Emanuel Wants Chicago To Be Nation’s ‘Most Bike-Friendly City’

CHICAGO (CBS) — The Emanuel Administration is heralding the first stretch of what it hopes will be 100 miles of dedicated—and protected—bicycle lanes in the city of Chicago.

As WBBM Newsradio 780 Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday stood on Kinzie Street beside city Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein to launch a pilot project.

“Those who followed me during the campaign know I am a bike enthusiast, as somebody who likes biking myself,” Mayor Emanuel said. “But my principal enthusiasm beyond an individual one, on a professional basis, is I want Chicago to be the bike-friendliest city in the country.”

He plans to add 25 miles of bike lanes per year, for a total of 100 over his current four-year term.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780 Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

“One, it’s another means of transportation. Two, people can do it with safety, and three what’s important is that as we attract new businesses to the city of Chicago, new ventures, protected bike path lanes and an integrated bike lane system to and from work is essential for the type of workers and employment I want to see in the city of Chicago,” Emanuel said.

For now, the project is limited to just a half-mile stretch along Kinzie Steet, from Milwaukee Avenue to Wells Street. It is the first protected bicycle lane in Chicago.

“Protected” means that the bicycle lane is along the curb, separated out by a buffer area, and then farther into the street is there area where cars can park. Parked cars will block bikers from traffic.

Klein wants to see the protected bike lane project expand quickly. The mayor envisions 100 miles of protected bike lanes by the end of his first four year term.

Mayor Emanuel says protected bike lanes are also about economic development. A bike-friendly city is more attractive to business and potential residents.

  • tom sharp

    On one side going against the bikers you have the muggers, flash gangs and people in cars who are always on their cell phones or texting (side note: Rahm could balance the budget in 6 months if the no cell phone use in moving cars law was enforced). On the other side going against everyone else you have nitwits on bikes (at least 50% of them) that obey no traffic laws or signals, drive in the middle of the street and would rather run over a pedestrian rather than slow down. All this will do is add to the grid lock for drivers and lead to more accidents.

  • aja2themax

    Okay, let me get this straight. We have “Flash Mob” violence occurring on our Mag Mile streets, Southeast and West sides littered with violence and drugs, we pay probably the most in the nation for gas, high sales tax, the city is broke and the Mayor’s main concern is making Chicago the “Most bike-friendly city” in the nation. How about making Chicago the “Safest city in the nation”? Also, who is going to pay for all the bike path modifications? The tax payers, that’s who. Why doesn’t the city start requiring bikers to pay for usage of riding on the main streets? How about a license fee? If you are not licensed, then you get a ticket! The revenue the city would make! And when is the city going to start requiring bikers to be insured and follow rules of the road? If I am an innocent bystander trying to cross the street and a biker runs into me and I need to go to the hospital for my injuries or if a biker runs into my parked car, who is going to pay for my medical/repair bills? Not the uninsured biker! I have no problem with bikers sharing the roads but let’s make it an even playing field!

    • jim

      Correct aja, distract the populas with stupid stuff like safest city in the country for bike riders, while the city goes down the tubes. The democrats has alway thrown up smoke screens to hid the real issues. They know no other formula. I would love to ride my bike to the lakefront and along beautiful Lake Michigan, but I’m afraid of the type of people who I will encounter when I get off the bike. Traffic and cars is not the problem. The problem is the wonder young people, honor student may I add that recon the lakefront and Michigan Ave. Take back the street before the City becomes Detroit!

  • http://bikinginla.wordpress.com/2011/06/11/a-newly-replenished-list-of-events-and-a-whole-lot-of-bike-links/ A newly replenished list of events, and a whole lot of bike links « BikingInLA

    […] bike unfriendly stretch of Kansas. Chicago’s new mayor challenges Portland and Long Beach for the county’s most bike friendly city; it’s off to a good start with its first protected bike lane and bike box. In case you haven’t […]

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