South Siders check out the draft Streets for Cycling Plan

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Checking out information about the “Four Star Bike Routes” concept at the meeting. All photos in this post courtesy of the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT).

Last Thursday’s Streets for Cycling public meeting was the second of several opportunities for input on the recently revealed draft of the Citywide 2020 Network.  The meeting alternated open sessions for reviewing various aspects of the network plan and talking to planners with presentation/Q&A sessions.

It was my first time inside the Gary Comer Youth Center, a very distinctive piece of modern architecture.  The meeting was held in a third floor meeting room, adjacent to a beautiful roof garden surrounded by glass-walled interior space.  We had a great view of the enormous community garden across the street.

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CDOT bikeways project manager Mike Amsden, right, discusses “Crosstown Bike Route” locations with Elizabeth Bartom.

During the Q&A, project consultant Mark de la Vergne of Sam Schwartz Engineering was asked about the proposed time frame for construction of the protected lanes on 55th St./Garfield Blvd.  He explained that the portion from Cottage Grove to the lakefront would be built first, probably this year, and that the western portion extending to Halsted would come later.

The “Four Star Bike Route” concept (major commuting routes) got nods of approval from the audience.  Several of us were very happy with the inclusion of Vincennes Ave. as one of the major commuting routes.  Vincennes presents some challenges, especially at intersections with 83rd, Halsted and 87th, so the design phase is likely to take a little time.

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Mark de la Verge, left, discusses the network with John Paul Jones.

A questionnaire was given to all attendees, asking for a vote on one of three names for the commuting route category, as well as priorities on each route category and additional comments.

There was a brief discussion of the difference in the route network density between north and south sides.   We agreed during the discussion that, given the north side’s higher population density, destination density and bike mode share, a more concentrated route network was logical, although we’d love to have a lot more routes on the south side.  While the draft plan does not offer dense coverage on most of the south side, it will give us a much more complete route network when it’s fully built.  In areas where we do not currently have any rideable routes to go between neighborhoods, the expanded network will give us workable options.

The I-55/Canal corridor and the Lake Calumet area are the most significant gaps in our existing network.  The planned north-south connection on Kedzie over I-55 and the Sanitary and Ship Canal and the planned route on 103rd St. between Cottage Grove and Torrence will each make a big difference in making both transportation and recreation cycling feasible in these areas.

New bike and pedestrian accommodations are being added in the massive reconfiguration project now underway at 130th and Torrence.   This opens the door for future connections with potential trails around the Lake Calumet area.

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There are still more opportunities for input.

View the Streets for Cycling presentation that is being shown at the upcoming community meetings.

Email your suggestions to the CDOT bike Program at streetsforcycling2020@gmail.com.

Post on the Streets for Cycling Facebook page.

Comment at one of the upcoming meetings or webinars:

Wednesday, June 6th, 4 – 8 p.m.
Douglas Park Cultural and Community Center – Ballroom
1401 S. Sacramento Dr.
Presentation with Q&A at 4:30 & 6:30p.m.

Saturday, June 9th – 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
77 S. Dearborn – Building Lobby
Open House

Webinar #1: June 11th, 12 – 1 p.m.
Reserve your Webinar seat.

Webinar #2: June 13th, 6 – 7 p.m.
Reserve your Webinar seat.

Published by

Anne Alt

lifelong Chicago cyclist who has lived in several neighborhoods from one end of the city to the other.

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