Spring 2011: original post configuration as seen from the top of “Fudge Hill” – photo by Josh Koonce.
Early May 2012: CDOT has taken out most of the bollards.
June 1, 2012: Some of the bollards have been reinstalled.
The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) recently removed more that half of the flexible posts along the Kinzie Street protected bike lanes. Last month CDOT Project Manager Mike Amsden explained to me that this was done partly because of complaints from nearby residents about the appearance of the bollards.
In addition, Amsden said that CDOT was planning on moving away from using so many posts anyway, since it’s the parked cars that actually provide the protection, and using fewer posts lowers installation and maintenance costs. Therefore the agency removed about half of the bollards on Kinzie in locations with no parking, and removed almost all of the posts in sections where there is parking, leaving a few in at either end of the parking lane. The labor cost for the removals was $4,500.
So last week I was surprised to see that some of bollards along the parking lanes had been re-installed. Mike explained the situation to me once more:
We put in twenty bollards earlier this week. I think it’s going to be a give-and-take. We’ve done observations out there every day. We haven’t seen too much parking in the bike lane, actually none at all, when we’ve been out there, but we’ve gotten reports and some photos of people parking in the bike lane.
So we figured if we add a few more bollards – I think we did like two mid-block – kind of splitting the difference on every block where there’s parking, we’ll see if that will improve behavior. I think enforcement and education is the ultimate solution. Because as we all know, people were parking in the bike lane with the bollards, and parking in the bike lane without the bollards. So hopefully it will be resolved here in the near future.
So the motivation for you guys putting some of the posts back in was that it seemed like parking in the bike lanes had picked up?
We received a few reports, just a couple photographs sent to us. We’ve had photographs sent to us, throughout the past year, of people parking in the bike lane. So we’re just trying to reach a compromise here.