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Poll: Should There Be More Bike Lanes?

Chicago currently has over 170 miles of paved biking trails throughout the city and has plans to expand further. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said he hopes to make Chicago the most bike friendly city by 2020.

I asked ten Chicagoans if they agree with the city’s decision to expand its bike lane infrastructure.

Most people questioned have positive opinions regarding the issue and would like to see more lanes for bikers. A few were against putting money towards more bike lanes. Generally, people are excited about the idea but are curious about other outlets for the money to go.

Chicago has ambitious plans to build 30 miles of protected bike lanes around the city. Eventually they plan to have a grand total of 650 miles of bike lanes throughout the city according to  Emmanuel.

“I’m lovin’ it! Totally! I’m a fellow biker myself so it’s nice they’re making some space for us,” said Annette David, 20, a student at North Eastern University in Chicago.

The project averages about $280,000 per mile of paved bike lane as well as the expenses for the traffic lights specifically for bikers. Many of the paths will be off street paths and more bike racks will be added to the already 13,000 bike racks in place.

Some were not too well informed on the project so they had to formulate their opinions on the spot. “I’m slightly unaware of the system but I am for expanding bike lane accessibility, but the number seems a little steep when looking upon other budgetary problems the city is having,” said Mike Maier, 21, a Business major at Loyola University.

Some students were more opposed to the idea. “Absolutely disagree with it. I feel we shouldn’t be using tax payers money on biking paths,” said Chris Dussold, 19, a sophomore business major at Loyola.

A few people mentioned the potential of bike tolls in Chicago. Nothing is official yet, but there has been talk by the Major of installing bike tolls around the city. “I feel like cyclists deserve it. But there’s rumors about us having to pay tolls, which I think are untrue but I’m not sure,” said Aaron Johnson, 21, a cyclist from Jerseyville, Illinois.

Most had positive opinions on bike lane expansion and were excited about the future of Chicago’s bike paths. “I recall hearing that some European country’s are doing it as well. It’s interesting that they’re going into sustainable infrastructure. Also, encouraging exercise in Chicago,” said Andrew Langhem, 21, an international business and marketing major at Loyola.

Photo by: Chicago Bicycle Program

  • written by mcarlson5 on October 26th, 2012
  • posted in Featured
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The Hub Bub is a collection of articles, videos, audio, photo slideshows, interactive maps and other media produced by students enrolled in journalism courses at Loyola University Chicago's School of Communication. For more about the School of Communication, our award winning faculty, and our state of the art facilities located in the heart of Chicago, visit our website.