Concrete curbs in the roadway planned for portions of Milwaukee Avenue to create protected bike lanes in Old Irving, Six Corners
by BRIAN NADIG
Concrete curbs with bollards/reflectors will be installed in the roadway to create protected bike lanes, with the parking lane being relocated to the outside of the bike lane, on Milwaukee Avenue between Addison Street on the south and Irving Park Road on the north in the Old Irving Park/Six Corners area, according to Alderman Jim Gardiner (45th).
The changes are being made following two accidents since 2019 in which a bicyclist was killed while riding in the 3800 block of North Milwaukee Avenue, near the viaduct at Kilbourn Avenue. Also in the area, stop signs recently were installed on Milwaukee at Kostner Avenue.
The city Department of Transportation is hoping to have the new protected bike lanes installed by the end of August, Gardiner said. “My office continues to work with all city departments to enhance safety for all commuters … pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists,” he said.
In 2017, 92 parking spaces were removed along Milwaukee between Addison and Irving Park to allow for the installation of new dedicated bike lanes. The changes being implemented this summer will result in some additional parking being removed for safety reasons, including improved sight lines, Gardiner said.
The transportation department has acquired smaller snowplows that will be used to clear the bike lanes of snow, Gardiner said.
Having parking lanes to the outside of a bike lane that runs along the main curb is more common in Downtown Chicago, and this project could be the first of its kind on the Far Northwest Side.
The concrete curbs in the roadway that separate the bike lane from the parking and traffic lanes limit the ability of motorists to pull up along the curb closest to the sidewalk.
A proposal to install protected bike lanes eight years ago in Gladstone Park never materialized. Some doctors complained that their elderly and handicapped patients would be unable to be dropped off along the curb closest to their office due to the bollards in the street and prohibitions on vehicles crossing the bike lanes except when making legal turns.
Advocates for protected bike lanes say that the lanes improve overall roadway safety and encourage more bike riders in the area, bringing potential customers to local businesses.