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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When only Low Emissions Vehicles (LEV's) are allowed anywhere in the city, or at least 2-3 miles from the loop, then bicycles WILL be the intended vehicles.  Start the LEV definition at about 100MPG and move it up every few years.

That's how to fix this problem.

Mike Fiasco said:

Or, the courts could declare it a Boub.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boub_v._Township_of_Wayne

 

As in "cyclists are permitted but not intended users of the bridges".

I live in the south loop and frequently ride these bridges, it scares me every time. It would be cool to see this go through! I value my teeth!

Would it be fair to say that the bridges discussed here fall into the area on this map?

A few years ago I was driving to a meeting and as I crossed the LaSalle St bridge downtown I saw a bicyclist down, writhing in pain. I threw her bike in the station wagon and drove her to Northwestern Memorial. I tried to not react at the scarily deep gash in her knee. She had lost it as she rode over a groove.

Last week I crossed the Division bridge at Halsted after a rain - it was crazy slippery.

I hope the City decides to fix this problem.

Called 311 earlier but now it may be wasting their time ... the biggest holes in the grates have been repaired. I took a ride after work to both the LaSalle and Division Bridges. The LaSalle bridge is not in disrepair and isn't the worst one out there. About half of the bridge is covered with concrete. The grates still suck but there are definitely more treacherous bridges in the city. I took the Orleans bridge going back north and that was beautiful. Not a single grate! 

LaSalle

The Division bridge is patched up and rusty. You can see a gap in one of the grate covers wide enough for a bike tire.

Forgot to add: There are two similar cases against the city right now. One was filed last November and the Chicago Tribune never picked up on it (they apparently monitor newly filed cases).

And, in the T.Y. Lin report, the LaSalle bridge was rated "poor", along with Webster, Clark, 18th, Loomis, and Chicago. (Other bridges were rated poor but they did or now have a bike-friendly deck treatment.)

Both Division Street bridges were rated "fair" in the "Bicycle Ride-ability Formula" and that they would be filled in with concrete in 2005 and 2006. This formula was based on deck type, grate orientation, percent of deck filled, and "overall deck quality as determined from field surveys". 

If the city ends up being forced by a legal decision to deal with the metal grate bridges, I hope they do a better job of implementing the solutions than they've done with many of the recent ADA curb cut installations.  I've seen too many that are already looking like the example below (or worse) after only 1 or 2 years.  This shoddy work is effectively pre-installing potholes - right where cyclists generally turn the corner!




Steven Vance said:

I've seen the report by T.Y. Lin that the Tribune mentions. Here are more details. The Chicago Bike Map even says to "use caution" when riding over the bridges.

I've written about open metal grate bridges many times on Grid Chicago. Read on:

My personal wish is that the outcome is similar to the ruling against the city for its lack of ADA compliance in curb cuts. The city was required to spend an *additional* $50 million over 5 years to create hundreds (thousands?) of ADA compliant curb cuts. I wrote about this here.

"Baby potholes?"

Around my neighborhood they were looking like this less than 6 months after being installed:

Our neighborhoods should trade problems.

Miraculously I was able to get help from a woman at my Alderman's office to get them fixed-- I think she was sent in to try to clean that office up.

Anne Alt said:

If the city ends up being forced by a legal decision to deal with the metal grate bridges, I hope they do a better job of implementing the solutions than they've done with many of the recent ADA curb cut installations.  I've seen too many that are already looking like the example below (or worse) after only 1 or 2 years.  This shoddy work is effectively pre-installing potholes - right where cyclists generally turn the corner!




Steven Vance said:

I've seen the report by T.Y. Lin that the Tribune mentions. Here are more details. The Chicago Bike Map even says to "use caution" when riding over the bridges.

I've written about open metal grate bridges many times on Grid Chicago. Read on:

My personal wish is that the outcome is similar to the ruling against the city for its lack of ADA compliance in curb cuts. The city was required to spend an *additional* $50 million over 5 years to create hundreds (thousands?) of ADA compliant curb cuts. I wrote about this here.

Thank you thank you thank you Rich S!



Rich S said:

Called 311 earlier but now it may be wasting their time ... the biggest holes in the grates have been repaired. I took a ride after work to both the LaSalle and Division Bridges. The LaSalle bridge is not in disrepair and isn't the worst one out there. About half of the bridge is covered with concrete. The grates still suck but there are definitely more treacherous bridges in the city. I took the Orleans bridge going back north and that was beautiful. Not a single grate! 

LaSalle

The Division bridge is patched up and rusty. You can see a gap in one of the grate covers wide enough for a bike tire.

As cyclists, we understand there are risks. Sucks when we lose, but the real loss is never trying. Ride on. Eric Puetz

I thought there was an IL Supreme Court decision several years ago where the judge said that cities do not have to keep streets in enough repair for bicycles.

Ah, here it is, Boub v Wayne township

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boub_v._Township_of_Wayne

That was the first thing I thought of when I read the article. Since that went all the way to the state supreme court, I don't see how this lawsuit is going to go anywhere. Unless he can show the circumstance is different, like the city claims the bridge is safe for bicycles.

The city is trying to claim that the bridges are not dangerous, and includes them in "recommended routes". 

Chris B said:

I thought there was an IL Supreme Court decision several years ago where the judge said that cities do not have to keep streets in enough repair for bicycles.

Ah, here it is, Boub v Wayne township

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boub_v._Township_of_Wayne

That was the first thing I thought of when I read the article. Since that went all the way to the state supreme court, I don't see how this lawsuit is going to go anywhere. Unless he can show the circumstance is different, like the city claims the bridge is safe for bicycles.

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