Drexel Boulevard bike lane upgrade options discussed at 4th Ward Meeting

A rendering of proposed street configurations, which include bike lane upgrades, for Drexel Boulevard between 39th and 51st streets. – Courtesy of the Chicago Department of Transportation

Staff Writer

Representatives of Ald. Sophia King’s (4th) office and the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) hosted a community meeting to discuss bike lane upgrades on Drexel Boulevard between 39th and 51st streets May 17 at Rainbow PUSH Headquarters, 930 E. 50th St.

The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) conducted a study on the feasibility of the installation of bike lanes on Drexel for over a year and has determined that the area is a suitable candidate for the new lanes. King sanctioned the meeting so that community members could offer feedback on the CDOT’s design proposals.

“We have a federal grant to re-stripe the entire roadway with brand
new pavement markings and to update all the signage above on the street,” said David Smith, a representative of CDOT during his presentation. “We want to make sure you can move on our city streets and our city sidewalks safely.”

Currently, Drexel Boulevard between 39th and 51st streets has two driving lanes near the median, a bike lane and one parking lane.

During the meeting, Smith presented the department’s proposed street configuration, which would be 100 percent federally funded. The proposed design includes re-striping of Drexel Boulevard between 39th and 51st streets, to make a bike lane near the median, two driving lanes and one parking lane. According to a report from CDOT, the department could get started on this project within two weeks of approval.

Smith also presented an alternative street configuration, which would not be covered under federal funding, that includes adding an additional parking lane along the median, keeping the two driving lanes and the bike lane near the original parking lane. This design would require local funding of about $30,000 for design and about $200, 000 for construction.

King, who did not attend the meeting, will consider the community feedback collected by her representatives and take the next step forward in the process.