The Chainlink

Are they any other regular users of the newish Elston protected bike lanes...north of Milwaukee ave? I've been a bit deflated (pun intended) by the amount of debris and glass, and general total absence of maintenance to the Elston bike lanes. Before the bike lanes, that roadway benefitted from very regular street sweeping. Now, the bike lanes have been sectioned off, and are a bit of a glassy mess. Does anyone who reads this blog have a relationship with city officials responsible for maintenance? Is there any hope even minimal sweeping can be done? I haven't had any luck through 311. And plan on investing in some more puncture proof tires soon out of necessity. 

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This is one of the major problems with separated lanes IMO. Regular lanes get swept just like the rest of the street, but the separated lanes can be neglected.

I notice that glass does not seem to accumulate on Dearborn or Kinzie, but I wonder if that's due to active maintenance or just due to heavier use.

(EDIT: I am pro separated bike lanes; I just recognize that this is an issue.)

Just another good biking route RUINED by Protected Bike Lanes.   You can no longer bike on Elston because of them.  Elston used to be a great direct route to the North Branch bike path and the NW suburbs.  The Elston shoulder was juuusssst wide enough for comfortable, safe biking.  Now you can't bike IN the PBL; and you can't bike OUT of the PBL.  It's a mess.

STOP THE INSANITY!   NO MORE BIKE LANES!

I thought you were a bike lane booster. What changed your mind?

i've never liked "protected" lanes ever since i rode one in Madison years ago- it was a 4' wide path with curbs on both sides and impossible to exit in an emergency or even to exit without dismounting and interfering with the riders around you. They were impossible to clear of debris and snow and IMHO a bigger hazard than riding a street with or without painted sharrows.

i recognise that many riders feel safer and will be encouraged to ride more, but i still feel that they -much like helmets-create an illusion of safety.

It is a lot safer to ride on a protected bike lane.  Some evidence:  http://peopleforbikes.org/our-work/statistics/statistics-category/?... .  Scroll down to the "safety" section.

Even if it makes people feel safer, leading more to bike, that makes it safer -- more cyclists on the streets improves things for everyone.

Elston had significant amounts of crap in the lane before the PBL. The debris and glass always shifted to the right and there was plenty of stuff. It hasn't gotten meaningfully worse than before it was upgraded except for the spot by the Vienna Beef factory where the street wasn't done right and there are significant dirt and drainage issues.

I hate to say this but it is worse. I travel 12 miles to work, 8 miles on Elston. There is a lot of crappy, chopped up pavement from the construction of the curbs. I started wondering how they would repave the streets, sidewalk to sidewalk, or just the roadway. The garbage is not cleaned but being winter that is to be expected. I still will ride this and I am not pissed about it, just wished it was a complete plan/solution for both cars and cyclists.  

I hardly ever ride that section by the encased meats production facility. What a waste.

July 7th was the last time I took a ride on this poorly maintained stretch. Judging by the single track formed in the debris, some "regular riders" must make it their route.

I wish I had a connection to the city. I have ridden Elston from Devon and Central since 1998. I like Elston for being wide enough for 1 car in each direction, a bike lane and parking. But with the new set up, it is much different. The protected lanes are a mess and the construction left areas with no drainage in areas, no outlet in an emergency, a tight lane for passing and that debris. The stretch along Milwaukee south of Elston is the same. I know people say they feel safer on these lanes but to me every intersection and driveway is scary. No visibility, cars not aware of your position because you are unseen behind parked cars, cars parking in the lanes, etc. You are given a false sense of security in these lanes, not in the flow of traffic, not completely segregated from traffic and a double intersection for cross traffic - bike lane then street. 

Here is how you get things done in Chicago:  you call the alderman's office. Or email them.  It will vary from ward to ward about how much something actually happens from your call, but if you want it taken care of for a chronic issue, you call the ward.

It can take persistence. You might have to call frequently.  It helps if you find someone to call that lives in the ward.  But sometimes fixes can't be done quickly and a budget cycle or two to get fixed.  

This address is in the 32nd Ward.  I have emailed them before about other issues and they respond.  Leave an email from the site or call his office.  Contact page here: http://ward32.org/contact-us/.  Or phone his office at 773-248-1330.

Generally garbage, sweeping, etc. is managed by the ward's Streets and San manager. (It might be CDOT, but usually Streets and San has some discretion.) So calling the office can get more directly to the person who can fix it than calling 311.

311 is good for streetlights, water leaks, etc.  But it will take a lot of tickets for them to care about fixing the bike lane.

If you are really motivated -- it's an election year. Go to a campaign event and talk to the politician directly.  It's not hard to do.

Thanks, I'll call.  What is sad is that before the new lane set up, this never crossed my mind. North of the old Morton Salt, it's fine. Debris gets kicked to under parked cars to the curbs. 

I have always had mixed feelings about PBL's for this reason. I plan to be in Amsterdam next year and cannot wait to ride lanes that are a priority. However, in the real world in which we live and commute a  PBL is hard to maintain and often neglected. I dodge a big pile of leaves yesterday on a PBL in Evanston. I like bike lanes but remain unconvinced about PBL's unless the municipality has a plan for keeping that lane open year round. I'm  against them but am not sure they are the best option. I will admit they are certainly safer especially for a novice rider. 

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