May 31, 2022 at 5:00 am
When cyclists cruise along Milwaukee Avenue in Old Irving Park on the Northwest Side, they whiz by the never-ending construction and bike memorials as familiar, yet unsettling, backdrops.
This half-mile stretch, from Kilbourn Avenue to Addison Street, has become one of the deadliest for bikers to ride in all of Chicago, some cycling advocates say, with its heavy car traffic, a major Metra reconstruction project, and little protection for bikers and pedestrians. With summer looming and gas prices continuing to surge, advocates fear that a busier than usual bike season could be a lethal one without better safeguards for bikers.
“This stretch of Milwaukee (Avenue) has a lot of major traffic arteries and there’s just a lot of traffic and speeding cars, and no safe signs,” said Amanda Marien, a safety advocate who lives in the neighborhood. “But the ones that suffer this the most are pedestrians, bikers and the people that live in this area.”
Earlier this month, Nick Parlingayan, 22, of Chicago, became at least the third bicyclist fatality in the city this year when he was killed near Milwaukee and Kilbourn avenues in a hit-and-run car crash. The driver later turned himself in to police at the urging of his mother. Meanwhile, Carla Aiello, a 37-year-old high school counselor, was killed near the same intersection when the driver of a dump truck made a right turn from Milwaukee onto Kilbourn.