Chicago Alderman Brendan Reilly, whose 42nd Ward encompasses Chicago's highly praised Kinzie Street protected bike lane, is taking steps that could lead to the removal of the bike lane. Alderman Reilly claims that the Kinzie Bike Lane should be removed because with the new real estate development on Wolf Point, at the intersection of the branches of the Chicago River, there will be more traffic congestion.
The Kinzie Bike Lane runs approximately a half mile between Milwaukee Avenue and Wells Street and acts as a primary east-west route for bicyclists that are travelling to and from Chicago's Loop via Milwaukee Avenue. The Kinzie Bike Lane was the first protected bike lane installed in Chicago as a part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's plan to install 25 miles of protected bike lanes each year.
Plans would call for bicycle traffic to be moved onto new bike lanes on Grand Avenue. However, the Active Transportation Alliance in particular has forcefully advocated for the Kinzie Bike lane to be saved. On their website, ActiveTrans succinctly stated their position:
"Removing the first protected bike lane in the city just four short years after it was installed will be a national embarrassment and set us back in our efforts to make our city more livable and economically vibrant. The only way to make our streets safer and less congested is to build more protected bike lanes like the one on Kinzie, while pushing for complementary transit and pedestrian improvements."ActiveTrans is also asking supporters of the Kinzie Bike Lane to sign an on-line petition and to contact their local Alderman asking them to oppose Ald. Reilly's proposals in the Chicago City Council.
Attorney Michael S. Keating of Keating Law Offices also object's to Ald. Reilly's proposals. Attorney Keating, who acts as an advocate for Chicago bicyclists and represents injured bicyclists in legal actions, stated:
"In many regards the suggestion of removing the Kinzie Bike Lane is offensive because of what it represents. This was the first protected bike lane in Chicago and was a clear indication of Chicago's commitment to safe bicycling. On a practical level, the Kinzie Bike lane created a conduit from the Dearborn Bike Lane to Milwaukee Avenue, the city's most popular bike route. So the Kinzie Bike Lane is both a symbol of Chicago bicycling and also a vital part of many Chicagoans' bicycle commute. Removing the Kinzie Bike Lane sends a message that Chicago values a single new development over safe bicycling. We simply can not stand for that."
Keating Law Offices is a Chicago-based law firm that focuses its practices on representing injured bicyclists throughout Illinois. The firm is a national leader in the emerging field of bicycle law. If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Illinois personal injury law, contact Illinois Bicycle Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All e-mails and phone calls are returned promptly. All initial consultations are confidential and free.