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Cyclist on Douglas Boulevard in the 24th Ward before protected lanes were installed.

Eboni Senai Hawkins, founder of the local chapter of the African-American cycling group Red Bike and Green, recently emailed me that some local residents are “up in arms” about the protected bike lanes being built along the West Side boulevards. This 4.5-mile route leads from Garfield Park to 24th Street in Little Village. 24th Ward Alderman Michael Chandler has asked the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) to suspend construction of the lanes on Independence Boulevard, which runs south from Garfield Park, until these issues are resolved. I called Eboni last night for more info and her perspective on the situation.

So what are people’s concerns?

Basically they’re creating a protected bike lane on one side [of Independence] by moving the parked cars to the middle on [the southbound] side, and on the other side going north they’re just doing it as a buffered bike lane, with the bike lane to the left of the parked cars. So essentially they started implementing this particular design for these bike lanes and then there was ticketing that wasn’t supposed to happen that all of the sudden happened because people didn’t know where to park. The lanes are half constructed. So all these tickets were issued and everyone’s up in arms in this particular community, which is mostly Lawndale. [The tickets have since been dismissed.]

A special concern is the number of churches that are along this corridor. They’re concerned about their congregation and their ability to park. And there’s also this concern about safety. Basically people kept saying at the meeting, you have to get out of your car in the middle of the street.

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CDOT handout outlining the West Side Boulevards route.

And then I went and biked through a bit of it before the meeting, and I saw the northbound side and the southbound side – they are two different designs. Additionally, because they had to halt construction in the middle of the project because of pressure from Alderman Chandler it kind of is really, really confusing now, for everybody, whether you’re on a bicycle or in a car. You have these half-finished bike lanes, and the stripes are not complete in certain places and it just looks a mess because it’s half-completed.

What I’ve heard from both Active Trans and CDOT is, “We’re trying to get these lanes in, but it can be difficult for people to deal with change.” And the biggest thing was that they say they’ve reached out to Chandler’s office with no response, no response, no response and now he’s responding since his constituents are complaining because there was this initial flurry of mistaken parking tickets.

CDOT, they’re trying to get things done. They have this huge push from the mayor to get these bike lanes out. You have Active Trans issuing an action alert saying that if you’re in the 24th Ward let the alderman know that you support biking. So I got a couple of calls about this issue because I live in the ward and teach bike mechanics in the ward, at the Better Boys Foundation, and obviously because of my commitment to cycling in the African-American community.

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Eboni Senai Hawkins, front, with Red Bike and Green members. Image courtesy of RBG.

So I go to the ward meeting and the first thing I notice is that there are mostly elders there, and that’s because the churches have called out their community and because it’s a meeting that’s happening at twelve in the afternoon. The second thing that I notice is that it is a primarily African-American population. The third thing I notice is that I’m the only one who showed up on a bike.

And I talked to a gentleman outside who described himself as an avid cyclist and he was probably in his sixties. And he just didn’t understand why they put the lanes in the way they did. He was like, “They didn’t need the lanes here.” And the other concern was cars making right turns, because now the cars have to make right turns kind of into the cycling lane. So there are a lot of safety concerns.

So the meeting primarily was about that – concerns for children, concerns for elderly. The concerns with children are basically about the kids getting out of the cars. I don’t quite understand why they wouldn’t get out on the passenger side, but these were things that were mentioned.

Are they worried about people getting out on the passenger side getting hit by bikes? Because otherwise what’s the difference between parking your car next to the curb or one lane over?

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Typical protected bike lane layout on Kinzie Street.

It’s partly an issue of what people are used to visually or maybe psychologically. The second thing people are concerned about is that the number of lanes has been decreased [by a four-to-three-lane road diet, with one travel lane swapped for the protected bike lane.] So you’ve decreased the number of lanes where, if someone sees you getting out of your car then they can merge and get into another lane. CDOT had statistics that said basically there were too few cars for all that space so they put it on a road diet.

The thinking behind doing the road diet is it’s going to make it safer for everybody because you’ll have less speeding. What did people think about that argument?

