Navy Pier Flyover alternative design followup: New renderings and ideas


The above rendering shows how the Grid Chicago alternative proposal would utilize the right-most northbound lane as a two-way bicycle path. I still recommend a Jersey-style concrete barrier but bollards are used for display purposes so you can better see how the road is used by the path. Rendering by Erich Stenzel. 

I’ve biked through the Navy Pier Flyover project area a few more times since proposing an alternative in late June. I’ve crafted a few more ideas, based on discussions here and on The Chainlink. Additionally, Erich Stenzel has created two renderings of the proposal’s match to “Phase 1” (the section of the Lakefront Trail south of the Chicago River north to Illinois Street; there are two other construction phases). Lastly, in reading some of the public meeting and other documents, I’ve learned a few interesting things about the project.

Modified ideas

1. The proposal doesn’t necessarily have to compete with all three segments of the Navy Pier Flyover. The proposal is an immediate solution to the issues. This is apparent because there was an immediate and effective solution in 2009 when the Lake Shore Drive Bridge sidewalk that *all* Lakefront Trail users pass over was inaccessible. The converted travel lane over Lake Shore Drive Bridge, through Illinois Street and up to Grand Avenue, could be built in 48 hours with a little asphalt (south of the bridge) metal plates, guardrails, and Jersey barriers.

The segment over the Lake Shore Drive bridge will be bid out in fall 2013 and constructed in 2014, according to one of the documents I received in response to my information request. This leaves enough time for the design to be amended to incorporate this part of the Grid Chicago alternative proposal. Continue reading Navy Pier Flyover alternative design followup: New renderings and ideas

Pier pressure: is there an alternative to the $45 million Navy Pier Flyover?


Congestion on the Lakefront Trail at the Lake Shore Drive south bridge house leads to frustrating experiences, especially for those on wheels. 

The section of the Lakefront Trail between Randolph Street and Ohio Street Beach cannot comfortably handle the traffic present in the many congested areas around the Lake Shore Drive bridge, Navy Pier, and Jane Addams Memorial Park. The narrow width, awkward curves, and blind spots make for highly dissatisfied trail users, that includes the gamut of Chicagoans and visitors, using Segways, four-wheel pedal cars, skates, strollers, bicycles, wheelchairs, or their own feet. There’s not enough room for the number of people who pass through here. This section of the trail is used by individuals on work and social trips, as well as groups meandering from park to park along Lake Michigan. The City plans to build an elevated structure, called the Navy Pier Flyover, to bypass the congestion, but at an extreme cost. We propose a different project to meet the same goals of comfortable passage on the path with a much smaller price tag.

The main problem areas are at the north and south ends of the Lake Shore Drive bridge, on the sidewalk between the bridge and Grand Avenue, at the blind spot where the trail meets Grand at the corner of Lakepoint Tower’s parking garage, and in the congested area inside Jane Addams Memorial Park and Ohio Street Beach. The Navy Pier Flyover is a planned structure on the Lakefront Trail that will “fly over” these trouble spots. The Lakefront Trail path as it currently exists will remain open for those who don’t want to use the flyover. Additionally, an “off ramp” will be built from the overpass to Navy Pier alongside the Ogden Slip – this part is superfluous to addressing path congestion, but may be useful for some path users. The project does not sufficiently address congestion at Ohio Street Beach.

The Navy Pier Flyover is going to cost a jaw-dropping $45 million. To put this in perspective, in 2008 the Portland, Oregon, Bureau of Transportation estimated the entire replacement cost of its then 300-mile bike network at about $60 million. We propose an alternative solution to combat the same problems at a much lower cost, and with a far quicker construction time.

Continue reading Pier pressure: is there an alternative to the $45 million Navy Pier Flyover?

Weekend open thread: Which bike issue concerns you most?

My main goal in writing for Grid Chicago is to get more people interested in improving conditions for sustainable transportation in Chicagoland. That first starts with education and awareness. I tell you what’s up. This post features several bicycling issues I’ve recently been bothered by. Which bike issue concerns you most?

Is it people driving in protected bike lanes, like these Chevy Malibu and BMW drivers on 18th Street this past week?


Watch this video on Vimeo.


Or something else? Continue reading Weekend open thread: Which bike issue concerns you most?