The Chainlink

Pier pressure: is the Navy Pier Flyover bike/ped bridge really worth $45 million or is there an alternative?

Everyone agrees that conditions on Chicago's Lakefront Trail between the river and Ohio Street Beach need to be improved. The Chicago Department of Transportation is planning to build the Navy Pier Flyover, a bridge-like structure that would carry trail users up over the river, Illinois Street and Grand Avenue, bypassing these problem spots, at a jaw-dropping $45 million price tag. To put that in perspective, in 2008 the Portland, Oregon, Bureau of Transportation estimated the entire replacement cost of that city's then 300-mile bike network at about $60 million. Today on Grid Chicago Steven Vance proposes an alternative: http://gridchicago.com/2012/navy-pier-flyover-is-it-worth-45-million-or-is-there-another-way/

What do you think: is it worth spending $45 million on the flyover or do you prefer Steven's proposal?


Keep moving forward,

John Greenfield

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I'd rather have 100 miles of protected bike lanes than the Navy Pier flyover.

There's a number of projects like this, simply creating a bike line down inner lake shore drive and connecting it to lanes on Columbus/Fairbanks would solve congestion problems and give an alternate winter route.  

This is obviously a better idea than the flyover. It kind of reminds me of how people are always coming up with complex light rail schemes because striping roads to handle bus rapid transit, while vastly cheaper and just about as effective, doesn't seem sexy enough (or doesn't throw off enough patronage).

My preferred solution to Lakefront Trail congestion would be to remove a lane from Lake Shore Drive and use the extra space to widen the bike path. Seriously.

Liz said:

There's a number of projects like this, simply creating a bike line down inner lake shore drive and connecting it to lanes on Columbus/Fairbanks would solve congestion problems and give an alternate winter route.  

I am totally looking for someone with real graphic design skills to donate their time to make a new rendering for us. Maybe if I spent 30 more minutes, it could look a little cleaner, but that's as good as I get when it comes to drawing with a computer. 

I always thought that 2-way on street bike paths in the pink areas would solve 2 problems:
1. the winter ice block on the curve 

2. reduce congestion around navy pier

The lack of a protected bike lane on Columbus is ridiculous.  That street is way to wide for the safe flow of traffic and drivers treat it like the do lake shore drive.  There's no reason for 6 lanes of traffic on that road.  

Great idea but:

1. Construction jobs

2. Fat contracts for connected firms

3. Construction jobs

I'm pretty sure this isn't about bicycles at all.

4. Kickbacks

Dave Jacque said:

Great idea but:

1. Construction jobs

2. Fat contracts for connected firms

3. Construction jobs

I'm pretty sure this isn't about bicycles at all.

Will there not be a public hearing on this?  Completely agreed that something needs to be done around Navy Pier, but $45 million on that short of a stretch is crazy (especially when another city completely redesigned its system for a little more) when there are so many other bad spots, potholes, lack of bike lanes, etc.

Daniel G said:

People are going to look at the Flyover once construction begins and assume that Chicago cyclists must already have the greatest biking conditions in the world if we can afford to toss sixty million at elevated lakefront tourist showpieces. Opposition to "real" bike infrastructure projects will only increase as LSD motorists are inconvenienced by the Flyover's construction. I don't think this will be good for Chicago cycling, at all. Fight it? I don't know, what good would it do. No more money for bike lanes, we spent it all on the Lakefront trail because that's where the rich Japanese tourists like to ride.

A good start towards this.

Velocycleway.

Public meetings may have already happened (years ago), but I wasn't able to get evidence of this in the past two weeks. 

Mollie said:

Will there not be a public hearing on this?  Completely agreed that something needs to be done around Navy Pier, but $45 million on that short of a stretch is crazy (especially when another city completely redesigned its system for a little more) when there are so many other bad spots, potholes, lack of bike lanes, etc.

I also agree that it would be a better use of resources to claim a lane rather than some ostentatious show stopper. I understand that the lakefront and loop area are priorities since they get the most out of town traffic, but i don't care if someone from city-x thinks that chicago "rates" in its bicycling infrastructure. Also, for the many of us who live and commute in the parts of the city that get no attention, it's kind of a big middle finger.

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