A Marking Specialists work truck in the Marshall Boulevard bike lane it just helped create (they work on weekends, too!).
Chicago Department of Transportation staff and its contractor Marking Specialists have been busy this summer and fall, striping miles of conventional, buffered, and separated bike lanes in Chicago. This post documents all of the new bike lanes we haven’t yet featured prominently, some of which are likely still under construction as the photos were taken between 1 and 4 weeks ago.
Sacramento Boulevard, 24th Boulevard, Marshall Boulevard
Still to come on this project through Little Village, Lawndale, North Lawndale: Douglas, Independence, and Hamlin Boulevards. It connects with a short, separated bike lane on Jackson Boulevard between Independence Boulevard and Central Park Avenue. The Central Park Avenue bike lane then connects north to separated bike lanes on Lake Street and Franklin Boulevard. Collectively these bike lanes are called “West Side Boulevards”. I like how this new separated bike lane “goes places”: through and to residential neighborhoods, past schools and parks.
People parked their cars in the bike lane, which we’ve found to be typical for under-construction separated bike lanes. The pavement quality issues that Franklin Boulevard suffers from are present on this project as well, in multiple locations (there’s a small bush growing in the bike lane a few feet before your reach a large pothole). I look forward to seeing the ultimate design created at the intersections and high-speed curves in Douglas Park and the pavement issues corrected. This project is likely still under construction.
A separated bike lane on Marshall Boulevard, looking south at a Pink Line viaduct. It’s parking-protected in some locations. In this photo, new parking spaces are created where none previously existed.
Bike lane barriers: bush and large potholes.
A separated bike lane on Marshall Boulevard as it transitions northbound into Sacramento Boulevard through Douglas Park.
The bike lane turns left here (atop some major potholes) from northbound Sacramento Boulevard to westbound Douglas Boulevard. I’m curious how the bike lane will direct bicyclists to turn left. From this photo, it appears that you will merge across the through travel lane to a bike-only left-turn lane. I hope there’s a two-stage left-turn queue box (like at Division/Elston) as an alternative.
Clark Street between Diversey and Belmont
Upon seeing these this buffered bike lane and noting its dimensions, I was curious to know why a parking-protected bike lane against the curb wasn’t installed. This project is complete.
Update: See CDOT’s explanation for why a buffered bike lane was installed instead of a protected bike lane.
I’m not the only one with this burning question.
Photos by Adam Herstein.
Clark Street between Germania Place and Oak Street
This welcome addition to the near north side helps keep congested traffic in its place allowing people bicycling to bypass that craziness (for the most part). It’s a two-way street in this segment, but Clark Street becomes one-way southbound at Walton Street, one short block south of Oak Street. This is where southbound riders would appreciate a buffered or parking-protected bike lane as the one-way segment (all the way to Harrison Street) becomes a 3+ lane speedway; a speed limit of 25 MPH “controls” this section. When I visited to take photos, there wasn’t any signage that recommended southbound cyclists turn west onto Oak Street to reach Wells Street, where there is a bike lane. However, CDOT bikeways planner Mike Amsden said at the September 2012 Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Council, in my response to a question about this logical connection, “We plan on extending Clark in the very near future”. This project is complete.
A 36/Broadway bus was hanging out in the bike lane.
Then a moment later, after I passed it, the 36/Broadway bus was being driven in the bike lane.
Looking north at the buffered bike lane’s end.
Looking north at the southbound lane. Photo by Michelle Stenzel.
Traffic south of Oak Street is ready to be calmed, as the 25 MPH speed limit isn’t being observed.
South Chicago Avenue between 79th and Baltimore Avenue
After my trip to South Shore to see the preparations for the new Jeffery Jump, I jaunted west to see the buffered bike lane on South Chicago Avenue. Whew, I do not recommend that you spend much time bicycling on this street – its large width and low volume leads to some high-speed automobile traffic. I haven’t asked CDOT or Alderman Hairston why a protected bike lane wasn’t installed here, but I have one idea: there are many driveways and curb cuts. This increases the complexity of the pavement markings and potentially reduces parking (although parking spaces don’t seem to be in high demand because there is a low density of land uses here). This project is complete.
A through-intersection treatment wasn’t applied on northbound South Chicago Avenue at 83rd, but it was applied southbound.
31st Street between King Drive and Metra Electric tracks
On the same trip to the South Shore I stopped by 31st Street in Bronzeville to take note of bike lane construction there. Installation here seemed to have gotten off to a slow start. A week after I saw that it was being constructed, only about 4 blocks of a separated bike lane were in place, between King Drive and the western-most ramps to Lake Shore Drive. I was dismayed, but not surprised, to see that the westbound bike lane ended over 100 feet before reaching King Drive and the eastbound bike lane didn’t start until over 100 feet east of King Drive. The eventual extents of this project are Wells Street and the Lakefront Trail. This project is likely still under construction.
Updated 12:53 to add link to explanation about Clark Street between Diversey and Addison.