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Exciting new bikeways for Chicago

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Since 2015, Active Trans Bikeways for All campaign has been mobilizing members and supporters across the city to push for a seamless, low-stress and equitable bike network for Chicago. 

Our Bikeways for All vision promotes three types of low-stress bikeways we’re working to see implemented around town: protected bike lanes, urban trails and neighborhood greenways.

So far in 2017, we’ve been eagerly tracking plans to bring improvements to Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park as well as a new neighborhood-wide bikeway project that recently kicked off in Edgewater.

But these exciting projects are just the tip of the iceberg. With the 2017 construction season in full-swing, here’s an update on some of the new and planned bikeways developments we’ve been tracking around town.

Protected bike lane network continues to grow, and more concrete curbs are on the way 

  • Randolph Street: A new protected bike lane on Randolph Street in the Loop opened earlier this year providing another strong link in the increasingly well-connected downtown protected bike lane network. This westbound route is paired with the existing eastbound protected bike lane Washington Street.
  • Elston Avenue: At the end of 2016, a concrete curb protected bike lane on Elston Avenue was installed as part of the reconstruction of the Elston/Damen/Fullerton intersection. 
  • Concrete upgrades: The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) announced that several existing protected bike lanes are slated to be upgraded in 2017 with concrete curb separation, making the bikeways more robust and permanent. According to CDOT, these upgrades are currently planned for Dearborn Street in the Loop, Milwaukee Avenue in River West, Harrison Street in the South Loop, and on Elston Avenue.


More urban trails moving forward

  • Riverview Bridge & Irving Park underpass: Two new river trail segments are slated to break ground in 2017. The Riverview Bridge will connect California Park on the west side of the Chicago River to Clark Park on the east side. A new underpass will be built under Irving Park Road as part of a bridge reconstruction project, linking Horner Park to the north to California Park and the new Riverview Bridge. These projects are an important link in our campaign for a continuous Chicago River Trail.
  • Englewood Line: Plans are moving forward to bring a new urban trail to Englewood on an abandoned elevated railroad line near 59th Street. City agencies have applied for a federal grant to fund the next phase of engineering work, which would be a big step towards making this long term dream a reality. Even more exciting, city planners have revealed their hopes to ultimately connect the Englewood Line trail to another new trail along a similar elevated rail line on 49th Street, creating a continuous trail loop linking several neighborhoods together.
  • Lakefront Trail separation: While not a new urban trail, the ongoing work to create dedicated spaces for people walking and biking on the Lakefront Trail is a huge win for trail advocates. Active Trans, along with our members and supporters, have been advocating for separate trails along the lakefront for years. The first segment of newly separated trails has already opened on the South Side from 31st Street to 41st Street.  


Neighborhood greenways take root across the city

  • Glenwood neighborhood greenway: Chicago’s newest neighborhood greenway opened earlier this year on Glenwood in Edgewater. The project runs on Glenwood Avenue from Carmen Avenue to Ridge Avenue and features a range of different improvements to help people on bikes safely navigate the street, such as a contraflow lane allowing bicycles to travel in both directions on the one-way street.
  • School/Aldine & Roscoe neighborhood greenways: CDOT and 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney are looking to improve access to the lakefront and other neighborhood destinations for people on two wheels with a new neighborhood greenway project to create parallel bike routes on School Street, Aldine Avenue and Roscoe Street. According to Ald. Tunney’s website, community forums on the project will be held in the coming months.

In addition to these exciting projects, we are seeing progress on our work to improve safe access to the Park at Big Marsh and other new and existing open spaces on the far South Side. CDOT announced plans to resurface Stony Island Avenue from 103rd Street to 122nd Street and install new bike lanes. These improvements will enable more area residents and other visitors to safely access this incredible new community amenity. 

Stay up to date on the progress of these and other exciting bikeways projects throughout Chicago and the suburbs by signing up for our advocacy email list.