Elston Avenue bike lane returns in upgraded form


Riding in the cycle track southbound towards the Magnolia Avenue “Y”. 


Riding in the cycle track southbound next to Elston Materials’s property. The parking space and wide area in this photo are for a tanker truck as seen in this photo

After seven months without them because of neighbor and weather delays, pavement markings make their return today to Elston Avenue between North Avenue and Magnolia Avenue. The difference now is that buffered bike lanes and a cycle track replace last year’s conventional bike lane. The full project limits are North Avenue to Milwaukee Avenue, a distance of 1 mile. The enhanced bikeway should definitely bring cyclists back to Elston Avenue, after what I perceived was a period of avoidance. A cycle track at the “Y” intersection of Elston and Magnolia Avenues should reduce the incidence of high-speed, northbound passes.

At 12:42 PM today, only sections between North Avenue and Magnolia Avenue had been striped. 


Riding northbound, crossing the “Y” intersection with Magnolia Avenue.

The cycle track portion will be 0.69 miles long, approximately. Mayor Emanuel’s first year ends on Wednesday, May 16, and Chicago is short of the ambitious 25 miles per year he pledged. Chicago’s installed protected bike lane mileage, with the Elston project completed, will stand at 1.76 miles, approximately. But this depends on how you calculate the length*. If you include the buffered bike lane sections of the cycle tracks, then you have 3.17 miles, approximately.

View all photos from my visit. View day 2 photos.

See our other posts about 2012 bikeway installations:

* Lengths are from the City’s GIS information combined with my own estimation for the length of Elston.

Updated May 15, 2012, 17:59, and May 18, 11:15, to correct information about parking space and wide area in second photo. 

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  • http://twitter.com/AdamHerstein Adam Herstein

    From the first picture, it looks like there is easily enough room for a physical barrier. I wonder why the bike lane is so far from the curb.

  • http://twitter.com/AdamHerstein Adam Herstein

    Most of those photos make sense. Just the huge buffer on the right confuses me. I feel like drivers are going to try and park their cars there.

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

      I imagine that it was created so wide to *accommodate* the potential parkers. That’s what was done on Blue Island between 16th and 14th Streets (I was involved in getting that fixed).

      • http://twitter.com/AdamHerstein Adam Herstein

        Judging by the slashes in that zone, it looks like parking would be prohibited. So why encourage it by making the buffer so large?

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

          This is pure speculation: Regardless of the presence, configuration, and design of pavement markings, people will park their automobiles here. To ensure that such parking doesn’t inhibit bicycle traffic, CDOT has designed the pavement markings in such a way to accommodate the violating parkers.
          See what happened on Blue Island Avenue. Before, the bike lane was curbside and people parked in the bike lane daily: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesbondsv/7199238564/

          Then the bike lane was moved to be offset from the curb, and people parked in the same place (yet parking here is still illegal): http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesbondsv/7199231536/

          Parking was illegal before and after the bike lane moved, but at least said illegal parking doesn’t block the bike lane.

          • Clark Wellington

            Another solution would be to enforce the parking ban… Way too sensible, I guess.

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

    I had mixed feelings when I saw this on my way back home tonight. Stanley’s customers were parked along the curb in the area just after the southbound lane starts and thus in the lane. Steven, any idea if the city’s going to sign that space as “no parking at any time”? Motorists seeing other peoples’ cars sitting in this space might make the first few months of this…well, about as good as the relocated white stop line in the southbound lane at Elston and Division (that is, some people ignore it, and others follow suit). :

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

      I don’t know what the plans are. I continually ask for them, though. 

      Like with any bikeway, the police and Revenue department staff need to do their job and issue citations.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/7995989@N03/ J

    Are the cycle track sections going to be protected by flexible delineators, aka safe-hit posts? It seems that that is the only way to do it here.

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

      I don’t know. I’ve asked for the plans. 

  • Pingback: Photos from day 2 of Elston Avenue cycle track construction | Grid Chicago

  • seebobrun

    I don’t have a photo to share, but the posts seen on Kinzie started to appear this week on this section of Elston.

  • kelkel

    OK, so if I’m driving north on elston and turning right on magnolia….do i veer right of the things that stick up over the slashed lines (which most cars do), or veer left probably not explaining this correctly….i can try to take a pic. it’s confusing..

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

      I think I know exactly what you mean: this is how you turn right at that intersection (of Elston, Magnolia, and Blackhawk) when driving a car.

  • Pingback: Redefining “protected”: A look at CDOT’s new bike lane terminology | Grid Chicago