Eyes on the street: Curb protection is bustin’ out all over

A CDOT crew member uses forklift to transport a curb for bike lane protection on Broadway in Uptown. Photo: CDOT
A CDOT crew member uses forklift to transport a curb for bike lane protection on Broadway in Uptown. Photo: CDOT

Ah, springtime, the season of bird, bees, blossoms, and new bikeways.

After a long winter of no bike lane installation, Chicago Department of Transportation crews are busy making good on CDOT’s promise to upgrade all existing “protected” bike lanes with precast concrete curbs by the end of 2023.

Blue: Existing “protected” bike lanes consisting of paint and posts, in some case parking protection
Purple: Existing bike lanes protected with concrete or plastic curbs and/or end caps
Red: New or upgraded bike lanes with concrete curbs and/or end caps to be built by the end of 2023

In recent days the department has installed curbs on the existing bike protected lanes on Broadway between Wilson and Montrose avenues in Uptown. They’re also making concrete improvements to Milwaukee Avenue bike lanes between Division Street and Chicago Avenue in West Town. And CDOT has crews out on Kinzie Avenue in River North for the next couple of days curb where there was utility work in 2022 which prevented installation, according to spokesperson Erica Schroeder.

Best of all, as Streetsblog Chicago cofounder Steven Vance recently discovered, brand-new curb-protected bike lanes have been installed on Wells Street between Taylor Street and Roosevelt Road in the South Loop. Take a virtual ride on them in this handlebar-view video Steven shot.

New curb-separated bike lane on Wells St from Steven Vance on Vimeo.

Currently these lanes terminate at a construction wall under elevated Roosevelt. But eventually these new lanes will link up with raised bike lanes that are being built as part of the new Wells-Wentworth Connector road, part of The 78 megadevelopment project between the South Loop and Chinatown.

Raised bike lanes on the Well-Wentworth connector, as seen from Roosevelt Road, looking south. Sign poles have been installed in the bike lanes. Photo: John Greenfield
The raised bike lanes (dark gray pavement) on the Well-Wentworth Connector, as seen from Roosevelt Road in February, looking south. Sign poles were mistakenly installed in the bike lanes, but The 78 developer promised they’d be moved. Photo: John Greenfield

Schroeder said CDOT should have the spreadsheet of recently installed or planned bikeways on the bottom of the Chicago.gov/bikes page updated soon, which will be a handy list of 2023 upcoming installations.


Milwaukee Bike Lane Overhaul Includes Some Concrete Protection

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” […]