The Chainlink

Cortland and Damen construction = communting challenge

The Damen/Fullerton construction is going to start later this week.  That's been scheduled for a while and I'm looking forward to the eventual improvements.  I do wonder how cyclists are going to fit into the one lane of Damen traffic during construction. I figure I'll just avoid Damen whenever possible.  

Then last night on my ride home, I saw the sign announcing that Cortland will be closed starting 6/1.   So there goes my alternate Elston to Clybourn route.  Anyone know how long that closure is expected to last?  Anyone have other suggestions for West Town to Andersonville commute?  

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Wow, did it look like Cortland is going to be closed _west_ of Elston? I was bracing for Cortland to close east of Elston around the Finkl site.

Tribune article says, recommended bicycle route alternatives are Diversey to Clybourn to Cortland.

Looks like just the bridge will be closed till November. Google came up with a document that says "at least one sidewalk will remain open to pedestrian traffic during the entire duration of construction," so you can walk your bike across if you want.

Webster is the next bridge north. Traffic there isn't too bad but it is an open grate bridge which sucks but it is better than North Ave imo.

I noticed the signage this afternoon too.  I was a bit surprised as I'd not heard or seen anything before today.  I figured with only a few days' notice, it would hopefully be just a short closure.  I checked first thing I could, and found this:

So yeah, looks like it's basically closed all year.  First thing I noticed is that they were kind enough to let us know it is closed to all traffic, including bicycles, and then fail to offer an alternative route like they did for cars and trucks.

Webster sucks, and it's not because of the bridge (which does suck due to the open grate you mentioned).  Between the bridge and Clybourn the road is very tight and cluttered, with parking on both sides.  Plus the road itself is in poor condition.  You could go up to Fullerton, but double the traffic lanes, and you still have to deal with the road being in poor shape.  Diversey, same thing.  Belmont, same thing.  Oh wait, there are plans to add bike lanes on Belmont.  Maybe CDOT can get those installed before Monday...

I'm not normally one to complain about this stuff, but we have like 3 east/west bike lanes that cross the Kennedy and/or river on the north side.  If this were a short closure, then I probably wouldn't even make a peep, but 6 months is a long time to close one of those few bike friendly bridges.

As for getting from West Town to Andersonville, if it's not too far out of the way I'd probably take Chicago to Halsted to Clark.  Otherwise, if that adds too much I'd probably just suck it up and take Damen to Webster to Southport.

I take that route to get from Bucktown to the lake.  Since the street will be unaffected, it seems to me it will be a whole lot faster and easier to act like a pedestrian and walk my bike across the bridge. 

I read this thread but I'm Cortland closed WB from Clybourn to Elston? I was planning on taking that route today

The bridge will be closed starting Monday, June 6.  As Lisa pointed out, it appears that Cortland itself should remain open, so you should be able to ride to and from the bridge, but to cross it you'd technically have to dismount and walk your bike on the sidewalk.

Regardless, today it is open so you will be fine.

I'm thinking the Cherry Street bridge might be my solution past these two construction challenges. Hat tip to Chainlinkers sharing stealth routes for revealing it in the distant past.  

That looks like it would be a good solution for you, but unfortunately for us east/west commuters it doesn't really help much...  Did you try it today?  I might use it for other trips.

DNAinfo had an article on the closure:

Did anyone cross the bridge today?  If so, can you confirm the sidewalk is still open?

Yes, the sidewalk is open.

This is the part that bothers me - 

Earlier this week, the Cortland Bridge was emphasized by CDOT as an alternative route for cyclists who might wish to avoid the traffic congestion near the Damen, Elston and Fullerton intersection, which is being redesigned over the next 18 months.

Looking to get opinions on using Clybourn as an alt route. I was thinking of taking Elston to Diversey, east on Diversey to Clybourn, then taking Clybourn to Division. I haven't been on Clybourn in a while and I wasn't sure how bike friendly it is.



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