CDOT Considers Bold Steps to Make Room for Protected Lanes on Milwaukee

Biking at Grand/Halsted/Milwaukee (4 of 4)
Biking on Milwaukee Avenue at Grand Street. Photo by Steven Vance.

The Chicago Department of Transportation has added many miles of protected and buffered bike lanes across the city, but it can be challenging to find space for protected lanes on the streets where they are needed the most. CDOT has implemented “road diets” on several streets, replacing excess car lanes with protected lanes, which has the added benefit of reducing speeding and shortening pedestrian crossing distances. The Dearborn two-way protected bike lane, through the heart of the Loop, is the most notable example of this tactic.

Now CDOT is considering taking a somewhat bolder step by removing parking on sections of Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago’s busiest bike street, to make room for protected lanes between Elston Avenue and Kinzie Street. Milwaukee’s junctures with North and Chicago avenues are two of the city’s intersections with the most bike crashes, so protection from car traffic would be a huge benefit for cyclists. This stretch of Milwaukee also serves as a connector between existing protected lanes on Elston and Milwaukee.

However, CDOT project manager Mike Amsden explained that because this segment of Milwaukee is 50-to-52-feet-wide and has significant bus and truck traffic, it’s considered too narrow for both protected lanes and parking lanes on each side. “On a 52-foot roadway you can fit ten-foot travel lanes, eight-foot parking lanes, a three-foot buffer and five-foot bike lanes, but that’s pretty tight for a street with heavy truck and bus traffic,” he said. He added that there are currently so many bike riders on Milwaukee that wider bike lanes are needed so that faster cyclists have plenty of room to pass slower ones.

A bunch of people on bikes about to turn left
Cyclists waiting to turn left onto Kinzie from Milwaukee. Photo by Steven Vance.

Amsden said his agency is looking at “consolidating” the parking on this stretch, removing a parking lane on one side of the street in sections where there is low demand, in order to make room for wider travel lanes and protected bike lanes. If a parking lane is removed on Milwaukee, which is largely unmetered, CDOT may convert some of the wider side streets from parallel to diagonal parking to create additional spaces. “We’re doing a lot of parking observation right now and talking to businesses to find out how they currently use parking and loading zones,” Amsden said. “On stretches where we can’t take out parking for a protected lane we’d put in a nice, wide buffered bike lane.”

CDOT has also been in talks with the local chambers of commerce and 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett’s office; staffers will be meeting with Burnett next week. Burnett’s assistant Jesse Ech seemed skeptical that removing any parking spaces is a good idea. “We’re trying to keep parking wherever possible,” he said. “The city’s under quite a parking crunch. We’re going to see what CDOT is proposing to do and see if that’s something that residents and business owners are not opposed to.”

While Joel Mangers, director of Intuit art center, 756 North Milwaukee, said he would not want parking removed from his retail-rich location, he’d support removals in low-demand areas, like the desolate stretch near the Ohio feeder to the Kennedy Expressway, to make room for protected lanes. “Anything that slows cars down is a good idea,” he said. “I’ve seen so many bikes almost taken out by cars.” He noted that that last summer speeding cab driver John Kesse fatally struck pedestrian Eric Kerestes as he sat on a bench across the street from the art center.

Pinch Point on Milwaukee at Elston
Turning right from Milwaukee onto Elston. Photo by Steven Vance.

Tim Coonan, owner of nearby Big Shoulders Coffee, 1105 West Chicago, agreed that parking removals would work on the low-density stretches of Milwaukee and said protected bike lanes would be a big improvement. “I’m a cyclist myself, and this part of Milwaukee is pretty much of a dragstrip for cars,” he said. “And as a business owner I want to get people to slow down, not only for safety but also so they notice local businesses.” He added that most visitors to his cafe, located next to a Blue Line station entrance, arrive by bike, on foot or by transit.

