Bike Lanes Considered Down Roscoe, School Streets

With the focus on bike lanes primarily on roads going north and south, Lake View officials say they’re looking at dedicated bike lanes running toward and away from the lake.

As a part of the City of Chicago’s plan to have a 650-mile network of bike lanes and paths by 2020, Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) says he and Chicago officials are looking at creating one-way bike lanes on School and Roscoe streets.

Tunney attended the West Lake View Neighbors meeting Tuesday night and explained the potential partnership with the Chicago Department of Transportation. He says it could be beneficial to look at installing lanes toward and away from the lake, rather than mainly going north and south.

“We are looking at enhancing more bike lanes in our ward, and that’s in conjunction with efforts city-wide,” Tunney said. “There’s a proposal for east-west bike lanes, because there’s been a lot of (focus on ones going) north-south.

“We are looking at a one-way bike lane on School Street heading toward the lake,” Tunney continued. “It’s an idea about doing a dedicated bike lane that wouldn’t strip the street of parking, and dovetailing back on Roscoe Street going west.”

Tunney said his team was looking at resurfacing School Street in the very near future, so they’re interested in partnering with CDOT to integrate bike lanes into the newly repaired street.

Adding bike lanes on School and Roscoe streets is actually a part of the overall plan Chicago has for making the city more bike-friendly. Chicago’s Streets for Cycling Plan 2020 highlights both thoroughfares as a potential Neighborhood Bike Routes, or shorter routes in the city that “provide access to local destinations, such as parks, schools, transit, and neighborhood retail, as well as residential areas.”

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The route on Roscoe Street would span from Lake Michigan through Roscoe Village to the river. The bike lanes on School Street would end at Ravenswood Avenue, near where Roscoe becomes a two-way street.

While one resident – who coincidentally lives on School Street – didn’t like the idea citing the narrowness of the street, other residents at the meeting seemed to enjoy the idea of adding bike lanes.

Tunney said he hopes to hear more about the potential project in the next six months. 

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Chiramblings November 19, 2012 at 04:09 PM
What is the point in residential areas? School isn't that busy, I bike down it all the time and have little problems. Is this just a waste of resources?
Lee Crandell November 19, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Great idea, and much-needed! People who bike everywhere all the time may think it's fine as it is, but most Chicagoans are still too afraid to bike on any city streets, and many residents also don't appreciate speeding traffic on their block. Simple traffic calming improvements to side streets like these can go a long way toward making it safer and easier for more people to walk and bike in the neighborhood. A Neighborhood Greenway could be a great solution to make the streets more bike-friendly, without needing actual bike lanes. These side streets can get too busy at times and people do often speed on them. Cutting down the speeding and reducing through traffic would make Roscoe and School much more livable and bike-friendly: http://www.activetrans.org/blog/lcrandell/bike-boulevards-make-side-streets-dream
Cecil Shorts November 20, 2012 at 02:10 AM
The city really needs to start ticketing bike riders. On a daily basis, I encounter bike riders that think that they are immune to things like stop signs and traffic lights. It makes driving and walking really dangerous.
Lee Crandell November 20, 2012 at 02:23 AM
Cecil - The city needs to ticket all road users who ignore the rules of the road, not just people who bike. *Everyone* needs to be more courteous and caring out there. Safer and better streets for biking will also encourage more responsible behavior. Cars are the number one danger on our streets and should be the top priority for enforcement, but enforcement of safe bike behavior is also important. Yes, some people on bikes don't follow the rules, but I daily encounter far more dangerous behavior by our city's drivers, including the driver who hit me in the middle of a crosswalk while I had a walk signal. I can assure you I would have much preferred that were a bicycle instead of a car running into me.
Johnny Sisson November 20, 2012 at 07:30 PM
Bike riders definitely need to be more courteous, especially careful when it comes to pedestrians. That means taking extra care in places where there's a lot of foot traffic and respecting the pedestrian right of way. However, when it comes to cars, cyclists need to ride defensively. Motorists are not watching out for cyclists and pedestrians and we have to watch out for ourselves so we don't get killed. I bike commute daily and every other driver on the road is texting while driving. It's absolutely insane. I've been hit and doored several times and I've seen it happen to others as well. Life threatening calls due to distracted and careless drivers are a regular part of biking in this city -- and that's no exaggeration. The solution is protected bike lanes so that vehicle and bicycle traffic use different parts of the roadway. Marking out bike lanes with white paint only provides a false sense of security. As for Roscoe and School streets, they are a great alternative to Belmont and Addison which are too narrow and busy in most places for safe bike travel. However, I'd rather see resources go to repaving than throwing down a bunch of white paint and calling it a bike lane. Roscoe and School are in terrible shape in many places.


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