Chicago plans safe bike lanes

10:55, March 02, 2011      

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Chicago plans to design a new type of bike lane to boost the confidence of cyclists who are worried about being struck by vehicles, according to local media.

Called a cycle track, the new type of bike lane is separated by a physical barricade, such as a construction Jersey barrier or a raised concrete planter box located to the left of the bikes-only lane. The regular bicycle lanes run next to vehicle traffic lanes and are separated only by paint on pavement.

With a federal grant of 3.2 million U.S. dollars to build and test a cycle track, the Chicago Department of Transportation recently designates a section of Stony Island Avenue, between 69th and 77th streets, for the experiment. The Stony Island cycle track would be the first in Chicago.

Being wider than a traditional 5-foot bike lane, the cycle track will provide space for whatever type of concrete barrier is chosen, according to local officials.

Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel has said he thinks Chicago could do even better. Emanuel said one of his top transportation priorities will be to build 25 miles of new bike lanes annually.

About this program, Chicagoan Kylepenfold said: "I like it about that for sure, like all others. I think it is safe for us, for sure." Another Chicagoan Woofminner said "I think it could be good because it protect all the bikers."

Chicago's Bike 2015 master plan for bicycling proposes a 500-mile bike way network for Chicago resident. Today, Chicago has more than 100 miles of on-street bike lanes and more than 155 miles of signed bike routes.

The plan calls for increasing bicycle use, so that 5 percent of all trips of less than five miles are by bicycle; reducing the number of bicycle injuries by 50 percent from current levels.

According to latest statistics available, U.S. census data show that the number of biking-to-work trips doubled in the Chicago area, from about 0.5 percent to about 1.1 percent from 2000 to 2008.

Source: Xinhua

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