2020 was a good year for Far South Side bikeway installation

Neighborhood greenway markings on 98th Street near Vincennes in Washington Heights. Photo: Derrick James
Neighborhood greenway markings on 98th Street near Vincennes in Washington Heights. Photo: Derrick James

Historically, the Far South Side of Chicago hasn’t gotten its fair share of of bikeways. Reasons for that range from the fact that local wards have more square mileage than elsewhere in the city, which means that discretionary “menu” funds for infrastructure are spread thinner, to aldermen who have been apathetic about, or downright hostile to, proposals to improve cycling.

Many Far South Siders can share the credit for attitudes towards cycling changing in recent years. But if there’s one person who epitomizes grassroots efforts to get bike resources south of Marquette Drive, it’s Deloris Lucas, leader of the Riverdale-based bike and wellness group We Keep You Rollin’. Ms. Lucas has tirelessly and successfully lobbied the Chicago Department of Transportation for bike education and infrastructure in her part of town, including last year’s expansion of the Divvy system into the area.

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Deloris Lucas with a new Divvy station in Riverdale. Photo: We Keep You Rollin’

Ms. Lucas, who’s a community representative for the (currently dormant) Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Council, has done a great job of highlighting the lack of bikeways in the area. The latest feather in her bike cap is the many miles of Far South Side bike lanes and neighborhood greenway routes CDOT installed on the Far South Side in 2020. These account for 17 of the 29 total miles of bikeways installed last year, or about 59 percent. Here are some of the highlights:

Image: CDOT
Image: CDOT
  • Loomis (98th-Marquette): bike lanes — 4 miles
    • Lower-stress route that connects to Ogden Park, Foster Park, Brainard Metra station, and Brainard Public Library.
    • Project connects Loomis to the Vincennes Protected Bike Lane.
    • Posted speed limit lowered to 20 mph.
  • Michigan (100th-94th) and Indiana (94th-83rd):  bike lanes — 2 miles
    • Connects to State Street bike route via 100th St. and connects into the 83rd Street bike lanes
    • Posted speed limit lowered to 20 mph
  • 111th and 115: Connect the Major Taylor Trail to King Drive and Cottage Grove Avenue — about 1.5 miles each.
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A partially-completed contraflow bike lane on the 8800 block of South Loomis in Brainerd. Photo: Derrick James

Have you ridden any of these new routes yet? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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