Temporary bike lanes first step in safety study

Bike lanes painted on campus sidewalks

Bike lanes painted in chalk on campus sidewalks this week are the first steps in a study of ways to improve biker-walker interaction. Photo: Timothy Nguyen/UIC News

Bike lanes appeared along east campus walkways this week, but they’re not permanent — yet.

The chalk-drawn lanes are part of a study to evaluate biker and pedestrian interaction on campus.

“The motivation is to be strategic about biker and pedestrian safety,” said Katherine Yoshida, program coordinator in the Office of Sustainability, which is assisting Facilities Management with the study.

The pilot study will last until the rain washes the chalk away, but more lanes will be drawn on east side walkways fall semester to evaluate their effectiveness.

UIC students and employees can share their feedback on the bike lanes through online surveys that will be distributed fall semester.

Several regular campus riders who saw the new bike lanes this week were in favor of the plan.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said Gretchen Neidhardt, visiting assistant professor and special collections librarian. “I hope that there will be more of them eventually.

Neidhardt, who bikes to campus three to four times a week from Logan Square, says it’s difficult riding from the UIC-Halsted Blue Line station to campus when school is in session. “There are a lot of pedestrians, and there’s not a clear way to bike through them,” she said.

“I think the number of bikers will be going up soon because of the bike lanes,” said Kapil Majumder, a graduate student in electrical and computer engineering, who bikes to campus almost every day.

The lanes could improve safety for everyone traveling across campus, said Boris Igic, associate professor of biological sciences.

“Both bikers and pedestrians have a responsibility to behave in a way that minimizes danger to the other, or to themselves, or to everyone else,” said Igic, who rides to campus four to five times a week from Logan Square. “I think that’s a fairly simple guideline, and I think the bike lanes will help.”

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