CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Chicagoans making their way around the city would do well to keep an eye out for Ken Justice. He’s tough to miss: Justice is the guy whose bike has signs saying, “Safe bike lanes” and “10% citywide bike lanes.”
“We’re pushing City Hall to put bike lanes throughout the entire city, not just downtown,” Justice told WBBM. “Not just the main, heavy roads, but out on the Northwest Side and the Southwest Side. You’ll find almost no bike lanes out there at all.”
Justice, who spoke with WBBM near Lawrence and Western Avenues, belongs to a group called bikegridnow.org. As one might expect, the group advocates for the creation of a so-called “bike grid” in Chicago, which organizers say would result in a network of streets that prioritize cyclists and pedestrians.
The group said its goal is to transform at least 450 miles of Chicago’s streets, with much of the focus placed on residential areas. A key part of the plan would be reducing speed limits to 10 mph.
Justice said only about 2% of Chicago streets have bike lanes and added that most modern cities have bike lanes in 10% of their roads.
“So that, at least from any neighborhood anywhere, you can find a route or some kind of protected lane,” Justice said.
He added that Chicago should always think about two wheels and four when they’re painting bike lanes.
“I think that the traditional ones, where [the road] is shared, that seems to be rather productive. It’s inexpensive [and] easy to put in. I think that’s the best.”
Chicago ranked near the bottom among large American cities in a recent study from People for Bikes. A big knock against the city was its speed limits, though scores were also determined by a city’s number of protected bike lanes, grid connections and intersection safety.
Nonetheless, Justice did say the city has been doing better recently.
“They’re putting in more as they go,” he told WBBM. “You use it or you lose it. You’ve got those two choices, so you might as well use it.”