Chicago may be turning the corner regarding roadways designed and designated for only one kind of traffic, motor vehicles. Over the years, city streets have gotten wider to accommodate more lanes to allow increased numbers of motor vehicles, according a piece by Jon Hilkevitch in the Chicago Tribune. The idea, presumably, was to better travel times around Chicago. However, the idea has backfired, the extra lanes producing, "at best, only short-term improvements in traffic flow due to the ever-increasing number of [motor] vehicles." To reduce this trend, city officials are preparing "to launch the largest local experiment of its kind to slim down streets." The latest effort will occur on Lawrence Avenue, between Western and Ashland Avenues, where traffic lanes will be reduced in each direction to create bike lanes and wider sidewalks. The project is to begin "as early as next year," pending receipt of funding, according to the Trib.
This sort of effort is to be applauded by bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists alike. Reduced motor vehicle traffic makes bicycling safer, which will encourage more people to bike in the city, which means fewer cars and trucks on the road, which means less traffic over all. Less traffic means. . . Ahhh, less stress, a more pleasant city, happier people.
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