Officials propose plan for new bike lanes on Milwaukee - New York News

Officials propose plan for new bike lanes on Milwaukee Avenue

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Bike lane on Milwaukee Avenue. (Photo by Craig Wall) Bike lane on Milwaukee Avenue. (Photo by Craig Wall)
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The north end of Milwaukee Avenue between Lawrence and Elston avenues could be in for some big changes in the next year or so as part of a comprehensive plan to rework the street.

This same plan could mean taking out the center turn lane and adding protected bike lanes.

But some business owners are worried about the potential for gridlock if traffic lanes are reduced in favor of bike lanes.

"Well, we're concerned about lane reductions, if traffic is reduced down to one lane in each direction, in this area, we are very concerned about that having a negative impact," Artorium Co-Owner Rose Niedorezo said.

Alderman John Arena hosted what turned out to be, at times, a raucous ward meeting Monday night to get feedback.

While the mayor is committed to expanding bike lanes, Arena hopes to balance interests along this two and a half mile stretch of Milwaukee Avenue.

"We really need to look at how we use the urban streetscape and make sure that we're not only focused on cars, there's an axiom that says if you build for cars you get more cars, if you build for people you get more people, 45 that doesn't mean you don't accommodate the cars," Alderman Arena said.

In addition to possibly adding or improving bike lanes, which groups such as the Active Transportation Alliance supports, the plans will likely include changes to improve safety for pedestrians.

These safeties would include a mid-block crossing, so people don't have to play Frogger with cars.

It's a welcome idea for businesses that have a lot of walking customers.

Jack Zak, GM Andy's Deli

"Right now it's open season, they cross whenever they can, or wherever they can, and it is dangerous to cross the street," General Manager of Andy's Deli, Jack Zak said.

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