The Chainlink

Hopefully you've heard by now that CDOT will begin construction this week on the city's first protected bike lane: Kinzie Street from Milwaukee Avenue/Desplaines Street to Wells Street. 

 

Full story on Steven Can Plan. 

 

I want to know what you think about this.

  • What do you feel will need special attention?
  • Is this the right or wrong location for such a facility? Why?
  • Are you going to thank/congratulate Rahm, Gabe, and the CDOT Bicycle Program?
  • Will you use it?

 

Cycle track and protected bike lane naysayers, this isn't the post for you. But if you've ridden in protected bike lanes before, then I welcome your constructive comments and criticism based on your actual experiences. 

Big intersection

The new beginning. Looking southeast at the intersection of Kinzie/Milwaukee/Desplaines. 

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Some thoughts (in no particular order).

  • Say what you want about the new Emanuel administration, but they are not kidding around. After a serious lack of developments in the last few years of the Daley administration, this is a breath of fresh air. Emanuel shows a sense of urgency that this city lacked. How would I congratulate the parties involved in making this decision?
  • The article doesn't state it clearly (or does it?), but will the tracks be in both directions? The article appears to be talking about east bound cycle traffic only.
  • Assuming the bike lane will be in both directions, I will ride it twice a day, In the morning from Wells to Clinton, In the afternoon from Clinton to Franklin.
  • Eastbound on Kinzie, just before the bridge, there are some serious potholes in the concrete. Would be nice if they could fix that before they put in a bike lane.
  • Are they planning on painting thru-lanes across the Kinzie-Canal intersection? Car traffic  from Canal making a right turn onto Kinzie often barely stops, and it would be nice if they get a visual cue about the existence of a bike lane.
  • I agree with your comment that this would be a great opportunity to improve the riding surface of the bridge.
  • Overall I am looking forward to it. I think it will be a great opportunity to show that cycle tracks can improve the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians.
  • While the safety improvements will become clear in the crash statistics, there are a lot of things that can make a bikelane good or bad from a user perspective. They should have a formal evaluation process after 6 months or a year to see what works what and what doesn't.
  • .53 miles is too short to really change riders behavior. I am not going to ride an extra few blocks so that I can ride the protected bike lane for a few blocks. From that respect it's not a great choice.
It's a start too bad it's my normal route to work.

Thanks for your input. 

I don't think there's any reason to not assume it will be both directions.

If the potholes aren't fixed, call them in to 311. As it is concrete, this section of the roadway cannot/will not be as easily replaced as an asphalt-topped roadway. 

The newsletter says that "through" pavement markings will be installed at intersections, without specifying any intersections.

I agree - a study should follow this project. By follow, I mean, alongside its progress and not come afterwards. I hope CDOT took traffic counts on this segment before construction starts.

As Rahm "promised" 2 miles, this should just be the first quarter of that 2 miles. 

Duppie said:

Some thoughts (in no particular order).

  • Say what you want about the new Emanuel administration, but they are not kidding around. After a serious lack of developments in the last few years of the Daley administration, this is a breath of fresh air. Emanuel shows a sense of urgency that this city lacked. How would I congratulate the parties involved in making this decision?
  • The article doesn't state it clearly (or does it?), but will the tracks be in both directions? The article appears to be talking about east bound cycle traffic only.
  • Assuming the bike lane will be in both directions, I will ride it twice a day, In the morning from Wells to Clinton, In the afternoon from Clinton to Franklin.
  • Eastbound on Kinzie, just before the bridge, there are some serious potholes in the concrete. Would be nice if they could fix that before they put in a bike lane.
  • Are they planning on painting thru-lanes across the Kinzie-Canal intersection? Car traffic  from Canal making a right turn onto Kinzie often barely stops, and it would be nice if they get a visual cue about the existence of a bike lane.
  • I agree with your comment that this would be a great opportunity to improve the riding surface of the bridge.
  • Overall I am looking forward to it. I think it will be a great opportunity to show that cycle tracks can improve the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians.
  • While the safety improvements will become clear in the crash statistics, there are a lot of things that can make a bikelane good or bad from a user perspective. They should have a formal evaluation process after 6 months or a year to see what works what and what doesn't.
  • .53 miles is too short to really change riders behavior. I am not going to ride an extra few blocks so that I can ride the protected bike lane for a few blocks. From that respect it's not a great choice.
Why is it "too bad"?

Mike Zumwalt said:
It's a start too bad it's my normal route to work.
I do remember seeing a traffic count specific to bikes on Kinzie westbound in front of Gilt bar, last week or the week before. I only remember seeing it one day. The next day it was gone.

Steven Vance said:
 I hope CDOT took traffic counts on this segment before construction starts.

Coincidentally this location choice ought to be extremely convenient for a majority of staff working at the Active Transportation Alliance office on Hubbard, who can "evaluate" it daily . . .

 

Duppie said:

 

  • While the safety improvements will become clear in the crash statistics, there are a lot of things that can make a bikelane good or bad from a user perspective. They should have a formal evaluation process after 6 months or a year to see what works what and what doesn't.

You make that sound so simple.


311 works somewhat reliably for some things (e.g. graffitti removal) but I've had next to no success with potholes.


Steven Vance said:

If the potholes aren't fixed, call them in to 311.

I've ridden in protected lanes in New York and I wouldn't underestimate the ability of the public to have no idea what they are. People are going to park in these, walk their dogs in them, jog in them, rollerblade in them, toss garbage in them, open their passenger side doors into them and generally do all sorts of things to undermine dreams of turning Chicago Dutch. A public education campaign would presumably help but there will need to be a lot more than .5 miles worth of fancy bike lanes to make that worthwhile.
Awesome. This will change my route for about 1/3 of my commute. Not too shabby.

People do this already on existing bike lanes, marked shared lanes, multi-use trails, sidewalks, etc...

Rahm Emanuel has said he will pursue building 25 miles of bike lanes each year for four years. Plus, every year, CDOT, the Police and ward offices get together to educate people about riding safely and driving legally (including not parking in bike lanes).  

Here're some photos of car drivers already blocking places we ride or walk:

  1. Car parked on Lakefront Trail
  2. Car parked in bike lane
  3. Car blocking crosswalk
  4. Car parked on sidewalk
  5. Car parked on parkway


Dr. Doom said:

I've ridden in protected lanes in New York and I wouldn't underestimate the ability of the public to have no idea what they are. People are going to park in these, walk their dogs in them, jog in them, rollerblade in them, toss garbage in them, open their passenger side doors into them and generally do all sorts of things to undermine dreams of turning Chicago Dutch. A public education campaign would presumably help but there will need to be a lot more than .5 miles worth of fancy bike lanes to make that worthwhile.

This Tribune article gives some more detail. Apparently the Kinzie cycle track is being paid for by money originally designated for the cycle track on Stony Island. That project has been cancelled.

 

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-bike-track-0606-201...

I read this only moments ago.

I'm glad that project is being cancelled. 


Duppie said:

This Tribune article gives some more detail. Apparently the Kinzie cycle track is being paid for by money originally designated for the cycle track on Stony Island. That project has been cancelled.

 

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-bike-track-0606-201...

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