The 1600 block of West Erie Street in West Town. An unprotected bike lane will be installed on the street between Damen and Noble. Credit: Quinn Myers/Block Club Chicago

WEST TOWN — A bike lane connecting several established cycling routes will be installed along Erie Street in West Town.

The Chicago Department of Transportation is designating Erie between Damen Avenue and Noble Street a neighborhood greenway, and the agency plants to install unprotected bike lanes on the stretch in the next month, spokesperson Susan Hofer said in a statement.

Known as an advisory bike lane, the lanes will feature dashed lines and markings situated next to residential parking on each side of the street.

The cycling route “will provide a comfortable connection with slow-driving speeds and low-vehicle volumes between existing bike routes on Damen, Wood and Noble,” Hofer said.

The speed limit will be reduced to 20 mph on that section of Erie, according to CDOT.

“The Erie Street Neighborhood Greenway has been developed in partnership with 1st Ward Alderman La Spata and is one of the many low-stress bike connections that will be installed by CDOT in 2022,” according to the agency. “Last year was the biggest year for the installation of Neighborhood Greenways in Chicago and we anticipate exceeding that accomplishment this year.”

An advisory bike lane is being installed on Erie Street in West Town Credit: Provided/First Ward

The Erie Street lanes will intersect with the existing Wood Street greenway, a city-designated bike route that’s long been a popular option for cyclists looking to cut through West Town and Wicker Park.

Earlier this year, La Spata submitted a proposal to CDOT to install protected bike lanes along a stretch of Wood Street.

Approved through the 1st Ward’s participatory budgeting process, the proposal would turn Wood from Grand Avenue to Ellen Street into a northbound one-way to accommodate the bike lanes.

But some neighbors criticized the plan, which would create three one-ways in row: Honore Street, Wood Street and Hermitage Avenue.

Others praised the proposal, saying it would make biking and driving safer along Wood Street.

The bike lane was estimated by the 1st Ward at the time to cost about $325,000, which would be paid for by the ward’s menu money. But three months later, the project is “still in planning,” said Hofer, who had no other updates.

La Spata said Tuesday his office is checking in with CDOT weekly on the proposal and will share updates with neighbors when it receives them.

The 900 block of North Wood Street, where a protected bike lane is proposed that would make Wood a one-way street, as seen on Jan. 27, 2022. Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

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