Following #bikeCHI on Twitter is a great way to stay on top of what’s going on in bicycling communities or with infrastructure issues that affect bicycling. A case in point: two people posted photos Tuesday and Wednesday of construction on the Lakefront Trail along with their brief complaints.
Grid Chicago asked the Chicago Park District (not the City) why it was repaving during Bike to Work Week. A construction contract was recently undertaken and crews are “working feverishly” to repair parts of the Lakefront Trail before the glut of summer usage. The spokesperson didn’t have details on this specific detour but she said they were always provided in construction projects on the path.
In typical Chicago fashion, the provisioned detour was second-rate. I asked @JerryKerns, who was one of two Twitter users who reported the “trenches”, about the detour conditions. He replied:
@stevevance This a.m. yes, where workers present. Last night, no. Those trenches just popped out of nowhere. Lots of swirving going on.— Jerry Kerns (@jerrykerns) June 13, 2012
Last night means 5:15 PM during “rush hour”.
@stevevance First detour was along Osterman Beach. All sand, some deep.— Jerry Kerns (@jerrykerns) June 13, 2012
@stevevance Next stretch, guy gave me options. Go over newly tarred path ("it's messy") or take another beach detour. I bailed to street.— Jerry Kerns (@jerrykerns) June 13, 2012
For a look at a proper detour setup, which should be as good or greater than the route it temporarily replaces, visit Utrecht, Netherlands, where an existing route with a lot of bicycle traffic (like the Lakefront Trail) is under construction.
The tweeters posted later Wednesday that construction had finished and the new surface is “smooth sailing” (@ambimb), but the “timing was comical” (@JerryKerns). Construction should have begun months ago as crowded conditions have already begun.
How busy is the Lakefront Trail?
The Chicago Park District hired Active Transportation Alliance in 2010 to conduct counts of trail users. Access point counts are the number of people who entered (not in automobiles) the Lakefront Trail at that location. All locations were counted at the same time in August 2010. I volunteered for a weekend count.
Bryn Mawr Avenue access point
- Estimated Daily Weekend Users: 3360
- Estimated Daily Weekday Users: 783 to 1522
Montrose Avenue access point
- Weekend Users: 1718
- Weekday Users: 1098 to 1487
Belmont Avenue access point
- Weekend Users: 2040
- Weekday Users: 1203 to 2117
Fullerton Avenue access point
- Weekend Users: 7816
- Weekday Users: 3352 to 6825
North Avenue pedestrian bridge access point
- Weekend Users: 8364
- Weekday Users: 2201 to 5515
Read the rest of them in the Lakefront Trail User Study report (.pdf).
Updated 8:59 to fix missing embedded tweets.