The Chainlink

Questions for the next Mayor's Bicycle Advisory Council meeting?

Hello Chainlinkers,

 

The next MBAC meeting is Wednesday June 12. 2013 (3:00 pm, City Hall, Rm 1103 - public invited!). 

 

I'm one of three community representatives on the council and have a chance to bring up topics of discussion or ask questions of the CDOT officials during the meeting.

 

Since you're a large part of the bicycling community and I'm your rep, I ask you: What questions would you like asked or topics discussed? 

 

(Edited May 31 2013 to update date)

Views: 1352

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I am concerned that the contractors carrying out services that used to be performed by the city under central direction don't seem to be bound to any particular standards of safety.


Most prominent examples:

1) Frequent placement of plates covering holes in street that are not secured, or not large enough to cover the holes and leave gaps that a cyclist or pedestrian can fall into

2) Apparently growing use of pea gravel to temporarily fill holes in street-- this is extremely dangerous for a cyclist as one is guaranteed to wipe out when encountering it unexpectedly.  I have seen it more often than not at the mouth of alleys and have been very close to wiping out more than once, emerging from an alley and turning onto the street.

Do you have a photo of the pea gravel being used in one of the situation you describe? There's been a lot of alley, curb cut, and sidewalk ramp work in Avondale and Logan Square (I reported it here). 

h' said:

2) Apparently growing use of pea gravel to temporarily fill holes in street-- this is extremely dangerous for a cyclist as one is guaranteed to wipe out when encountering it unexpectedly.  I have seen it more often than not at the mouth of alleys and have been very close to wiping out more than once, emerging from an alley and turning onto the street.

Michelle, I think you could take some cues from the Grid Chicago post of the other day about bike infrastructure of all types being taken out and then not properly replaced.  I agree it seems the administration is very intent on rolling out the fancy new stuff without maintaining what we have.

Also, when will the city start to enforce the "no parking in bike lanes" rule?  Yes, CPD has bigger things to worry about, but really, if someone were to break it down I would bet they spend a great deal more time riding around in cars than they do "fighting real crime".  

I second the motion on maintenance of new bike infrastructure, or even old painted lanes or sharrows that get obliterated during roadwork and never replaced (hello, Kenmore and Winthrop in Edgewater, between West Sheridan and Ardmore). 


I also second the When Will Cars Parked In Bike Lanes get towed/ticketed?  Any bike lane that goes past a place that delivers food, for instance, will always have delivery guys parked in in (Pete's Pizza at Winthrop and Granville is a particularly bad abuser of the bike lane).  This should apply, by the by, not just to dedicated lanes, but all painted lanes as well. 

Third, why doesn't the city spend some of the money on planking over steel grate bridges?  Those bike lanes are really unusable (I always take the sidewalk for the Halsted Bridge over the south branch of the river, for instance, since the grate on that bridge is full of sharp edges). 


Fourth, can the CPD do education outreach to cyclists who ride at night without proper lights?  I know this will get me eviscerated by the minimalist invisible ninja riders out there, but being issued a warning (not a ticket) and being told to get a damn light might inspire some folks to comply with the law and make themselves (and the rest of us) safer.

Here's a recent example of the steel plate problem.  Howard - I know you have a few.

In late August, I encountered an example of the 2nd problem described below.  Cullerton was torn up for a few blocks near Morgan for a utility project.  In some places, part of the road width was replaced by loose stone and gravel temporarily.  In one spot, the entire intersection was filled with stone and gravel.  I believe this may have been Morgan and Cullerton.  Stone and gravel were scattered on the pavement near the intersection.  This area gets frequent bike traffic, and the loose stone and gravel created a hazardous situation, especially if a cyclist was approaching it at night without previously being aware of it.

I also second the When Will Cars Parked In Bike Lanes get towed/ticketed?  I'll add a vote for this, but first we need to have GOOD signage (appropriately placed) explaining the new parking situation where protected lanes have displaced parking.  The last thing we need is to have major backlash and have lanes removed because people got tickets and had no advance explanation as to why they shouldn't park in the old locations along the curb.  We really need to do this along Desplaines and the west side boulevards NOW!

h' said:

I am concerned that the contractors carrying out services that used to be performed by the city under central direction don't seem to be bound to any particular standards of safety.


Most prominent examples:

1) Frequent placement of plates covering holes in street that are not secured, or not large enough to cover the holes and leave gaps that a cyclist or pedestrian can fall into

2) Apparently growing use of pea gravel to temporarily fill holes in street-- this is extremely dangerous for a cyclist as one is guaranteed to wipe out when encountering it unexpectedly.  I have seen it more often than not at the mouth of alleys and have been very close to wiping out more than once, emerging from an alley and turning onto the street.

Howard, great point about the gravel! I was surprised by pea gravel on my commute home Monday night at Armitage and Richmond. It seems to be a common tactic during water main replacement. Do you want me to snap a photo and message to you?

Wells St. northbound from Chicago Ave. up to North Ave. has been a perilous journey due to construction. There is loose gravel as described above and weird lane configurations. This is due to both road work and building projects.

 

The biggest offenders of parking in bike lanes are commercial vehicles. I am senstive to their need to get a job done- make a delivery etc., but these vehicles really create a problem.

 

I will say the public awareness of bike lanes has improved.  Yesterday two people apologized to me as I went by in a marked lane. Both had been getting out of doors and had given me plenty of time as I was far away when the door opened. One guy was holding a baby as he fiddled to close his door and I wanted to say, "no worry pal, that cutie has the right of way!"

This section of northbound Wells has been a problem for months now.  Is there a known completion date for restoration of a safe road surface?

