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The Mechanics
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Transportation Mon Aug 30 2010

Creating Bike Lanes Makes Cities Safer for Pedestrians

A study by the New York City Department of Transportation has found that increasing the amount of dedicated bike lanes--and enforcing the laws around them--actually increases protection for pedestrians; roads with bike lanes saw 40% fewer pedestrian incidences with autos.

Perhaps this can help add light to the current hulabaloo going on in the comments on a post over at our sports blog, Tailgate, about the monthly Critical Mass "Happy Friday" bike rides.

 
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Dennis Fritz / August 30, 2010 8:17 PM

This is an interesting finding, but I think it misses a few points:

1) Those most endangered by dedicated bike lanes are not pedestrians, but cyclists. It is people on bikes who always seem to be getting hit by cars.

2) As a pedestrian, I find I can be confident on any given day that a car coming towards me will heed stop trafiic signs 99% of the time. However, in my experience, the odds a cyclist will do so is only about 50/50.

3) As much as some people are loathe to admit it, Chicago is just not an ideal city for mass bike transit. It is too dense, too compact. This wasn't even an issue when I was growing up here. It only became an issue after gentrification brought hordes of bike-riding, former suburbanities into town. They hoped keep riding here, just they did in the low-density suburban areas where they grew up. That's understandable. But it becomes less and less viable the more and people decide to try it. The real key to improved transit in Chicago is to reduce vehicular traffic and replace it with improved mass transit. It is not to put loose more and more cyclists onto streets dominated by cars. That is just going to get more people hurt.

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Feature

Parents Still Steaming, but About More Than Just Boilers

By Phil Huckelberry / 2 Comments

It's now been 11 days since the carbon monoxide leak which sent over 80 Prussing Elementary School students and staff to the hospital. While officials from Chicago Public Schools have partially answered some questions, and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool has informed that he will be visiting the school to field more questions on Nov. 16, many parents remain irate at the CPS response to date. More...

Civics

Substance, Not Style, the Source of Rahm's Woes

By Ramsin Canon / 2 Comments

It's not surprising that some of Mayor Emanuel's sympathizers and supporters are confusing people's substantive disputes with the mayor as the effect of poor marketing on his part. It's exactly this insular worldview that has gotten the mayor in hot... More...

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Mechanics is the politics section of Gapers Block, reflecting the diversity of viewpoints and beliefs of Chicagoans and Illinoisans. More...
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