Bike lanes to open on Dearborn over weekend

December 13, 2012 (CHICAGO)

The new bike lanes along Dearborn open this weekend, but already they're causing some bottlenecks for drivers.

Move over drivers, there's a new king of the road downtown on Dearborn.

Patrick Gallagher's 30-minute commute by bike will get a bit easier.

The city's new mile-long north-south protected bike lane includes everything from specialized traffic signals to turn lanes. Two-wheeled commuters are separated from those on four wheels by moving parking spots into the road.

Drivers, though, have lost some room and that's led, at times, to gridlock.

"It's going to create additional traffic down here and already Chicago traffic is not good," said Tracy Patterson.

"Anytime you put something out there like this there's an adjustment period," said Chicago Department of Transportation's Gabe Klein. "Change is hard, even on a street like Dearborn with not enough cars and too much space."

Meanwhile in two North Side neighborhoods, there is a proposal to allow bikers to truly rule the road.

Lakeview Alderman Tom Tunney, an avid cyclist, plans to meet with residents to discuss a plan to convert School Street into bikeway. Residents would still be allowed to park on the street, but that's about it.

"We've done a lot of north-south bike lanes in my ward, but what we don't have is an east-west path from Ashland to the lakefront," Tunney said.

Tunney said it would be the ultimate calming effect in a community already clamoring for speed bumps and green space.

"It will slow down the traffic. I think it'll make it safer," he said.

But bicyclists' gain may be drivers' pain.

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