Bike lanes update: Franklin Boulevard under construction, Wells Street soon


Bikeway construction in 2012 continues at a breakneck pace. Crews were installing a buffered bike lane on Franklin Boulevard on Wednesday, between Central Park Avenue/Conservatory Drive and Sacramento Boulevard (0.75 miles) in East Garfield Park. The safety project eliminates a travel lane in each direction, creates a center left turn lane, and refreshes crosswalk markings. Adding a concrete barrier or parked cars could make it a protected bike lane. Read John’s earlier article about bikeways in this neighborhood, Are the upcoming Streets for Cycling projects in good locations?.

The abysmal pavement condition in the bike lane should have been repaired before bike lane markings were striped. The Franklin Boulevard buffered bike lane connects to a conventional bike lane on Central Park Avenue/Conservatory Drive (which connects to a bikeway on Lake Street coming soon). Sacramento Boulevard doesn’t have a bikeway.



CDOT should address this unsettling missing sewer cover and other deep potholes and pavement cracks in the bike lane. See all 18 photos.

View West side boulevard protected bike lanes in a larger map

Wells Street will be getting a buffered bike lane (first proposed in 2010 at MBAC) soon from Chicago Avenue to the Chicago River (at the Merchandise Mart) to replace a conventional bike lane with an “enhanced marked shared lane” (according to 42nd Ward Alderman Reilly’s newsletter on May 15):

Additionally, CDOT will soon install an “enhanced marked shared lane” on Wells Street, south of the Chicago River and ending at Van Buren Street. This will not be considered a true “bicycle lane”, as it will merely consist of the application of bicycle symbols on the right side travel lane to notify motorists that bicyclists will also be using the lane.

Will the “enhanced marked shared lane” by like an advisory bike lane (also called a “bike priority lane”) seen in Salt Lake City and Minneapolis? I’ve asked CDOT for the detailed designs for all upcoming bikeway installations.


Wells Street at Hubbard Street, prior to bike lane construction. 


Wells Street at Kinzie Street, prior to bike lane construction, in front of the Merchandise Mart where people consistently park in the bike lane

11 thoughts on “Bike lanes update: Franklin Boulevard under construction, Wells Street soon”

  1. I ride down Wells St. every day to work, and can’t wait for the buffered bike lane to be installed. That spot in front of the Merchandise Mart is the worst! I had to maneuver around two trucks parked there today, and occasionally even see a CTA truck parked there. I feel that the CTA should know better. While I applaud the effort in marking the lanes as shared in the Loop, I am confident that drivers will ignore them anyway. What CDOT needs to do is take away the parking on the right side of Wells outside the ‘L’ tracks, and make that a protected bike lane. It’s already semi-protected by the support structure for the elevated tracks. Ban parking in that lane, and it becomes a useful bike lane.

    1. I linked to your photo of the Wells Street bike lane blockers. The problem can be easily solved by offsetting the bike lane from the curb to accommodate parking/standing, or make a bike lane against the curb that prevents any automobile access (which is yet to be seen in Chicago).

      1. Thanks for the link-back!

        Wells is one-way at the Merchandise Mart, so there should be plenty of room for a buffer to accommodate illegally-parked cars. Or better yet, room for a concrete barrier, which would take up less room than a huge truck-sized buffer.

  2. A bit disappointed about the Wells bike lane. When I saw the news that it would continue through the Loop, I hoped CDOT was going to go with a *real* bike lane there. I don’t know if drivers really pay any attention to sharrows… Not that it really matters, I guess – I’ll keep taking the lane.

  3. I can’t wait for the day when I can ride the entire boulevard circuit featuring some type of bike lane.

  4. As a cyclist and a driver, it is hard to tell the difference from priority, to dedicated, especially when driving.

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