Eyes on the street: Speed camera testing in East Village


In this 17 second video you can see the strobe light and how its flashes temporarily “blind” my camera. 

On our way from the SRAM office, where we interviewed two urbanism authors, John and I noticed a strobe light at 1446 W Division Street. It was extremely distracting and shone over the whole street when activated. Upon closer inspection I noticed it was a speed camera. The Chicago Department of Transportation is testing speed cameras from two manufacturers at four locations. Citations are not being issued. I couldn’t tell the pattern of light flashes, nor the direction of monitoring (eastbound or westbound). Red light cameras have strobe lights to illuminate the license plate, but they are hardly as distracting. This might be my perception based on the low frequency at which I see them; the speed camera’s strobe light flashed more than 10 times in the few minutes I was near it.

A worker sat in a car hooked up to the device holding a computer I presume was collecting data from the speed camera. A parent from the Near North Montessori school walking to his car told me that the strobe light was previously pointed in a direction that lit up the classrooms.



Eyes on the street: Railroad tracks in intersection being removed


Crossing railroad tracks while bicycling is more than a bumpy annoyance. It can also cause a crash. The abandoned railroad track is finally being removed this month from the intersection of Division Street and Halsted Street. This is likely part of the larger project that removed the Kingsbury Street railroad track from Division Street to North Avenue this summer.


Also new at this intersection is a new street name sign. It uses a different typeface, with larger text, but forgoes the grid numbering system (it would have “800 W” written on the sign).


What the intersection looked like earlier this year in March.

Take back the bike lane



Take it back. The bike lane that is. Take it back from those who park in it, put their valet signs in it, park valet cars in it, pickup and drop off passengers in it, or generally illegally block the bike lane, forcing cyclists to merge into faster moving traffic to avoid it.

Two weeks ago, feeling sick and tired of the disrespect people have for facilities the City of Chicago and its funding partners (mainly the federal government) have built for the exclusive use of people riding bicycles, I confronted three people about their parking in the bike lane.

Continue reading Take back the bike lane

Jose Lopez offers the PRCC’s perspective on the Paseo bike lanes


Jose Lopez speaks at the opening of West Town Bikes / Ciclo Urbano in 2009. Photo by Vanessa Roanhorse.

Today I contacted Jose Lopez, longtime director of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center (PRCC) for his perspective on the new bike lanes on Division Street along Humboldt Park’s Paseo Boricua business district. He had read yesterday’s post on the subject, and he feels it’s not quite accurate to say that his organization objected to the lanes when the Chicago Department of Transportation first proposed them in 2003.

Continue reading Jose Lopez offers the PRCC’s perspective on the Paseo bike lanes

Bike facilities don’t have to be “the white lanes of gentrification”


The new buffered bike lanes, still under construction, in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood.

[Update: on Friday 5/11 The Puerto Rican Cultural Center’s Jose Lopez provided his organization’s perspective on the Paseo Boricua bike lanes. Click here to read Lopez’s comments.]

Bicycling doesn’t discriminate. It’s good for people of all ethnicities and income levels because it’s a cheap, convenient, healthy way to get around, and a positive activity for youth and families. So it’s a shame that cycling, especially for transportation, is often seen as something that only privileged white people would want to do. And it’s unfortunate when proposals to add bike facilities in low-income communities of color, which would be beneficial to the people who live there, are viewed as something forced on the community by outsiders.

Continue reading Bike facilities don’t have to be “the white lanes of gentrification”

CDOT continues roll out of new bike lanes: Division Street today, your neighborhood tomorrow?


Notice how there is a buffer on both sides of the bike lane. This should encourage people to cycle outside of the “door zone”. Photo by Brandon Gobel. 

The passing rain storms and fog have allowed construction crews to continue building Chicago’s bikeway network, including more buffered and protected bike lanes. We received a photo this morning of a new buffered bike lane going in on Division Street between Western and California. This is especially delightful news because the Division Street bike lane, from its eastern beginning at Ashland Avenue, stopped abruptly at Western Avenue, nine years ago, even though Division Street maintains the same width west of there. John will provide more background on the history of the Division bike lane, and why it’s a big deal that it’s finally being striped, tomorrow. Continue reading CDOT continues roll out of new bike lanes: Division Street today, your neighborhood tomorrow?