Monday, June 4, 2012

Lake Street Protected Bike Lane

The City has begin installation of a protected bike lane on Lake Street West of Damen.  Between Damen and Western there is parking on the south side of Lake street between the bicycle lane and the through lanes of traffic.  I initially noticed that people seemed to be using the bike lane as a parking space, however, that seems to have subsided between Damen and Western.   In the picture above you can see cars parked in the Westbound bicycle lane, while the parking lane across the street remains virtually empty.

More interesting is that just West of Talman they have removed the through lanes of traffic outside of the train supports.  Those lanes are now parking lanes on the inside and bicycle lanes by the curb. 

I guess we'll see how drivers on Lake adjust to the new bike lanes and parking spaces.  There aren't too many businesses or residences between Talman and California on Lake, so the parking may be underutilized there.  This could create a situation where drivers continue to use the parking lanes for driving lanes.

Historically I considered Lake Street to be one of the more unpleasant east-west thoroughfares on a bicycle.  Signage still hasn't been installed either.  I'll be excited to see how the new protected bike lanes work out on Lake Street.  If everything works out, these changes could transform Lake Street form a harrowing experience to a pleasure to ride.