The Active Transportation Alliance has started an online petition drive to endorse CDOT’s proposal, collecting over 1,400 signatures in favor of consolidating parking to make room for protected lanes. “We believe there’s support for this from residents and business owners in the neighborhood, so this is an effort to give a voice to this support,” said Lee Crandell, director of advocacy campaigns for the nonprofit.

Amsden said he appreciates the back-up. “Any support we can get will be incredibly helpful,” he said. “Knowing there’s support will really push us to create the best facility we can, and also show others that there’s a need and support for it.”

Crandell argued that it’s high time that Milwaukee was reconfigured as a “complete street” that serves all users. “There’s a need to reexamine the way we use this street,” he said. “If the priority is to move as many cars as possible, as fast as possible, we don’t think that’s the best strategy for creating vibrant communities. We think safety should be the top priority. More than 40 percent of rush hour traffic on Milwaukee is bikes, but this is about more than bikes. It’s also about calming traffic, improving pedestrian safety and making the neighborhood more livable.”

  • The min width for a parking lane is 7ft. Why can’t they reduce that? And why do driving lanes have to be 10ft? A car must be narrower than 7 ft. In my opinion CDOT can’t be deemed serious about much other than cars. I got this feeling at the PB meeting we had with them last week. There are few of our proposals that will actually work based on their criteria…

  • Anonymous

    I think cars should be eliminated and the street car brought back at least from Western to Kinzie. There is no reason to drive on Milwaukee in that section. For the record, I am not a bike commuter but lived on that stretch and never drove on Milwaukee.

  • CDOT has previously stated that parking lanes need to be 8ft when placed directly next to a travel lane in a protected lane setup. Otherwise, people exiting their vehicles on the driver’s side would have very little room to do so. This is consistent with NACTO guidelines for a parking protected lane, which call for a minimum 3ft buffer and 8ft parking lane.

    As far as driving lane width, cars are not the only types of vehicles traveling on this road. Buses and most trucks are 8’6″ wide.

  • My mind completely forgot buses. That would be hard to navigate if the lanes were made 9′ instead of 10. Unfortunate that it has to be so difficult to accommodate everyone. Getting rid of parking is difficult. In some cases I like parking because it makes me feel safer (I never think it should be free, though) as a pedestrian. I definitely want to see a protected lane on Milwaukee.

  • Dennis Hindman

    Its amazing seeing all of those bicyclists spread out on this street. Here in Los Angeles, you would never see that many people on bicycles riding with motor vehicles unless it was a group ride, or perhaps around USC. I can’t imagine how anyone could deny taking away space from motor vehicles in order to make safety improvements for this level of bicycling.

    Los Angeles has now come to a point with implementing the 2010 bike plan that any further installations of bike lanes will require removal of either parking or a travel lane for motor vehicles. This is starting to meet with fierce resistance.

    How tough is it to install bike lanes in a major city in the U.S.?

    Portland had started to aggressively install bicycle infrastructure in the early 1990’s, yet with 1,300 miles of arterial streets, only 14%, or 181 miles, have bike lanes. Los Angeles has 1,400 miles of arterial streets and has just completed 267 miles of bike lanes, or 19% of the arterial streets.

    New York City has gotten a lot of coverage about how much bicycle infrastructure
    the city has installed since 2007. I ran across a NYC.gov document that breaks down the quantity and type of installations that were made in each of its last six fiscal years. It turns out that the pace of each type of bikeways construction in Los Angeles compared to what had already existed per the LA 2010 bike plan, matches–or is ahead of–where New York City was in their first two fiscal years listed from 2007 through 2008:

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/bikeroutedetailsfy07-fy12.pdf

    For fiscal years 2007-2009, NYC installed:

    4.9 miles of bike paths
    150.5 miles of bike lanes
    49.5 miles of sharrows

    Notice that the pace of bike lane installations in NYC fell dramatically after the first three fiscal years. Could that be due to resistance, or perhaps not willing to sacrifice motor vehicle capacity on a street to install bike lanes?

