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
Sidewalk conditions on the Torrence Avenue bridge. The bridge is apparently slated to be replaced. Photo by Eric Rogers.
On Monday, Illinois Secretary of Transportation Ann Schneider announced the state’s multi-year multi-modal transportation plan and a list of all projects it intends to build. I looked through the District 1 list and picked out 29 projects to happen (or start) in Chicago from now until 2015.
My list is here which includes 1 pedestrian, 2 rail, 6 transit, and 20 road projects. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) website lists all projects in the plan. Note that rail and transit projects are listed separately from road (and pedestrian overpass) projects.
Read through my handpicked list of projects and leave a comment telling me the project(s) about which you want to learn more. A sampling of the projects in the list:
- Bridge replacement at Torrence Avenue at the Calumet River. This bridge is part of a recommended bike route and connects to the Burnham Greenway via 126th Street. It should be made bike friendly. The bridge deck is made of concrete, but the lanes are too narrow for comfortable cycling and the sidewalks are a mess.
- 31st Street bridge replacement over Metra Electric tracks. The beach and playground here are popular destinations, and many people access the Lakefront Trail here. The bridge has two big bumps at the disintegrating joints at both ends of the bridge. CDOT has proposed protected bike lanes for this street segment, part of Wells Street to Lakefront Trail.
- Resurfacing Noble Street from Augusta Boulevard to Erie Street. I’d like to recommend a change in this project: extend it north to Milwaukee Avenue, turn the segment from Milwaukee to Augusta into a two-way for bicycling (many people already ride against traffic here because it provides convenient access to Augusta Boulevard and Chicago Avenue, two blocks south), and make the street a bike boulevard. This street is very wide, yet has low traffic. The street should be modified to ensure appropriate traffic speeds.
- Resurfacing Canal Street from Roosevelt Road to Cermak Road. This is a great opportunity to fix a gap in the bikeway network. A bike lane currently exists from 14th Street to approximately 17th Street, prematurely ending before the 18th Street cycle track. The road has a width compatible with a good diet plan, reducing the number of non-bike lanes and created a protected bike lane. The street is no longer used for Maxwell Street Market and can finally receive the quality bike lane due to it.
I excluded some projects because they are already under construction, like Fullerton Parkway at the Lincoln Park lagoon.
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
Both John and I attended the Streets for Cycling Plan 2020 meeting at the Garfield Park Conservatory on Wednesday. The project leaders (Mike Amsden from the Chicago Department of Transportation, and Mark de la Vergne from Sam Schwartz Engineering, pictured) announced 4.3 new miles of protected bike lanes for the west side boulevard system to be installed this year in the main lanes to slow traffic in the Lawndale and East Garfield Park neighborhoods. Continue reading Recaps from Wednesday’s Streets for Cycling Plan meeting at Garfield Park