On Sept. 12, City Council considered the newly configured protected bike lanes on Dodge Avenue. Many people spoke, about one half supporting the new lanes, and the other half opposing them.
When the public had spoken, Council agreed that changes needed to be made, but that the bike lanes were here to stay. “The comments made by those who support the bike lanes were very important,” said Alderman Anne Rainey, 9th Ward. “It is important that bike lanes work for everyone.” She summarized the problems the configuration caused – “no place for buses to go, no place for vehicles to yield to emergency vehicles. There’s no place to go. It’s a total jam up. There’s no place for anyone to go. It’s great for cyclists – I agree. It’s great.
“The thing that has to happen immediately – we have to remove those bollards. They have got to go. You overdid it,” she said to City staff. Bollards are the white posts between the parked cars and the bike lane. Consensus emerged, and staff agreed to begin removing bollards the next day.
Issues regarding the bus routes remain to be determined. Lara Biggs, the City’s Superintendence of Capital Projects, said the CTA contacted the City asking that the number of bus stops along Dodge Avenue be reduced. The CTA wants the bus stops to be a quarter of a mile apart, rather than one-eighth of a mile, and that 80 feet of clearance be provided at each bus stop, which would require eliminating some parking spots for cars.
“That’s a lot. That’s a lot for the residents,” said Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward. He called for a detailed report on the parking spaces. Ms. Biggs said staff would provide additional information for Council to review.
For now, the bollards will be removed. More changes may be coming in the future – but the bike lanes will remain.