The Chainlink

I just came across this story on the Tribune. As much as I can't stand frivolous lawsuits of the I'm an idiot and I fell so now I need to blame someone else type, I actually kind of hope he wins. Only because the judge may force the city to make bridges safer. 

Realistically I don't think this suit stands a chance. 

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It's not the surfaces as much as how they both get slippery when wet for me.

So many trips call for crossing the river. And if it's not the river, then it's crossing under the expressways. Or moving through a different treacherous situation. 

Tommy Boy said:

How about simply avoiding a route that endangers your health. In a grid style city there are 8 routes to get any where. Why take the one that endangers you and your fellow citizens health?  Simply call the city and have them repair it.  

That is sometimes easier said than done.  Except around the Loop, the number of rideable bridge crossings is rather limited in some areas. 

For example, if you're going south and west from the Loop, your southbound options are Canal, Halsted, Loomis or Western, where you have the choice between grated bridge deck and sidewalk (often covered with broken glass, may or may not have a conveniently located curb cut), or, in the case of Western, cratered bike lane next to very heavy traffic or sidewalk full of broken glass.  Crossing westbound first instead of southbound, Harrison doesn't have grates, but has been affected by construction for a while.  Roosevelt can be a life threatening ride in spite of bike lanes.  18th St. doesn't have plates - yet.

If you're going north and west from the Loop, most of the bridges have grated sections.  At least in that direction, there are 2 rideable streets that have plates on the grated bridge decks: Kinzie and Cortland.  Further north, the bridges don't have grates but may have other issues. 

Most route options over bridges have some type of hazard.  The nature and degree of the hazards varies considerably by location. Depending on the start and end points of your trip, there may not be a non-hazardous route unless you want to go miles out of your way.

Tommy Boy said:

How about simply avoiding a route that endangers your health. In a grid style city there are 8 routes to get any where. Why take the one that endangers you and your fellow citizens health?  Simply call the city and have them repair it.  If it isn't done adequately or in a reasonable amount of time take it to a higher court.  Chicagoans have a right to cycle where they please within reason and the city has an obligation to provide a safe thorough fare to any person who chooses to use the street.

This case isn't about winning, it's about establishing a precedent for cyclist's rights, period.

I just checked out the Division St. bridges and could not find any hole as big as somebody claimed here - big enough for a person to fall into.  Please don't exaggerate.  It's bad enough that there are lots of metal patches on the bridge and potholes on the adjacent street leading up to it.  

The photo attached is on the east bound section of the bridge on Division near Halsted.  It's in the section where cars drive, not on the right side where we usually ride.

If there is general consensus that the bridges are more important to fix than making bike lanes, we need to communicate this to CDOT - not just complain about it here.  When is the next quarterly Mayor's Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting?  

Who will write to Commissioner Gabe Klein besides me?   I wrote to him in June about the bridges.  I delivered the letter along with 165 petition signatures.  We can't say he ignored it because we do have a few more plated bridges.  But we should keep up the pressure.  Here's how to do it:

Write to Gabe Klein at Chicago Dept of Transportation, 30 N. LaSalle St. Ste 1100 Chicago, Il 60602

or  


Attachments:

Kathy,

Your efforts are admirable but unfortunately you missed the follow-up post on page 3 of this thread where Jim S posted pics showing that the Division street bridge holes had been patched since he had last seen them.  Jim took the time to make a call, and also to check out the problem and bring info and pics back to us, so I think he deserves a little more credit than he got (which was first largely ignored, and then accused of exaggerating.) Not a great way to encourage people to "do more than just complain here."

Ideally such a problem would have its own thread--  no surprise that it's gotten pretty much buried in this one, which seems to be about the larger issue of governmental liability.

(Also-- I'm not clear on what you would like people to write to CDOT about in regard to the bridges-- is it specifically to request the plates? If so, what is the 'real' name of those type of plates or surface?)

Kathy Schubert 'n Suzy Schnauzer said:

I just checked out the Division St. bridges and could not find any hole as big as somebody claimed here - big enough for a person to fall into.  Please don't exaggerate.  It's bad enough that there are lots of metal patches on the bridge and potholes on the adjacent street leading up to it.  

The photo attached is on the east bound section of the bridge on Division near Halsted.  It's in the section where cars drive, not on the right side where we usually ride.

If there is general consensus that the bridges are more important to fix than making bike lanes, we need to communicate this to CDOT - not just complain about it here.  When is the next quarterly Mayor's Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting?  

Who will write to Commissioner Gabe Klein besides me?   I wrote to him in June about the bridges.  I delivered the letter along with 165 petition signatures.  We can't say he ignored it because we do have a few more plated bridges.  But we should keep up the pressure.  Here's how to do it:

Write to Gabe Klein at Chicago Dept of Transportation, 30 N. LaSalle St. Ste 1100 Chicago, Il 60602

or gabe.klein@cityofchicago.org 



How can you tell when a politician (or other "public servant") is lying to you?

-His (or her) lips are moving.

Cameron Puetz said:

This is the problem. CDOT has been saying this for years, but bridge after bridge has been rehabed with no bike-friendly treatments. Each case has a different excuse (North: it was a state project, Division: it was a temporary fix, etc), but the end result is that despite years of lip service almost no bridges have been fixed.


Exactly.  And many trips require crossing both the river and an expressway.

Steven Vance said:

So many trips call for crossing the river. And if it's not the river, then it's crossing under the expressways. Or moving through a different treacherous situation. 

Tommy Boy said:

How about simply avoiding a route that endangers your health. In a grid style city there are 8 routes to get any where. Why take the one that endangers you and your fellow citizens health?  Simply call the city and have them repair it.  

Yes, I think people could write to CDOT to request more bridge plates.  They have used a different kind of material every time.  I would leave it up to the City structural engineers to decide which one is the best one in each situation.  

Thanks for this information; I'll be contacting him. Though I'm not in the 32nd Ward, I do live within a few blocks of one of the Division bridges and ride over both twice daily on my way to and from work on Halsted. The last couple of days I've ridden the sidewalks because it's been wet, which seems to make falling on one of those bridges almost assured. But even then, the sidewalks in that area are totally torn up, and the wood planks on the bridges are also not the most fun to ride on. Plus, I'd just rather not have to weave in and out of the often-heavy traffic along Division there to get on and off the sidewalks, and, although there are rarely any pedestrians around, I feel like a jerk if there are.

Kathy Schubert 'n Suzy Schnauzer said:

I have just written about the Division St. bridge to Alderman Scott Waguespack of the 32nd ward.  Both of the Division St. bridges are in the 32nd Ward.  I gave him a link to this discussion.

You can add to my comments by writing to info@ward32.org or phoning 773 248 1330

Alderman Waguespack is a cyclist.  He is a good alderman.  He will listen.

I used to ride over the La Salle bridge at least 3 times a day delivering for Potbelly's, riding on 23c tires and never found it difficult to cross. 

In the wet is a completely different story, but the State St. bridge isn't too out of the way.

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