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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Here's what I've taken away from this discussion:

-The Stony Island cycle track "failed" because of lack of aldermanic support?

-None of us know how the decision was made to can Stony Island and go with Kinzie, or who was involved in that decision, or what factors were considered?

 

I was thinking how my route was going to be subject to some construction on my commute, but not anymore I  guess.

Steven Vance said:
Why is it "too bad"?

Mike Zumwalt said:
It's a start too bad it's my normal route to work.
Not a bad summary.  Add "is this type of treatment needed on Kinzie."

H3N3 said:

Here's what I've taken away from this discussion:

-The Stony Island cycle track "failed" because of lack of aldermanic support?

-None of us know how the decision was made to can Stony Island and go with Kinzie, or who was involved in that decision, or what factors were considered?

 

Really excited for this, but also weary about the users of it. aka slow riders (and i mean the really slow ones) and pedestrians/rollerbladers/people who don't belong in it. It's a really good start though!

I actually have a call in to Leslie Hairston's office about this (I live in the 5th). The lady I spoke to had never heard of a cycle track proposal for Stony, but claimed she'll talk to Hairston to see if she can find anything out.


H3N3 said:

Here's what I've taken away from this discussion:

-The Stony Island cycle track "failed" because of lack of aldermanic support?

-None of us know how the decision was made to can Stony Island and go with Kinzie, or who was involved in that decision, or what factors were considered?

 

Construction started this morning, here're the photos

 

First observation: I don't think you can take that away from this.

Second observation: I agree. 

H3N3 said:

Here's what I've taken away from this discussion:

-The Stony Island cycle track "failed" because of lack of aldermanic support?

-None of us know how the decision was made to can Stony Island and go with Kinzie, or who was involved in that decision, or what factors were considered?

 

I wonder if some confusing reporting and/or explaining from the city might be going on. I always thought the Stony Island Cycle Track seemed awfully expensive. I wonder if we will see some $ being spread around from the project, including to south side locations. Maybe it's not Kinzie *instead* of that project but rather Kinzie with other projects.

 

Here's to forward momentum!

Please share what you find out.  Some friends of mine have had issues with Hairston because she hasn't exactly been open to progressive ideas.  A while back, I saw her arguing with one of the key people who worked on the native plant restoration at 63rd St. beach, which she does not understand or like.

Dr. Doom said:

I actually have a call in to Leslie Hairston's office about this (I live in the 5th). The lady I spoke to had never heard of a cycle track proposal for Stony, but claimed she'll talk to Hairston to see if she can find anything out.


H3N3 said:

Here's what I've taken away from this discussion:

-The Stony Island cycle track "failed" because of lack of aldermanic support?

-None of us know how the decision was made to can Stony Island and go with Kinzie, or who was involved in that decision, or what factors were considered?

 

I am very excited for this change. This is part of my regular command and I have cars aggressively getting in front of my in the few sections where there is enough "room" for 2 lanes, and then have them slam on their brakes when it is time to merge again.  When I ride further east from wells, I have many turning vehicles cutting me off and acting very aggressively.  Right now there is no good way to get east through the loop, especially since the wacker drive construction started and many more vehicles are going down kinzie.  Many people I have talked to who work downtown express concern about cycling to work based on the following 2 issues:

 

1. There are no protected routes once you get to the loop.

 

2. Lack of secure parking for bikes.

 

If we are serious about increasing ridership than these 2 issues need to be addressed.

I have a pretty low opinion of Hairston. She seems to position herself against anything that pointy-headed Hyde Parkers might like. Sometimes I think part of her problem is that the 4th Ward alderman gets the clout that goes with being the alderman from the U of C even though most of the campus is in the 5th.

Anne Alt said:

Please share what you find out.  Some friends of mine have had issues with Hairston because she hasn't exactly been open to progressive ideas.  A while back, I saw her arguing with one of the key people who worked on the native plant restoration at 63rd St. beach, which she does not understand or like.

Dr. Doom said:

I actually have a call in to Leslie Hairston's office about this (I live in the 5th). The lady I spoke to had never heard of a cycle track proposal for Stony, but claimed she'll talk to Hairston to see if she can find anything out.


H3N3 said:

Here's what I've taken away from this discussion:

-The Stony Island cycle track "failed" because of lack of aldermanic support?

-None of us know how the decision was made to can Stony Island and go with Kinzie, or who was involved in that decision, or what factors were considered?

 

It's never been a commute route for me, but I've ridden it often over the years.  I agree with you about the problem areas.  The spot where taxis exit the Mart driveway just before Wells can get interesting as well - another spot that this reconfiguration can't fix.

 

Steven - I did not intend my earlier comments as a personal attack. I've appreciated a lot of the work that you've done.  I simply disagree with your arguments in favor of Kinzie over Stony.

 

This situation is one more incident in a long pattern of the city largely ignoring the south side regarding bike infrastructure.  The bike lanes and routes we have are helpful, but we need a lot more connections between them.  How are we ever going to build cycling mode share on the south side if we can't get help to create safe through routes so that cyclists who aren't among the most adventurous 10-20% will feel comfortable riding from neighborhood to neighborhood?  We have so many more obstacles than other parts of the city (in the form of expressways, rail yards, industrial areas and waterways).

 

The Central Ave. proposal currently being studied by IDOT offers some hope for the southwest side.  Vincennes Ave., while it has its quirks, has a lot of potential - if we could get some improvements back and get the area under the viaducts south of 83rd St. fixed.  The Rock Island Trail idea (being studied for the Rock Island Metra corridor as a rails-with-trails path) offers hope, but will take a long time to develop if it's approved and funding can be allocated.

 

I hate to be such an extremely squeaky wheel on this, but seeing a cycle track proposed for Stony Island gave me hope that the city might actually do more to make a difference on the south side.  This sudden change of direction, followed by the news that work is starting on Kinzie RIGHT NOW, makes me think "same s&*t, different day."


Michael Brosilow said:

Milwaukee to Kinzie is one of my regular routes. Car traffic on my left is rarely an issue because there is plenty of room on Kinzie. The problem areas are the bridge over the river & the access to the loading docks for the Merchandise Mart where trucks come out blind. I don't see the cycle track solving those issues.

Agreed. I experience it nearly every day eastbound between the river and Kingsbury. Maybe Steven can confirm it, but it looks like the bike lane may solve this problem by effectively turning Kinzie into one lane.

 

Disclaimer: I asked for confirmation from our resident expert, because if I don't, other posters seem to think that I make baseless assumptions ;)


Cameron Puetz said:

My experience with Kinzie is that I have problems with traffic on the left because there is so much room. Kinzie feels like it is about 1.75 lanes wide in each direction. When traffic is light and content to be one lane, Kinzie is great. When traffic starts to pick up and drivers try to move to a two lane configuration things it dicey quick. The worst is when most drivers view Kinzie as one lane, but a couple really aggressive drivers view it as two lanes and start passing on the right.

Michael Brosilow said:
Milwaukee to Kinzie is one of my regular routes. Car traffic on my left is rarely an issue because there is plenty of room on Kinzie. The problem areas are the bridge over the river & the access to the loading docks for the Merchandise Mart where trucks come out blind. I don't see the cycle track solving those issues. That being said I do welcome the project & look forward to its completion.

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