Uh-um. I mean there’s several stop signs. It’s really tricky John because you’re also laying down bike lanes in the middle of winter in a community that doesn’t have a lot of cyclists. So the need for bike lanes just isn’t there visually. People are like, “Why do you need bike lanes right now?” There isn’t a ton of biking in that area yet and the biking that is happening is happening on the side streets, mostly kids. It’s not even like Ogden, which also runs through the 24th Ward but is a major diagonal street. I see road cyclists flying down Ogden all the time. The perception that I heard is that the only time there’s a real mass of bicyclists down Independence is during [Active Trans’ Four-Star Bike Tour.]

One thing I know about that West Side boulevards is that one of the reasons they chose that route is because there were a lot of requests for something to make it safer to walk to Garfield Park and Douglas Park. People were interested in shortening the pedestrian crossing districts and slowing down traffic – people really tend to speed on the boulevards. So those were some of the reasons that they put in protected lanes on the boulevards even though there’s not much cycling on that route yet.

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Street marking crew truck in buffered bike lane on Marshall Boulevard. Photo by Steven.

I think that when you’re thinking of the chicken and the egg approach, this was just too soon. It’s just the wrong timing. All the feedback that I heard was the safety concerns, you have a lot of churches involved, you have elderly people. There was a woman in a wheelchair who was like, “How am I supposed to get to the church with my wheelchair? It takes me a long time to get out of my car and into my chair.”

Do you think that it’s mostly just a perception that parking away from the curb is dangerous or do you personally think that it makes a difference?

I think that if you’re going to [change the street] this quickly then you have to introduce the alternatives right away.

Probably what happened, I’m not sure, but they probably announced some public meetings about the lanes before they were installed and people didn’t show up for the meetings or get the word that this was going on.

[CDOT] said they reached out to the alderman. So part of this is on the alderman’s plate because he signed off on this last December. He didn’t communicate this to his constituents. However, I also do think that it’s not all on the alderman. I do think that the department of transportation needed to actually get out there and talk to folks. And it really sounds like these lanes were put in without anybody talking to any of the major players along these boulevards. And it’s like, if you don’t get a response from the alderman, what is your second stream of communications? Do you just say, “Well the alderman didn’t get back to me so I’m just going to go ahead and do this?” That doesn’t make any sense.

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24th Ward Alderman Michael Chandler.

Did you hear about what happened with the protected bike lanes CDOT proposed for King Drive?

They moved it over to State Street [and are currently installing a buffered lane on King.]

So it sounds like a really similar situation where the local clergy opposed the protected lanes.

But I’m really concerned about this overall because it’s not just about the lanes, it’s about what the communication is between the department of transportation and underserved communities. So if you’re completely relying on the alderman, I understand that may be a part of how Chicago politics works, but I feel like you to have a second way to get the word out, and things that are offline communications.

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Streets for Cycling Plan 2020 public input meeting at the Woodson Library, 95th and Halsted.

I mean, I live in Lawndale. I teach a program in Lawndale. I’m here all the time. I never saw any public notices about exactly what the [street] design was going to be. People literally didn’t know what was going on. The reason I’m really concerned about this, I made a point of going to a couple of the Streets for Cycling meetings in Garfield Park and on the Far South Side at the Woodson Library meetings because I wanted to get to know the cycling community. But a lot of that stuff was mostly advertised online.

It’s just that the timing of things and the lack of communication concerns me. There are all these initiatives that are being pushed forward but I have a real concern about what the communications department at CDOT is doing if the alderman isn’t proactive. Because you’re going to have more Chandlers, where the alderman is reactive once the community has spoken out, as opposed to being proactive.

There is another public meeting scheduled for tomorrow, where CDOT is apparently coming back with some alternative options: Thursday, December 20, 11:30 am at Greater Galilee Missionary Baptist Church, 1308 South Independence.

Read an interesting discussion of the West Side protected lanes on EveryBlock.

