From the organization that likes all forms of transit except the single-occupant automobile comes this news:
More protected bike lanes like the half-mile stretch on Kinzie in the North Loop are on the way.
According to the Active Transportation Alliance, work will begin on a protected bike lane - a lane that uses physical barriers or buffers between bicyclists and motorists - on Jackson between Damen and Halsted within a few days. Another four and a half miles should be completed around the city in the next four months, and a total of 20 miles should be ready by spring, the alliance says. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said he wants a total of 100 miles over four years.
The Kinzie bike lane hasn't been popular with all motorists. "That street is dead to us now," one says. But the alliance says all that extra congestion on Kinzie is mostly due to cars detouring around the Wacker Drive reconstruction. And as for complaints that the bike lanes pose a new hazard, the alliance says they actually improve safety.
"We know that when you install these on urban streets it makes the roadways safer for everyone," says Ron Burke, executive director of the 26-year-old, 7,000-member alliance.
The alliance, which deputy executive director Melody Geraci says is "probably the largest advocacy organization of our type in the U.S.," also is starting a new group - Riders for Better Transit - that the alliance hopes will be a voice for riders in the soon-to-come funding crisis debates at the CTA and Metra.
Burke says he hopes the group will "rally transit riders to create a constituency and to support consistent funding."
Lee Crandell, director of campaigns, says, "Demand for transit [now more than 2 million trips a day] has been increasing, but every year agencies are having harder and harder time just maintaining what we have. ... Our region is taking transit for granted and we have let things crumble a bit."
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