New bike lanes on Milwaukee needed removal of street parking
by BRIAN NADIG
The recent installation of new bike lanes on Milwaukee Avenue between Addison Street and Irving Park Road required the removal of 92 parking spaces.
The project was the result of a 2015 participatory budget vote calling for the bike lanes in the 45 th Ward. At the time there were no plans to remove parking, but the city Department of Transportation later determined that additional space on the roadway was needed to install the bike lanes.
"We are monitoring how this impacts the area," said Alderman John Arena’s chief of staff Owen Brugh. "When CDOT surveyed parking, they found utilization to be about 25 percent. The meter boxes were moved to other business strips in Six Corners and Old Irving Park."
The on-street parking was removed on the east side of Milwaukee north of Kilpatrick Avenue and south of Kostner Avenue and on the west side for rest of that stretch of Milwaukee.
In addition to the removal of parking spaces, the department worked with the CTA to make the following recommendations to the Route 56 Milwaukee Avenue bus:
Removing the northbound and southbound Waveland Avenue bus stops due to low ridership, combining the southbound Kilbourn Avenue stop with the southbound stop at the Grayland Metra station, 3729 N. Kilbourn St., and combining the northbound and southbound Wilson Avenue stops with stops at Laramie Avenue to provide a better pedestrian crossing at a traffic signal.
The affected stretch of Milwaukee includes a mix of residential and commercial uses. Schurz High School is located at the south end and a vacant parcel at the north end, where plans to build a retail center with a rooftop parking deck have stalled.
Adjustments to the project are possible "if conditions show they are warranted," Brugh said. "As with any change, it takes some time to adjust, and we want to see how it shakes out," he said.
On social media a business owner on Milwaukee expressed concern that merchants were not notified in advance of the parking removal. Arena announced the plan in his ward newsletter last year, but a community meeting was not held.
The Six Corners Association supported the bike lanes as part of an effort to improve accessibility for all modes of transportation. An association official said at the time that the area has an underutilized supply of parking.
Bike lanes also were recently installed on Milwaukee between Irving Park Road and Lawrence Avenue, but parking was not removed there.