My main goal in writing for Grid Chicago is to get more people interested in improving conditions for sustainable transportation in Chicagoland. That first starts with education and awareness. I tell you what’s up. This post features several bicycling issues I’ve recently been bothered by. Which bike issue concerns you most?
Is it people driving in protected bike lanes, like these Chevy Malibu and BMW drivers on 18th Street this past week?
Watch this video on Vimeo.
Or something else?
Too many people bike at night without lights; not only is against the law, but not having lights in a crash case that goes to court could hurt your chances of being successful in receiving damages from an injurious driver. I’ve started the Get Lit campaign to help with that, and donations to buy lights are slowly rolling in.
Navy Pier flyover
The City, State, and Federal governments will spend $40 million to build the Navy Pier flyover for the Lakefront Trail when another solution might exist that costs 90% less. And it’s a solution that CDOT was able to build in less than 48 hours* after a piece of the Lakefront Trail bridge deck broke. The photos below only show one part of the needed change on the Lakefront Trail between south of the river and Oak Street beach. They show a solution to the congestion around the two Lake Shore Drive bridge houses, but not a solution at the Grand Avenue and Illinois Street intersections that provide too little room for the mixing here of people running, cycling, walking, and visiting Navy Pier. An overhead bypass isn’t the only way to conveniently travel on the Lakefront Trail through this segment.
The broken bridge deck.
Detouring the Lakefront Trail onto lower Lake Shore Drive.
A protected path on lower Lake Shore Drive (at the north end of the bridge), wider than the path it temporarily replaced. And for much less than $40 million. I don’t recall how Lakefront Trail users re-entered the path at the south end.
No consideration in construction project detours
Bike lanes are for bikes, not for sign storage.
Little progress on the Bike 2015 Plan
I created the Bike 2015 Plan Tracker to better understand the status of the great objectives and strategies of the Bike 2015 Plan, and to get a grip on all of the different agencies and partner organizations (and individual Chicagoans) that are needed (required?) to implement them. Is upgrading the code and database behind that, and keeping the information current the best use of my time?
I’m sorry if I sound like a crank. I’m trying to figure out the best ways to build a bicycle culture in Chicago (something that would likely happen if the strategies and goals of the Bike 2015 were positively implemented and sustained). If there’s something you really care about, post it in the comments below and then call your alderman. Find the existing and new alderman for any location on the Chicago Tribune’s Boundaries website.
* It might have taken CDOT less than 24 hours to build an alternate route.
Grid Chicago is a blog about sustainable transportation matters, projects and culture in Chicago and Illinois, by John Greenfield and Steven Vance since June 2011. We switched to writing at Streetsblog Chicago in January 2013.
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Western & Ashland BRT: Pros and Cons - This webpage summarizes the project details and describes the pros and cons for each of the 4 bus rapid transit scenarios
Chicago Crash Browser - Find where bicyclists and pedestrians were hit by cars in Chicago.
Bike 2015 Plan Tracker - Monitoring the status of implementing the 153 strategies in the Bike 2015 Plan
Chicago Bike Guide app - The Chicago Bike Guide is the best way to navigate Chicago's vast network of bikeways and cool destinations. Get trip directions, find available Divvy bikes and docks, read The Chainlink, Tumblr, and Twitter, all giving you the perfect view of getting around by bike in Chicago. The app works on iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and Android phones and tablets.
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