47th Ward Alderman Ameya Pawar discusses the greenway. Photo by Steven E. Gross.
When I attended a community meeting about the proposed Berteau Street “neighborhood greenway” last March, the following comment was representative of some 47th Ward residents’ panicked reaction to the idea of their street being reconfigured. “It’s going to create havoc and unnecessary confusion and problems and an inability to get in and out of our neighborhoods,” one local woman said to Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and 47th Ward staffers at the assembly. “So I’m asking you to rethink what you’re doing.”
Neighborhood greenways, known as “bike boulevards” in other cities, are residential streets where speeding and cut-through traffic are discouraged through the use of traffic calming devices and/or traffic diverters – bump-outs, cul-de-sacs and other structures which prevent cars from driving down the entire length of the street or making certain turns. Meanwhile, contraflow bicycle lanes allow bikes to travel in both directions on one-way sections, and the traffic diverters have cutouts that permit cyclists to continue unimpeded.
Continue reading The Berteau Greenway moves forward without traffic diverters
In Alderman Pawar’s weekly newsletter, the subject of neighborhood greenways, including the City’s first on Berteau Avenue, is addressed. The entire email is quoted here, except for the single photo that was embedded. You can also view the original email here, but it won’t be archived forever.
Many of you have been contacting our office regarding speeding cars, cut-through traffic and community safety. We have been working with the Mayor’s office and CDOT to identify innovative ways to increase pedestrian safety in our neighborhoods. Mayor Emanuel and CDOT recently released the Bike 2020 plan – simultaneously, our office has been looking at ways to increase safety, keep traffic moving effectively and make our ward more bicycle and pedestrian friendly. The result: we are studying the possibility of installing a Neighborhood Greenway on Berteau Ave from Clark Street to Damen Avenue. This stretch of Berteau has a high volume of traffic safety complaints and intersects four existing recommended bike routes. What’s a Neighborhood Greenway? It is a residential street where pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers can all share the road safely. Continue reading Alderman Pawar’s newsletter addresses Berteau Avenue neighborhood greenway concerns
Continuing with our project to interview all 50 aldermen about sustainable transportation, I recently caught up with Ameya Pawar (A-MAY-ah Puh-WAR) at the 47th Ward service office, 4243 N. Lincoln. His ward includes parts of Lakeview, Roscoe Village, North Center, Roscoe Village and Lincoln Square.
After longtime alderman Eugene Schulter retired last year, Pawar ran a grassroots campaign that defeated Schulter ally Tommy O’Donnell, making Pawar Chicago’s first Asian-American alderman and, at age 30, the youngest current member of City Council. So far he’s shown himself to be a strong advocate for walking, biking and transit, as well as environmentally sustainable street design.
His staff includes Transportation Planner Bill Higgins, a former colleague of Steven’s from UIC’s urban planning program. After studying the ward’s existing bikeways, Higgins proposed building the city’s first neighborhood greenway (AKA bike boulevard, a traffic-calmed, bike-and-pedestrian-priority side street) in the ward on Berteau Avenue (4200 N.) from Lincoln Avenue to Clark Street.
In our interview, Pawar and I discussed his commuting habits, the upcoming Lawrence Avenue streetscape and road diet and the proposal for a new retail and housing development in conjunction with Metra’s Ravenswood station rehab. We also talked about plans for relocating bus stops, his idea to pilot Portland-style street murals as traffic calming, and whether Berteau is a good location for the neighborhood greenway.
Continue reading Talking Transportation with 47th Ward Alderman Ameya Pawar
The Garfield Park fieldhouse, along the upcoming West Side Boulevards bike route
After attending the West Side and South Side meetings for the Streets for Cycling plan to install hundreds of miles of protected bike lanes and other innovative bikeways, I confess I was a little concerned about the city’s initial plans.
At the meetings, Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) staffers announced that a 4.1-mile network of protected bike lanes (PBLs) will be built along the West Side segment of the Boulevard System. Another 1.5-mile segment will be built along Garfield Boulevard (5500 S.) from King to Halsted. CDOT also announced that the city’s first neighborhood greenway (AKA bike boulevard), a traffic-calmed, bike-and-ped-prioritized side street, will be created on a .9-mile stretch of Berteau Avenue (4200 N.) from Lincoln to Clark.
CDOT handout outlining the West Side Boulevard PBL route
I became more nervous about these locations after I learned that the West Side route and the Berteau greenway were first proposed by aldermen, and that one of the main motivations for putting PBLs on the boulevards is traffic calming. It reminded me of how, when I used to work for the city getting bike racks installed, aldermen would sometimes ask us to install racks at the end of a cul-de-sac to keep cars from driving over the curb, not because anyone would actually want to park a bike there.
Continue reading Are the upcoming Streets for Cycling projects in good locations?