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  • Adam Herstein

    The alderman signed off on it, didn’t alert anyone of the changes, then – not surprisingly – when people were caught off guard by the new lanes, the alderman reneged on his approval. Seems to me that this was a shortcoming on Alderman Chandler. He could have done any number of things to ease the transition, but instead did nothing. I’d say that the blame falls mostly on his shoulders. He should take responsibility for his ward, but instead we are left with a confusing and potentially dangerous mess.

    Also, I never realized how much political power churches have on the west and south sides.

    • Alex

      Is it true that the planned protected lanes on MLK got bumped over to State? I know when I used to bike on MLK on Sunday mornings I was always amazed at the SB bike lane would be blocked for entire blocks by double-parked cars. I would be surprised if there is an ordinance that specifically allows church parkers to do that, but I always figured that the local churches had an “understanding” with the police. Especially since, truth be told, there are not many bikers on MLK on Sunday morning.

      • http://gridchicago.com John Greenfield

        Yep, buffered lanes are currently going in on King and State will eventually get protected lanes.

  • Mark Twain

    Haven’t those reverends and other clergy members gotten enough handouts, over the years, by having CPD turn a blind-eye to double parking near churches? It’s time to put an end to that… hopefully CDOT carries on with their mission of creating safe bikeways.

    • http://gridchicago.com John Greenfield

      This was an issue when Active Trans first staged a ciclovia on the boulevards and churches were afraid of losing their de facto parking. 35th Ward Alderman Rey Colon said in a Reader article on the subject, “I call it the pray-and-park policy. It’s a courtesy that is provided to
      the churches, sort of informally. I’ve been here since ’67 and it’s
      always been in place, and I’m not gonna be the one to break the cycle.” Here’s that article: http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/where-would-jesus-park/Content?oid=925267

  • ThisManIsRight

    excellent interview, thanks for posting. agreed on some of the blame falling on the alderman’s office, but CDOT really should do a better job of letting people know in advance when this stuff is happening. I mean, how many times did GRIDchicago only learn about new lanes going in because one of us tweeted at you after seeing it happening? why all the operating in darkness without publicity, especially when it’s a major change impacting how everyone uses our roads? there’s a good springboard argument to be made here about how terrible the city does educating it’s residents on most anything.
    back to the alderman issue, i can easily imagine had CDOT started reaching out to those “secondary” community leaders due to a lack of response from the alderman, the alderman would’ve heard about it and gotten pissy about them ignoring him. oh, the way our city works.

    • http://www.stevevance.net/ Steven Vance

      We hear about new bike lanes either by seeing them on the road (surprise!), seeing a tweet from you guys, from Active Transportation Alliance, or a press release from CDOT (like they did for Dearborn Street). Sometimes, MBAC is the first place we hear of it.

  • Marcus de la fleur

    I also attended the meeting – and biked to it. So there were two people on bikes!

    CDOT did reach out to the community – beyond Alderman Chandler. I remember seeing notes about public meetings to discuss the bike lanes. The meetings were held in the Douglas Park field house.

    It appears that not many people heard about the meetings or got the notices. This is where Chandler should have stepped in – getting the word out! But even with that – I attend quite a few community meetings here in North Lawndale, and are always surprised at the low attendance. I am not convinced that a lot more locals would have attended the meetings, even if it would have been better advertised.

    • http://www.facebook.com/cameron.puetz Cameron Puetz

      Ms. Hawkins’s point about the meeting being attended mostly by elders because it was at 12:00 in the afternoon is a big problem with many of CDOT’s meetings. CDOT meetings are typically held at times that most people can’t attend because they are at work. If you want input from commuters then you can’t have a meeting in the middle of the afternoon, few people can take the afternoon off to maybe have their point heard.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jstoner John Stoner

    Yeah, the lanes on Marshall down in Little Village were a little messed up too. The lanes were put in but there was no signage change.

    I think the smart thing to do would be for the city to have the ticket-writers (Department of Revenue?) put notices on the windshields of all the cars in a position to get ticketed for a week before the change was to take place. Give them ‘pre-tickets.’ Might have been a good way to get the word out about the meetings as well.

