Tales from #bikeCHI: Park District repaves parts of busy Lakefront Trail during busy commuting week

Following #bikeCHI on Twitter is a great way to stay on top of what’s going on in bicycling communities or with  infrastructure issues that affect bicycling. A case in point: two people posted photos Tuesday and Wednesday of construction on the Lakefront Trail along with their brief complaints.


Tweet: City says screw ‪#B2WW‬. Let’s dig up Lake Front Trail and place barricades every few miles. ‪#bikechi‬ pic.twitter.com/BIm6lAxm


Tweet: Bike to work week is the perfect time to cut deep trenches in chicago’s bike highway. ‪#BikeChi‬ ‪#ChiLFT‬ ‪#B2WW‬ ‪#fail‬ http://twitpic.com/9vzdn8

Grid Chicago asked the Chicago Park District (not the City) why it was repaving during Bike to Work Week. A construction contract was recently undertaken and crews are “working feverishly” to repair parts of the Lakefront Trail before the glut of summer usage. The spokesperson didn’t have details on this specific detour but she said they were always provided in construction projects on the path.

Continue reading Tales from #bikeCHI: Park District repaves parts of busy Lakefront Trail during busy commuting week

A tale of five bridges

An alternate title I thought of using: Three steps forward, five steps back?

Both Chicago’s Complete Streets policy and the Bike 2015 Plan talk about the need to “ensure that roadway construction zones are bicycle-friendly”, but this is not being practiced. Here are five examples. I previously discussed this problem, at length, in June 2011, in Making construction areas and detours bike-friendly. It included a short mention of the second bridge project in this post.

Harrison Street


No more jersey barriers. See what this used to look likeContinue reading A tale of five bridges

Grid Shots: Pedestrian access edition


The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) began construction Thursday, November 10, 2011, to restore a lighted signal and crosswalk at 500 S Lake Shore Drive. 

I went on a four-hour bike ride today to gather photos of interesting things, including people walking and cycling in the 65°F warm and windy weather. I came across several places where pedestrian access had become an issue. These issues were manufactured by construction projects, clashing with the City of Chicago’s Complete Streets policy. Continue reading Grid Shots: Pedestrian access edition

Harrison Street bridge: bike friendly but not during construction


The westbound lane is inside the construction zone and westbound travelers must drive in a narrowed part of the eastbound lanes – this makes the concrete-filled side, which are the safest place for bicycling on the bridge, inaccessible. Eastbound drivers block the concrete-filled side. 

The City of Chicago and its contractors show again that they can’t be responsible for providing appropriate and safe detours for bicyclists in or around construction projects.

I was downtown this morning for a meeting and had another meeting in Pilsen. It was raining, which is easy to deal with if you have fenders, lights, and a jacket. But it makes open metal grate bridges very slippery! From State and Adams south towards UIC or Pilsen, there’s only one bridge that’s treated, and that’s Harrison. Concrete was added to each side of the bridge during a rehabilitation project in 2009. I headed that way. Continue reading Harrison Street bridge: bike friendly but not during construction

Making construction areas and detours bike-friendly

Updated June 28, 2011, to add link and photo about how citizen cyclists are accommodated in Copenhagen, New York City, and San Francisco (at end of post). Updated July 8, 2011, to add a section about “shared responsibility.”


When roads or bridges are reconstructed, bike lanes and people riding in them lose. The photo shows where a section of the bike lane has been removed and the remainder of the bike lane has been closed, without notification.

I wanted to renew my driver’s license Monday and I had two choices: downtown or northwest side. I looked at the map to find that the Illinois Secretary of State’s Drivers Services Facility called “Chicago North,” at 5401 N Elston Avenue, was only 4 miles from my house. It’s about 4 miles to downtown, but I believed going north would be easier and faster on my bike.

It was. Aside from an infrastructural design issue on Elston Avenue that makes right-hooks really easy, almost inviting, and a bike-unfriendly construction detour, I got there in great time. Going to downtown would mean more lights, more traffic.

Continue reading Making construction areas and detours bike-friendly