The Chainlink

Dearborn Street Bike Lane Named Best Protected Route of 2013

By Lizzie Schiffman on December 4, 2013 2:26pm | Updated on December 4, 2013 2:26pm

THE LOOP — Two of Chicago's new protected bike lanes were named in a cycling advocacy group's roundup of the 10 best buffered routes in the country.

People for Bikes named the Dearborn Street protected bike lane the best in the U.S. Tuesday.

"Chicago’s 1.2-mile showpiece isn’t the country’s most sophisticated downtown bikeway because of its on-street markings, though they’re excellent, or its quick-and-simple plastic-post barriers. The really remarkable thing about Dearborn is that bikes get their own traffic signals." wrote Michael Andersen, a staff writer at People for Bikes' protected barrier advocacy program, The Green Lane Project, which partnered with Chicago and five other cities this year to support bike lane expansion with technical and strategic assistance and grant money.

"Maybe that's why stoplight compliance has soared from 31 percent to 81 percent and bike traffic has more than doubled since the lane went in. Did we mention that one of its local fans has given the lane its own Twitter feed? We challenge any other street project in the country to inspire such devotion."

Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office accepted the designation proudly, Tweeting Wednesday: "It's official. @DearbornBikeLn named best protected bike lane in America."

The protected bike lane on Milwaukee Avenue in River North also got a nod, ranked seventh in a list that includes paths in Seattle, San Francisco and Austin.

Andersen praised the Milwaukee Avenue path's combination of "physically protected lanes with stretches buffered by paint" as "a lesson to planners: the best place to put a buffered lane isn't necessarily where you wish people would pedal, but where they're already pedaling."

When the protected lanes were planned, however, residents and business owners were not thrilled about the lanes taking away their precious few parking spots. And further northwest on Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park, cyclists have complained about a "dooring epidemic" that has injured many riders.

"I'm really getting fed up with hearing about cyclists' blood being spilled on Milwaukee Avenue, Wicker Park and Logan Square from dooring crashes that might have been prevented by protected bike lanes," Streetsblog Chicago editor John Greenfield wrote over the summer. "The time to act is now, before a fatal crash makes the need for safer biking conditions even more painfully obvious."

http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20131204/loop/dearborn-street-bike-l...

Views: 435

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

There must be some horrendous protected bike routes in this country.

"best" yet I was hit by a car on it.

"The really remarkable thing about Dearborn is that bikes get their own traffic signals. ... Maybe that's why stoplight compliance has soared from 31 percent to 81 percent ..."

Says it all.

 

Do others agree or disdisagree with the new designation?  

I am really glad these lanes exist, but I would hate to think that they represent the best that can be done.  For example, on Dearborn, the separate signals for bikes and left-turning cars are great, but the road surface (and drainage) in many spots is truly awful.  Milwaukee also has some pretty bad surfaces.

Julie Hochstadter said:

Do others agree or disdisagree with the new designation?  

A suntimes reporter wants to get opinions on Dearborn.  I have rode it half a dozen times, and have my own opinions (which are positive except for better signage at the driveways and intersections). 

Her number is 312-321-2553.

She wants to talk to people who ride it a lot. Her deadline is like really soon so if you want to be interviewed, call her now.

Clearly not the best that can be done, but the judgment is that the Dearborn lanes are the best that HAS been done in the U.S.  Frankly, a sad commentary on the state of bicycle infrastructure in this country.
 
Jeff Schneider said:

I am really glad these lanes exist, but I would hate to think that they represent the best that can be done.  For example, on Dearborn, the separate signals for bikes and left-turning cars are great, but the road surface (and drainage) in many spots is truly awful.  Milwaukee also has some pretty bad surfaces.

Julie Hochstadter said:

Do others agree or disdisagree with the new designation?  

When you are riding the Dearborn lane northbound, how do you safely make a right turn?

I admit I don't ride it very often and I could be mis-remembering, but I don't remember the bike signals turning green very much before the car signals--certainly not early enough to get across all three lanes of car traffic.

I see the list more as a way to promote the idea of protected bike lanes than any sort of objective ranking. 

I get the impression that Dearborn is on it more for the amount of political will it took to get it and its visibility than because of its actual quality. Either that, or people really do like dodging pedestrians, puddles, and parked cars. 

Julie Hochstadter said:

Do others agree or disdisagree with the new designation?  

Please, someone else who rides it a lot, call this reporter and help her out. 

I don't commute on it daily but use it to get through and around downtown a few times a week. I just had a really frustrating conversation with her about it (I'm sensitive) and would love it if someone who rides more often and is less of a hothead about inferred assumptions would also speak with her.  I didn't catch her name or her normal beat, but she is following up on the #1 PBL designation. 

She said she has a call in to CDOT and has spoken to Active Transportation Alliance.



Also, here's a pic I snapped on my route to the South Loop on Tuesday evening. Cab parked in two-way "P"BL, dropping off customer. When I asked her to please move out of the bike lane, she said "but I'm dropping him here!" and slammed the door and continued to work on the credit card transaction:




Sounds like a job for The Wiener!

Reply to Discussion

RSS

© 2008-2014   The Chainlink Community, L.L.C. Julie Hochstadter, Director   Powered by

Disclaimer  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service