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Kicking off Bike Lane Week on Streetsblog Chicago with Day One: Mid-South Side

Also today: Mayor Brandon Johnson cut the ribbon on new protected bike lanes and raised crosswalks on Central Park Avenue in East Garfield Park.

Checking out the new protected bike lanes on 83rd Street east of the Kennedy Expressway in Chatham. Photo: John Greenfield

This post is sponsored by the Active Transportation Alliance.

Check out Day Two: Far Southwest Side here.

Check out Day Three: Near Southwest and Near South Side here.

Check out Day Four: Mid-North Side here.

Check out Day Five: Near Northwest Side, Far West Side, Near West Side, Near North Side here

This was a big day for bike lanes in Chicago. Mayor Brandon Johnson cut the ribbon on new protected bike lanes and raised crosswalks on Central Park Avenue between Madison Street and Franklin Boulevard by the Garfield Park Conservatory and Garfield Park Field House. Click here to read Streetsblog's previous discussion of that project with the Chicago Department of Transportation Complete Streets program manger David Smith.

Johnson, center, and other local officials at today's ribbon cutting. Photo: CDOT

"With the completion of this infrastructure improvement project, neighbors and visitors will now be able to get to the conservatory and other park destinations in a safer, more comfortable manner and access all that the West Side has to offer." Johnson said in a statement. "My administration recognizes that traffic safety is public safety, and that creating safer streets is part of creating a better, stronger, safer Chicago."

Hmm, "Traffic safety is public safety" is a catchy slogan that's very accurate. Like initiatives to reduce other kinds of violence, street design and policy that prevents traffic violence saves lives. I'm not sure I've heard that phrase before, but I may start using in the future.

Meanwhile, today was the launch of Bike Lane Week on Streetsblog Chicago, in which I'll be traveling all over the city to visit 2023 CDOT bikeway projects that I haven't previously visited. I'm mostly recovered from my serious downstate Illinois bike crash this spring and have the go-ahead to bicycle long distances. So it's a good time for me to start visiting more locations across the city by transit and/or bike for SBC stories.

Last month Streetsblog put our own map of 2023 CDOT Bikeway Installations, which includes a high percent of concrete-protected bike lanes. Today I rode the Red Line south to the 69th Street station to explore Mid-South Side locations.

Unfortunately, due to "police activity" in the downtown subway this morning, they made us wait on the train for a while at the Harrison station. Eventually we were told the line was being rerouted to the downtown elevated tracks, so I rode a few blocks to the Roosevelt station and caught a Red Line train redirected from the subway.

The unusual experience of waiting for a Red Line train upstairs at Roosevelt. Photo: John Greenfield

Below are the segments I checked out on the Mid-South Side today. Green = protected bike lanes, blue = Neighborhood Greenways, and red = non-protected bike lanes on main streets. I got to ride all of these except the red and green line on King Drive south of 95th, which was listed on CDOT's old (now defunct) bikeway project list as "underway," but didn't actually have any bikeways yet when I dropped by.

At the bottom of this post are videos I took while riding on the bikeways I visited. As you can see, just because a bike route is classified by CDOT as protected doesn't mean the entire route is sheltered by cars. In some cases only one side of the road has protection, and/or large segments of the corridor have no protection to accommodate the old street parking configuration. (Looking at you, curb upgrades to the previously paint-and-post-only Vincennes Avenue PBLS.)

Here's CDOT's new map of all bikeways installed to-date as of October, to give you a sense of how these new lanes connect with existing bikeways.

Excerpt of CDOT's new map of all bikeways installed in Chicago in the modern era.

OK, here are the videos I shot today. Take a virtual ride and let us know what you think of the infrastructure in the comments section.

Read Streetsblog writer James Porter's recent interview with 6th Ward alderperson William Hall that discusses the 83rd Street bike lanes here.

Check out Day Two: Far Southwest Side here.

Check out Day Three: Near Southwest and Near South Side here.

Check out Day Four: Mid-North Side here.

Check out Day Five: Near Northwest Side, Far West Side, Near West Side, Near North Side here

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