Project watch: 18th Street and Jackson Boulevard protected bike lanes

Two Grid Chicago Bike Lane Correspondents have sent photos and videos that show the few-days old construction of a protected bike lane on 18th Street between Clark and Canal Streets, a half-mile stretch between South Loop/Chinatown and Pilsen. It’s in the very early stages of construction and it looks to have a design very similar to existing Kinzie Street and fellow, in-progress cycle track, Jackson Boulevard. As we noted before, plates to cover the open metal grate bridge will come in 2012.

[flickr]photo:6330214662[/flickr] Continue reading Project watch: 18th Street and Jackson Boulevard protected bike lanes

Construction has begun on the Jackson protected bike lane (photo gallery)

Crews from Marking Specialists started installing pavement markings on Wednesday, October 5, 2011, continuing on Thursday and Friday. The project’s western extent was pushed to Western Avenue, making it 0.5 miles longer – now at 2 miles long. There are many aspects of this facility that differ from the Kinzie Street protected bike lane, Chicago’s first. John will have a more in-depth article about this project on Tuesday or Wednesday – this is just a photo gallery.


West of Damen, the eastbound protected bike lane is on the south side of the street. At Damen, it switches to the left side. It’s unclear how bicyclists are expected to make this “crossover”. Continue reading Construction has begun on the Jackson protected bike lane (photo gallery)

Milwaukee from Ashland to Paulina construction timeline

As I try to better understand construction timelines and processes in Chicago, I’m going to keep track of this project that annoyed people cycling for six months.

Project: Underground utility construction [not sure what kind]

Location: Milwaukee Avenue between Ashland and Paulina


February 2011 – Construction project begins (I’m not certain it started in February, but I took my first photo of the project this month).

Sometime here the construction project ends and the surface is replaced with rough concrete. Two points to make here: The construction crew could have floated the concrete more to make it smoother; the concrete only needs a week to cure, and can then be removed and replaced with asphalt.

July 25, 2011 – Rough concrete is replaced with asphalt.

August 2011 – Center and parking lines are striped.

August 13, 2011 – Bicycle shared-lane markings still don’t exist.

September 21, 2011 – Bicycle shared-lane markings added, but incorrectly: they’re too close to the parking stripe.


Someone riding a bike rolls in and out of construction zone barriers, presumably to avoid the car traffic and the little room between the cars and barriers. 

Unanswered questions

  • Who is responsible for this project?
  • What is the city’s policy on “floating” temporary construction concrete?
  • Do construction projects like this have deadlines?
  • Why aren’t people cycling accommodated better in road construction projects?


A Chicagoan riding her bike in the construction zone waits for the light at Ashland Avenue to turn green.

What is floating concrete?

Draft: Floating concrete, or to float the concrete, means to drag flat objects over the concrete to push aggregate downwards and bring liquid upwards. The more times this is done, depending on the float tools, the concrete surface will become smoother. A concrete floor in a restaurant has been “finely floated” to create a smooth, shiny finish.

Sidewalks are floated more than road surfaces. After a sidewalk is floated, it is often brushed to create a texture.


Using a brush to float concrete and add texture. 


Hand floating the concrete. 

Bloomingdale Trail: A first time exploration plus development update

I ventured onto the Bloomingdale Trail this Independence Day weekend, an abandoned elevated railroad viaduct owned by Canadian Pacific. I encountered at least six other “trail” users in 30 minutes, including people on a stroll, a runner, and a person walking two dogs. I can’t wait for the day when I can ride my bike on a smooth asphalt path between neighborhoods without encountering noisy and polluting automobile traffic. Read on for updates on the contract and design process.


A Blue Line train passes over the (future) Bloomingdale Trail. Continue reading Bloomingdale Trail: A first time exploration plus development update