I'm taking the Lakefront Path from the North most days. While I appreciate the bike lane on Randolph, the insane tangle of cars at Michigan/Randolph makes it hardly worth it.
I am curious if anyone takes the Riverwalk on a bike from the Lakefront Path to get around traffic? My destination is LaSalle/Madison, so I thought of heading on the Riverwalk to Dearborn or LaSalle and then going due south.
Does anyone do this? Is it possible?
Bob, how was the August critical mass?
Sorry, but I can't relate to this at all. Your total aversion to riding in the street is a huge limitation to being an urban cyclist.
Total aversion? I just said I don't want to go through Randolph/Michigan. I ride on the street plenty, but don't mind avoiding it if I can.
As a daily, year-round urban cyclist, I'd say no, the Riverwalk is not a good alternative. It's too pedestrian-oriented to make a safe or efficient bike path.
As a daily lunch hour pedestrian on the Riverwalk, I'd say no, it's not a good alternative. It's too pedestrian-oriented to make a safe or efficient bike path. Today I got bumped in the calf by a biker who couldn't go slow enough around a crowded bend. I just about wanted to toss him into the river, after his bike.
I've used LFT/Monroe/Michigan/Madison route for several years and found it worked really well. Since the Randolph bike lane was finished and they finished construction at the Oriental Theater, I made the switch to LFT/Maggie Daley Park/Randolph/Dearborn.
I've found this to be a great alternative with the only hairy point at Randolph & Michigan like the OP points out. The bike lane markings on the east of Michigan have worn mostly off and are in need of desperate care. I think new paint and some green treatment (like at westbound Kinzie + Wells) might mitigate some of the craziness. Hopefully the streets department will touch these up before winter.
I use the Riverwalk twice every day as a pedestrian commuter to cover the distance between Union Station and Michigan Avenue. I also bike it occasionally on recreational weekend rides. I understand why cycllists find it a compelling option for crossing the Loop. But cyclists need to respect the fact that the Riverwalk is a pedestrian path and it's their right-of-way. When the Riverwalk is busy -- like, say, any summer afternoon -- it's simply not viable for cycling. You will be forced to walk your bike through the crowds.
You can get away with it when there is very little pedestrian traffic -- perhaps, say, early in the morning. But, even when it's viable, cyclists clearly introduce hazards on the Riverwalk. They cannot cut the close corners as gracefully as the pedestrians. And, as others have pointed out, the pedestrians -- tourists, commuters or partiers -- will not cut you any slack.