CDOT continues roll out of new bike lanes: Division Street today, your neighborhood tomorrow?


Notice how there is a buffer on both sides of the bike lane. This should encourage people to cycle outside of the “door zone”. Photo by Brandon Gobel. 

The passing rain storms and fog have allowed construction crews to continue building Chicago’s bikeway network, including more buffered and protected bike lanes. We received a photo this morning of a new buffered bike lane going in on Division Street between Western and California. This is especially delightful news because the Division Street bike lane, from its eastern beginning at Ashland Avenue, stopped abruptly at Western Avenue, nine years ago, even though Division Street maintains the same width west of there. John will provide more background on the history of the Division bike lane, and why it’s a big deal that it’s finally being striped, tomorrow.


Photo of the buffered bike lane under the Puerto Rico flag sculpture taken by Brandon Gobel at 2420 W Division Street in Humboldt Park. 

In addition to the Roscoe Street buffered bike lane installed last week, and a segment on Wabash Avenue installed in 2011, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) has proposed these locations for buffered bike lanes, a total of 4.50 miles (links go to our original report for that location):

Mayor Emanuel promised 25 miles of protected bike lanes per year of his term. His first year anniversary is May 16, seven days away. The City has currently installed 2 miles of protected bike lanes. CDOT has proposed these locations for protected bike lanes, a total of 15.30 miles (links go to our original report for that location):

View CDOT’s 2012 proposed bikeways document. I requested an installation schedule from CDOT so that I can create before and after bike lane videos, like I did for Kinzie Street, 18th Street, and Jackson Boulevard.

14 thoughts on “CDOT continues roll out of new bike lanes: Division Street today, your neighborhood tomorrow?”

  1. Hey Steve…I rode down Division yesterday as they were putting the striping down and it got me wondering, if it’s going to be a buffered lane do you know why they’re leaving room for parking next to the curb rather than moving it to the other side of the bike lane?

    1. I’ve wondered this myself. Personally I think the buffer should be split equally on both sides of the bike lane so as to encourage people to cycle outside of the door zone. The door zone space is inherently communicated to cyclists in the design of standard or buffered bike lanes. But those who know will probably naturally cycle closer to the left side of the buffer.

      1. I got my terms mixed up. I thought this was going to be a protected lane with bollards, but I get it now. I haven’t seen this kind of striping on any other lanes in the city. It definitely does a better job of establishing the bike right of way. It’ll be interesting to see how it works out, I ride this route a lot.

        1. It’s currently available in some segments of 18th Street (between Clark and State, although not as wide as it should be) and Wabash Avenue between Roosevelt and 16th Street.
          I just got a new photo of Division Street that DOES show buffers on both sides of the bike lane. Check it above.

          1. They recently installed buffered lanes on Wabash south of Roosevelt. Although great when there’s little traffic, they take up a lot of space. I have several times observed that during rush hour traffic backs up, and impatient drivers simply take over the lane. I often see trucks and delivery vans and even the police park and sit there. In general I see more and more disregard of the painted lanes, and on many older stretches (Damen, Elston etc.) the lanes have faded beyond recognition. It seems some major re-painting should be undertaken, as well as a renewed education campaign. Truly separated lanes seems the only way to go, and in that case, the bike lane would be best next to the sidewalk, as done in most Dutch cities.

          2. I think this street had the width for curbside parking-protected bike lanes but buffered bike lanes were used instead. Maybe it was a good place to try them out? Surely.
            CDOT plans buffered bike lanes for Wabash from Roosevelt north to Harrison. There’s definitely sufficient width to create a standard protected bike lane, against the curb, just like Kinzie Street. It’s a low volume automobile street so removing a lane won’t have much of an impact on automobile traffic but will have amazing, positive impacts on bicycle traffic.

          3. For some reason, I can’t reply to Sebastian, so I’ll reply to Sebastian by replying to myself.

            I don’t like the protected lanes, for reasons I won’t go into as I’ve talked about them here before. Everybody else on this site disagrees with me, so I’ll leave it be. I will say, though, that cars park–and, even worse, drive–in the protected lanes, too, as has been shown on this site. I personally prefer having the space to dodge such things and maneuver around obstacles instead of being funneled into a cattle shoot.

            And the paint didn’t fade on Elston. The city paved over it, and then never repainted, because they promised a protected bike lane that so far has not been completed. It seems protected bike lanes take eight months to install. I don’t trust this city to manage and maintain a protected bike lane when they can’t even maintain a painted laine. 

          4. You couldn’t reply to Sebastian because the final reply level had been reached. 

            The Elston protected bike lane (between Augusta and Le Moyne) was supposed to have been installed in October 2011. But according to CDOT, the plan was delayed because they were still trying to get neighbors on board with the design. Then the weather prevented installation. But the weather has been sufficient for installation since several days in March, and most non-rainy days in April. I asked CDOT the kind of weather conditions that are needed to install thermoplastic (not paint): Three consecutive days of 45°F+ without precipitation. 

            Cars don’t do those things, people behind the steering wheel and accelerator pedal do. 

          5. Yes, but saying “people beind the streering wheel and accelerator pedal” takes a lot more time to type than “cars.”

            The explanation for the delay of the Elston bike lane only emphasises the problem with this city’s attempts at implementation of … anything. If getting the neighbors on board was an issue, shouldn’t they have taken care of that beforehand? And presumably they’ve handled it now, and the weather is obviously nice enough to paint, as evidenced by the pictures above. This is just typical of the city.

          6. You could say “drivers” or “motorists”. I want to ensure we don’t act as if cars are being driven by robots (which, as Google is now showing us, are better drivers).

          7. The width from the outside of the left-most line and the outside of the parking line is 100 inches (8’4″). 

            The width of the buffer (from the outsides of its lines) is 30 inches (2’6″). That leaves the bike lane at 70 inches (5’10”). The door zone hash lines are 24 inches wide (2′). 

            The minimum width for a conventional, in-the-door zone bike lane is 60 inches. If surrounded on two sides by non-bike lanes (when next to some turn lanes, like on Grand and Lake Shore Drive) the minimum width is 48 inches. If space is available, the width may be 72 inches.

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