According to various news outlets, including the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot introduced a new city ordinance aimed at cracking down on drivers that are blocking bus and bike lanes.
If passed, the new law would allow parking enforcement aides to take a picture of a motorist parked in a bus or bicycle lane and mail the violation to the address of the license plate holder. The fines will range from $60 to $150. Currently, the ticket can only be issued if the vehicle is parked in a bus lane or bike lane. If someone drives off to avoid the ticket — even while a citation is being written — the parking enforcement aide is out of luck.
According to Mayor Lightfoots office, the purpose of the law to help decrease traffic congestion in the downtown loop. We already know that this has been a major focus for her office as she passed sweeping changes to downtown traffic laws in her most recent city budget. These changes included rate hikes for ride share companies in the downtown area and during peak rush hour time periods.
I applaud this new law as it aims to protect public transportation and bicyclists in the city. The whole purpose of designating lanes for buses and bicyclists is to encourage more people to use public transportation and to make life safer for bicyclists. How can that mission be protected if motorists continue to ignore the laws by blocking these lanes? I will be following this closely to see if the city council passes this proposed law.