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Did You Know?

Roughly every three days, one person biking or walking is killed by someone driving a car in the Chicago region.

Protected parking or protected people: What kind of Wicker Park do you want?

/If you want safety and livability to be the priority on Chicago’s streets, here’s where the rubber meets the road.

Recently, 32nd Ward Alderman (and Neighborhood Bikeways Campaign supporter) Scott Waguespack asked the Wicker Park Committee, a neighborhood group, to conduct an advisory vote on potential protected bike lanes for Milwaukee Ave. The group voted 15-8 opposing, citing concerns about the need to remove parking in order to accommodate new barrier-protected lane design, which would make the street safer and more livable (not to mention better for business).

But we know that the people who live near and utilize Milwaukee Ave. want protected bike lanes. More than 2,700 people (including more than 500 who live in Wicker Park/Bucktown) have signed Active Trans' petition supporting the city’s plan to make Milwaukee Ave. safer and better for everyone who uses the street.

The message from this overwhelming response is clear: Chicagoans want our streets to give priority to people, not just cars. Barrier-protected bikeways are one way we can make this vision a reality.

Change can be scary and the choices we face about making changes in our communities often involve tradeoffs. As a community, we evaluate the relative costs and benefits of these tradeoffs based on the degree to which they reflect our shared values and priorities. It doesn’t take a traffic engineer to look at the status quo on Milwaukee Ave. and see that traffic and parking are given priority over safety and livability. This is out of step with the shifting priorities of the people who live, work, and travel in the area. We value protecting vulnerable road users and creating vibrant neighborhoods over making it easier to drive and park.

But our car-centered ways of thinking run deep. And shifting beliefs is hard work, even when you have facts on your side. That’s why it’s critical for each and every one of us to take action and help our neighbors understand that when our streets meet the needs of all users, everybody benefits.

If you agree with Active Trans (and the 2700 friends who signed the petition) that our world-class city deserves a world-class bicycle network, here’s what you can do: