It's year-end list season and everyone (including us) is getting in on the arbitrary ranking fun. Today, PeopleForBikes, a coalition of cycling suppliers and retailers that works to expand community bicycling projects, announced the top ten new American bike lanes of 2014. The list includes several impressive lanes that have been installed in notoriously bike-friendly cities like Seattle, Portland and San Francisco, but one of Chicago's new protected lanes came in at number ten.
PeopleForBikes awarded a spot on the list to the bike lanes on Broadway Street between Montrose and Wilson Avenues that were installed earlier this summer. The project reduced the number of automobile lanes on Broadway from four to two, moving parking spots into the former outer lanes and allowing bikers to ride along the curb. While there is a buffer between cyclists and motorists, most of the route lacks any sort of actual barrier, with the exception of flimsy plastic posts in some spots. It's also missing the bright green paint that was used to indicate the Milwaukee Ave bike lanes. Nitpicking aside, the Broadway bike lanes do make Uptown's main thoroughfare more accessible to cyclists.
It's nice to get some recognition for improvements to the city's biking infrastructure, but we're still of the opinion that there's much more work to be done before Chicago can call itself a truly bike-friendly city. Mayor Rahm Emanuel is still on track to fulfill his promise of installing 100 miles of protected bike lanes by early 2015. Let's hope that he doesn't stop there.