Jefferson Park Residents Weigh In On Possible Changes For Milwaukee Avenue

CHICAGO (CBS) — Jefferson Park residents had a chance to sound off Wednesday about the city’s plans for Milwaukee Avenue between Lawrence and Elston Avenues.

The Chicago Department of Transportation’s goal is to improve traffic flow and reduce accidents, a priority on a two-mile stretch that saw 910 reported vehicle crashes between 2008 and 2012, in which one person died and 129 were hurt.

Two of the three plans call for removal of a traffic lane, with a protected bicycle lane as a substitute.

The meeting was not the first in the neighborhood, and the idea was already booed in January. The idea drew a mixed reaction Wednesday as well.

“That’s absurd,” said Ryan Fitzsimmons, a Jefferson Park resident who said bicyclists deserve more lanes only when they begin to observe traffic laws instead of riding through red lights non-stop and riding in front of traffic, while rarely signaling their intentions.

Others say it would create gridlock and hurt area businesses, but not all motorists agree.

“I love it,” said Elizabeth App, whose son rides his bicycle from Jefferson Park to school in Niles each weekday for much of the year. She said the city’s plan would make Milwaukee Avenue “absolutely safer,” while reducing congestion.

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