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Emanuel: Protected Bike Lanes On Dearborn A Good Thing

By Chuck Sudo in News on Dec 4, 2012 11:00PM

The Kinzie Street protected bike lane: the one that started them all. (Photo Credit: Josh Koonce)

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is defending his administration’s plan to install protected bike lanes on Dearborn Street, from Polk on the south to Kinzie on the north, as a jobs creator and a way to recruit start up businesses and tech entrepreneurs to Chicago, as well as make good on his commitment to add 100 miles of bike lanes by the end of his first term.

The Dearborn Street protected bike lanes are expected to open in mid-December, complete with bicycle signals to separate bicycle and motor vehicle conflicts. As with the Kinzie Street protected bike lanes, motorists are already calling the wahmbulance and complaining the lanes will mean fewer lanes for motor vehicle traffic.

Emanuel said there’s a method to the madness.

“It is not an accident that, where we put our first protected bike lane is also where we have the most concentration of digital companies and digital employees. Every time you speak to entrepreneurs and people in the start-up economy and high-tech industry, one of the key things they talk about in recruiting workers is, can they have more bike lanes.”

Emanuel also said that, like the Kinzie Street and other protected bike lanes, motorists will adjust. And if not, they can always take CTA.