Traffic lane changes, new bike lanes set for Milwaukee Ave. in Jeff Park
by BRIAN NADIG
Temporary roadway markings indicate that a lane of northbound traffic on Milwaukee Avenue may be eliminated to accommodate the installation of bike lanes between Higgins Avenue and Gale Street in Jefferson Park.
The marking were drawn on the roadway in the morning Wednesday, Aug. 23. A city Department of Transportation official could not confirm whether a traffic lane is being eliminated but said that buffered bike lanes and a pedestrian refuge island are planned for Milwaukee between Lawrence Avenue and the Kennedy Expressway.
“The goal is to make Milwaukee safer for those not in (vehicles),” department spokeswoman Susan Hofer said. Milwaukee is a popular bicycle route for those commuting to the Loop, she said.
The markings indicate that a separated bike lane for northbound Milwaukee would run in front of the Jefferson Park CTA Terminal, 4917 N. Milwaukee Ave., with no separated bike lanes immediately to the north and south of the CTA terminal. The markings also show that parking would remain along the curb.
A narrower bike lane may be planned for southbound Milwaukee, but the markings were not clear.
The markings also show that the left traffic lane of northbound Milwaukee would end at Higgins, as vehicles in the left lane would be required to turn onto Higgins, while the right lane would continue north on Milwaukee.
In addition, a painted median which southbound buses use to turn left into the terminal would be shifted a couple of feet to the east.
Currently, northbound Milwaukee consists of two lanes of traffic between Lawrence and Gale, with an additional lane for parking immediately in front of the terminal. Southbound Milwaukee is primarily one lane of traffic, as portions of the right lane are used for parking.
Plans for the bike lanes were first announced 3 years ago as part of a larger proposal to install protected or buffered bike lanes on Milwaukee from Lawrence on the south to Elston Avenue on the north.
Under some concepts for the project, a traffic lane on Milwaukee would have been eliminated in each direction, and about 20 percent of on-street parking would have been removed, but the city chose a scaled-back version of the project due to community concerns. More than 4,000 people signed a petition objecting to a “road diet,” which would have eliminated lanes of traffic.
The city recently removed parking along sections of Milwaukee to accommodate bike lanes between Addison Street and Irving Park Road.
Alderman John Arena (45th) has supported bike lanes and other measures, such as bump-outs that shorten the distance of crosswalks, in an effort to narrow roadways and slow down traffic and increase safety.