The Chainlink

Does the city actually have the bike lane plow that was donated?  Or are they still waiting on it?  I'm trying to figure out why it's not being used.

I'm very new to this whole winter biking thing but the most dangerous part of my commute is the protected bike lane on Kinzie.  I've emailed the city twice about it (after both times that we had just a small amount of accumulation on the ground), but haven't heard anything.

I somehow made it home last night but watched another cyclist get caught in the snow and end up sliding into a parked car.  I really want to continue biking year-round, but not if I feel unsafe.  Seems like this will only become a bigger problem as more protected bike lanes are built that regular snow plows can't get into.

Also, for anyone that normally rides on Milwaukee between downtown and Wicker Park...is it normal for all of the bike lane here to be covered in the snow they've plowed from the regular lanes of traffic?  Last night I couldn't see where the bike lane was at all until I was past Chicago.  I'm thinking a plow had just gone through recently dumping everything into the bike lane, but just curious if this is how this stretch of Milwaukee normally is in the winter when there's snow on the ground?

 

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Update - I rode in this morning and it looks like they finally got the bike plow through on Kinzie

On my ride home last night Kinzie was mostly plowed.

The protected bike lane, too?  I went through sometime around 5:30pm thinking it would be plowed for sure by then.  It was brutal.  Saw a few different people stop, pick their bikes up and walk them on the sidewalk instead.

This morning, some of the business owners between Jefferson and Clinton dumped their shoveled snow into the bike lane. Nice.

How lovely of them.  When it first opened last year, someone threw about 20-30 bags of dog shit in it one morning.  

I had the same experience last night. Biking Kinzie at 5:30pm I thought the city seriously overlooked this one as I slid around and came to very gradual slow stops for cars at the 4-ways. However, as I continued on my way up Milwaukee, I realized the city just hadn't plowed at all, except for the part going through Wicker Park. Let's hope when they do plow, they plow the bike lanes as well.

A lot of streets weren't even plowed by morning, and the snow was still coming down.  It is still going to take some time to get things plowed -- streets and bike lanes.  

Blair Fabian said:

Update - I rode in this morning and it looks like they finally got the bike plow through on Kinzie

Someone reported on the Critical Mass list that at least part of the Kinzie lane was plowed this morning.

Thanks for posting the link - good to see it in use!  Just wish it would have gone out a little earlier.

So it looks like the one that was donated to the city is too wide for the Kinzie lane?

I rode Kinzie  between 5:30 and 6pm last night and the the bike lane had been cleared, with the exception of the bridge, wich was un-plowed, and un-salted. There was some gray slush in the bike lane elsewhere on Kinzie, but nothing that should have been of much concern. The bridge however was an issue. Why was the snow on the steel plates untouched? That is probably the most critical portion of the new lanes. I guess we will have to wait for a real snow storm to see.

Great questions.  I'm curious as to what other people have to say about this, but in my experience, the plows do end up dumping the snow in the bike lanes or where a biker would typically ride (closer to the right side of the right lane).  What this means is that in the winter, you have to be more comfortable riding in the center of the lane, or "taking the lane".  (Just do it.  The cars will respect you on this since they can plainly see there is no other place for you to ride.)  Since the protected bike lanes are out of the way of the street plows, once the city figures out how to maintain the new protected bike lanes more consistently, I think more protected bike lanes will equal safer and more enjoyable winter cycling.

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