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Decades of research shows that expanding roads doesn’t provide lasting congestion relief. More lanes means more traffic.

More than 40 businesses pledge support of Kinzie bike lane

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Since we last wrote about the protected bike lane on Kinzie Street — and 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly’s efforts to get the lane temporarily removed to accommodate construction traffic — we’ve received an outpouring of support both from more than 1,300 concerned citizens as well as from businesses in the area.

In fact, after we put the call out asking companies to add their names to a joint letter addressed to elected officials, more than 35 additional businesses contacted us! The letter is the latest in a series of public support initiatives for the protected bike lane and its link in Chicago’s bike network.

We appreciate everything Ald. Reilly has done to support better biking in his ward and are hopeful he and CDOT will be able to resolve this issue in a way that will keep everyone on the street safe and happy.

See below for the text of the letter, as well as the 42 businesses joining the effort.

To: Mayor Emanuel and Chicago City Council

Re: Keep the Kinzie Bike Lanes

As businesses vested in Chicago, we support investment in cutting-edge infrastructure improvements like the protected bike lanes on Kinzie and other streets. In addition to making our streets safer and better for everyone who uses them, these types of improvements help our city attract the high-quality human capital upon which businesses like ours depend.

Talented people we want to work for us are choosing to live in places that provide a high quality of life and the ability to use alternative forms of transportation, like bikes. We want to make Chicago an obvious destination for the designers, engineers and other professionals of tomorrow’s economy, and the city’s growing bike lane network helps position us to achieve that goal.

Chicago's first protected bike lanes were built on Kinzie Street, and the number of people biking there increased by more than 55 percent in the first few weeks after the lanes were installed in 2011. The numbers have grown consistently since then, and today the Kinzie corridor between Milwaukee and Dearborn is one of the most popular bike routes in the country, connecting the north and west sides of Chicago to downtown.

The Kinzie bike lanes and many other “Complete Streets” improvements have been made downtown with the leadership of Alderman Reilly, who has proposed temporarily removing the Kinzie bike lanes due to concerns about accommodating a higher density of people and vehicles associated with construction of the new Wolf Point development. It’s important to address the alderman’s concerns and to ensure that Chicago’s streets accommodate all modes of travel, including cars, but we don’t think removing the Kinzie bike lanes is the best way to achieve this goal.  

Rather than removing the bike lanes across that small stretch of Kinzie, which would do little to lessen congestion, let’s focus on improving the Kinzie Street design — including the bike lanes — to accommodate existing users plus the new Wolf Point tenants who will benefit from having protected bike lanes next door that connect to routes all over the city.

Ald. Reilly has proposed installing a new bike lane on Grand Avenue as an alternative, which we would welcome.  However, we’re concerned that people would continue to bike on Kinzie because it is a more comfortable street than Grand with fewer cars and no buses, and it provides the most direct connection to the central business district. Without the bike lanes, Kinzie would be less safe for everyone who uses it whether you're walking, biking or driving your car.

At the same time, it’s clear that some improvements are overdue on Kinzie in order to better accommodate all modes of travel and enhance safety, from filling potholes to better protections for pedestrians. We encourage Ald. Reilly and Chicago Department of Transportation to get started on these changes immediately in advance of peak cycling season.

Sincerely,

[Listed alphabetically by last name]

Jenny Ansay
Regional Attorney
Justice for Our Neighbors

 

Michael Badding
Associate
Ramboll-Environ

 

Juan Benitez
General Manager
Braintree, a PayPal company

 

Juliette Boyce
Human Resources
KOS Services LLC

 

Doug Breaker
CEO
HomeFinder.com

 

Cheri Carpenter
Chief Comms Officer
VivaKi 

 

Michael Cook
President
Tana-Tex Inc.

 

Jim Cosenza
Therapist
Jim Cosenza, LCSW

 

Ben Crandall
Director
CLEAResult

 

Jodi Doane
Director
HIAS Chicago

 

Heather Durham
Talent Manager
TRISECT

 

Carolyn Grisko
President
Grisko

 

Henry L. Henderson
Director
Natural Resource Defense Council

 

David W Holly
Managing Partner
Global Recruiters of Old Orchard

 

Eric Holm
Partner
Alt-Cycle Shop

 

Sharon Hoyer
General Manager
Dill Pickle Food Co-op

  

Ben Ihnchak
Partner
Fuzzy Math

 

Brad Isbell
President
AudioPump, Inc.

 

Jeff Judge
CEO
Measured Good

 

Mark Koenig
Managing Director
Bluedog Design

 

Jennifer Kotz
Project Manager
Helios Design Build

 

Brian Kristofek
President & CEO
Upshot

 

Jessica Kwiatkowski
Executive Assistant
Thomson Reuters

 

Michael Lane
Managing Director
Designory

 

Richard W. Lariviere
President
Field Museum

 

Emily Loveless
Aggrego 

 

Anne Luthi
Property Manager
5455 Edgewater Plaza

 

James Malaney
Staff Scientist
BBJ Group

 

Evelyn McGowan
President
Morr Sharp Assoicates

 

Zhu-Song Mei
CEO
BigMarker

Tim Mohan
Chief Executive Partner
Chapman and Cutler LLP 

Matt Nardella
Architect
moss Design

 

Jake Nickel
CEO
Threadless

 

Stacey Paradis
Executive Director
Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance

 

Jean Pogge
CEO
Delta Institute 

 

Jim Rogers
Senior Vice President and General Counsel
Orbitz

 

Keith Schwartz
President
HS2 Solutions, Inc.

 

Mark Sexton
Principal
Krueck and Sexton Architects

 

Stelios Valavanis
Founder and President
onShore Networks

 

David Vinca
CEO
eSpark Learning

 

Bob Weston & Jason Ward
Owners
Chicago Mastering Service

 

Paul Wargaski
Violin Maker
Paul Wargaski Violins