Dearborn Street gets two-way bike lane

December 6, 2012

 

The Chicago Department of Transportation has begun work on a new bike lane on downtown Chicago's Dearborn Street – but this is no ordinary bike lane.

For the first time in Chicago, bicyclists will have their own stoplight, and there are sensors in the road that know when cars are at the intersection. It’s also got two lanes going in either direction, buffered by a lane for parking.

That does mean one less lane for car traffic.

Gabe Klein heads the Chicago Department of Transportation. He says this 12-block stretch of Dearborn street is more “rational.”

“The cars are flushing through the intersections just like they used to with two lanes versus three [lanes]," Klein said.

"But we do notice, again anecdotally, that speeds are down."

When it comes to bike-friendly cities Ethan Spotts of Active Transportation Alliance said Chicago is leading the way. 

“We’ve seen that folks in Portland and Seattle and New York and Seattle are getting a little jealous, which is great,” Spotts said.

The two-way bike lane runs from Polk Street north to Kinsie Street, which is about a mile and a half long. It's all part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's plan to add 100 miles of bike lanes to Chicago's streets by the end of his term in 2015.

The lane on Dearborn Street is expected to be ready for cyclists by the end of next week, as long as everything rolls along smoothly.