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Chicago Chosen For National Bike Lanes Program

By Chris Bentley in News on Jun 1, 2012 7:20PM

Photo Credit: Josh Koonce

Chicago was recently named the fifth most bike-friendly city in the U.S., but cyclists know that title is as much a call to action as it is an accolade. Now Chicago is among six cities chosen for a national project that will support “green lanes,” or protected bike lanes.

The Green Lane Project will be a two-year study of bike programs in Austin, Chicago, Memphis, Portland, Ore., San Francisco and Washington, D.C. At the nationwide kickoff Thursday, Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein joined bikers on a rainy ride through the protected lanes on Kinzie Street in River North. Klein, an avid biker, has been a vocal advocate for cycling in the city.

As one of the project’s six focus cities, Chicago will receive resources and technical assistance in the next two years. Our successes and failures will also be stacked up alongside those of the other five cities in a bit of what Klein called “healthy competition.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s commitment to 100 miles of protected bike lanes by 2015 was key to Chicago’s inclusion in the program. So far the city has built only 6 miles of protected lanes and 2.75 miles of buffered lanes, which are separated from the street by paint. The city plans to add 19.4 miles by the end of summer. CDOT is still accepting suggestions to help the city prioritize upcoming bike projects.