New Protected Bike Lanes Announced In West Town

Bikers along Milwaukee Avenue by John Greenfield via StreetsBlog Chicago

New bike infrastructure plans have been announced along parts of N Milwaukee Avenue and W Grand Avenue within West Town. The two separate projects will run on portions of the large roads as each city ward must coordinate such infrastructure within their boundaries, the lanes will bring desperately needed improvements on some of the most dangerous streets in the city. The work for both is being executed in collaboration with the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) with the support of some advocacy groups.

New bike lane map along Milwaukee Avenue via CDOT

The first of the two will be a new protected lane along N Milwaukee Avenue between W North Avenue and N Western Avenue for roughly two-thirds of a mile. The work will swap the placement of the existing bike lane and parking lane, with the bike lane moving against the sidewalk with a concrete barrier. Parking will then live on the other end of the barrier while adding another level of protection from drivers, with Milwaukee Avenue being the city’s busiest and most dangerous bike lane.

New bike lane layout along Milwaukee Avenue via CDOT

New bike lane map along Grand Avenue via CDOT

The second will run along W Grand Avenue from W Chicago Avenue to N Ogden Avenue for over two miles of length, this will be built in phases with N Damen Avenue being the dividing line between them. The work will be relatively similar to that of Milwaukee Avenue and to what we have seen already been implemented along W Augusta Boulevard in the neighborhood. Extended sidewalks, improved signage, lighting, and speed-control elements will also be a part of both projects.

New bike lane design along Grand Avenue via CDOT

Both projects however will see a slight reduction in vehicle parking spaces to do so, and while this has received criticism from locals, it is worth noting that globally safe street improvements such as the ones being executed have brought an increase in business and quality of life for all involved. These changes will also protect pedestrians as recently we have seen an increase of cars driving into sidewalks and storefronts, as well as an increase in serious to deadly bicycle accidents.

Parking utilization along Grand Avenue via CDOT

Work on the improvements along Grand Avenue have already begun and those on Milwaukee Avenue are expected to soon as both are being done during routine re-paving of the roads. The second phase on Grand Avenue will be built during next year’s repaving, with the first phase and all of Milwaukee Avenue expected to be completed by the end of fall according to Block Club.

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8 Comments on "New Protected Bike Lanes Announced In West Town"

  1. This is fantastic news! One thing about demand for car parking – it’s insatiable. If permitted to do so, we would literally pave over our city until a great Chicago was just something in the history books. Too many cars and too much parking are city killers.

  2. I guess that the reduction in parking along Grand will be due to the addition of pedestrian bump outs at the cross walks. If so then it’s hilarious that people would complain that maybe half a dozen spots per block would be lost. But as @Jim says, demand for parking – and all car infra, really – is insatiable.

    And this will be so good for pedestrians and cyclists alike! The Augusta bike lanes have slowed traffic, making crossing not at a light so much easier and safer. Plus there’s something really nice about having the car parking a bit removed from the curb, especially on the tight sidewalks of Augusta and Grand.

  3. Steve River North | July 10, 2023 at 10:51 am | Reply

    Let’s make sure we fix any drainage issues along the curb in the now bike lanes as they do this. Have seen some bad pooling happen in bike lanes I travel hours and days after the rain has stopped.

  4. I’ve already seen an insane amount of broken mirrors and rear ended cars from the Augusta change up. I bet this will do the same. Safer for bikes though! Ha!

  5. Strange that the Grand Avenue bike lanes originate/extend at Ogden. Why not connect them to Milwaukee, which as indicated, is a heavily utilized bicycle route? I understand that this stretch of Grand has four lanes of vehicular traffic, which is quite busy at peak commuting times, but the proposed stretch of bike lanes seems cut off and lacks connectivity.

    • Take a look at a ward map and you’ll have your answer: at Grand, Ogden is the boundary between the 1st and 27th Wards.

    • Good point! To make this useful, the reconfiguration should extend east to Milwaukee. I wonder why not? Bike lanes need to be contiguous to get more people riding.

  6. Carmen Maugeri | July 11, 2023 at 10:16 am | Reply

    So, I am an independent business owner with a small building on this street. I have listened to what this has done to the businesses just to the north of us and it doesn’t seem good. I grew up riding a bike to university and to work early on in my life. It was pretty simple as long as I followed the rules of the road – stayed off particular busy streets etc. But, with the city raising my property taxes and then lowering my opportunity I think that both sides of this situation should have some sort of benefit. If the city is going to give one group what they want then they should give another group what the NEED. Relief. There needs to be some sort of reduction in our taxes to facilitate the loss in business.

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