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Biking from Edgewater to Evanston to become safer

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It looks like biking from Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood to Evanston will become safer with Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT)’s proposed Neighborhood Greenways plan.

At a recent meeting hosted by Ald. Joe Moore and CDOT, residents saw details of the proposal to add a bike route spanning more than two miles in the 49th Ward.

In 2015, CDOT began doing outreach for the project, working with both Moore and his bike route advisory committee.

The advisory committee gathered information from the community on what they would like to see on the route. The goal was to create a North Side bike route in Chicago that anyone — from families to less confident cyclists — can use.

Many of the streets on the route are ideal for Neighborhood Greenways, which are low-speed residential streets with traffic calming measures such as pavement markings, curb extensions, raised crosswalks and signage to guide people so they can share roads.

They not only are good for people biking, but also make streets safer for people walking.

CDOT presented details of the plan in three segments.

  • The first segment would connect Devon Ave. to Pratt Blvd. by way of Glenwood Ave., a north-south street. Twenty percent of traffic on Glenwood Ave. is made of up people riding bikes.
  • The second segment would continue from Pratt Blvd. to Touhy Ave. where a contraflow bike lane would be installed on Glenwood Ave. The contraflow bike lane would allow people to ride against traffic for a few blocks north to Farwell Ave., continuing on Greenview Ave. until reaching Jonquil Ter.
  • In the third segment, people would be able to ride to Evanston on Paulina St. from Touhy Ave. to Juneway Ter.

DNAInfo offers a more detailed look at the proposed Neighborhood Greenways plan.

Although the planning process included community input, some residents still had concerns. Specifically, some were concerned about the contraflow bike lane proposed for Glenwood Ave. These types of improvements have shown to work well on similar Chicago streets, including on other Neighborhood Greenway projects on Berteau Ave. and Wood St.

Despite some concerns from residents, most in attendance applauded the plan, including one woman who biked on the route herself and gave her praises.

Residents hope efforts to educate both people biking and driving on Glenwood Ave. will take place once the contraflow bike lane is installed.

CDOT will review feedback and continue working with Ald. Moore. Construction is slated to begin this year and 2017 has been targeted as the projected completion date.

Active Trans is working to support more projects like this throughout the city. Sign up for updates from our Bikeways for All campaign, and we’ll show you how to get involved in our work to build a low-stress, seamless and equitable bike network.