USPS responds to our letter

Last week Grid Chicago received a letter from the United States Postal Service (USPS) in response to our correspondence with them where we advised them of the illegality of parking in bike lanes. I attached photos of two separate USPS vehicles parked in the Kinzie Street protected bike lane sent to me by a Grid Chicago reader.

Then, today, I received a copy of a letter 42nd Ward Alderman Reilly wrote to USPS. As you can tell, he was a bit more stern in asking the organization to respond, saying:

USPS employees have repeatedly been witnessed parking in dedicated bicycle lanes- posing a risk to cyclists who utilize these busy lanes.

Please report back to my office the steps that the USPS will take to address this serious public safety concern.

Our original article on the matter has been the most popular since we began, with over 1,600 views. Please send in your photos of USPS and other delivery vehicles parked in the Kinzie Street bike lane. Our first and only protected bike lane should be that, a protected bike lane, and not another strip of asphalt for people to park in.

[flickr]photo:5940536383[/flickr]

Let us know if USPS is still blocking the bike lane.

Chicago pedestrian study roundup

John wrote about the City of Chicago’s pedestrian plan and public meetings in June. On Sunday, the Chicago Tribune wrote about a study released by the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), the 2011 Pedestrian Crash Analysis.

Skip over the “Key Findings” section on pages 7 and 8 (PDF). You’ll find useless factoids that, when you read them twice, tell nothing. For example, “The Chicago Transit Authority rail stations with high numbers of nearby pedestrian crashes were along the Green Line, Red Line – Dan Ryan branch, and Blue Line – O’Hare branch.” That statement is as precise and informative as telling a pizza delivery driver you live within two miles of Western and Diversey Avenues.

In the news

  • Chicago Tribune – Posted online yesterday with today’s date (to coincide with a Monday press release from CDOT), the Tribune “exclusively” analyzed some of the findings. The actual report is better than this article (some paragraphs are lifted straight from the report), but the article adds some juicy bits about taxis and their drivers.
  • The Architect’s Newspaper – Its metaphorical headline could be slightly misleading – “City of broadening sidewalks” – as sidewalks in Chicago have generally been narrowed instead of widened. But I get the relationship to the Sandburg poem and the Pedestrian Plan vision.
  • Let’s Go Ride A Bike – After reading the Tribune article, Dottie said, “Improving the safety of pedestrians by working to change the culture of speeding and recklessness will naturally improve the safety of bicyclists.”

Resources and related items

  • Pedestrian Crash Analysis technical report – You won’t find the raw data here, but it is more detailed than what you read in the summary report.
  • 3D pavement markings on Clark Street – CDOT in partnership with Western Michigan University and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration applied markings to the roadways in an experiment to see if their color and 3D effect would make that intersection safer for pedestrians to cross.
Read more policy insights from Steven Vance. 

Will the new 50th Ward alderman build the bike bridge Berny blocked?

[flickr]photo:6026722115[/flickr]

Proposed location for the North Shore Channel Trail bike bridge

[This piece also runs in Newcity.]

The other day I was pedaling with friends under azure skies to Evanston’s Blind Faith Cafe when I was reminded of an old political fight. We were riding on the North Shore Channel Trail, a scenic, nearly car-free route from Albany Park to Evanston, when we came to the notorious gap in the path just north of Lincoln. The trail ended abruptly, so we spun north on Kedzie a few blocks, turned west and rode on hectic Devon Street across the channel, then turned north to continue on the bike path into Lincolnwood.

Continue reading Will the new 50th Ward alderman build the bike bridge Berny blocked?

Getting Midwesterners on board with high-speed rail

I was surprised when Vocalo radio host, Molly Adams, asked me about high-speed rail. I imagined we would only talk about local transit and bicycling projects and issues; as a railfan, I was prepared to answer her question. She said, “How realistic is a possible high-speed rail, in the region?”

I confidently replied, “It is finally starting to happen” (read and listen to the full interview). Work finished in September 2010 to replace tracks between Alton, Illinois (north of St. Louis), and Lincoln, Illinois (north of Springfield).

[flickr]photo:5702829105[/flickr]

An Amtrak and Metra train wait in the south part of Union Station in Chicago. Photo by Eric Pancer. Continue reading Getting Midwesterners on board with high-speed rail

Grid Bits: Tolls rising, BRT on Western, Andersonville needs bike parking

Grid Bits is a new series I’m experimenting with – it comes in the same vein as Grid Shots. While Shots features photos our Flickr group contributors take, Bits is a collection of abstracts on diverse topics around Chicagoland. Each paragraph is a new story.

[flickr]photo:5869972187[/flickr]

Photo of project advertisement in front of the future Oakton Street station.

Continue reading Grid Bits: Tolls rising, BRT on Western, Andersonville needs bike parking