    • http://gridchicago.com John Greenfield

      Definitely. Temporary signs on nearby poles and warning notices rather than tickets on the windshields until the lanes are completely striped, signed and bollard-ed would make tons of sense. John, you live right by the Marshall lanes. Have your neighbors gotten used to parking in the correct location?

      • http://www.facebook.com/treechunk Sam Van Dellen

        NOPE! The lane is basically impassable almost all the time, and at school-pick-up time it’s basically filled with cars from end to end.

        • http://gridchicago.com John Greenfield

          Is the lane completed yet? Do you think people are choosing to park incorrectly or is it just not obvious where they’re supposed to park?

          • http://www.facebook.com/treechunk Sam Van Dellen

            It’s pretty unclear, there isn’t really any signage or anything.

      • http://twitter.com/banoonoo Anna Schibrowsky

        On Desplaines, the bollards changed the parking behavior. Warning notices sound great, but I’d prioritize bollards over signage.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tom-Hagglund/1381355153 Tom Hagglund

          And for some unknown reason, Chicago’s protected cycle lanes are all missing a single (soft plastic, not concrete or steel) bollard centered at each intersection end, which would absolutely prevent cars and trucks from entering the lanes, while allowing cyclists to pass.

          • Mark Twain

            Personally, I think the bollards are too scarce when in place. It would really help having them placed at smaller intervals to create more of a “wall” that drivers should not cross. The whole thing just screams out “temporary”.

      • Glenn

        I also live on Marshall. I bike a lot, but also drive, and park on Marshall Boulevard from time to time. I always park against the curb, because if I park five feet to the left, someone will run into my car. Are there plans to put in pylons, like on Randolf?

        • http://gridchicago.com John Greenfield

          Thanks for commenting. I’m curious: why are people afraid that their cars will get hit if they park to the left of the protected bike lane? I mean, if the street had the same number of car travel lanes as it does now, with a curb to the right of your parked car instead of a bike lane, you wouldn’t be afraid to park your park there would you?

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Valerie-F-Leonard/587348023 Valerie F. Leonard

            The pastor at a church on Independence Blvd reported that his church’s van was sideswiped, as well as the car of one of his congregants since the re-striping on Independence Blvd, which moved bike lanes curbside. Perhaps in an odd way, the bike lane served as a buffer to parked cars under the old configuration. With the new configuration, there’s a buffer for bike lanes and none for cars.

          • http://www.stevevance.net/ Steven Vance

            This situation reminds me of a quote from Jan Gehl: “Design bike paths so parked cars protect bikes, not so bicyclists protect parked cars.”

  • http://www.bikewalklincolnpark.com/ Michelle Stenzel

    One of my fave quotes from our mayor: People don’t like change. But they’re not too happy with the status quo, either.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Valerie-F-Leonard/587348023 Valerie F. Leonard

      That’s very true, Michelle. Any change needs to be accompanied by effective communication.

      • http://www.bikewalklincolnpark.com/ Michelle Stenzel

        Also true.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Valerie-F-Leonard/587348023 Valerie F. Leonard

    Here is a link to a letter addressed to Alderman Chandler regarding the issues on Douglas Boulevard. http://www.scribd.com/doc/115661512/Concerns-With-New-Bike-Lanes. I have attended two meetings with the Alderman and CDOT officials and CDOT has yet to commit to make any changes. I plan to attend tomorrow’s meeting to see what they will do.

    If you look at the City’s own marketing materials regarding the biking plan (http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/depts/cdot/bike/general/ChicagoStreetsforCycling2020.pdf), the pictures indicate that the meetings on the West Side were sparsely attended, and the feedback provided apparently was from a group of three men, none of whom were African Americans from North Lawndale. North Lawndale is 91% African American. The City indicated that they negotiated with residents and business owners on Elston to keep curbside parking intact. In North Lawndale, curbside parking was moved to the center of the street and reduced by 40%–with no prior warning, education or other outreach. There are some residents who can no longer legally park in front of their own houses. There are vacant lots with parking spaces. There are disabled and elderly residents who expressed fear of alighting from their cars in the middle of the street, and the best Commissioner Gabe Kaplan could say is that this was a better plan that will reduce accidents. A right turning lane was removed and replaced with a bike lane on the corner of Hamlin and Independence. There’s no signage to indicate whether or not the right turn is still permissible. Drivers are making right turns from lanes that veer to the right,down Douglas Boulevard. Some are making right turns from lanes where cars are no longer allowed.

