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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I take Elston here and there on commutes when I find myself feeling especially annoyed by fellow riders shoaling or whatever. I love Elston because there is hardly anyone on it and you can really fly if the lights time out right. I also generally have positive feelings about PBLs.

I have noticed debris but I guess I found it manageable (I'm sure I would likely have a different opinion if I get a flat because of it though). Last week there was one case where it looked like a street sweeper may have entered the lane but instead of clearing all the crap it just left a nice neat pile of dirt right in the lane.

How annoying are you being with 311? Do you report it everyday? 

For some types of requests, doing a 311 request via the web site or the new app (which includes bike program requests now) can be much more effective than making a phone call.

I would’ve rode elston tonight but I knew it was going to be icy. So I rode down the sidewalk on north slowly and still about ate shit. I would’ve taken the elston bike lane but it’s an ice trap. The protected bike lanes are more for the image of “hey look at us we are a sustainable progressive city” then they don’t do anything to back that image up!

There are roughly 50,000 miles of streets in Chicago. There are just over 200 miles of bike lanes, and a whole lot less protected bike lanes. Surely the city can find a few pennies to keep them clean. I imagine the majority of us own cars that sit in parking lots while be bike. I pay a good chunk in property taxes, city stickers, etc. I wasn't aware than "street cleaning" only entailed cleaning the parts where cars and trucks traveled. Pfffft.

This has nothing to do with the financial picture of the city. Zero. Zilch.  CDOT has the equipment and can deploy it.  See this:

It requires cyclists logging requests so that politicians and departments know they need to fix the problems we complain about. 

Yes, street sweeping is a Apr-Nov, but Streets and San and CDOT work year-round. They can fix this if there are enough complaints.

I would drive a 2 person cart like those park district vehicles and clean the bike lanes.
If they enforced the blocking of bike lanes it would fund itself from ticket revenue.
Or maybe like the adopt a highway program or we could have a party afterwards sponsored by someone?

Do you want 'Chicago's Finest' spending time handing out parking tickets?   Or conforming to the Consent Decree?  How many tickets could the typical Chicago cop write in an 8-hr shift? Eight?  And you think that would pay for his salary, benefits, retirement plan, court costs, City attorneys....and bike lane sweeping, etc?

Rahm is out there now, polling the aldermen about sources of revenue to reduce the killer deficit for 2019.  And I guarantee you no one's suggesting to write more parking tickets.   I wrote my alderman, suggesting more carbon taxes.  But Chicago's gas tax is already higher than the surrounding counties and Indiana.  But taxing carbon will eventually's a no-brainer!


There are people whose job it is to monitor meters. If they also enforced bike lanes and ticketed offenders, yes, it would bring A LOT of much-needed revenue into Chicago.

I think they could write more than 8 parking tickets in a shift. I've seen an officer walk down my old block, which was permit parking, and write more than 8 in less than an hour. 

John Greenfield had a great piece a year or two ago about how he was annoyed about a frozen section of bike lane on Broadway so he went and shoveled it himself.

It definitely seems like if one of us spent a little time to clean it up it would go a long way. 

As Yasmeen noted, the city has dedicated workers in the Finance Dept. that write tickets for parking meters and bike lane violators.

I average reporting a violator for every two minutes in the bike lanes. I've seen the workers write parking tickets, and it only takes a few minutes. They should be able to write at least a dozen an hour, or 80 per shift. It's a $300 fine for illegally parking in the central business district, and $150 outside the zone. Multiply that by the 100+ workers and we're not talking nickels and dimes.

The city makes over $200 Million a year in parking tickets already!

I talk to drivers occasionally doing deliveries in River North and they complain about no where to park or getting a ticket and that wipes out their earnings for the weekend.

It is a deterrent but not if it isn't enforced, they pay how many people to check your windshield for parking zone permit? Or for the LAZ receipt 

If they wrote one ticket a day for bike lane parking that's over $50,000 which would pay for cleaning and repainting lanes.



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