Tales from #bikeCHI: volume 2


The Lakefront Trail on an emptier day. Photo by Katherine of Chicago. 

#bikeCHI is the hashtag to use on Twitter when you’re talking about cycling in Chicago. It’s a pretty broad topic.

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I think you probably know what Zach is talking about. At the most recent Bloomingdale Trail meeting, it was revealed that the Lakefront Trail can be a very busy place: during one count period, there were over 2,300 people per hour in each direction. That’s a higher “ADT” than many streets in Chicago*. Continue reading Tales from #bikeCHI: volume 2

Complete Streets policy? What Complete Streets policy?

Disappearing sidewalk on Fullerton Parkway over the Lincoln Park Lagoon

This sidewalk will be eliminated to make room for a new right-turn lane onto southbound Lake Shore Drive. Photos and captions by Bike Walk Lincoln Park.

Michelle Stenzel, a co-leader of the Bike Walk Lincoln Park neighborhood advocacy group, hits the nail on the head with her analysis of a construction project to rebuild the Fullerton Parkway bridge over the Lincoln Park Lagoon. The project, from the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), widens the street from four lanes to five, reroutes pedestrians on the south side sidewalk over a long path to cross the lagoon, and doesn’t install bikeways to and from the Lakefront Trail. It also replaces a crumbling bridge and improves upon the existing bridge design. The project will begin construction on Monday, March 19, 2012.

What’re the shortcomings? She outlines three problems on the Bike Walk Lincoln Park after attending a presentation Wednesday night. They are:

1. Elimination of the sidewalk on the south side of the bridge Continue reading Complete Streets policy? What Complete Streets policy?

Grid Shots: The variety of pedestrian bridges over Lake Shore Drive

A reader on our Facebook page suggested we feature the 35th Street pedestrian bridge, over the Illinois Central railroad tracks and connected to a second bridge over Lake Shore Drive, in this week’s Grid Shots*. Here’re several other interesting and, in some cases, dilapidated pedestrian bridges over Lake Shore Drive. All photos are by Eric Rogers, who contributes many of his great photos to our Flickr group.

3500 S Lake Shore Drive


The 35th Street pedestrian bridge is particularly uninviting; it links the neighborhood at 35th and Cottage Grove to the Lakefront Trail. It should have been replaced by now. Continue reading Grid Shots: The variety of pedestrian bridges over Lake Shore Drive

Lakefront Trail lighting and (illegal) Bloomingdale Line access points


[These pieces also run in Time Out Chicago magazine.]

I recently fielded a couple different questions from Time Out Chicago readers about current and future Chicago greenways. I felt a little funny about giving people instructions on how to get up on the Bloomingdale Line, which is still Canadian Pacific Railroad property and has “No Trespassing” signs posted. But until the railroad does a better job of securing the line or the City of Chicago steps up and takes ownership of the right-of-way (which should be any day now) and erects more effective fencing, people are going to continue to go up there to stroll, jog and hang out anyway.

Continue reading Lakefront Trail lighting and (illegal) Bloomingdale Line access points

Strange signage on the Lakefront Trail


The Chicago Lakefront Trail at Lawrence Avenue showing possibly conflicting intersection signage. Photo by Robert Powers.

[This piece originally ran in Time Out Chicago. Photos by Hui Hwa Nam.]

Q: What’s up with those signs in Uptown where streets cross the Lakefront Trail? Are drivers supposed to stop for bicyclists or are bicyclists supposed to yield to drivers?

A: This unusual signage is at Montrose, Lawrence and Foster Avenues, where the path not only intersects these east-west streets but also meets on- and off-ramps from Lake Shore Drive (LSD). Street traffic gets stop signs while cyclists and skaters on the trail get yield signs. Continue reading Strange signage on the Lakefront Trail

A run-in with a neo-Nazi on the Lakefront Trail


Many years ago I was riding my bicycle on Chicago’s Lakefront Trail, rolling south past Oak Street Beach, near the Hancock Tower. It was a beautiful summer day and the path was really crowded with people walking, jogging and cycling. I was working as a bike messenger at the time.

As I was riding I saw this guy heading towards me. He was this tall, brawny skinhead on Rollerblades, skating north. He was wearing wraparound sunglasses and a t-shirt that said “WHITE POWER” with a big swastika on it. I myself had a shaved head and I was wearing wraparound shades at the time, but I’m a short, skinny Jew.

Continue reading A run-in with a neo-Nazi on the Lakefront Trail