    Drivers are confused about parking in the middle of the street. Unsuspecting drivers drive behind parked cars thinking that they are paused for stop signs. In on instance, a woman pulled up behind a car parked in the middle of the street. She thought it was stopped for a red light. When the car wouldn’t move, she jutted out to the left, in front of 3 moving cars and nearly caused an accident. This is not uncommon at all, as drivers are used to the old configuration, and have not been properly educated regarding the new lanes.

    Tickets for parking in the bike lanes, which experience 2 bikers per hour during peak times, are $150.00. A typical parking ticket is $50.00. Tickets for red light violations are $100.00 Over 40% of North Lawndale residents are low income.

    I find it disconcerting that CDOT seems indifferent at best, and refuses to acknowledge that they have made mistakes along the way. They are working with transit groups who are calling around to encourage people in the community to support the bike lanes. Where was this outreach before the lanes were installed? I also don’t appreciate Commissioner Klein putting Ms. Stevenson on the spot during the meeting, as if to say “–here is an African American biker from North Lawndale. She likes the plan. What’s wrong with the rest of you?”

    The folks making the calls to get people to come out in support of the bike lanes are not acknowledging that the bike lane configuration along Independence Boulevard, as well as some posters don’t seem to care that residents have been inconvenienced and left out of the process, as long as they can promote the equivalent of the Burnham Plan for Bikers. This plan is seriously flawed and could be dangerous to bikers and drivers alike–an NOBODY FROM CDOT OR THE BIKERS ADVOCACY GROUPS IS WILLING TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT.

    I support the concept of new bike lanes, as the boulevards and streets belong to us all. I do not support the installation of bike lanes, an in the process, elevate the interests of bikers over residents and drivers.

    • http://www.facebook.com/treechunk Sam Van Dellen

      So, I’m a cyclist, I live on Marshall Blvd, and one of the lanes goes directly in front of my house. I agree with a lot of what you’re saying, particularly about parking and notification, mostly because I want people in the community to support something that has the potential to improve communities.

      My neighbors are pissed. They got tickets for parking in the bike lane, AND they got tickets for parking in the bike lane after 7am (the old policy was that you had to move your car by 7am for rush hour traffic).

      Now, on the other hand, Marshall Blvd curves in to 24th Blvd, and cars speed a whole lot through that corridor, leaving the crosswalk nearly impassible for the hundreds of children attending the schools on either side of the boulevard, so reduced lanes, which will cause reduced speed, will actually make our community more walkable, which is a HUGE asset in Little Village. Further, virtually every time it rains, a car crashes in to the guard rail on the curve. People speed down the boulevard, realize they’re going to fast when they get to the curve, hit the brakes, and smash in to the guardrail. I’ve watched the crossing guard nearly get hit several times, as well as groups of children attempting to cross the street.

      The CDOT/Active Trans plan is actually INTENDED to help the whole city, not just existing cyclists, by making our city a safer place to walk and bike, for everyone from kids to seniors. They’re aiming for everyone from 8-80 to feel safe on the street. I understand how a giant bike lane taking up a large swath of the street seems like it’s aimed at existing cyclists, but really, most of the people riding today don’t rely on the bike lanes, they’re (at least mostly) comfortable riding in traffic. The lanes are designed to attract people who WANT to ride, who WANT to exercise or commute by bicycle, and don’t feel safe.

      What I see as especially important with this is an elevated level of communication between the city (and its’ contractors) and the constituents. We all want the same thing here, a safe city for all its’ residents, effective communication between residents and the city, and REAL community input as to how this all works out at street level.

