Cycling Advocates Say City Still Hasn't Gone Far Enough

By Kate Shepherd in News on Oct 13, 2015 7:00PM

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Photo Credit: Josh Koonce

Chicago has made huge strides in encouraging bicycling as a mainstream mode of transit in the city but a new proposal for a citywide bike network contends that Chicagoans afraid to bike in traffic.

Bikeways for All is a plan for transforming the city's transit with 180 miles of safe, easy-to-use bike routes, proposed by the Active Transportation Alliance. The group is urging Mayor Rahm Emanuel to commit to building 100 of those "low-stress" miles by 2020, in the same way that the group successfully challenged him to build 100 miles of protected bike lanes early in his administration.

The so-called "low-stress" lanes would be physically protected from traffic on busy streets to ease riders' nerves. Neighborhood greenways and off-street trails are also a part of the plan. Those types of lane typically require more road-engineering than the typical unprotected bike lane made of painted lines on the ground.

"Fear of bicycling in traffic is the main obstacle that prevents more Chicagoans from getting on bikes," Ron Burke, executive director of the group, said in a statement. "If we create an efficient system of bike routes designed to make average riders feel safe, we'd see a massive surge in the ranks of people biking."

Read more about Bikeways For All here.