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Not All On Board With Idea Of Protected Bike Lane On Milwaukee Avenue In Logan Square

CHICAGO (CBS) -- More proposed bike safety measures for lanes in Logan Square could mean less parking.

It is an idea the city is kicking around for a busy stretch of Milwaukee Avenue, between California and Western avenues. And as CBS 2's Steven Graves discovered, not everyone is on board.

Right now, the Chicago Department of Transportation said the changes are just proposals. But business owners faced with the reality of less parking wonder if biker safety will come at a cost to their bottom line.

Officials call it one of the busiest stretches of road in the city. Milwaukee Avenue sees it all – walkers, bikers, and Gillman's Ace Hardware's main customer base when drivers come in during the early morning and mid-afternoon.

Ace franchise owner Alan Gillman said parking is easy, but could become worse with what the city is looking for.

"I don't know what we'd do, but we'd probably… well, we'd have a big problem," Gillman said.

Officials with CDOT are thinking about protected bike lanes between Western and California avenues. They were not ready Tuesday to show CBS 2 sketches, but imagine barriers along the lane.

The measure would essentially make an exclusive avenue for riders, and in some cases, take away parking.

"At times, there's really not enough parking on one side of the street," Gillman said.

Matt Hertz, who runs The Bike Lane store up the block, does not agree.

"There's parking available. There's more than enough," he said.

Hertz is for the change. He says as more businesses come, so do the accidents.

"People getting 'doored', people getting hit by cars turning out of side streets and not paying attention," he said.

CBS 2 looked into car versus bike crash records in that area. There were two in 2016 and seven in 2017, but it rose sharply to 12 in 2018.

And that was with painted bike lanes on the street.

"But once there's a barrier there, people are much more aware and they're more cognizant of what's going on around them," Hertz said.

Gillman replied, "Yes, I understand where they're coming from, but they have to understand where we're coming from."

Officials say if anything changes on that stretch of Milwaukee Avenue, it won't be until next year. In the meantime, the city is are holding meetings to get input this winter.

CDOT officials say they have put the barriers in other areas of the city. They say it is too early to put a price tag on the potential changes on Milwaukee Avenue.

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