Cyclists ride eastbound in the Kinzie Street protected bike lane. Photo by Joshua Koonce.
I contacted Brian Steele, public information officer at the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), to answer some outstanding questions.
All construction will be done by today (except last night’s hail storm and inclement weather today may delay this). The last pieces to be installed are some bike symbols and green paint (actually an epoxy).
The most important questions
A lot of Chicagoans who use the bike lane want to know when the bridge deck will be treated so it’s less slippery and dangerous. Some commenters on The Chainlink saw this as the missing piece and that the protected bike lane’s not complete until the bridge is made bike friendly (like the new Randolph bridge). Brian said that “custom plates to fit the Kinzie bridge are being manufactured” and CDOT will receive them in August.
I haven’t read anyone asking about how many people rode their bikes on Kinzie Street before the transformation, or even questions about its cost, but both are important to planners, advocates, and probably politicians.
I was concerned about making sure CDOT counted the number of people cycling here before the project began, and then counting a couple times after the bike lane is completed. Brian mentioned that “413 total cyclists (348 eastbound and 65 westbound) were counted between 7-9 AM on Tuesday, May 10.” Construction began on June 5, 2011. Data from a 24-hour are not yet available. I’ll update Grid readers when there’s data about “after” usage. What effect will the bike lane upgrades have on ridership?
So, how much did 0.5 miles of Chicago’s first bidirectional protected bike lane cost?
- $130,000 for flexible delineators (soft-hit bollards), green epoxy covering, bridge plates and bolts, modular curbs, traffic control and protection* (materials only, doesn’t include labor cost). Funded by a City mini capital program that had money budgeted but not yet allocated. No state or federal funding involved.
- $10,000 for bicycle symbols, provided by SRAM Cycling Fund (materials only, doesn’t include labor cost).
- Information on the cost of pavement markings and signage isn’t known at this time.
- $30,835 of the $130,000 above was for 1,300 square feet of fiberglass plates.
My final question unfortunately had no answer: CDOT is still discussing the location of the next protected bike lane. I don’t know if they’re collecting feedback on locations, but read my list of locations and tell the Bicycle Program where one should go.
The choice should be for a more challenging place: it should be in a location where there are many documented bicycle crashes (find them on a map) and a location that will see fewer bicycle crashes because of a “protection upgrade” like Kinzie Street. Additionally, it should be in a location where the City can best realize its goals of mode shift and increasing the number of trips residents make by bicycle. While Kinzie Street is a good location because it helps improve access to downtown (a bicycling-heavy area that is consistently neglected and uncomfortable to ride to and within), it is not a high-crash street, nor do I believe we will see a major increase in cycling trips**.
As of Thursday, June 30, 2011, this bike box was awaiting bicycle symbols. Photo by Eric Pancer.
See hundreds of pictures of the construction progress, and the final product:
*Traffic control and protection: “These terms refer to the cones, barrels, barricades, signs, message boards, vehicles, flaggers, etc. that may be used to provide temporary ‘traffic control’ through the construction area to in order to provide some ‘protection’ to the on-site workers.”
**Note: Kinzie Street may see an increase in cycling trips as a result of the protected bike lane, but some of these trips may have been rerouted from other streets like Grand Avenue or Lake Street. Transferred trips does not mean an increase in trips by bicycle.
Updated July 1, 2011, to add note about traffic control and protection and to list cost of pavement markings and signage. Updated July 25, 2011, to clarify funding source. Updated July 28, 2011, to add information on bike-friendly deck costs.