The Chainlink

Oh Dearborn! A virtual tour of Chicago's first 2-way protected bike lane

Did you blink yesterday? If so you missed CDOT painting the "game-changing" new 2-way protected bike lane on Dearborn Street from Polk Street to the Chicago River. The striping is already complete, although the lane won't be ready to ride until the flexible posts, signs and bike-specific traffic signals are done. Here's a virtual tour of the new facility so far:

http://gridchicago.com/2012/oh-my-dearborn-the-2-way-protected-bike...


Keep moving forward,

John Greenfield

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Darn..  That's one of my favorite through-the-loop routes.  But I hate riding these "protected" lanes due to 1)getting doored by passengers, 2) the pedestrians, 3)tons of glass and debris, 4)it will have delivery vehicles parked in it.  Oh, well, progress.

It doesn't seem like getting doored by passengers is really a problem with PBLs since there's a couple feet of striped dead space between the parking lane and the bike lane. Has that really been an issue for you?

Biking in the easternmost lane of Dearborn will still probably be an option, although I need to look into the legality of biking outside of a bike facility when one is provided.

John  I haven't been doored by any passengers, but I am concerned that passengers (accustomed to opening doors onto the dead zone of the sidewalk) will not look in the side view mirror (which is not angled for their point of view in any case--it's there for the driver) and fling their doors open into the "protected" bike lane.  This would be a good question to pose on Chainlink: do regular riders in these new lanes have problems with passenger-side dooring (close calls, of course, included).  I'd also be riding closer to the car/parking lane rather than the curb since right near the curbe is where the broken glass/debris accumulates.  I've got no problem just avoiding these lanes altogether, frankly.

Even if the passenger does fling their door open, I believe the buffer is wide enough so the door wouldn't actually enter the bike lane. The flexible posts might help deflect car door as well.

It's true that PBLs aren't for everyone. I'm guessing plenty of speedy, "strong and fearless" riders will be annoyed when one gets built on their favorite commuting route. But once the PBLs and buffered lanes start linking up into logical, continuous bike routes, which won't be too long from now, they'll be nice facilities to encourage the "interested but concerned" crowd to try bike commuting.

Think it feels better without protection? There are plenty of non-PBL alternatives to Dearborn. IMHO, State Street in the Loop is always a fun street to cruise, especially with the current holiday hustle-bustle.

As I mentioned on another thread, I'm aware of one PBL dooring, done by a cab passenger.  Considering that we've now had thousands of trips in the PBLs since Kinzie was introduced, and I've heard of very few crash incidents, it seems like the concept is mostly working.

Compared to the crazy stop and go slalom course I'm used to riding on Dearborn, I look forward to trying it in the new lanes.  I can ride in Loop traffic, and I've been doing it for years, but a lower stress alternative is a welcome change.

Where was the cab dooring?

+1

Anne Alt said:

As I mentioned on another thread, I'm aware of one PBL dooring, done by a cab passenger.  Considering that we've now had thousands of trips in the PBLs since Kinzie was introduced, and I've heard of very few crash incidents, it seems like the concept is mostly working.

Compared to the crazy stop and go slalom course I'm used to riding on Dearborn, I look forward to trying it in the new lanes.  I can ride in Loop traffic, and I've been doing it for years, but a lower stress alternative is a welcome change.

Kinzie at Kingsbury. 

John Wirtz said:

Where was the cab dooring?

This morning as I was walking from the train to the office, I noticed a major change in traffic flow along Dearborn from Van Buren to Monroe.  Traffic speed was slow.  I'd estimate that the fastest speeds on that stretch were 15-20 mph.  There weren't the usual bursts of speed followed by hard braking.  Average traffic speed was much closer to actual traffic speed. 

When I crossed over to State St., the contrast was startling.  State St. was fairly wide open and most drivers were going 30+ mph.

I did see an Iron Mountain truck and a DHL truck parked in the bike lanes by the Marquette Building.  Seems like some corporate outreach, education and ticketing will be in order, consistent with our experiences at other PBL locations.

Riders will need to be extra cautious riding south in this PBL.  Drivers and pedestrians will not be looking for southbound traffic on Dearborn.

I think this is true.  And given that it is downtown where there are always people driving and walking who are not "regulars" it will always be a problem at some level.   I am still very excited about this lane.

Another area that I think is going to require some caution is the driveway at the hotel just north of the river.  Of course, when there are not parked cabs blocking the view of drivers and cyclists that might be better!  Anyone know whether the cab stand will still be there albeit on the east side of the bike lane?
 
Mark said:

Riders will need to be extra cautious riding south in this PBL.  Drivers and pedestrians will not be looking for southbound traffic on Dearborn.

Yep, this is also an issue for tourists (like myself) in bike-friendly Amsterdam and Copenhagen, hence this sign in Copenhagen. It would be great if it was possible to put up some warning signs here, but if people obey their walk signals they should be fine.

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