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?
I'm interested. I've called 911 a number of times for vehicles that looked like they wouldn't be moving for a while but have no idea whether they ever respond as I rarely have time to hang around.
Do you work at 321 N. Clark by any chance? Carroll Street can be a real sh!tshow at night with the valets....
Yes, I do. The issue was with the valet company which is why I finally drew the line.
The car was parked in the driving lane facing the wrong direction (oncoming traffic). The car was stopped and I couldn't even see if anybody was in the car..I assumed it was parked as it wasn't moving and faced the wrong direction. I was standing up on my bike and walking around the car (as I should) to the wall side when the driver kicked in the engine. He was looking at the cars on his right and didn't see me. I screamed and thank god he had good reflexes and I just got pushed back; not hurt.
I refused to let the valet leave the car and he locked himself in the car. A procession of valet company goons came and offered me money to leave without reporting it. I called 911 and spoke to dispatch 7 times.They said cops were on their way but never showed up. As I wrote above one reason may have been my lack of knowledge about the street name - best I could tell dispatch is I was underneath Kinzie. After an hour standing in front of the car I gave up and they left. I wasn't injured but the drivers should have gotten multiple tickets for driving on wrong side, reckless driving, etc.
This whole issue of valets down there is out of control. On Friday nights when their tips are flying they get really excited and just gun the engines down Carroll Street and into the 321 ramp. It is a disaster waiting to happen but there seems to be no "owner" with responsibility as the valet co's lease the space. I may complain to the CBRE, which now owns 321.
I'll connect with you about the meeting. thx.
Ugh what a crappy experience for you. Those valets really drive like lunatics; I have some thoughts on advocacy around that issue as well.
I know some people interested in doing the same thing. I've created an event for the 1st district cpd advisory council meeting in November. That district covers downtown where most of us bike from time to time. If we can get some momentum there, then we'd fan out to other districts
If you can - keep a small notebook and pen/pencil with you. Write down the license plate, time, date etc. You must keep some form of documentation with you. I have freaked out drivers by pulling out the notepad and pencil - it means I'm serious.
Years ago I saw some valets tormenting a little tied up Yorkie dog. I went into the restuarant (Como Inn) and spoke to the manager. Turns out it was the owner's wife's dog. I don't remember seeing those valets or the company again. Someone is hiring those valet services, they're not just bumming around on street corners. The bars and restuarants must take on some responsibiity.
Also ask for an ambulance. You don't have to fall and thrash about on the pavement, but a shock or a head slam may slow or alter your decisions. You just "can't pick yourself off-dust yourself off-and start all over again".
Does anyone have a sense of what Active Trans is planning on doing with all the photos from their #cleartheway campaign this month? My impression was that they were hoping to dump a critical mass of photos on CDOTs lap and hope that helped? But not sure what the plan is beyond that, since it seems that CDOT doesn't have any enforcement teeth and the CPD seem actively interested in ensuring drivers can park in whatever bike lane they please.
Here is one thing they did with them: http://activetrans.org/blog/clear-way-generates-over-500-reports
Heh. I biked to work on Friday. Lakefront Trail south, but in the evening it was unbearably windy so I took Clark Street north. South of Wrigley Field -- probably across the street from Strange Cargo, in that general area, the bike lane was blocked by a FedEx truck...and, of course, there was a wide-open parking space that the truck could have pulled into. Light turned red, so I stopped. And just as I stopped, the driver came out of the business right by that spot after making a delivery. I decided to speak up:
ME: 'Scuse me, sir; can I ask you something?
FEDEX GUY: Sure.
ME: Why in the world did you park in the bike lane when you have a wide open parking space to the immediate right?
FG: (suddenly runs away into the truck) You can't ax [sic] me that! You can't ax me that!