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Chicago’s first protected bike lane on Kinzie St. increased ridership by 55 percent without increasing traffic congestion for cars.

Evanston bike plan hits the brakes

Evanston City Council members unfortunately delayed voting on a new bike plan at a recent council meeting.

Most residents spoke in support of the plan, but several objected to the proposed extension of the Davis Street bike lane through their neighborhood.

Residents raised concerns about the lane increasing traffic congestion and impacting the historic character of the area. They also offered alternative streets for the route.

The new bike plan, updating an earlier version, focuses on “corridors of comfort.” The corridors include off-street paths and dedicated bike lanes intended encourage people of all ages to ride.

Evanston has received national recognition for installing a protected bike lane, the first suburb to do so in Illinois. The Church Street lane allows two-way travel outside of downtown and then becomes one-way downtown, as does Church Street.

Riders can head west on the Davis Street lane through downtown. Earlier this year, Evanston approved a resolution for a Complete and Green Network Approach, requiring the Department of Public Works to consider environmental sustainability and ease of public access in transportation projects.

Catherine Hurley, the city’s Sustainable Programs Coordinator, explains that this “incorporates really any project within the city right-of-way, on a park or on an off-street trail, not just the roadway.”

The city is addressing concerns about the bike plan and will bring it to council for a vote at a later date. Active Trans hopes to see the Evanston bike plan and Davis St. bike lane move ahead, and provide better transportation options for Evanston residents.