The Chainlink

Hi all,

Weighing pros and cons of different routes from the far north side to the medical district. I'll be riding off hours, 6am and 8pm. Any insight would be great! My thoughts below...

1. Ashland - absolutely out. I've ridden it before and was more terrified than when I rode ten miles along a highway shoulder (it was a posted and legally approved route for a supported ride, I did not go rogue and break laws)

2. Damen - dedicated bike lane for most of the way down. How badly do all the stop signs/lights slow things down for people? Thoughts on the area surrounding the united center around dawn/dusk (it's not the worst area, but not the safest either)?

3. Lake shore drive - probably the fastest way south, but heading west from there gets tricky. How's construction on Roosevelt? Harrison involves some zigzagging... Any better suggestions to head west to Ashland?

Thanks!!

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I would also take Damen. I've never made it all the way to the Medical District, but most of what I've traveled has not slowed me down at all.

I've ridden the stretch of Damen past the United Center at all hours of the day/night--including at times so late at night/early in the morning I'd rather not admit.  Outside of how absolutely horrible traffic can be if you end up hitting that stretch during an event at UC, it is a relatively safe area now (at least IMHO).  

  

Generally, I'd go with #2.

 I like Ravenswood-Wolcott-Damen down, for the most part. The North & Milw. intersection bites of course, but at 6:30am it should be fine. Heading back up @ 8pm it's a sh*tshow.

 I can't say I agree with #3- I find Clark-Halsted south is pretty good too, if you can get the timing right. The giant overpass centered at Chicago is in terrible shape, so take the sidewalk over it.

 

I'm not sure how anyone can attempt to provide a useful answer without having a better idea of where the starting point is.

Agree. I used to commute from Rogers Park to UIC around '93, just before they ruined the stretch by the United Center, and I am still very disssapointed by it. Also-- I've experienced a lot of close calls on the stretch that crosses 290, including more than one with completely horrible UIC police.
 
rwein5 said:

To be more specific: the WORST part of Damen is everything south of Lake. The bike lane goes away it it becomes a 4 lane street. During hawks/bulls/anything else at the UC, it's a death trap.

Nançois 8.5 said:

I would also take Damen. I've never made it all the way to the Medical District, but most of what I've traveled has not slowed me down at all.

I would think the event gridlock around the US would actually make Damen /safer/ than at certain mid-volume times.

My vote is Damen. Not even a contest IMO. (Unless your starting point makes the lakepath make more sense.)

Edgewater, near ridge and Peterson.

h' 1.0 said:

I'm not sure how anyone can attempt to provide a useful answer without having a better idea of where the starting point is.

Thanks. In that case I'm with Fran, but depending on final destination I might suggest switching over to Paulina (Fulton/Wood/Monroe/Paulina?) to avoid the nasty stretch of Damen.

csor347 said:

Edgewater, near ridge and Peterson.

h' 1.0 said:

I'm not sure how anyone can attempt to provide a useful answer without having a better idea of where the starting point is.

Do this commute every day, start near the Southport brown line stop to the medical district.  For awhile I did Greenview-Fullerton-Ashland-Elston-Ogden-Paulina.  Elston is great and you're really only on Ashland for 2 lights.  I stopped due to the excessive speeding on Ogden, this would probably be even worse for you at the off hours.

I take Damen every day now.  It can be a little slow with all of the lights through Bucktown, but it's still the best bike lane the entire way.  I typically start to head East to Wood or Paulina on either Fulton or Warren.  You can cut through the Rush hospital area on Paulina depending on how far south you need to get to (technically Paulina dead ends at Congress Parkway and starts back up on Harrison for cars). 

Halsted is a decent option as well depending on where you start in Lakeview.  I live further west so not worth it to do the backtracking. 

As far as crime - I've never had any problems and on a bike you should be fine.  We'll occasionally be notified of muggings and other crime in the area once every few months, but it's typically pedestrians very late at night.

I'd love to come up with a faster route though

I take Damen whenever I have to go to Rush from Lakeview.

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