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Emanuel Wants Chicago To Be Nation's 'Most Bike-Friendly City'

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Emanuel Administration is heralding the first stretch of what it hopes will be 100 miles of dedicated—and protected—bicycle lanes in the city of Chicago.

As WBBM Newsradio 780 Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday stood on Kinzie Street beside city Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein to launch a pilot project.

"Those who followed me during the campaign know I am a bike enthusiast, as somebody who likes biking myself," Mayor Emanuel said. "But my principal enthusiasm beyond an individual one, on a professional basis, is I want Chicago to be the bike-friendliest city in the country."

He plans to add 25 miles of bike lanes per year, for a total of 100 over his current four-year term.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780 Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports


"One, it's another means of transportation. Two, people can do it with safety, and three what's important is that as we attract new businesses to the city of Chicago, new ventures, protected bike path lanes and an integrated bike lane system to and from work is essential for the type of workers and employment I want to see in the city of Chicago," Emanuel said.

For now, the project is limited to just a half-mile stretch along Kinzie Steet, from Milwaukee Avenue to Wells Street. It is the first protected bicycle lane in Chicago.

"Protected" means that the bicycle lane is along the curb, separated out by a buffer area, and then farther into the street is there area where cars can park. Parked cars will block bikers from traffic.

Klein wants to see the protected bike lane project expand quickly. The mayor envisions 100 miles of protected bike lanes by the end of his first four year term.

Mayor Emanuel says protected bike lanes are also about economic development. A bike-friendly city is more attractive to business and potential residents.

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