    Judging from what was listed as installed in the 2010 LA bike plan, Los Angeles has added:

    6.39 miles more bike paths
    100.85 miles more bike lanes
    29.04 miles of sharrows

    There is still almost four months left in the second full fiscal year after the 2010 Los Angeles Bike Plan was approved in March, 2011. Yet, the amount of bike paths installed has already passed what New York did in the first three fiscal years
    that is listed in the above link, and with an additional 20 miles of sharrows now being added, the installation of sharrows should match their first three years production shortly. The miles of bike lanes installed in Los Angeles in the first two fiscal years after the bike plan approval is on pace to match, or exceed, what was installed in New York City in their first three fiscal years.

    Judging from what happened in Portland and New York City, I would expect that the rate of bike lane installations per fiscal year will soon slow substantially in Los Angeles. Its as if there is a boa constrictor wrapped around your chest and every time you take a breath (install more bike lanes), then exhale, the snake (motorists) tightens its grip, making it increasingly more difficult to take another breath (add more bike lanes). Chicago will also find it increasingly difficult to add bike lanes as the resistance builds to taking away parking or capacity from motor vehicles.

  • “Los Angeles has now come to a point with implementing the 2010 bike plan that any further installations of bike lanes will require removal of either parking or a travel lane for motor vehicles. This is starting to meet with fierce resistance.”

    What did the city do before this? Narrow existing travel lanes?

  • Dennis Hindman

    In the San Fernando Valley (considered a suburb of LA by many), where 47% of the miles of streets are in Los Angeles, there was enough wide streets to put bike lanes in for years without taking away any space from motor vehicles. That was where the majority of the 167 bike lanes shown in the 2010 bike plan came from.

    After the approval of the new bike plan in March of 2011, there were some streets that had enough over capacity to do a road diet. That’s where perhaps less than 10 miles of bike lanes came from in the last two years.

    There were also streets where there were enough lanes that could be narrowed to get a sufficient amount of space to fit in bike lanes.

    The majority of the bike lane projects for 2013 are on streets where some intersections are operating at a level of service (LOS)during peak hours that would have a noticeable increase in delays of traffic if bike lanes were installed.

    The Los Angeles planning and transportation departments just finished holding a series of public meetings about 39.5 miles of streets that will require either parking or travel lanes to be removed for the installation of bike lanes. This was done to fulfill a requirement under a recent change in the state law under which it was previously required that a large, expensive environmental impact report (EIR) was needed because of the substantial delay in traffic that would result from removing travel lanes. The city had already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in consulting fees preparing this study just before the law was changed late last year. They then released a draft EIR for public viewing.

    You can check out how absurdly large the draft EIR document is on this link below. If you click on 4.5 of the document, you can see the level of service (LOS) of the streets under consideration for bike lane installations (the EIR results for one intersection of a street shows a 8 minute delay in traffic if the bike lanes are installed):

    http://ladotbikeblog.wordpress.com/2013/01/18/announcing-the-release-of-the-first-year-draft-eir-and-more/

    This website above is run by interns at the LADOT, and its a important source of providing information of recent developments for bicycles through the LADOT. The website was set-up to help fulfill a requirement of the new bike plan to keep the public informed of how the implementation is proceeding.

  • Dennis Hindman

    There were also 25 miles of bike lanes installed recently that were opportunities where the street was probably repaved and the LADOT bikeways engineering staff could fit in bike lanes without impacting the level of service. These streets were probably not on the bike plan.

    Of the 1,400 miles of arterial streets in Los Angeles, only 719 miles of these are on the bike plan for bike lane installations. That leaves hundreds of miles of streets that are not on the bike plan where they could potentially sneak in bike lanes.