David Barish said:

Wells St. northbound from Chicago Ave. up to North Ave. has been a perilous journey due to construction. There is loose gravel as described above and weird lane configurations. This is due to both road work and building projects.

With the approach of next year's south side CTA red line shutdown, will far south side Streets for Cycling projects get bumped up on the priority list?  All the love has been going to projects closer to downtown.  When the red line is shut down for reconstruction, leaving much of the south side with much poorer service over next summer, we're really going to need more transportation options = safer biking conditions.

Where is Vincennes on the priority list?  It should be among the EARLY projects for 2013 to help alleviate red line-related transportation woes.  What's the news on 83rd and Vincennes?  I passed through there last week and it looked like the long-term leakage problem had stopped - historic event, after years of puddles and slime.  Will the Vincennes viaducts be on the 2013 list of viaduct repaving projects?

And over to the east....I heard about a recent crash on South Shore Drive near 73rd, where a cyclist hit a very deep pothole (full bike lane width, filled with water) and did a face plant, resulting in painful injuries to his face.  South Shore has been cratered for years.  When is that street gonna get some smooth pavement again?  That's just as important a route for folks traveling southeast as Vincennes is for folks traveling southwest.

Those of us south of 83rd St. need some Streets for Cycling love in 2013.  Getting some positive news on that would be a great Christmas gift.

Today was the MBAC meeting and I wanted to let you know some of the highlights, although I'm sure Steve Vance will provide much more detail on Grid Chicago.

Looks like they're trying hard to coordinate an official opening of the Dearborn PBL for this coming Friday, so watch for details, and if you can, please come to the official press conference to show support and I'm assuming join an inaugural ride! (It would be really great to have a huge crowd of happy bicyclists enjoying the new lane.) I was really happy to hear that they're hoping to upgrade the Dearborn PBL in 2013 by installing actual curbs to replace the bollards. They have begun patching the rough spots in the southbound lane. They have a special snow plow ready to go at the first sign of flakes, and there's a street sweeper that will be used regularly as well.

Also on Friday, they're planning to release the Streets for Cycling 2020 Plan, finally!

As for bike share, they're working hard to sign the contract with the vendor. They're still planning to finish deciding on station sites by early February. They're still working and planning for a spring 2013 roll out of 300 stations/3000 bikes but can't give a month.

I raised the issue of overseeing contractors' work and practices that endanger bicyclists, as Howard brought up in the first response. The answer is that there is lots of construction of all sorts going on right now and coordination will improve because a new council of some sort has been formed that will allow them to communicate better. Ugh, that sounds so vague, I realize, but that's all I got. Maybe Steve was taking better notes. In the mean time, you should contact 311 with any specific complaints and should be given a complaint number so you can track the status of the issue.

I also raised the issue of enforcement of parking and double parking in bike lanes, and the answer is that CDOT meets with the CPD every other week and have been focusing on pedestrian safety issues but will raise this with them more now in response. The problem will be enforced on Dearborn and there has already been specific outreach like putting fliers on the windshields of incorrectly parked cars that explain how the new parking situation works. 

Thanks Michelle!  Friday sounds like a big day in bicycling land!

To add a little more to Michelle's comments above:

I raised the issue of overseeing contractors' work and practices that endanger bicyclists, as Howard brought up in the first response. The answer is that there is lots of construction of all sorts going on right now and coordination will improve because a new council of some sort has been formed that will allow them to communicate better. 

That "new council of some sort" is a new project management team, which is supposed to have oversight over these projects.  We were told that one of their functions is reviewing permit applications for projects for geographic coordination.  In other words, checking to make sure we won't have too many streets in the same general area under construction at the same time.  They're also supposed to be overseeing projects to ensure that contractors are not following practices that create a hazard for some road users - such as holes filled with pea gravel or steel plates that don't quite cover holes.

I also raised the issue of enforcement of parking and double parking in bike lanes, and the answer is that CDOT meets with the CPD every other week and have been focusing on pedestrian safety issues but will raise this with them more now in response. The problem will be enforced on Dearborn and there has already been specific outreach like putting fliers on the windshields of incorrectly parked cars that explain how the new parking situation works. 

While the idea of CDOT meeting with CPD every other week is good, the effectiveness of this effort is hindered by continued police understaffing.  Most of our police districts are understaffed, some quite significantly.  This is due to long-term shrinkage by attrition - effectively a stealth budget cut.  The city had the budget for x number of officers, but left some positions unfilled after officers retired and left the job for other reasons.  One of Emanuel's budget tricks was eliminating some of those vacant positions, for which money wasn't being spent anyway.  Academy classes have ranged from small to non-existent in over the last several years, and there have been plenty of retirements.  The last 2 years have seen small academy classes, but it's a drop in the bucket compared to what we need, as the department is a few thousand people short of what's needed for full coverage.  Bottom line: response times are likely to be slower unless it's a REALLY major problem.

In the meeting, we were told that more Dept. of Revenue employees are being trained on bikes and doing bike lane ticketing.  They are our best hope for bike lane enforcement.  Unless it's a slow night, police aren't necessarily going to be available to write many tickets.

Based on Dearborn, it seems that the informational flyer approach regarding the new parking configuration for protected lanes seems to be work.  I asked about getting this done on neighborhood protected lanes away from downtown and was told there was a limited budget for this.  This is an area where our aldermen may be able to help.  If you have protected lanes in your 'hood that could use this approach, ask your alderman, and ask fellow cyclists in your 'hood to ask your alderman to ask CDOT.  Persuade your alderman that it's worth spending a small amount of menu money on this.  Be squeaky wheels on the issue if parking in your neighborhood protected or buffered lanes is a problem.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

© 2008-2013   The Chainlink Community, L.L.C. Julie Hochstadter, Director   Powered by

Disclaimer  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service