I just came across this story on the Tribune. As much as I can't stand frivolous lawsuits of the I'm an idiot and I fell so now I need to blame someone else type, I actually kind of hope he wins. Only because the judge may force the city to make bridges safer.
Realistically I don't think this suit stands a chance.
This really highlights the problem of Ward system. Few us live in the same Ward as the bridge in the original post, but because it's a main route to the Loop, many of us are impacted. The Division bridges are an aldermanic nether world spanning I believe 3 wards.
Gene Tenner said:
Does anyone know someone who lives in the Ward where this problem exists? Take a photo(s) of the problem(s) and have them deliver the complaint with photos to the Alderman in that Ward. Better yet, get a couple more Ward residents to do the same. That will get faster results than anything else.
Holy Crap! I am really enjoying this "conversation" about an important topic, but this ruling is downright scarey! How about this (from the girl who doesn't live there anymore...lol), let's put funds together and get a sign made alerting riders to the bridge problem. LaSalle and Division.
Mike Fiasco said:
When only Low Emissions Vehicles (LEV's) are allowed anywhere in the city, or at least 2-3 miles from the loop, then bicycles WILL be the intended vehicles. Start the LEV definition at about 100MPG and move it up every few years.
That's how to fix this problem.
Mike Fiasco said:
Does anyone know if there has ever been a court test to how Buob applies to city DOT recommended bike routes? Being a recommended route would seem to elevate cyclists to intended users. This wouldn't apply the actual suit filed as LaSalle is not a recommended group, but would impact the crash waiting to happen on Division.
Mike Fiasco said:
I live in the south loop and frequently ride these bridges, it scares me every time. It would be cool to see this go through! I value my teeth!
A few years ago I was driving to a meeting and as I crossed the LaSalle St bridge downtown I saw a bicyclist down, writhing in pain. I threw her bike in the station wagon and drove her to Northwestern Memorial. I tried to not react at the scarily deep gash in her knee. She had lost it as she rode over a groove.
Last week I crossed the Division bridge at Halsted after a rain - it was crazy slippery.
I hope the City decides to fix this problem.
I've seen the report by T.Y. Lin that the Tribune mentions. Here are more details. The Chicago Bike Map even says to "use caution" when riding over the bridges.
My personal wish is that the outcome is similar to the ruling against the city for its lack of ADA compliance in curb cuts. The city was required to spend an *additional* $50 million over 5 years to create hundreds (thousands?) of ADA compliant curb cuts. I wrote about this here.
See also the first 4 minutes of this video for some bridge discussion at the Chicago Bike Swap.
The front page of the report.
Called 311 earlier but now it may be wasting their time ... the biggest holes in the grates have been repaired. I took a ride after work to both the LaSalle and Division Bridges. The LaSalle bridge is not in disrepair and isn't the worst one out there. About half of the bridge is covered with concrete. The grates still suck but there are definitely more treacherous bridges in the city. I took the Orleans bridge going back north and that was beautiful. Not a single grate!
The Division bridge is patched up and rusty. You can see a gap in one of the grate covers wide enough for a bike tire.
Forgot to add: There are two similar cases against the city right now. One was filed last November and the Chicago Tribune never picked up on it (they apparently monitor newly filed cases).
And, in the T.Y. Lin report, the LaSalle bridge was rated "poor", along with Webster, Clark, 18th, Loomis, and Chicago. (Other bridges were rated poor but they did or now have a bike-friendly deck treatment.)
Both Division Street bridges were rated "fair" in the "Bicycle Ride-ability Formula" and that they would be filled in with concrete in 2005 and 2006. This formula was based on deck type, grate orientation, percent of deck filled, and "overall deck quality as determined from field surveys".