    The goal of the bike plan right now is to install 200 miles of bikeways in the first five years and with a limited amount of money to work with, that means the bulk of that mileage will be from the installation of bike lanes. Early on in the implementation of the bike plan, it looked as though the LADOT bikeways staff wanted to use easily installed sharrows as part of that mileage, but a bicycle advocate realized that this could be happening, and complained to the mayor’s office. That seemed to spark a renewed interest in putting in a lot of bike lanes.

  • Anonymous

    “More than 40 percent of rush traffic on Milwaukee is bikes…”
    That’s amazing considering the bike lane is dangerous enough that only 7 or 8% of people would even consider biking there. Imagine what’s going to happen when you give cyclists a safe place to ride on Milwaukee, a safe way to get around downtown, and bike share.

  • Julia

    Oh this is fantastic! I ride through this section nearly every day, and it can be nightmare at times. I’ve seen a few people hit and a lot of near-misses in just a year of riding through it. I would love to see the reconfiguration of the Milwaukee/Elston, especially something that can help with cars racing cyclists to the right turn bay at Elston, or squeezing in between riders. Hopefully some resurfacing is a part of this plan too – fixing the dent in the Milwaukee southbound lane @ Chicago and the giant potholes/manhole covers in the Milwaukee northbound lane, just past Hubbard.

  • Scott Sanderson

    Wow. I never thought this would happen. I called Alderman Burnett’s office and signed the petition. What else can I do to show the decision makers that I support it?

  • Milwaukee/Elston might be a good location for a dedicated bike traffic signal to help reduce conflicts with turning cars.

    Yes, Mike Amsden said they’re only interested in building the protected lanes here if it can be part of a resurfacing project.

  • Amsden said there will likely be some community meeting on the subject where you can show up and voice your support. We’ll keep you posted.

  • Adam Herstein

    Which intersection with Elston? I am assuming the south one?

  • Good point – I believe Milwaukee and Elston are the only streets in town that intersect twice. Yes, the south one.

  • Adam Herstein

    That will be a great connection between the existing protected lanes on Kinzie and Elston. Hopefully, CDOT will the extend the bike lane further, perhaps to North or Logan?

  • Adam Herstein

    There was a proposal a while back that suggested closing Milwaukee to car traffic. I think it’s a fantastic idea, but I don’t see it ever happening.

    Can we at least not allow car traffic on Milwaukee though Logan Square (the actual square, not the neighborhood)? The street breaks up the continuous green space, and replacing it with a bike path would make the Square much better. There was also a proposal for this a while back, but I haven’t heard anything about it in a while.

  • Adam Herstein

    If the parking is unmetered, why doesn’t CDOT just remove the spaces entirely instead of consolidating them?

  • Yes, CDOT would like to do that. Amsden said Elston to Division is on their radar, but north of Division the street gets very narrow and parking demand is high. Of course, a couple years agoat an Active Trans event Alderman Moreno proposed stripping parking on Milwaukee in Wicker Park to make room for PBLs, possibly replacing some of the parking with garages. When asked how he though LAZ Parking would react Moreno replied, “F— ’em.” http://timeoutchicago.com/things-to-do/this-week-in-chicago/14765671/chicagos-first-on-street-bike-parking

  • Adam Herstein

    If cyclists make up 40% of traffic during rush hour, then we should get 40% of the space.

    Better yet, close Milwaukee to car traffic entirely during rush hour. Now that would be a bold step.

  • Frankly, if we’re going to be serious, then it should be Milwaukee Avenue between Kinzie and Elston Avenue NORTH…like 6128 North.

    Mind you all, I’m not some anti-car pro-bike person. In many ways I still want tougher laws that are enforced put on cyclists to keep them on good behavior. However, I love the protected bike lanes simply because it separates them from the cars and thus everyone plays nice…to an extent.

    I mean, let’s get very serious. Remove one side of parking and tell the drivers (including me) “too bad, go park somewhere else”. I’m sure those who hate LAZ would love to see them lose ground anyway. Make Milwaukee two nice-sized lanes of traffic, one lane of street parking, and the protected bike lanes. Even I would contemplate cycling in from Jefferson Park with this.

