The Chainlink

New thread for the new year. Share your pics, videos, streets, stories of what you find in the bike lane of the non-bike variety that has an impact on your ride and/or your safety. I've decided to keep it a little more open ended - cars, snow, buses, garbage, cabs, etc. If they shouldn't be in the bike lane, go ahead and add it to this thread. Please be safe if you are taking pics or video! :-) 

My hope is that we can collectively build some evidence of what we see when riding in the city with the overall hope of better enforcement of "bikes only" and improving maintenance. 

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Texting cops (Clinton bike lane 1/4/2016)

I thought it looked like a Police car and it is after viewing full-sized.


Juan 2-8 mi. posted this bus parked in the bike lane 1/4/2016.

Mobility Works van, southbound Elston bike lane 1/5/16. (And thanks to the fellow bike commuter who came along and de-escalated a situation that was getting ugly!)

Photo courtesy of John Greenfield, Streetsblog Chicago

Streetsblog just published an article about snow being pushed into the protected bike lanes (from sidewalks):

In general, protected bike lanes are great for encouraging “interested-but-concerned” folks to try urban cycling. However, as I discussed last week, when the lanes aren’t maintained well during the winter, they can actually make cycling more difficult. And when snow- or ice-filled PBLs force bike riders to share narrow travel lanes with motorists, that decreases safety.

Even when the Chicago Department of Transportation does a good job of plowing the protected lanes, there’s often a problem with snow later being pushed off sidewalks in front of businesses, into the curbside bike lanes. Last fall the city passed an ordinance that makes it clear it’s illegal to do this, as well as raises fines for property owners who don’t shovel their sidewalks, but CDOT officials said there were no plans to increase enforcement.

Full article: http://chi.streetsblog.org/2016/01/04/solving-the-problem-of-snow-b...

There is an update to this story  by Steve Vance:

Excerpt:

At the quarterly Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Council meeting last month, Mike Amsden, assistant transportation planning director for the Chicago Department of Transportation said “We are committed to maintaining our protected bike lanes year round so people can bike in them year round.” The goal, Amsden said, “is to get to each of the locations within 24 hours.” If you notice a bike lane hasn’t been cleared he said you can email cdotbikes@cityofchicago.org.

I wrote to that email address asking for clarification about how to report snow in both bike lands and defacto bike lanes (rush hour no parking lanes) and got this response:

Good Morning,

Please report snow in bike lanes, regardless of bike lane type, to 311.  A new code was added that reads, "Snow - Uncleared Sidewalk or Bike Lane."  See here-

https://servicerequest.cityofchicago.org/web_intake_chic/Controller

Once you enter an address you'll be able to select "Bike Lane" from the drop down menu.

For streets without bike lanes, please use the "Ice and Snow" code in 311 and you'll be prompted to enter a location where the street has not been cleared.

Thank You.

I didn't see the "Ice and Snow" category when I looked at it yesterday. I was skimming and looking for stuff under "Snow". So that clears up what to do about reporting snow on the edges of streets that don't have bike lanes.  

These instructions do seem to contradict the instruction quoted by Steve Vance to use the cdotbikes email address for reporting snow issues. Given that the 311 system generates a tracking or reference number I think I'll be more inclined to use that. 

Within 24 hours?

Warren blvd and Western - pile 'o ice right at the intersection. (1/5/2016) 

As for the snow in the bike lanes... Get an app called SeeClickFix... Report the snow every time. Maybe they will get the message, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

The vehicles parked in the lanes are just inconsiderate POS.

I was gonna suggest supporting the local developers who made the ChicagoWorks app which does pretty much the same thing as SeeClickFix. But then I tried to use it to report snow in the street and didn't find an option to do so. So I downloaded SeeClickFix and found the same problem. There does not appear to be a way to submit any road surface related reports unless it is a "Pothole in Street" or issues with traffic lights.

It looks like both apps are acting as intermediaries for APIs (Application Program Interface) provided by the city which are currently only accepting a limited set of reports?

Do you recall being able to submit snow in the street reports via SeeClickFix previously?

Sometimes the "solution" to a squeaky wheel is to just remove it. :)

There was a comment to Steven Vance's Streetsblog column yesterday that gave a link to a new 311 service that allows reporting uncleared snow in a bike lane!

https://servicerequest.cityofchicago.org/web_intake_chic/Controller

In the drop down menu scroll down to "Snow - Uncleared Sidewalk or Bike Lane"

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