Evanston Debates Whether To Backpedal On Protected Bike Lanes

(CBS) – New bicycle lanes are meant to keep cyclists safe in suburban Evanston, but some drivers say the streets are now too narrow and hazardous for them.

CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports.

At issue are protected bike lanes on Dodge Avenue in Evanston. Bicyclists are now riding between the curb and parked cars. Sure, you have them in Chicago, but Laura Abrams says: “You can’t map it like Chicago if you don’t have Chicago spacing. We’re Evanston.”

Opponents took their complaints to an Evanston city meeting Monday night.

People who live on Dodge told aldermen their street is now too narrow and more congested, making getting out of the car unsafe and trying their patience.

Bicyclists like John Henes see it differently.

“I drive the street also with my car. It’s not a big deal,” he says. “Plenty of room.”

Fourth Ward Ald. Don Wilson insists the bike lanes make it safer for everyone.

“I think it slows the traffic down. And when you slow the traffic down and you force someone to pay closer attention, that’s going to result in a safer environment for everybody,” he says.

Evanston aldermen are now considering a compromise: Keeping the bike lanes but perhaps repositioning those protective poles and bus stops.

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