    There is only one “HOWEVER” to this. I’d also like to see the city Government give up something to pay for this. It’s not worth it if new bike lanes mean less new police officers in our already understaffed force, or schools suffering more.

    Make it work on the money end and then go for something really bold.

  • Dennis Hindman

    That’s a good point you make. The attention is usually on how much space will be taken away from motorists on a particular street, yet overall, the amount of lanes on major streets (parking and through lanes) taken away from motorists to install bike lanes is a very low percent.

    An example is Los Angeles. Bike lanes will almost exclusively be installed on the 1,400 miles of arterial streets. There is at least an average of four travel lanes for motorists per mile of arterial streets. Calculating parking on both sides of the street as one lane, then that makes an average of five lanes per mile of arterial street, or 7,000 lane miles. The commuting modal share for bicycling in LA is 1% according to the 2011 Census Bureau ACS results. To give bike lanes a fair proportion of the lanes devoted to motor vehicles, there should be 70 miles of lanes given to bike lanes. Less than 10 miles of lanes have been taken away from motor vehicles so far.

  • Scott Sanderson

    By the way, Alderman Burnett personally returned my phone call, and we had a nice discussion on the protected bike lanes. He seems very reasonable on the subject, but the reality is that he is an elected politician who can’t do something that will anger his constituents, even if he thinks it is a good idea. He told me people are constantly calling his office to complain about lack of parking, and repeated the often-heard statement that businesses will suffer without abundant parking. He pointed to the Kinzie lane where the parking was moved over rather than removed as an example of what he can support. At the least, it sounds like he would support a protected lane between Elston and Kinzie where the road is wider and the status quo on number of parking spaces can be preserved.

  • cathy

    I think the traffic calming aspect is an important part of this proposal, as it enhances the safety of all users. Except for those times when traffic is so dense it’s at a standstill, it’s common to see vehicles exceeding the 30 mph speed limit, and often not by just a few mph. Creating an environment in which motor vehicles are more closely restricted to a reasonable speed for the area is really a benefit to motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians and local businesses.

  • Dennis Hindman

    The second and third largest cities in the U.S. seem to be trying to match or exceed what New York City achieved in the last six fiscal years with the ratio of bikeway installations per the total amount of streets. The Los Angeles Bike Blog website just posted that the LADOT has installed 42.65 miles of bike lanes, paths, sharrows and bicycle friendly (boulevard) streets in the current fiscal year 2012-2013, and there are still sixteen weeks to go in the FY. The list of streets that had bike lanes installed for this FY looks like a hunt for coins behind the seat cushions for streets where bike lanes could be placed:

    http://ladotbikeblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/06/123-miles-of-bikeways-installed-since-the-adoption-of-the-2010-bike-plan/

    New York City may have set the record for the amount of bike paths and bike lanes installed in any fiscal year by a U.S. city with 64.3 miles in FY09. Los Angeles could exceed that total for this fiscal year.

  • Chicago South

    I think this sounds great, but there is no way 40% of rush hour traffic on Milwaukee is bikes — and that’s downright absurd in the winter. Time for some fact-checking, chi.streetsblog.org.

  • That’s a lot. Go LA. I need to visit. I’ve never been. I keep hearing conflicting views about how LA does/doesn’t have transit and does/doesn’t have people riding bikes.

  • Mcass777

    Removing some parking spaces is nice, but when will this stretch be repaved? There are a lot of bad potholes, especially heading south, on Milwaukee.

  • Anonymous

    My son was just in LA and relied on transit the entire time, which he does in Chicago, as well. He had no problem getting around LA. The one failure was when he was waiting for a cab to take him to his job interview, which was only two miles from his hotel. The cab never showed so he had to run – literally.

    Transit in LA could certainly be improved, but it’s there and functional – at least for the trips my son needed to take.

  • Keep in mind that NYC has historically counted the mileage for bike lanes on both side of a two-way street twice, and they may still do this.