      • http://www.facebook.com/treechunk Sam Van Dellen

        And for the record, I was at a meeting over the summer in Douglas Park, and the ONLY reason I knew about it was from the Active Transportation Alliance, and their requests for community support for the plans. If I were simply a resident, I wouldn’t have gone, because there was no local communication about it.

    • http://twitter.com/aka60643 AKA60643

      Once drivers get used to the change, how is parking to the left of a protected lane all that different from parking next to the curb? You’d be getting out into a traffic lane in either case.

      If you’re talking about passengers getting out on the right side, yes, that’s different and does require some caution on the part of passengers and cyclists.

      In locations like the west side boulevards, we have a “chicken or the egg” dilemma. Cyclists who need to be able to get around and might find the boulevards useful may not ride there because drivers go too fast. This may create a perception that no cyclists want to ride there or will ever ride there. If drivers park in the bike lanes, it prevents cyclists from being able to safety use them. Drivers are used to having all the room in the world and now have one less lane.

      It sounds like the public outreach/input process has been less than perfect in your neighborhood. Getting public participation in the process was challenging in my neighborhood and many others, too, even with evening meetings.

      I know several cyclists who live in North Lawndale and want to be able to ride safely within the neighborhood and through it to other destinations. Many of us in other neighborhoods would like to be able to ride safely to visit our friends in North Lawndale, as well as using the boulevards to visit Douglas Park and Garfield Park.

      In the big picture, the plan is about connecting communities, leveling the playing field between drivers and cyclists, and promoting a healthy affordable transportation option. It’s not about putting cyclists’ needs above others. Instead, it’s about giving us a safe option where we had none before.

      In some locations, the new lane configuration may require a little fine tuning. Are you willing to give this a fair chance, so that people in your community can gain another transportation option? In this period of high unemployment and CTA service changes, shouldn’t we be able to have one more affordable, flexible way to get around?

      • Adam Herstein

        If you build it, they will come.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Valerie-F-Leonard/587348023 Valerie F. Leonard

          Which is not a very good way to plan.

          • http://www.stevevance.net/ Steven Vance

            Agreed 1 billion percent.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Valerie-F-Leonard/587348023 Valerie F. Leonard

        I never said I was against the bike lanes. The boulevards belong to everyone. My problem is with the layout and lack of community engagement.

    • http://www.bikewalklincolnpark.com/ Michelle Stenzel

      Valerie, your community is very lucky to have an engaged citizen like you who is obviously committed to working on solutions to issues in your ward. We need people like you everywhere! I can tell you as a volunteer who worked on the Streets for Cycling 2020 Plan during the draft process that every effort was made to engage all Chicagoans and get their input. However, this is a huge task, given that there are 2.7 million people in the city, living in 50 wards. CDOT’s bicycling division is a tiny handful of people, and they rely heavily on the 50 aldermen to get the word out to their constituents. Notices about the bike plan project, process and community meetings were sent to the aldermen (as well as to many, many neighborhood groups/associations all over the city, as I recall). I signed up to receive the weekly newsletters of all the aldermen on the north side, and I noticed that some of them included the information about the meetings in their communications, and others didn’t. One problem is that it’s hard to communicate that the plan is not actually for current bicyclists: The purpose of putting these very safe, protected lanes in is to get ordinary citizens to consider using a bike to go for short trips within their neighborhood. But people who don’t current identify as “cyclists” don’t understand that yet (and understandably so), and therefore any notices for meetings about a “bike plan” wouldn’t appear brightly on their radar.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Valerie-F-Leonard/587348023 Valerie F. Leonard

        Thanks, Michelle. Communication is key, and it’s difficult to get down to the grassroots. The City should also have relied on its vast network of neighborhood organizations who receive Community Development Block Grant funding to help them get the word out, in addition to the Alderman. Our Mayor is a master communicator who, for some reason, did not see this as great a priority as some of the other issues he was promoting over the past year or so. This is 20/20 hindsight, and I hope things will improve going forward.

