Milwaukee Avenue, between Armitage and Division Streets, in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago, is one of the busiest in the city. Adding to the congestion is the number of bicyclists who attempt to navigate next cars and CTA buses. A new online petition, posted by the Active Transportation Alliance, is pushing a dedicated bike lane on this stretch of road.
According to data provided by the Chicago Department of Transportation showed more than 5,000 cyclists — and 13,000 vehicles — travel the Milwaukee Avenue corridor daily. Specifically, more than 800 cyclists ride through the triple intersection of Milwaukee, Damen and North avenues during the morning peak times to commute, according to the city.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the city is looking into the feasibility of installing a dedicated bike lane. By removing metered parking spaces to create a bike lane would mean the city would have to reimburse the parking meter company for spaces taken out of service. On-street parking would become an even greater obstacle for residents, shoppers, and restaurant and bar patrons. Another issue could be where loading zones would be located for businesses on Milwaukee.
City officials are planning a community meeting this summer to discuss proposed “near term” improvements based off the neighborhood master plan that could be implemented later this year to improve safety, slow car traffic and increase space for people biking and walking. The Milwaukee corridor is also heavily used by pedestrians, Claffey said. Such recommendations for Milwaukee Avenue could range from adding bike boxes and new crosswalks, closing the slip lanes that allow vehicles to turn right, installing curb “bump-outs” to shorten the distance for a pedestrian crossing a street and reducing the posted speed limit.
There are no easy answers here regarding a dedicated bicycle lane. I believe it would make traffic safer for everyone who travels on this stretch of road. Especially during rush hour. But the city will have to come up with the money to make it feasible. Where does that money come from? Additional metered parking in the neighborhood? If a bike lane would make the street safer and decrease traffic accidents, then I think it should be a priority for the city counsel. Hopefully this online campaign will increase the awareness and force the city to act.
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in Chicago bicycle accident or Chicago car crash, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.