  • That figure refers to warm-weather traffic counts at Milwaukee/Elston, which are relevant to the proposed project.

  • Since voters approved a half-cent sales tax hike to improve transit, LA should soon be giving Chicago some competition. Wish we could have a referendum like that here…

  • Amsden said they won’t do this unless it can be done as part of a repaving project.

  • Dennis Hindman

    There was a referendum on the ballot during the last Presidential election that would have doubled the amount of time the LA county wide half-cent sales tax would be in effect for building transit lines and highway improvements to sixty years. This idea was to borrow against these future taxes in order to speed up the construction of all the projects listed for the first referendum. It needed over 2/3 of the votes to pass; it missed getting approved by less than one-percent of the votes.

    If the half-cent sales tax was extended by another thirty years, then that would have sped up the completion of the Purple Line subway from thirty years to ten years. This would take it all the way out to to the westside of LA, where there is some of the worse traffic congestion in the entire country. For the city of LA, extending the subway has been the driving force for lengthening the amount of time for the sales tax.

  • Dennis Hindman

    The major job centers in Los Angeles are dispersed at several places around the city. During rush hour, the transit lines will have a considerable amount of passengers traveling in both directions. Not having a downtown where most of the jobs are also produces a situation where there are no streets that have the number of cyclists that you will see on a street leading into the downtown Chicago area.

    The LA County Bicycle Coalition did a count of bicycles at thirty-three intersections in the city of Los Angeles on September of 2011. A street near the USC campus had by far the highest number of bicycles during two hours of the AM peak travel time. That area is considered our Copenhagen for on-street bicycling and yet it only had 442 bicycles in that time period. The next highest on-street count was on a street leading into downtown and that was 162 bicycles. The number of bicycles had likely just doubled after there were bike lanes installed a few months earlier.

    The driving force for the political will for installing bicycle infrastructure in Los Angeles has to be CicLAvia. When the first one happened on a Sunday in October of 2010 in downtown Los Angeles, there was no bicycle infrastructure in the downtown area, nor leading into downtown. Yet, there was an estimated 100,000 people who showed up on bicycles. A lot of them got there by taking transit or driving. There were so many bicycles, that a Metro employee, who was standing at a rail station waiting for a train to attend the event, called a Metro manager to tell him that they needed to hookup all of the rail cars that were available in order to handle the volume of bicycles.

    At the last CicLAvia event in October of 2012, there was an estimated 150,000 people who attended. The next one in April will have the route extended from the downtown area all the way to the beach. This will help soften up the resistance to having bike lanes installed on the westside, by showing people what the demand is for bicycling in LA and also as a way for some people to try riding in their area without worrying about traffic. That gives them a feeling of how much time it would take to get somewhere by bike and it might spur some of them to try replacing a few driving trips with bicycling during the week.

    I sometimes refer to CicLAvia as a meat tenderizer that softens up the tough resistance to having bike lanes installed.

  • Dennis Hindman

    I saw a YouTube video of Janette Sadik-Khan giving a Tedx presentation in Puerto Madero in December of 2012, where she showed a graph that had about 675 miles of bike lanes and paths in NYC as of 2012.

    This Bikeleague chart has the centerline miles of bike lanes in NYC in 2009 at 446 miles, and if you include bike paths the total is 576 miles, so the cities claim must be centerline miles if the Bikeleague is right:

    http://public.sheet.zoho.com/public/bikeleague/2009-commuter-data-bikelane-path-mileage

    Another Bikeleague chart puts NYC at 33 out of the 70 largest cities for bicycle commuting modal share per the 2011 Census Bureau American Community Survey. The combination of increased bicycling from Hurricane Sandy (cycling tripled on one bridge leading into lower Manhattan), and the introduction of bicycle sharing, I would expect both NYC and Los Angeles to both be in the top 20 within the next two ACS results for commuting by bicycle of the 70 largest cities in the U.S.

