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About one-third of all work trips in Chicago are comprised of people biking, walking, or riding public transit.

A triumph for safe biking: City commits to concrete protected bike lanes

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Transportation announced plans to upgrade all existing protected bike lanes with new concrete curbs by the end of 2023, a big step toward creating a connected and protected bike network for Chicago. 

The announcement comes after years of grassroots advocacy calling for more robust barriers for Chicago’s bikeways, as well as recent mobilization efforts in response to a devastating string of fatal crashes, including four that tragically took the lives of children.  

“On behalf of our members and supporters, we would like to thank the mayor and Chicago Department of Transportation leadership for taking this important step,” said Amy Rynell, executive director of Active Transportation Alliance. “These upgrades will significantly improve safety and comfort for people riding bikes and encourage more Chicagoans to use bikes as everyday transportation. We look forward to continuing to support the city’s efforts to create a connected and protected bike network for people of all ages and abilities.” 

The concrete curbs will be installed in place of protected bike lanes that now have flexible plastic bollards. While these “vertical delineators” make bike lanes more visible, they do little to prevent incursions by cars and trucks, which can lead to deadly conflicts and crashes. The new curbs will provide a much more robust and continuous barrier, making the street safer and better for people riding bikes.  

In addition to upgrading 15 miles of existing protected bike lanes, the city will install 10 miles of new protected bike lanes in 2022 and will be using concrete curbs for future protected bike lanes.  

These improvements will be paid for by the Chicago Works capital program, which Active Transportation Alliance mobilized supporters around to help secure millions of local dollars for protected bike lanes. 

Our advocacy for a connected and protected bike network will continue. We know huge gaps will remain in Chicago’s protected bike lane network, and we know we have yet to unlock the health, sustainability, and equity benefits more biking can bring our communities.

But this is a significant milestone, and we would like to thank all our members, supporters, and partner organizations for their contributions to this collective effort. We look forward to continuing to fight alongside all of you for a connected and protected bike network that serves all Chicagoans.