CDOT responds to open letter about police enforcement; still waiting for replies from mayor, police


Citations issued for blocking the bike lane vary from year to year. This FedEx truck blocks the Kinzie Street protected bike lane, the city’s first. 

In the open letter that Anne Alt and I wrote and mailed in early April to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, transportation commissioner Gabe Klein (CDOT), and police superintendent Garry McCarthy, we only received a reply from Klein. We don’t expect a response from the Mayor’s Office or the Chicago Police Department.

The letter has been pasted below.

The response from CDOT pointed out an inaccuracy in our letter’s data about the number of citations issued to motorists for parking in marked bikeways (bike lanes and marked shared lanes). The data, from the Department of Administrative Hearings, substantially undercounted the number of citations issued. The issue with this data is that it came from the wrong source and the numbers from that department likely represented contested citations.

Since receiving this letter, Grid Chicago has obtained new data, from the Department of Finance (known to most as the Department of Revenue). The number of citations issued for violating Municipal Code of Chicago 9-40-060, are as follows (rates in parentheses): Continue reading CDOT responds to open letter about police enforcement; still waiting for replies from mayor, police

Does the new “tied arch” bridge on Halsted encourage speeding?


Approaching the new bridge from the south. Here there are two travel lanes, bike lanes and parking lanes.

When new bridges are built in Chicago, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) generally requires that they be built to accommodate projected traffic demands. The assumption is that in the future there will be more people driving than ever before, although most of us hope this won’t be the case.

So when the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) rebuilt the North Damen Avenue bridge over the Chicago River in 2002, IDOT insisted that the old two-lane bridge be replaced with a four-lane, although Damen is generally only a two-lane street. But as a rule, if you give Chicago drivers the opportunity to speed, they will.

So it shouldn’t have been a surprise that as soon as the new bridge opened, motorists took advantage of the new half mile of wide open space between stoplights at Fullerton and Diversey to put the pedal to the metal. The speeding cars, plus the fact that bike lanes weren’t included in the project, turned a formerly bikeable bridge on a recommended bike route into a hostile environment for cyclists.

Continue reading Does the new “tied arch” bridge on Halsted encourage speeding?

More on the Chicago Forward Action Agenda: Congestion mitigation, truck deliveries, bike messengers


People riding a bicycle and driving a truck, respectively, share the road on Monroe Street in downtown Chicago. Trucks occupy a section of CDOT’s two-year plan. Photo by Joseph Dennis. 

The Chicago Department of Transportation on May 11 released its 100-page, two-year plan to “ensure that Chicago continues to be a vibrant international city, successfully competing in the global economy with a transportation system that provides high- quality service to residents, businesses, and visitors”. That’s the Chicago Forward Action Agenda’s vision statement. Grid Chicago talked to CDOT commissioner Gabe Klein that day about the plan’s development, role in shaping the transportation systems in the city, and select performance measures and action items. In the first part, we discussed the deep partnership with CTA and CDOT, public outreach for the plan (via the Pedestrian and Streets for Cycling planning processes), and eliminating all traffic fatalities. In this part, we talk about congestion, enfacing and consolidating loading zones, and bicycle and truck deliveries.

Download Chicago Forward (13 MB .pdf) to follow along.

There are many performance measures that don’t seem to be performances measures at all. For example, “improve CTA’s on-time performance” on page 41. So if you improve it 1% over 10 years, has the plan achieved the right level of performance?

That’s a very fair criticism. What you have to understand, we don’t run CTA. What we’re trying to do there is let people know that that’s a goal we’re working on. I can very much see your point. In some cases, we just can’t give measurable goals because it wouldn’t be fair to that agency.

It’s not going to be perfect, but I’d rather put something out and actually have goals for the agency, even if we don’t hit 100% of the goals, but 90% of the goals, than have a perfect plan. Continue reading More on the Chicago Forward Action Agenda: Congestion mitigation, truck deliveries, bike messengers

CDOT’s Gabe Klein announces viaduct repaving project

At a press conference in Englewood Friday, CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein announced a $4.1 million project to repave roads under 14 viaducts in 13 different wards across the city (average cost $250,000 per viaduct).


He explained that seeking federal funding for this project would free up more locally generated funding for neighborhood street repair and repaving projects.  The entire project is federally funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).


Crews are doing complete road reconstruction on approximately 4,500 linear feet of roadway at the following locations (see map below): Continue reading CDOT’s Gabe Klein announces viaduct repaving project

Chicago transportation to move very far forward with two-year plan


Looking down Madison Street. Photo by Daniel Butler. 

A new plan for the Chicago Department of Transportation was released today and Grid Chicago got to talk to commissioner Gabe Klein this morning about the Chicago Forward CDOT Action Agenda’s development, strategies, and goals.

I started reading the 100 page plan last night to prepare for today’s interview. After the obligatory messages from Mayor Emanuel and Commissioner Klein (as well as photos of a Brown Line train and the bean), there’s a timeline and a short historical narrative. This plan gives a new mission statement for the department and is the first time a vision statement has been adopted by the agency (which the timeline tells was created in 1992 after a reorganization of the Department of Public Works). The Action Agenda is important to ensure our transportation system (as envious or dubious as you see it) changes in good, appropriate ways. Not only do we know how CDOT will get us there, Chicagoans will be able document change and compare our status in 2014 to where we started in 2012. Continue reading Chicago transportation to move very far forward with two-year plan

BRT to arrive in Chicago in 2012 while CDOT plans for more enhanced routes


Transportation deputy commissioner Luann Hamilton and commissioner Gabe Klein answer questions. Updated 08:57 to clarify details about Jeffery BRT project and add construction timeline. 

Bus rapid transit in Chicago has never felt more real for me than it did tonight at the open house hosted by the Chicago Architecture Foundation. Even though the Jeffery BRT project will be constructed and operational this year, I never visited one of the community meetings about that project and I haven’t been keeping track of its development. But BRT really will come to Chicago. What’s up for debate is “how much BRT” each project exemplifies.

Every BRT implementation is different. Planners pick and choose the attributes most appropriate to the street characteristics, political, business, and community support, and funding availability.


Project map showing six bus routes that will run in enhanced busways on Madison, Washington, Clinton, and Canal.  Continue reading BRT to arrive in Chicago in 2012 while CDOT plans for more enhanced routes