Photo of the reconstructed Halsted Street bridge at Chicago Avenue (looking north) by Ian Freimuth.
John’s interview with Lorena Cupcake on Monday generated some new chatter about open grate bridges on Twitter. We’ve written about the dangerous bridges several times before and called for them to be fixed, even offering to trade 25 miles of Mayor Emanuel’s 100 miles of protected bike lanes for 25 safe bridges. Since then I’ve heard nothing but support for the idea from people who want truly safe connections across the Chicago River even if it meant fewer cycle tracks and buffered bike lane – the sentiment is based largely on the desire to maintain and fix what exists, rather than build anew.
You can now continuously ride (in the street, no sidewalk jumping necessary) on Halsted Street from Chicago Avenue to Division Street, over Goose Island. The bridge at Division Street was replaced and opened in December 2011, while the bridge at Chicago Avenue had its deck replaced (among other changes). On the edges, a concrete surface was made in a new bike lane to make the bridge more comfortable for cycling.
The pavement marking design on Halsted Street going northbound approaching Division Street uses the centered bike lane design we panned in the article, How Danes make right turns. The bike lane is in between a 10 feet and 11 feet wide travel lane, for about 500 feet, so cyclists will be passed by buses and trucks on both sides. For over 300 feet of the 500 feet section, the bike lane has only dashed lines, possibly reducing its overall visibility. This situation is found on several other streets around Chicago. Dan Ciskey told us, “I hate getting passed by people going 40 MPH on both sides of me on Roosevelt Road”. Roosevelt Road between State Street and Canal Street has a collection of different bike lane designs: There’s a centered bike lane in each direction for hundreds of feet, then the bike lane is shared (again in each direction) with an ambiguously marked bus lane for hundreds more feet. Continue reading Bridges update: Halsted now fully open, Chicago Avenue to be reconstructed, one lawsuit settled so far