The Chainlink

Grand Ave bike lane bollards - they are really stupid

They recently widened the sidewalk on Grand on the block west of St. Clair. They also added bollards to the bike lane which now make the bike lane unusable because there are always cars parked either in it or to the right of it.

The video I took shows both. Basically yesterday and today were my first days actually riding in the bike lane and I'm just going to stick to staying in the regular lane to the left. If one of those drivers opens their door in your path then you have nowhere to go because of the bollards. The stairs create a blind spot for pedestrians and if someone steps in your path then you have nowhere to go because of the bollards. 

I'm posting to ask if there is anyone I should write to regarding this? Would CDOT or alderman's office be better? Or am I crazy and the only one that thinks these things make a poor bike lane re-design worse? 

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This is what it looked like before they widened the sidewalk. Cars were always parked there but at least you had plenty of room to go around and not worry about a bollard knocking you over. Also plenty of time to react and avoid any pedestrians that might step into the street. 

Don't worry, they won't last long.

I take this road every morning and totally agree. They never once cleared it of snow, so it was impassable for months. And now that you could theoretically bike through it, it has the problems that you mention. I took it once and found that it essentially funneled me into the dooring zone of a couple of large vans that were parked in the spots placed (for some reason) to the right of the bike lane. Never again.

Good news---the bollards were only supposed to be a temporary measure to "evaluate" the idea of a protected lane. Any day now they're going to replace all of them with the permanent barrier we were promised. When that happens, the cars won't be able to park there-- problem solved!

Aren't these designs supposed to be getting better instead of worse? 

But I guess the story is that Chicago is installing another 20 miles of protected bike lanes, without regard to whether they are usable or even safe. Maybe they can get "People for (selling) Bikes" to give this one an award.

It doesn't solve the problem of nowhere to go if a pedestrian steps in front of you. Glad to hear they're going away but like someone said they won't last long there anyway. 

h' 1.0 said:

Good news---the bollards were only supposed to be a temporary measure to "evaluate" the idea of a protected lane. Any day now they're going to replace all of them with the permanent barrier we were promised. When that happens, the cars won't be able to park there-- problem solved!

Yeah no kidding. I appreciate the city's efforts and I'm glad they're building infrastructure. But good intentions get you only so far when paired with bad execution. Des Plaines south of Kinzie is much higher risk for right hooks now since parked cars block you from drivers' vision. Don't even get me started on that pinch point on Clark at Berteau. But at least some streets such as Wells are better with the wider bike lanes. 

Kevin C said:

Aren't these designs supposed to be getting better instead of worse? 

But I guess the story is that Chicago is installing another 20 miles of protected bike lanes, without regard to whether they are usable or even safe. Maybe they can get "People for (selling) Bikes" to give this one an award.

that is a bike lane i just ride right past. no thanks.

Um, Rich, not so much.  It is awfully hard to convey sarcasm on the internets.

Rich S said:

It doesn't solve the problem of nowhere to go if a pedestrian steps in front of you. Glad to hear they're going away but like someone said they won't last long there anyway. 

h' 1.0 said:

Good news---the bollards were only supposed to be a temporary measure to "evaluate" the idea of a protected lane. Any day now they're going to replace all of them with the permanent barrier we were promised. When that happens, the cars won't be able to park there-- problem solved!

Hell the protected part of Milwaukee on the west side is nearly impassable with debris. And both sides which were gloriously smooth last summer got ripped to shit by both the construction AND winter. It seems like all of Milwaukee (the entire street) needs to be entirely repaved.

Agreed about Milwaukee. But I'm chiming in to say I saw a street sweeper drive over a couple of the remaining bollards on the Kinzie hill by the chocolate factory the other day. They popped right back up. Bonkers. So if that's the usual practice, I can't imagine why the bike lanes aren't being cleared of debris.

peter moormann said:

You Eastsiders don't no how spoiled you are.

+1000 to this.

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