Project watch: 18th Street and Jackson Boulevard protected bike lanes

Two Grid Chicago Bike Lane Correspondents have sent photos and videos that show the few-days old construction of a protected bike lane on 18th Street between Clark and Canal Streets, a half-mile stretch between South Loop/Chinatown and Pilsen. It’s in the very early stages of construction and it looks to have a design very similar to existing Kinzie Street and fellow, in-progress cycle track, Jackson Boulevard. As we noted before, plates to cover the open metal grate bridge will come in 2012.


Looking east on 18th Street towards Canal Street, you can see how the bike lane begins without a buffer (but is still wide) and then a buffer forms. Photo by Bill Vassilakis. 


Crosses likely mark the location of flexible delineators (bollards). Photo by Tiffany Paige

See the full photo album including a panoramic video.

Update on Jackson protected bike lane

From October 7, 2011, to November 3, 2011, there has been no update to the Jackson Boulevard protected bike lane aside from the addition of green treatments at the intersection with the Malcolm X College parking lot and the “right turn box” at Jackson Boulevard and Wood Street (see video). I haven’t returned since November 3, and I’ve not received any tips from readers since then about any construction progress. I emailed CDOT seven days ago asking them about this inactive period and haven’t received a response.


Clips in this video preview of the Jackson Boulevard PBL were filmed on October 7 and November 3 by myself and Brandon Gobel. Here’s a link to the video in case it doesn’t display. At the end of the video you see a “right turn box” – from the video it appears very awkward to use, but that might also be the way I recorded the video and how I waited for the driver in the black Jeep to move before I used it. What I’d like to see implemented on a future protected bike lane in Chicago (not necessarily at this location) is a protected turn lane, like this one at Church and Massachusetts in Boston, Massachusetts:


Photo by kingdufus. 

Elston Avenue

The last layer of asphalt was added to Elston Avenue in the resurfacing project between North and Milwaukee Avenues. I expect that protected bike lane construction between North Avenue and Augusta Boulevard will begin any day now.

Updated 19:20 to add discussion and photo about the “right turn box” seen in the Jackson Boulevard protected bike lane video. 

14 thoughts on “Project watch: 18th Street and Jackson Boulevard protected bike lanes”

  1. I turn onto Jackson at Paulina every day and haven’t seen any markings added or any work crews. Since the norm is that slower traffic rides on the right, I’m not comfortable riding on the left side until the markings are added.  I was a little disappointed that it just seemed to get dropped, even as lots of other street repaving work has been started since then. 

    1. The lack of work since October 7 also means that Jackson Boulevard hasn’t had a bike lane from Ogden (on any side) to Halsted (that’s over 1 mile), where one existed prior to road resurfacing in September. 

  2. Unfortunately, while that Cambridge turn is good in theory….nobody uses it. Cycling isn’t yet so organized that people are willing to go into that and wait to cross, most just merge left.

    Further, it displaced a bus stop, forcing bus passengers transferring to the subway to walk further, a major PITA during the winter (you can see the bus stopped up ahead). That’s not far at all! You may argue. You’re right, but it’s still added distance to an already lengthy outdoor transfer.

    1. I think there’s an opportunity in Chicago for a well-done and well-used box left-turn bay built/designed like the one in Cambridge. It seems to be best for 3-way intersections. Clybourn/Racine/Cortland kind of acts like a three-way intersection. It might work there turning from Clybourn to Cortland. 

  3. They should have flipped the turn box location with the bike lane, then it would be easier to make a right into the box and then it would be a shorter crossing distance for right turning cyclists

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