    • http://www.stevevance.net/ Steven Vance

      Hi Valerie, thank you for coming over to the Grid Chicago discussion from EveryBlock.

      How do you know that the parking was reduced by 40%?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Valerie-F-Leonard/587348023 Valerie F. Leonard

        Normally, the curbside parking takes up the whole block. When parking was moved over to the middle of the street, the parking was not replaced 1:1. There were certain sections with diagonal lines marked through them in front of, and behind the parking areas. Standing at a distance, “eyeballing” the layout and counting cars within a space indicated to me that the area with diagonal stripes took up about 40% of the new parking lane. The new parking lane is parallel to the old curbside parking area.

        • http://www.stevevance.net/ Steven Vance

          That’s a reasonable way to calculate the difference from pre-bike lane to post-bike lane. I don’t believe each block is the same though. I rode southbound on Independence (and Hamlin) from Jackson to Douglas and took some photos so I’ll take a look.

          The reason that parking is “pulled back” from the intersections is to create visibility for people driving on Independence who want to turn right, or for people driving on a cross street who want to turn right onto Independence. This configuration is sometimes called “daylighting” as it “shines a light” on the oncoming or cross traffic.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Valerie-F-Leonard/587348023 Valerie F. Leonard

            The sad part, Steven,is, no, the blocks are not all the same. Some blocks are striped differently.

          • http://www.stevevance.net/ Steven Vance

            Without looking at the photos, one of the reasons each block is different is because of one-way streets. Not every block of Independence Blvd needs daylighting if people won’t be turning right onto Independence from a side street.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Valerie-F-Leonard/587348023 Valerie F. Leonard

    Here’s the link to the bike plan. I’m not sure if the link worked in my original post. http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/depts/cdot/bike/general/ChicagoStreetsforCycling2020.pdf

  • Edgewater Roadie

    I don’t think protected bike lanes work well in front of residential homes. Residents should be able to park against the curb in front of their home. This is the arrangement on Douglas Blvd with a wide buffered bike lane. The northbound bike lanes on Independence Blvd are the most confusing I have ever seen. The lane zig-zags around handicapped parking spaces along the curb, and right turn lanes are confusing. I think a good compromise would be to have the wide buffered lanes on Independence Blvd just like the lanes on Douglas Blvd.

    • Kevin M

      >Residents should be able to park against the curb in front of their home.

      I respectfully disagree with your point here.

      If publicly-financed streets are built for residents to store their private property on, then can I park my couch out there? I promise to move it every few weeks or so.

      And how many motor vehicles do you think fit in front of a multi-unit property? One or two in most cases, right? A block fills up pretty fast if everyone tries to park their car in front of their home. So, do only certain residents get to store their private motor vehicle in front of their house? But don’t all residents pay taxes that build and maintain the streets?

      Now, imagine what the streets might look like, and more importantly, feel like, if private motor vehicles were not allowed to park for free on them. Open and safer, I imagine.

      • Edgewater Roadie

        I agree with you that streets are public and that residents don’t own the street in front of their home. But it is courtesy to the residents, and if it helps to sell the community on bike lanes, I am all for it. Besides, I feel safer riding in buffered lanes than protected lanes.

    • Adam Herstein

      “Residents should be able to park against the curb in front of their home.”

      No. You don’t own the street in front of your home, therefore you have no rights to store your private property there.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Valerie-F-Leonard/587348023 Valerie F. Leonard

        Ok, if that’s the case, you don’t own the streets, and you have no rights to ride your bike there.

