The Chainlink

Hopefully you've heard by now that CDOT will begin construction this week on the city's first protected bike lane: Kinzie Street from Milwaukee Avenue/Desplaines Street to Wells Street. 

 

Full story on Steven Can Plan. 

 

I want to know what you think about this.

  • What do you feel will need special attention?
  • Is this the right or wrong location for such a facility? Why?
  • Are you going to thank/congratulate Rahm, Gabe, and the CDOT Bicycle Program?
  • Will you use it?

 

Cycle track and protected bike lane naysayers, this isn't the post for you. But if you've ridden in protected bike lanes before, then I welcome your constructive comments and criticism based on your actual experiences. 

Big intersection

The new beginning. Looking southeast at the intersection of Kinzie/Milwaukee/Desplaines. 

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Per Leslie Hairston, the original report about the funding being switched from Stony Island to Kinzie was not accurate, according to Gabe Klein, and that the Stony Island project is planned to go forward. She sounded quite irritated over the whole thing and wants to get both something in writing from CDOT and a correction from the paper.

VERY interesting.  Thanks for the clarification. I'm glad to hear this news.

Dr. Doom said:

Per Leslie Hairston, the original report about the funding being switched from Stony Island to Kinzie was not accurate, according to Gabe Klein, and that the Stony Island project is planned to go forward. She sounded quite irritated over the whole thing and wants to get both something in writing from CDOT and a correction from the paper.
Hey if WGN uses any footage from this morning while they were sweeping, and blowing concrete dust around I'm the guy holding his breath cheeks puffed out. LOL!

Steven Vance said:

See what happened on Day 2

Some new information:

  • Bike box
  • Not protected uphill in front of Blommer
  • Left turn lanes in both directions on Kinzie at Milwaukee/Desplaines

Chicago's first bike box 

I realized that the Chicago Tribune and CDOT have been giving conflicting information about why Stony Island was chosen, then "dropped from consideration" (presumably as the *first* cycle track location), and now "reborn":

 

From Steven Can Plan

In February, Chicago Tribune transportation reporter John Hilkevitch quoted CDOT spokesperson, Brian Steele, saying, “There is already a lot of bicycling on the route, and we envision the cycle track as being a good connection to Jackson Park, the lakefront and the larger bike network in the city.”

Then yesterday, in June, the same reporter wrote, “But the location, chosen mainly because Stony Island has abundant lane capacity, was dropped from consideration because too few bicyclists use the corridor, officials said.”

 

Which is it, and what is CDOT's criteria for selecting a cycle track location?

I went by to take a glance at this, hoping to ride down the new lane, but...

 

 

Naturally, the cars are still parked on the curb, taking over the new lane.  Which makes me wonder how this is going to work: on the one hand you need some kind of separator to keep cars in their lane (planters or something), but if you add anything permanent, how is the bike lane ever going to get plowed in the winter?  Or is the new lane designed from the start to be a snow-holder lane in winter?

 

I'm excited about the new developments, but I'd feel a lot more comfortable about them if CDOT were more open about what's going on.  I mean, why do we have to guess at stuff like the status of the Stony Island project or the plans for plowing in the winter?   I honestly don't understand all the secrecy.

I hope they give us an update at tomorrows MBAC meeting. Any of you who are able to attend the 3 pm meeting downtwon should join too. Ill most likely be there.

They're parked there because there's nothing yet that tells them not to. The bike lane's not officially a bike lane until it has signage and symbols. The barrier is forthcoming. 

 

Your comments about CDOT and secrecy are spot on. I wonder what we'll hear (and not hear) at tomorrow's MBAC meeting. City Hall, room 1103, 3-4:45 PM. 

David said:

I went by to take a glance at this, hoping to ride down the new lane, but...

Naturally, the cars are still parked on the curb, taking over the new lane.  Which makes me wonder how this is going to work: on the one hand you need some kind of separator to keep cars in their lane (planters or something), but if you add anything permanent, how is the bike lane ever going to get plowed in the winter?  Or is the new lane designed from the start to be a snow-holder lane in winter?

 

I'm excited about the new developments, but I'd feel a lot more comfortable about them if CDOT were more open about what's going on.  I mean, why do we have to guess at stuff like the status of the Stony Island project or the plans for plowing in the winter?   I honestly don't understand all the secrecy.

I'm hoping that signage and street marking will be up by monday for bike to work week. 

It would be great for non regular downtown riders to have a better and safer ride as incentive to ride to work more days.

 

I suspect that its going to take time for drivers to learn where/how to park with the cycle track. 

 

this is great, and probably the most useful in the areas underneath the bridge as you approach the merchandise mart from either direction. i agree with others though, this is just a start and there is really no good way to get directly down into the loop. especially harrowing is crossing the bridges with the metal grid road surface which can be really slippery at times..

 

seeing the picture posted here in the comments, indeed it's frustrating to see cars parked there; since this idea is so new to chicago period i think it's reasonable to expect some confusion on the part of motorists.. i wonder what the best way is to enhance visibility or to communicate the purpose of these lanes and keeping them clear for bike use only.

 

i am assuming there was formerly parking along this route, in the place of where the lane is now?

Getting more of a context for this at today's Mayor's Bicycle Advisory Council meeting was helpful.  It made more sense of this sudden, unexpected addition.

 

BTW, Luann Hamilton, Deputy Commissioner of CDOT, explained that the Stony Island cycle track IS happening.  The long time for implementation is due to the longer review/design process associated with federal funding for this particular project.  If it was a locally funded project like Kinzie, it would happen faster.

I posted the minutes from today's MBAC meeting here: http://onelessminivan.tumblr.com/post/6337073705/minutes-from-junes...

 

There was lots of talk about this cycle track, about future protected lanes and 100 miles of bike boulevards (bikeways).

Thanks for posting that Ash. And thanks for sitting through one of those meetings (zzzzzzzzzz)


I can't seem to get the minutes to be viewable at a resolution high enough to read with limited guesswork.

Are full-sized files available for download?

Ash L. said:

I posted the minutes from today's MBAC meeting here: http://onelessminivan.tumblr.com/post/6337073705/minutes-from-junes...

 

There was lots of talk about this cycle track, about future protected lanes and 100 miles of bike boulevards (bikeways).

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