Transportation workers, working. They work in all kinds of environments. Right now (er, this month) in Chicago, workers are designing, engineering, constructing, and planning for new train stations (a new station opened last month, Cermak is next), new bikeways, highways (Elgin-O’Hare Expressway will be getting a little closer to O’Hare), and putting new ‘L’ trains into service (those 5000-series cars that disappeared for a while are slowly coming back after repairing their defects).
A CTA employee assists the 2008 tour of the Chicago ‘L’ during the American Association of Geographers conference.
CDOT staff Mike Amsden and Scott Kubly at a public meeting in Hyde Park; I believe he’s explaining bike sharing. Continue reading Grid Shots: Transportation workers
Ever hear the phrase, “low hanging fruit“? It is the most annoying phrase in planning circles, and it abounds in all industries. It means to accomplish the easy stuff first. And I think it presumes that when the easy stuff is accomplished, then the hard stuff will be attempted next. Right?
That. Rarely. Happens.
The City of Chicago settled a lawsuit in 2007 that required it to spend a $50 million over 5 years (2007-2011) in “new money” (not previously budgeted to repair sidewalks) to fix curb ramps at crosswalks to make them compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. It turns out that what’s accessible to people with disabilities really makes things accessible to everyone. In each construction season, Loop workers saw many curb ramps change in a matter of days. And it happened all around the city. Continue reading Tackling the hard stuff
The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) began construction Thursday, November 10, 2011, to restore a lighted signal and crosswalk at 500 S Lake Shore Drive.
I went on a four-hour bike ride today to gather photos of interesting things, including people walking and cycling in the 65°F warm and windy weather. I came across several places where pedestrian access had become an issue. These issues were manufactured by construction projects, clashing with the City of Chicago’s Complete Streets policy. Continue reading Grid Shots: Pedestrian access edition
John and I are still gathering information for our Open Streets article, which will be co-written and published Tuesday. Also on Tuesday is another public meeting about the Bloomingdale Trail, where the designers and consultants will showcase the results of this past weekend’s open house and charrettes (I went on Saturday). I will publish an article about the Tuesday presentation on Thursday, October 6. There are five stories in this edition of Grid Bits.
(1) Taxi drivers
Click on the photo to read the photographer’s caption. I found this by searching on Flickr for “stupid taxi chicago” in order to find people’s opinions. Photo by Nick Normal.
The Chicago Tribune reported on September 23, 2011, that many of the tickets Chicago police give to taxi drivers are dismissed in court. When a taxi driver receives commits three moving violations in one year, they risk having their chauffeur’s license not renewed. Continue reading Grid Bits: UP-North construction to restart, taxi drivers and street safety, new CTA Loop station
The westbound lane is inside the construction zone and westbound travelers must drive in a narrowed part of the eastbound lanes – this makes the concrete-filled side, which are the safest place for bicycling on the bridge, inaccessible. Eastbound drivers block the concrete-filled side.
The City of Chicago and its contractors show again that they can’t be responsible for providing appropriate and safe detours for bicyclists in or around construction projects.
I was downtown this morning for a meeting and had another meeting in Pilsen. It was raining, which is easy to deal with if you have fenders, lights, and a jacket. But it makes open metal grate bridges very slippery! From State and Adams south towards UIC or Pilsen, there’s only one bridge that’s treated, and that’s Harrison. Concrete was added to each side of the bridge during a rehabilitation project in 2009. I headed that way. Continue reading Harrison Street bridge: bike friendly but not during construction
CDOT will be undertaking rehabilitation work on five bridges and should take the opportunity to advance bridge bike friendliness, like it did recently on Randolph Street. Photo by Christopher Gagnon.
A Grid Chicago reader pointed me to a Request for Proposals (RFP) from the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) for a project that will rehabilitate many bridges and viaducts, mostly in and around the central business district. I discussed several of the bridges listed in the RFP in an article about open grate metal bridges and the hazards they present to people bicycling. A study CDOT commissioned and “published” in 2004 said,
These metal grate bridges…can be difficult and intimidating for a bicyclist to cross. Depending on the type and direction of the grating, grooves can cause a “channeling effect” or “sliding” for bike tires, and narrow tires can be lodged in gaps between the bridge grates. In addition, the metal can become increasingly slippery when wet, making these bridges even more difficult for bicyclists to safely cross in rain or snow.
While CDOT will not repair this problem on safety concerns alone, it should address it during routine bridge renovation.
Continue reading CDOT giving itself five opportunities to make bridges bicycle friendly