Recaps from Wednesday’s Streets for Cycling Plan meeting at Garfield Park


Both John and I attended the Streets for Cycling Plan 2020 meeting at the Garfield Park Conservatory on Wednesday. The project leaders (Mike Amsden from the Chicago Department of Transportation, and Mark de la Vergne from Sam Schwartz Engineering, pictured) announced 4.3 new miles of protected bike lanes for the west side boulevard system to be installed this year in the main lanes to slow traffic in the Lawndale and East Garfield Park neighborhoods.

It’s a system of bikeways connecting Douglas and Garfield Parks, starting at 24th Boulevard and California Avenue, routing through Douglas Park, through Garfield Park, and ending at Sacramento Boulevard and Franklin Boulevard. See map and handout under “Media”.

The other announcement was that CDOT will build a bicycle boulevard on Berteau Avenue in the 47th Ward (current plans put the 0.9 mile long bike boulevard between Lincoln and Clark; see map below). Also known as a neighborhood greenway, bicycle boulevards make cycling safer and easier, and discourage cut-through car traffic, through the use of different traffic calming, intersection changes, signage, and pavement markings. CDOT created a handy slideshow to demonstrate bicycle boulevards around the country – some pages (14 and 15) do not have any background information as it was a presentation given to planning district volunteer leaders). Download bike boulevards PDF. Page 16 lists a potential bicycle boulevard in each of the nine Streets for Cycling planning districts (see the district maps).

57th Street and Berteau Avenue are listed and depicted in the slideshow on pages 17-20.

Three other reports of the meeting

  • Jennifer at General Carlessness (part of the Network). Commented about cycling in Chicago being dominated by men.
  • Ash Lottes at One Less Minivan (also part of the Network). Commented about the lack of a bikeway on Sacramento Boulevard.
  • Marisa Paulson for Medill Reports. Interviewed the project leaders and a meeting attendee.



The meeting differed from the Open House in December in that there was a formal presentation about the plan, how the planning process works, and a formal question and answer session. This slide in the presentation describes what the plan is not: It’s not about policy, enforcement, bike parking, or bike sharing. It’s essentially a companion to the Bike 2015 Plan and doesn’t supplant it in any way. See the full set of photos from the meeting.


A scan of the handout CDOT distributed at the event about the west side boulevard bike lanes. See map below. 

View West side boulevard protected bike lanes + Berteau Avenue in a larger map. CDOT anticipates to start constructing these in spring 2012.

Updated January 25, 2012, with information on the project limits for Berteau Avenue bicycle boulevard. 

21 thoughts on “Recaps from Wednesday’s Streets for Cycling Plan meeting at Garfield Park”

      1. In the middle of winter (especially on a snowy day like today), I consider it to be the staycation equivalent of a tropical vacation.  I always love the peace and beauty of the place, regardless of the season.

  1. Any update on the Jackson St. PBL? I know there’s a hold up from IDOT, but it seems pretty ridiculous that it’s taking this long.

      1. Thanks, Steven! 

        Any idea why not? Is it just that IDOT is a backwards-thinking organization or are there actual issues here?

        1. I’m waiting for a response from CDOT. I will then probably pursue this with IDOT. The Illinois Department of Highways, I mean, “transportation”, should not be holding back cities who want to make roads safer for cycling. 

  2. Those PBLs connecting Douglas and Garfield parks will be really fantastic for people going from one park to the other to extend their rides. Looks like upgrading the stretch of Sacramento from Franklin to Augusta would be the next logical step, in order to loop in Humboldt Park as well. Then, it’s just a tiny stretch up to the Bloomingdale Trail…. 

    1. The stretch of Sacramento from Palmer Square to Franklin Boulevard is quite harrowing to cycle on. I believe the protected bike lanes will have a high impact on reducing travel speeds. 

  3. Excited to see Chicago’s first implementation of a bike boulevard. Berteau seem like a good first step; hope later ones cross the river and connect to the lakefront.

    1. There are few places to cross the river and I looked at the map and I don’t see, in my opinion, likely candidates for bike boulevards with river crossings. Maybe Wilson and Argyle. 

      1. A few are planned for the future:

        1. Roscoe
        2. Irving Park Road bridge is ebing redone in 2013 by IDOT and will have an underbridge bike path for the future Addison Corridor riverwalk… The Berteau Bike boulevard could be connected to those options to cross the river into Horner Park, California Park and California Ave

  4. There’s something I’ve been wondering about for a long time, maybe you can shed some light. Why hasn’t anybody suggested converting the boulevards’ service drives to bikeways? I know that boulevards are designed this way in a lot of European cities. Nothing much would need to be built, just close them to through auto traffic and make them resident permit parking only.

    1. It was mentioned to John when he asked about the bikeways on the boulevards and their orientation that placing them in the main drive was to slow car traffic. 

      I cycle in the main drives because one encounters no stop signs, only stop lights. Also, one doesn’t encounter as many potholes or speed humps (both on Sacramento’s service drives). Potholes and speed humps can obviously be mitigated and a bike boulevard created in the service drives. 

      Lastly, lots of people have suggested it, but maybe not very publicly. Back in 2008, there was a community effort to get CDOT to built a bike boulevard, called Bike Boulevards Now! I believe they met with CDOT and I’m not aware of the results of their organizing or that meeting. 

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