On Sunday, new bus and train schedules went into effect. The Chicago Transit Authority added service to 48 bus routes, eliminated 12 bus routes, and removed service on segments of 4 bus routes. Additionally, the CTA added 17 trains on the Red, Blue, Brown, Purple, Orange and Green lines (during rush periods). Pace Suburban Bus modified some of its routes to accommodate the CTA’s eliminated routes. See the full details on CTA’s website.
Did you notice your train or bus was a little less crowded?
Note: Northwestern University Transportation Center (NUTC) was a consultant to CTA to study the decrowding initiative, but there was no report issued. I asked CTA spokesperson Brian Steele about this: “To conduct the study, NUTC took multiple CTA data sets (including ridership, service planning, entries/boardings, operating costs, fare revenues) and did an analysis of service. NUTC then met with CTA and their analysis confirmed CTA’s initial analysis of the data – identifying the best routes on which to augment, discontinue, or reduce service.”
Sidewalk / multi-use path on the south side of Fullerton prior to the bridge rehab. Photo by Michelle Stenzel.
After the rehab: bike and ped access on the south side has been eliminated to make room for a dedicated right-turn lane for cars entering southbound Lake Shore Drive.
[This piece also appeared in Checkerboard City, John’s weekly transportation column in Newcity magazine, which hits the streets on Wednesday evenings.]
I recently attended events related to two different Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) bridge projects. One of these spans will be a terrific addition to the city’s sustainable transportation infrastructure. The other one, not so much.
First the good news. CDOT’s Addison Underbridge Connector project will link up existing snippets of bike path along the Chicago River to create a nearly two-mile, car-free route from Belmont Street to Montrose Avenue. This new path segment will be elevated some sixteen feet above the river on piers.
In case you haven’t been able to bike in the Dearborn Street two-way protected bike lane in the 48 hours it’s been open, here’s a 5 minute ride-through video, in the northbound lane from Madison Street to Kinzie Street. View on Vimeo. The song is “Tokyo Street” by airtone.
In this video you’ll get a feel for how the new intersection signals work, see the turn boxes at some intersections, and notice a lot of pedestrians! The video has been sped up by 40%.
Pedestrian: 28 (13 have been hit-and-run crashes) Pedalcyclist: 7 (1 is a hit-and-run crash)
Skateboard: 1 (1 is a hit-and-run crash)
The details of Yuan Zeng’s crash on Thursday, December 13, at 10 AM, are odd and confusing, as some commenters on The Chainlink pointed out. He was 68 years old and died on Friday, December 14, in Stroger Hospital. The Chicago Tribune wrote:
According to preliminary reports, Zeng struck the passenger side of a vehicle shortly after 10 a.m. Thursday near Archer Avenue and 24th Street. The impact of the collision forced him onto the windshield and into the road, police said.
A commenter on The Chainlink said:
When I read that short “blurb” I thought how interesting it is how often pedestrians walk right into the middle of the sides of cars and cyclists ride right into the middle of the sides of cars. (link)
When I lived in Bridgeport a few years ago I would sometimes ride on Archer Avenue to work in the Loop. It was often a harrowing experience because the wide road (2 lanes in each direction + 1 conventional bike lane in each direction) combined with low traffic volumes meant people drove their cars very fast. Couple that with poor quality pavement and poor drainage, the road is not designed for safe bicycling. The curves at this part of Archer Avenue saw people driving cars and buses in the bike lane.
* The information is only accurate as of this post’s publishing time. View previous Fatality Tracker posts; see a data table listing all who’ve died. The Illinois Safety Data Mart is currently reporting 30 pedestrian fatalities. There were 7 pedalcyclist fatalities in 2011, as well.
This afternoon when Mayor Rahm Emanuel opened the new two-way protected bicycle lanes on Dearborn Street, it was the exclamation point to a memorable year of bike improvements. Dozens of advocates gathered at the south end of the 1.2-mile greenway for the event, which also celebrated Chicago’s reaching a total of thirty miles of protected and buffered lanes citywide, plus the release of the Streets for Cycling Plan 2020.
The “game-changing” lanes on Dearborn, running the length of the Loop central business district, create a car-free route that even novice cyclists will feel comfortable on. They also make a statement that the city is serious about getting more Chicagoans on bikes. Building the lanes involved converting one of the three car travel lanes on the northbound street, which has the additional benefits of reducing speeding and shortening pedestrian crossing distances. Car parking was moved to the right side of the bike lanes, providing protection from moving vehicles, and dedicated bike stoplights, a first in Chicago, guide southbound cyclists and prevent conflicts between cycles and left-turning autos.