    Los Angeles should achieve this by the fact that the city is now not only putting in a lot of bike lanes, but they are also focusing on putting them in the areas with the highest population density (downtown for example).

    Chicago, NYC and Los Angeles will look like they are in a fierce battle for increasing bicycling and taking no prisoners. I would expect the news about each cities results to help spur the politicians in each respective city to keep it going.

    I’m especially excited to see what Chicago is doing in terms the quantity of bicycle infrastructure installations, but also, and to me the most important, the quality. Having connected barrier protected bike lanes installed that creates a complete route of low-stress cycling will bring a lot of positive attention to what this type of infrastructure can do for bicycling in the U.S. The data on the safety of these installations should be enough to change the standards that traffic engineers use. Los Angeles traffic engineers are especially cautious on using barrier protected bike lanes. In fact, they consider them experimental and would request that the federal government accept liability before they would install any.

  • CDOT should have done this for Douglas Boulevard, Lake Street, and Sacramento Boulevard. Instead people riding bikes are forced to ride in a travel lane if they want to save their bums.

  • Chicago South

    Then that’s what Crandell should say. It doesn’t do us any good to overstate the presence of bicycles. If we do, the pro-car lobby will go after bicycling advocates for intentionally misleading the public. It’s not “warm-weather” (and, I imagine, dry too) year-round.

    As a fairly regular Milwaukee rider, I’m still skeptical that the number is accurate, but I suppose it could be possible under ideal conditions. Additionally, I can’t help but shake another thought, which is that the figure counts “vehicles” and not commuters. If every bus rider were her own vehicle, the picture would look awfully different.

  • Lynn Stevens

    Yes to protected bike lanes IF car parking is maintained. Keeping everything tight will actually slow car traffic. Removing parking removes a barrier between pedestrians and car traffic. Widening lanes will encourage faster car traffic, a detriment to local businesses, pedestrians and cyclists.

  • Lynn Stevens

    The Logan Square Open Space Plan calls for this. On the other hand, there is a proposed plan by some neighbors for reconfiguring the square being considered by CDOT that would NOT close this section of Milwaukee. We need to let CDOT know we’d like it closed.

  • As detailed above, there’s not enough room for two lanes of parking plus protected bike lanes. The travel lanes would be narrower than they currently are, which will calm traffic. Parking would remain on one side of the street, serving as protection for cyclists in the curbside bike lane, to the right of the parked cars. However, it’s true that there would be no parked cars on the other side. Hopefully, rather than the flexible posts CDOT currently uses to delineate protected lanes, they would use permanent bollards made of metal or concrete on the non-parking side to protect cyclists, as well as pedestrians.

  • Lynn Stevens

    Not what CDOT is saying: “Amsden said his agency is looking at “consolidating” the parking on this
    stretch, removing a parking lane on one side of the street in sections
    where there is low demand, in order to make room for WIDER travel lanes
    and protected bike lanes.” (emphasis added)

  • Sorry if that was unclear. Amsden is saying, wider than the 10′ travel lanes which would be necessary on a 52′-wide street with two lanes of parking and protected bike lanes. That’s the minimum-width street that CDOT will put protected bike lane on with two lanes of parking. Amsden says 10′ travel lanes are too narrow for streets with heavy bus and truck traffic. But if they put in 11′ travel lanes here, that will still be narrower and safer than the status quo.

  • Wicker Park resident

    Yes! I commute on Milwaukee and this would seriously improve my life. Yes yes yes to a protected lane.

  • Remember the Blueways in the early aughts? Jim Redd’s proposal for car free or bike boulevard type streets? The signature proposal was CALM, which I think stood for the Cycling Alliance to Liberate Milwaukee Ave.

