On August 1, the city crews will begin work on the new bike lane, to be located on Church Street between Chicago and Ridge avenues. Parking spots will be shifted away from the curb to make room for the lane, which will be demarcated by a line of white posts and paint on the pavement, according to city officials.
“This is the first of its kind in the city,” notes city planner Craig Sklennar.
Construction on the project will last into the fall, with street resurfacing last on the list.
“Grinding and paving won’t be conducive to outdoor dining,” director of public works Suzette Robinson acknowledged at a meeting of the business group Thursday. To minimize the impact on businesses, she said, that part of the project will not begin until mid September. And one lane of traffic will remain open on Church Street at all times.
The final touches on the bike lane will wrap up in early October, when workers paint the pavement “jade,” a muted green. Residents voted for the color using a polling system on the city’s website, according to Robinson, and green—the traditional color for bike lanes—was the clear winner.
In the future, Robinson said the city plans to complete the protected bike path so that it connects all the way from the lakefront to the McCormick bike trail. Next year, the city will add a protected bike lane on Davis Street so that bikers can travel through downtown in both directions.
Construction of the protected bike lane is part of a $1.8 million capital improvement plan the city council approved for the downtown area this March.
Crews will also replace sidewalks, update benches and install a new bike shelter in front of , among other projects.
“Hopefully we can eliminate the need to park your bikes on trees and parking meters,” said Robinson.
The city will also install 3-foot LED lights and a rain garden at the plaza area on Orrington Avenue.