47th Ward Alderman Ameya Pawar discusses the greenway. Photo by Steven E. Gross.
When I attended a community meeting about the proposed Berteau Street “neighborhood greenway” last March, the following comment was representative of some 47th Ward residents’ panicked reaction to the idea of their street being reconfigured. “It’s going to create havoc and unnecessary confusion and problems and an inability to get in and out of our neighborhoods,” one local woman said to Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and 47th Ward staffers at the assembly. “So I’m asking you to rethink what you’re doing.”
Neighborhood greenways, known as “bike boulevards” in other cities, are residential streets where speeding and cut-through traffic are discouraged through the use of traffic calming devices and/or traffic diverters – bump-outs, cul-de-sacs and other structures which prevent cars from driving down the entire length of the street or making certain turns. Meanwhile, contraflow bicycle lanes allow bikes to travel in both directions on one-way sections, and the traffic diverters have cutouts that permit cyclists to continue unimpeded.
Continue reading The Berteau Greenway moves forward without traffic diverters
As part of our ongoing project to interview all 50 of Chicago’s aldermen about sustainable transportation issues in their districts, I recently sat down with Harry Osterman at the 48nd Ward service office, 5533 N. Broadway. His ward includes most of Edgewater and parts of Uptown.
The son of the late former 48th Ward alderman and community activist Kathy Osterman, for whom Hollywood Beach was renamed, he got started in local politics as an aide to recent 48th Ward Alderman Mary Ann Smith. During the last decade he served as state representative for the 14th District, showing a particular interest in public safety as he advocated for gun control and tougher penalties for domestic violence and unlicensed driving. After Smith chose not to run for reelection in conjunction with Richard M. Daley’s retirement, last year Harry Osterman won the election to replace her.
Osterman recently launched the year-long community input process for the 48th Ward Master Plan, a planning roadmap for the rest of the decade. We talked about how sustainable transportation might fit into the plan, his opposition to the CTA closing any of the ward’s six Red Line stations, and his ideas for promoting walking, biking and transit in the area, including on-street bike racks on Andersonville’s main drag.
Continue reading Talking transportation with 48th Ward Alderman Harry Osterman
47th Ward staffer Bill Higgins
A few weeks ago I contacted Mike Amsden, lead planner for the Chicago Department of Transportation’s Streets for Cycling initiative, to ask why CDOT chose Berteau Avenue (4200 N.), from Lincoln to Clark, to be the city’s first “neighborhood greenway” (AKA bike boulevard.) One of the main reasons he mentioned is that the project lies entirely within one ward, the 47th, and there’s enthusiastic support from local alderman Ameya Pawar. Amsden also told me he’s also gotten positive feedback from folks along Berteau who want to see cut-through traffic reduced. “We’ve heard from a few nearby residents who are really excited about it,” he said. Here’s a map of the location.
Last week at a block club meeting about the proposed greenway at a Ravenswood church, I learned firsthand how important it is that the project is slated for only a short stretch of roadway (.9 miles) and has strong aldermanic backing, because it’s turning out to be more controversial than I expected. There were over 50 people in attendance and many of the attendees said they’re afraid that the project will create chaos for drivers.
Continue reading Will 47th Ward residents learn to love the bike boulevard?
In Alderman Pawar’s weekly newsletter, the subject of neighborhood greenways, including the City’s first on Berteau Avenue, is addressed. The entire email is quoted here, except for the single photo that was embedded. You can also view the original email here, but it won’t be archived forever.
Many of you have been contacting our office regarding speeding cars, cut-through traffic and community safety. We have been working with the Mayor’s office and CDOT to identify innovative ways to increase pedestrian safety in our neighborhoods. Mayor Emanuel and CDOT recently released the Bike 2020 plan – simultaneously, our office has been looking at ways to increase safety, keep traffic moving effectively and make our ward more bicycle and pedestrian friendly. The result: we are studying the possibility of installing a Neighborhood Greenway on Berteau Ave from Clark Street to Damen Avenue. This stretch of Berteau has a high volume of traffic safety complaints and intersects four existing recommended bike routes. What’s a Neighborhood Greenway? It is a residential street where pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers can all share the road safely. Continue reading Alderman Pawar’s newsletter addresses Berteau Avenue neighborhood greenway concerns
Both John and I attended the Streets for Cycling Plan 2020 meeting at the Garfield Park Conservatory on Wednesday. The project leaders (Mike Amsden from the Chicago Department of Transportation, and Mark de la Vergne from Sam Schwartz Engineering, pictured) announced 4.3 new miles of protected bike lanes for the west side boulevard system to be installed this year in the main lanes to slow traffic in the Lawndale and East Garfield Park neighborhoods. Continue reading Recaps from Wednesday’s Streets for Cycling Plan meeting at Garfield Park