12/14/2012 07:05 pm ET

Dearborn Bike Lanes Open: Mayor Marks Debut Of City's First Two-Way Protected Lane Downtown

Travelers commuting in and out of the Loop in Chicago might notice some unfamiliar traffic signals very first protected two-way bike lanes opened for cyclists Friday afternoon.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, along with CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein and cycling and active transit advocates were on hand for the unveiling of the $450,000 project that stretches from Polk to Kinzie.

(See below for photos of the Dearborn two-way protected lane.)

Covering roughly 12 blocks of Dearborn, the Tribune calls the project "a high-profile component of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's plan to make Chicago one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world and to socially re-engineer how city dwellers choose to commute to work or just get around in a heavily congested urban area."

The project is part of the approximately 30 miles of new bicycle lanes in neighborhoods across Chicago this year, according to a release from the city.

The first riders to explore the two-way protected bike lane's various features--detailed earlier on HuffPost--were professional cyclist Christian VandeVelde and his father.

Not everyone, however, is celebrating the new construction. ABC Chicago found a few drivers griping about the loss of a car lane along the Dearborn route, while notorious cycling antagonist, the ever out-of-touch Tribune columnist John Kass, penned a whiny screed about bike lanes and the cyclists who use them.

Friday CDOT also formally released the Chicago Streets for Cycling Plan 2020, which calls for a 645-mile network of biking facilities to be in place by 2020 to provide a bicycle accommodation within half-mile of every Chicagoan.

Chicago's First Two-Way Bike Lane Open For Traffic