  • Sounds like someone should share some research with him about parking, bicycling, and business. Here’s a start:

    http://greenlaneproject.org/blog/view/bicycling-means-better-business

    http://www.mnn.com/money/personal-finance/blogs/bike-lanes-tied-to-increased-consumer-spending

    More jobs per dollar spent on bike lanes than other transportation projects: http://fastlane.dot.gov/2011/01/new-data-adds-job-creation-to-the-many-benefits-of-bicycle-infrastructure.html AND http://www.portlandmercury.com/BlogtownPDX/archives/2011/01/14/bike-and-pedestrian-projects-create-more-jobs-per-dollar

    http://online.wsj.com/article/APc5d12fb6a7744acda324b1374748d022.html

    http://blog.bikeleague.org/blog/2012/10/rdg-planning-design-top-reasons-were-a-bike-friendly-business/

    http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/24/transit-initiatives-are-giving-a-boost-to-businesses-a-report-says/

    http://bikeyface.com/2012/11/02/not-cyclists/

    http://www.minnpost.com/line/2012/11/bikes-mean-better-business

    http://www.theatlanticcities.com/jobs-and-economy/2012/11/4-reasons-retailers-dont-need-free-parking-thrive/3978/

    http://www.mndaily.com/2012/11/21/study-finds-nice-ride-boosts-biz#.UL9gqwGp7r0.twitter

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/2012-10-measuring-the-street.pdf

    http://blogs.wsj.com/metropolis/2012/10/24/report-bike-lanes-pedestrian-plazas-good-for-businesses/ NYC

    http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/sitecollectiondocuments/goodforbusinessfinal_nov.pdf (Australia)

    http://usa.streetsblog.org/2013/03/08/bicycling-means-business-how-cycling-enriches-people-and-cities/

  • The Blueways? Please go on!

  • There’s only one way to accommodate the groups that the city has stated it wants to accommodate. Countless plans and proposals put forward by various city departments call for the reduction of emissions and the increase of trips by walking, biking, and transit. Protected bike lanes, even with the elimination of parking, is how to accomplish this.

  • FWIW, the narrowest street I’ve seen with a Milwaukee-with-cycletrack configuration (sidewalk, bi-directional cycletrack, curb height barrier, two parking lanes, two moving lanes with buses) is Rue Rachel, on the Plateau in Montreal. It’s a really tight fit, especially if you’re passing another cyclist or driving a bus, but it’s worked for many years. It even sustains a fair number of businesses, although most of the shops have historically been along its cross streets.

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Milwaukee Bike Lane Overhaul Includes Some Concrete Protection

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Note: Keating Law Offices, P.C. has generously agreed to sponsor two Streetsblog Chicago posts about bicycle safety topics per month. The firm’s support will help make Streetsblog Chicago a sustainable project. Chicago’s busiest cycling street is receiving some safety improvements, including a segment of bike lanes with concrete protection. Milwaukee Avenue, nicknamed “The Hipster Highway” […]

CDOT Unveils Bold Vision for Milwaukee Bike Lanes; Drivers Grouse

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At last night’s community meeting at Intuit arts center, the Chicago Department of Transportation discussed its vision for innovative bike lanes on Milwaukee between Kinzie and Elston. The plan, which is actually much more ambitious than what was outlined on the CDOT website prior to the meeting, involves removing about half of the car-parking spaces […]

To Make Cycling Accessible, Milwaukee Needs Continuous Protection

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The Chicago Department of Transportation is proposing to build a protected bike lane on Milwaukee Avenue in River West, connecting the protected bike lane on Elston Avenue with the protected bike lane on Kinzie Avenue. This project could help many more Chicagoans feel safe enough to bike on city streets, but as we reported earlier this week, […]

CDOT Has a Full Plate of New and Upgraded Bike Lane Infrastructure

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During last week’s Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Council meeting Chicago Department of Transportation staffers shared a number of updates on the city’s bike network. At the event, CDOT planner Mike Amsden, who manages the department’s bikeways program, explained how funds from Blue Cross Blue Shield’s $12 million sponsorship of the Divvy bike-share system are helping to pay for bike […]