        • Adam Herstein

          That’s not the same thing. Roads were built for transportation by everyone, whether that be driving, biking, or walking. They can be used by anyone. Coincidentally, parking spaces can be used by anyone – even the one in front of your home. You are not guaranteed that spot.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Valerie-F-Leonard/587348023 Valerie F. Leonard

      Thanks for acknowledging the fact that the Independence Blvd configuration is confusing, even to an experienced biker who is obviously helping to drive bike policy in this city.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tom-Hagglund/1381355153 Tom Hagglund

    It’s interesting that in Chicago, it’s the NIMBYism of West Side churches that’s leading the anti-cycle-lane pushback–surprisingly, not automobile groups like AAA. In the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, it’s the Hasidic community leading the attack on cycle lanes, reportedly as the lanes bring lightly clad female cyclists into the neighborhood (their tradition demands entirely covered skin at all times, in contrast to the less restrictive American norm), as well as cyclists ignoring their belief that the Sabbath is sacrosanct and demands walking. Hmmm…churches and synagogues are fighting cyle infrastructure…a pattern seems to be developing.

    http://gothamist.com/2011/05/04/hasidic_cyclist_williamsburg_war.php

    • http://gridchicago.com John Greenfield

      On the other hand, Armitage Baptist Church in Logan Square, which initially opposed the Open Street ciclovia because of the impact on church parking, eventually became very pro-bike. They’ve even held “Walk and Bike to Church” days. After all, what would Jesus ride?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tom-Hagglund/1381355153 Tom Hagglund

        Glad to hear that some churches get it. And WWJR? Well, he rode on a humble donkey into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, rather than a white horse, so the modern day equivalent would be….a rusty Walmart Huffy?

      • Adam Herstein

        The bicycle wasn’t invented until the 19th century, so I’m guessing Jesus would have either walked or ridden an animal of some sort.

    • Adam Herstein

      The very religious tend to be resistent to change. This is not a surprise at all.

      Also, why do the Hasidim care if non-Jews are biking on Shabbos?

  • Marcus de la fleur

    I just attended the 2nd bike lane meeting at Greater Galilee Missionary Baptist Church. Looks like the issues on the Independence Blvd bike lanes have been resolved: rather than having a protected bike lane along the curb site, the design will be changed to a buffered bike lane with parking along the curb site, similar to what was installed on Douglas Blvd. Everybody seemed to be happy about this compromise.

    The one thing that still bugs me is that all of this could have been resolved pro-actively, if Alderman Chandler would have participated during the public meetings/hearings. Instead, we now have to flip the bill for doing the work (installation) twice.

    On the glass half full side: We have a Boulevard with bike lanes! How cool is that!

    • http://gridchicago.com John Greenfield

      Thanks for the report Marcus. It’s a bummer that cyclists will be getting less protection (I assume the road diet will still be in effect) and that money was wasted because of the alderman’s flip-flop. On the other hand, it seems like it’s futile to try to install protected lanes against the will of community members. I’m confident CDOT will use this as a learning experience that will help them come up with strategies to get more buy-in from aldermen and locals before installing protected lanes in the future. Hopefully this will be the last time an existing protected lane is downgraded.

    • Adam Herstein

      A buffered bike lane is NOT an acceptable replacement for a protected lane – especially on a wide boulevard full of speeding cars.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Valerie-F-Leonard/587348023 Valerie F. Leonard

    Eboni, I’m sorry I got your name all wrong.

  • Dennis Hindman

    One difference I have noticed that will make it politically easier to install cycle tracks in Los Angeles, compared to New York city or Chicago, is that LA puts red paint on the curb, at, or leading up to, the intersection so that drivers are not visually impaired when approaching it. My advice to these two other cities is to put red paint on the curb prior to the installation of the cycle tracks, which will put the blame for most of the parking removal on putting in the red paint and not the installation of the cycle track. The city can tell people that the red paint was put in to improve safety (which it would).

    • http://www.stevevance.net/ Steven Vance

      I just left another comment on this thread about “daylighting”. The laws on this in Chicago are peculiar:

      9-64-100 (f). No parking within 20 feet of a crosswalk where official signs are posted.

      9-64-100 (g). No parking within 30 feet of an official traffic signal or stop sign on the approaching side.

      I’d advocate that (f) be modified to remove “where official signs are posted” because the issue is present at all crosswalks, not just where the community has petitioned the alderman who petitions the transportation commissioner to support it, and then the alderman introduces an ordinance to city council.

      At that point we could stripe every curb within 20 feet of a crosswalk with red paint.

      Code: http://j.mp/ChicagoDaylightingLaws

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