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I live on the far north side and I have friends on the far south side and in the south suburbs. I've thought about riding down there some weekend to hang out but I don't really know how bike-friendly a lot of the streets down that way are. I'd be going from Foster & Western-ish to either 115th & Western-ish (straight shot down Western? Don't know if that's a good idea or not) or 147th & Pulaski-ish. Does anybody have any preferred streets or paths for riding down that way?

Thanks!

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This is a workable route.

Two areas of caution: there is construction on Vincennes from about 89th to where Vincennes angles under the viaduct just north of 87th, which narrows traffic down to one lane. Gets a little hairy at rush hour.

Also, there's some kind of leak causing continual standing water in the righthand lane under the viaduct just south of 83rd on northbound Vincennes. I'm not sure if there are craters in that water or not, but that viaduct is dark. I sure wouldn't want to find out the hard way. Use a tail light and ride with caution under that viaduct.

On the southbound side, pavement is somewhat cratered under the same viaduct. Use tail light and caution on that side, too.

Jim Behymer said:
Blast from the past! When I posted this thread, I lived way north but now I live way south, near 147th and Pulaski and my far south side friends, and tomorrow morning I am riding downtown. I've worked out what I think is a pretty good route, cutting through Robbins, crossing the Cal Sag at Francisco, taking side streets up to 115th and Western--this much of the ride I've done previously and it's alright, not ideal but nothing down here is. Wondering about the rest of my planned route downtown. 115th over to Longwood, Longwood up to 103rd, 103rd over to Vincennes, Vincennes up to 69th, 69th to MLK, and then MLK up to Cermak after which I am again in familiar territory. It's about 22-23 miles total and I figure if I leave around 7am I should be able to easily get to my destination in the loop by 9am. Any thoughts?
Thanks Anne, that's great information! Especially the Damen->California->Damen workaround, I'll more than likely use that in the next week or two.

This evening, I rode the LFP south past Marquette, jumped off at 71st rather than follow the shore southeast out of my way, took Yates down to 83rd, 83rd back over to Damen, Damen down to 87th, took the Major Taylor trail for a few blocks, long enough to pick up Longwood, which I took down to 115th and then did my usual route through Blue Island and Robbins. It was a nice ride but added 8 or 10 miles that I could have done without after work.

I'd like to invite anyone who rides on the south side to a couple of Streets for Cycling 2020 meetings this week and next.

If you ride on the far south side (south of 87th, west of I-94), please come to tonight's meeting in Beverly.  It's close to the 95th St. Metra stop on the Rock Island, so it's easily accessible from downtown, Bronzeville and Bridgeport.  It's also close to 95th St. bus routes 95W and 381 if you're coming from outside the neighborhood.

For the whole south side, there's a bigger meeting at Woodson Library next Wednesday 1/25, with a presentation and an opportunity to talk with planners.  I've included public transit info in the comments for that meeting.

Note that there are links in the event description for both events on how to share your ideas online if you are unable to attend one of the public meetings.

Please no more stop signs.

vxla said:

There is NO reason to put a bike lane on Western; it is an arterial street that should only have cars, buses and trucks. Somewhere, a line needs to be drawn where bike lanes are put. It makes more sense to divert heavy car traffic onto streets like Western, and then slow traffic on Damen to a more manageable speed (by putting bump-outs in, adding more stop signs, traffic lights, and other proven technology).

I'm all for bike friendly routes, but I'd rather not mix faster moving traffic with slow moving multimodal traffic. That's a recipe for disaster.
See the book "Suburban Nation" for more information on such devices.

As for commentary on the neighborhood, everyone makes a choice on where they want to live. I knew that by living in Oak Park for years I'd have Austin as insulation from the rest of the city, but it was something I learned to deal with.

I agree.  We've reached a point where many areas of the city have TOO many stop signs, and many drivers are opting to ignore them.  On streets like Damen, I think that a road diet treatment (such as replacing regular bike lanes with protected lanes and adding bumpouts) could be much more effective than adding more stop signs.

The intersection in front of my house is a great example of stop sign fatigue.  We used to have a 2-way stop at the intersection of our 2-way streets (one a minor street, the other a half-mile street), and drivers were flying through on the minor street, which then had no stop signs for almost 1/2 mile.  Some of us asked the alderman if we could get a 4-way stop.

At rush hour, most drivers stop or slow down to 5-10 mph.  At other times of day, when traffic is fairly light, some drivers stop, but as many as half only slow down a little, or don't slow down at all.  Our half-mile street has stop signs at every intersection.  The intersecting street has stop signs at about half the intersections between Longwood Dr. and Western, mostly closer to Western.  Many nearby intersections have either 2-way or 4-way stops.

Too many drivers blow through most of the intersections, expecting everyone else to be watching out for them.  Our section of the neighborhood does not have any center islands in intersections.  The section of the neighborhood south of 99th has several, and drivers are forced to slow down to navigate those intersections.  I think we'd see lower speeds if we had a center island instead of the 4-way stop at our intersection.

John Wirtz said:

Please no more stop signs.

vxla said:

There is NO reason to put a bike lane on Western; it is an arterial street that should only have cars, buses and trucks. Somewhere, a line needs to be drawn where bike lanes are put. It makes more sense to divert heavy car traffic onto streets like Western, and then slow traffic on Damen to a more manageable speed (by putting bump-outs in, adding more stop signs, traffic lights, and other proven technology).

I'm all for bike friendly routes, but I'd rather not mix faster moving traffic with slow moving multimodal traffic. That's a recipe for disaster.
See the book "Suburban Nation" for more information on such devices.

I agree! 

Anne Alt said:

I agree.  We've reached a point where many areas of the city have TOO many stop signs, and many drivers are opting to ignore them. 

...

I hope that plenty of you, and anyone you know who rides on the south side, will be coming to Wednesday's south side meeting for Streets for Cycling 2020.

I'll be there.

Anne Alt said:

I hope that plenty of you, and anyone you know who rides on the south side, will be coming to Wednesday's south side meeting for Streets for Cycling 2020.

Excellent!

John Wirtz said:

I'll be there.

Anne Alt said:

I hope that plenty of you, and anyone you know who rides on the south side, will be coming to Wednesday's south side meeting for Streets for Cycling 2020.

I know that you are speaking in generalities, but it's still worth noting that Damen Ave. is likely not a good candidate for a road diet.  In the strictest sense of the word, a road diet refers to a reduction in travel lane width for other purposes - so, Damen Ave. already underwent a road diet when its current bike lanes were installed.  If you are talking about removing on-street parking on Damen though, that is obviously another story but not necessarily a road diet.  

Anne Alt said:

On streets like Damen, I think that a road diet treatment (such as replacing regular bike lanes with protected lanes and adding bumpouts) could be much more effective than adding more stop signs.

I hope to see a good turnout at tonight's Streets for Cycling 2020 meeting.  There are plenty of areas that could use your ideas for improvement.

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