Chicago’s City Council made some new amendments that will cost drivers blocking bike lanes big-time. Vehicles parked in bike lanes will be subject to $250 fines and more likely to be towed earlier. Is your vehicle a service vehicle? Your permit could be revoked. When construction is taking place (and it always is), workers will be assigned to ensure safe passage for cyclists by giving early warnings so they can find alternative routes. These little changes can make a huge difference for bike advocates and cyclists.
This is what it looks like many cities are striving to protect pedestrians and cyclists with additions of slow streets They are also bike- or pedestrian-only streets in the country. These were part of the initial response against the pandemic, which saw people move from enclosed public transit to open transport.
According to BlockClubChicago.com, Alderman Andre Vasquez was responsible for the bump in the fine from $150 to $250 and the new rules for construction crews laid out at Wednesday’s meeting.
“We’ve been car centric since like the 1920s. … And that’s not where we are going forward,” Vasquez said at the meeting. “If you’re somebody who’s an environmental justice person and you want to see that we’re in a society where people are driving less cars, you have to create better infrastructure, better public transportation and safer models for people to ride. This is just the beginning of a number of pieces of legislation that we’re all working on.”
Vasquez is also trying to introduce a 311 number for civilians to report blocked bike lanes as well as automatic cameras to capture illegally parked vehicles and ticket them when city officials aren’t present to do so, according to the Chicago Sun Times.
These steps still seem insignificant after the events of so many cyclist and pedestrian deaths in Chicag0—and the U.S. as a whole—in the last year, but hopefully this is a sign of positive momentum towards more bike-friendly cities where bikes and foot traffic are prioritized as much, if not more, than car traffic.
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