The Chainlink

Yesterday at the Mayor's Bicycle Advisory Council they mentioned bike lane parking/driving is hard to enforce because it's a game of "wack a mole". They also mentioned if they knew the target areas to focus on i.e. the worst bike lane locations for parking/blocking, they could do a better job of focusing on those areas. So, let's help them. What do you see are your worst, most frustrating sections of the bike lanes in the city that drivers use to park, trucks use to unload, etc. 

Example - One of my least favorite bike lane sections is Wells between North Avenue and Division because there are so many restaurants but no loading zones so the bike lane is one big loading zone. I've seen this at all times during the day. I think the solution is to provide some designated areas for loading in addition to enforcement because trucks truly do need locations to do their deliveries. 

What are your least favorite stretches of bike lanes?

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My experience on Wells is that drivers see the trucks in the bike lane and allow me to merge without any trouble.  Loading zones won't be able to be created because the parking meter contract won't allow for the removal of metered spaces.  Payton HS was a problem because so many drivers queued up in the south bound lane to drop off students and they wouldn't look for a clear entry back to the driving lane.  The new driveway should help with that problem.

If CDOT had an employee (or intern) monitor Twitter, this site, and StreetsBlog, they would know all the problem areas.  It would take 15 minutes a day.  CDOT employees don't live in their offices; they must go outside once in a while.  Do they ever look at their surroundings to get an idea of how the city's infrastructure is used?  There isn't the will to even care, let alone do something about it.  CDOT is aware of cars driving in the Loop Link lanes, and there is no enforcement.

Yes, it WAS disappointing. As we discussed later, Wells St. through Old Town has been consistently terrible for many years, and part of the problem is the lack of designated loading zones around all the bars, restaurants and other businesses that regularly get truck deliveries.

When I have ridden Wells, drivers have not always been accommodating in allowing me to merge into traffic. 

Some sacrifice of parking MUST be made there in order to safely accommodate truck deliveries and minimize bike lane blockage.

One way for the city to remove parking spaces on Wells is to add metered spaces elsewhere that receive a similar volume.  The first thought that comes to my mind is to meter Stockton.  Should the city provide free parking to people living in Lincoln Park high rises who are looking to avoid paying $2,000 a year to their building's garage?

What about the Midway Plaisance?  Are there meters there?

Good point. No meters there now, or along Midway Plaisance.

People aren't going to pay $28 a day to park there.  Is there really demand for metered parking in that area?

I just brought this to the attention of Alderman Margaret Laurino, they said it was a good question and would get back to me. 

I was specifically referring to the stretch of Elston between Lawrence and Montrose.  Quite often a good block or two of the southbound bike lane is lost to drivers queuing to use the car washes on the west side of the street.  Cyclists are forced to enter the single lane of fairly fast traffic to get around these illegal (?) uses of the lane.

If they want to whack-a-mole they can just park outside any car wash on a bike lane at a weekend wielding a big rubber mallet.

Thanks for raising this issue. It can get crazy at the car washes, and Elston drivers are not terribly enthusiastic about allowing cyclists to merge in to the traffic lane when the bike lane is blocked.

This, and the delivery issue, seem like overarching problems that the city ought to give thought to solving. Removal of parking to allow car wash lines and delivery zones seems reasonable. 

+1  Car wash traffic is another big safety issue.

I've heard some disingenuous comments about cycling safety, but this "wack a mole" nonsense might take the cake.

 

Plenty of bike lanes are chronically filled with cars.  I'd wager a large sum of money that multiple cars are parked in the bike lanes adjacent to the main post office right now because drivers didn't feel like using the parking lot or multiple legal parking spaces nearby.  This website includes numerous pics of cars in the Dearborn lane, mostly near Lake St. and the Cook County Admin Bldg.  Trucks unloading in bike lanes (including the one that recently killed a woman on Milwaukee) almost surely are doing so with the full knowledge and consent of the alderman and the police commander.

 

City officials don't enforce these laws because they're actually totally okay with cars parking in the bike lane and probably do it themselves.

Yeah, I agree. It doesn't take much to know where the worst spots are. 

I think what concerns me most is that the lack of enforcement is probably making the problem worse - if people know they can park in a bike lane without worry of a ticket, why bother to park in the designated area with a meter? We've all seen many offenders steps away from a perfectly good metered space. 

Ironically, yesterday on Wells (seeing over 15 cars and trucks in the bike lane on my ride) as I was making my way to the council meeting, I was almost hit by a woman in a Merry Maid car on her cell phone and unable to see me coming because of the Pace van that was blocking her view (parked in the bike lane). This could have ended very badly for me. Do they really want to say a Pace van illegally parking in the bike lane was a case of wack-a-mole? Or a police car? Or a CTA bus? Or a mail truck? These are all commonly seen by all of us. I posted this thread because I want to eliminate all of the excuses. Even if I think their wack-a-mole theory is bunk, I want to make sure we answer it with specific streets to ticket. Once we submit that, what excuse do they have?

"lack of enforcement is probably making the problem worse"

 

This is definitely true.  The post office situation got progressively worse over time, as people who regularly drive to that location learned that they can get away with parking in the lane because the city obviously doesn't care.  Now, the bike lanes are de facto parking spaces.

 

I see it happening on Washington just east of Canal right now.  First, it was an occasional delivery truck.  Then it was a delivery truck half the time and maybe a car as well.  This morning, there were 4 different vehicles parked there, all in a row.  Surely they saw the same thing I did and figured, "I might as well start parking there for free also."

One step toward enforcement would be to actually get some signage up along the bike lanes. Maybe I've just overlooked them, but I can't say that I have ever seen signs stating No Parking or Standing in Bike Lanes - Penalty $150 Ticket and/or Tow. Is that going to keep all drivers out? No. But it would be a good start toward educating the drivers who simply don't know.

The fact the signs aren't out there make me doubt any serious intent to enforce the law.

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