Grid Bits: Tolls rising, BRT on Western, Andersonville needs bike parking

Grid Bits is a new series I’m experimenting with – it comes in the same vein as Grid Shots. While Shots features photos our Flickr group contributors take, Bits is a collection of abstracts on diverse topics around Chicagoland. Each paragraph is a new story.

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Photo of project advertisement in front of the future Oakton Street station.

Transit

The Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (“Illinois Tollway”) announced it may raise tolls (the first increase for users who pay with I-PASS electronic transponders) in order to raise revenue to pay for projects and plan for transit use Interstate 90 (Jane Addams Memorial Highway). For the average I-PASS customers, their monthly payment would rise $11. The Illinois Tollway notes in its press release that some of the projects are part of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s (CMAP) Go To 2040 regional plan.

In addition to bus rapid transit “light” (BRT) that the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) is currently planning for Jeffrey Boulevard – to “enhance service on the #14 Jeffery Express” – the Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA) new president, Forrest Claypool, said in an interview with Kevin O’Neil, that “true full-blown BRT could happen on Western. It offers the best opportunity and connects all our rail stations.”

Former Illinois Governor Blagojevich’s “seniors ride transit free” program will be partially ending in the Chicago area August 30th, 2011. Senior citizens who are registered in the Illinois Circuit Breaker program can continue riding on Metra, CTA, and Pace for free. All other senior citizens can ride for half-price. Seniors who already have the fare permit required for free travel under the program will be mailed new fare permits. Those who’ve never registered for free transit should read these instructions on how to join.

The Oakton Street station on the CTA Yellow Line in Skokie, Illinois, is under construction. The Village of Skokie has a July 2011 construction update newsletter (PDF). Morgan/Lake station on the Green/Pink Lines is also under construction.

Bicycling

“Members of an Evanston city committee Wednesday night objected to staff plans to test on-street bike parking over fears it would cut into parking meter revenue.” The bike parking corral would be similar to the one recently opened in Wicker Park last week. The article on Evanston Now gives great insight in how cities, Chicago included, prioritize car parking; an Evanston engineer also explains, from his observation of bike rack use, that people who bike prefer to park adjacent to their destination (what I call the 50-feet rule). The first commenter has the right idea on why this is regressive action: “Imagine if 12 people on bikes come downtown to spend their money, replacing the two who would have come down in cars.” More news, including an artist’s rendering, from Evanston Patch. 

Andersonville, a far north side neighborhood in Chicago, needs more bike racks. A-Ville Daily specifically notes the lack of bike racks at the renovated Jewel at 5516 N Clark Street. John Greenfield wrote last Friday that Andersonville missed an opportunity in 2004 for on-street bike parking in front of Cheetah Gym because of CDOT’s hesitance. A Grid Chicago reader tipped me that the Jewel store director has indeed ordered a bike rack for patrons.

Friend and Grid Chicago reader, Ashley Lottes, writes about her recent trip on Amtrak to St. Louis, Missouri, including how car drivers there are confused to share the road people bicycling, seeing them as a “colony of lepers escaped into the city.”

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Downtown Evanston is plagued with poorly placed bike racks, like this one near nothing. Bike parking will be used when it’s within 50 feet of the intended destination. 

Walking

Target was just approved to build a store at Divsion and Larrabee, on the site of the former Cabrini Green towers, removed earlier this year. The store will feature ground level parking, with shopping on the second floor. The third floor will be warehouse storage. Target countered locals’ concerns about traffic by saying its analysis found that a “large share” of customers would arrive on foot or transit. This is probably true – the store will be accessible to hundreds of residents along Halsted, and sit on the Halsted bike lane, and Halsted and Division buses.

Chicago Journal author AmySue Mertens wants readers and bike lane planners at CDOT to consider the implications on pedestrians and the walking environment of bicyclists who will disobey stop signs on Jackson Boulevard, the site of the next protected bike lane.

12 thoughts on “Grid Bits: Tolls rising, BRT on Western, Andersonville needs bike parking”

  1. I use that Evanston rack in your photo that’s near nothing, although not as often as I use the rack one block to the south that’s also near nothing. I really want on-street bike parking by the EAC.

  2. I use that Evanston rack in your photo that’s near nothing, although not as often as I use the rack one block to the south that’s also near nothing. I really want on-street bike parking by the EAC.

  3. Regarding the renovated Jewel in A’ville. I asked the store manager. It was on order, but it had to wait for the parking lot to be repaved, which happened last week (if I remember correctly)
    The store manager also told me that as long as they did not have that bike rack yet, bicyclists were welcome to take their bike in the store and park them in front of customer service

  4. Regarding the renovated Jewel in A’ville. I asked the store manager. It was on order, but it had to wait for the parking lot to be repaved, which happened last week (if I remember correctly)
    The store manager also told me that as long as they did not have that bike rack yet, bicyclists were welcome to take their bike in the store and park them in front of customer service

  5. As a resident of Evanston, I do believe bike parking is necessary, and I challenge that statement about misplaced bike parking. The bike rack in the picture is not near nothing, it is across from a condo and down the block from a 7-eleven, many restaurants and a fitness club. But like Evanston, Chicagoland needs to learn the best spots for parking, one example in Evanston is the bike overcrowding near the Metra and L stations, bikes are forced to be place unstably on trees and signs.

    1. Those bike racks in the photo are at least 100 feet away from any destination. When bike racks are placed so far, they won’t get used and people bicycling will use something much closer, like trees or planter fences. Bike racks should not be across the street from their intended destinations, nor more than 50 feet away. 

      Here are many photos of people locking their bikes to things OTHER than bike racks:
      Planter fence
      Tree
      Seemingly locked to nothing

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