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I just missed the press conference and just hung out at lunch to see how it would all work. It seemed easy enough, so I took Dearborn as my starting route home to Roscoe Village. Normally I hit Franklin to Orleans then north to Lincoln.

I have to say, it was pretty easy and relatively safe. The ambassadors were helpful with the the auto traffic. The walkers were easy enough to avoid. I had to chuckle at two riders riding side by side in the lane.

What I didn't see was any oncoming traffic; southbound riders. I am guessing that will come in time or at other times during the day.

Way to go Mayor RE! This is really making a statement.

Who else rode the new path?

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There were southbound riders at the Daley Center at about 2:00.  I posted a photo.

Yep, rode from the press conference then took it to Kinzie which is where I always turn to continue my commute home.  Looking forward to riding it on Monday instead of State!

Hey Morgan!  Yup, me and my buddy George attended the press conference and unveiling and rode the new lanes with the Vandeveldes.  Then took Dearborn to Clark to Glenwood up to Rogers Park.

I rode after the press conference and am about to take it to go home. One thing that stuck out to me right away is how much safer it is for pedestrians at crosswalks. They get the first go ahead, then bikes, then cars.

Yes! It was great being part of the post-press conference parade.

I rode it to and from the press conference, and then again on the way home. Honestly I was a little nervous going in because I knew the new configurations would take getting used to by all street users, but it's truly great. It's just so relaxing not to worry about motor vehicle traffic at my side, and having bike-specific signals is really fantastic. I've always enjoyed my bike commute in spite of the not-to-be-denied fear factor often involved, and the addition of the two-way Dearborn PBL will make me love it even more.

Big thanks to everyone from the Mayor and Gabe Klein, to the bikeways planners and engineers who worked out all the details, to the crews who carefully striped every foot and installed all those wonderful new signals. I've been around long enough that I'm also feeling grateful today to the pioneers like Randy Neufeld and others less known, who never gave up on the vision of improving cycling conditions in Chicago over the past decades, and we wouldn't be where we are today without them. Thank you, all.

Now we just need a good east-west route through the Loop! :)

Not being a downtownee I have little concept of what's being discussed here. Can anyone recommend a good place to see pics or video, and to get an overview of how far this thing extends?

How far it extends is easy:  Polk on the south to Kinzie on the north.  In other words from the south Loop to River North through the Loop.  I posted a couple of pictures.  I know there were others taking photos--maybe they will post some.  The press conference was very well attended by the media, but with what was going on in other parts of the country today I would not be surprised if it understandably does not get much coverage.  Probably Grid Chicago will be the best source.

h' said:

Not being a downtownee I have little concept of what's being discussed here. Can anyone recommend a good place to see pics or video, and to get an overview of how far this thing extends?

It was a great press conference followed by a fun bike ride. Glad the mayor has been so on top of this. Sad he didn't ride with us!

Here is a link to a WGN report from earlier today that actually has some good shots of the lanes in various places:  http://www.wgntv.com/news/wgntv-citys-first-protected-bike-lanes-op...

And this is a photo and coverage from WBBM:  http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/12/14/city-opens-two-way-protected...

I took a spin on it after work at about 7:30 pm. Rode the length of it south, then north. Worked very, very well. The lights were activated. The cars understood the signals. Very orderly. Not the fastest ride by any stretch. I sat at most every light...and likely wouldn't take this route regularly due to the slow pace, but if I were out for a leisurely ride, might make sense. The Christmas fest was rolling, with lots of tourists walking about, but they stayed out of the lanes, surprisingly. Just south of wacker, on the west side of the street, there's an opening for a parking garage. A woman was doubled parked there, blocking both directions of the bike lanes. When I stopped behind her, she motioned that I should just go around her, using the traffic lane to get around her car parked in the bike lane. I waited till she moved. It's the first day! Can't we at least enjoy the first day without people parking in the lane? Altogether, it seemed like a great first pass at this sort of bike lane.

Thanks for the links.

WhyTF are they being billed as "the first protected bike lanes?"

And why are we calling them "protected" at all?  I thought I might be about to see the actual first protected bike lane while waiting for the ad to end. But it's the same old weak substitute.

I should add that I hope these new lanes are better maintained than the Elston protected lanes. They collect some serous glass. I used to go years without a flat. I'm on my 3rd flat this season with the rarely swept Elston protected bike lanes.

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