. It’s about making sure that every dollar we spend is focused on building a city that works for all of its residents.”
Mayor Emanuel and Commissioner Klein gathered on Kinzie Street in the downtown area to commemorate the construction of the first mile of protected bike lanes. The lanes will allow bikers to travel safely along roads without impeding motorists, pedestrians, or parking availability. The half-mile stretch of protected bike lane on Kinzie Street connects the two most popular streets in Chicago for bikers – Milwaukee Avenue and Wells Street.
More than 60 percent of the trips in Chicago are three miles or less, and while Chicago has been adding eight miles of bike lanes each year it has continued to lag behind other major cities. The shared bike lanes are part of a comprehensive effort to redefine the city’s bike and transportation plans.
“This is a major milestone for Chicago in terms of transportation,” said CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein. “No matter how someone wants to move around our city, they should be able to do so, and we are committed to finding every solution to advance the transportation system of the city of Chicago.”
The pilot program on Kinzie Street will be observed closely by CDOT and the Mayor’s office, and will be examined for safety, efficiency, and economic development outcomes.