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: Roads become a little sweeter each day for people who want to bicycle


Photo by Adam Herstein. 

The City of Chicago is running full steam ahead in this wacky period of warm weather to meet its goal of installing 30 miles of protected and buffered bike lanes before the end of the year.

The photo above shows a little more sanity has been added to the Desplaines/Milwaukee/Kinzie intersection: a green-painted left-turn lane for bicyclists has been added for the left turn from northbound Desplaines Street to northwest-bound Milwaukee Avenue.

However, and this is very important: CTA buses have a different path than most people who are making a left turn. They are aiming for the bus stop in front of the restaurant The Point and cyclists on the outside (right side) of this left turn could cross paths with the bus on the inside (left side) of the turn. See the map below.

Read more about the bikeway additions to Desplaines Street. We hear on #bikeCHI that the flexible posts have been installed, but we’ve also heard of problems in front of Old St. Patrick’s church and school, between Monroe and Adams Streets.

View CTA and bike left-turn path from Desplaines to Milwaukee in a larger map

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.