Describe the part in your commute that gives you white knuckles, whether its a street or bridge you cross, or a section that alway has you crossing your fingers. For me , its when i turn onto Higgins and i make the sprint to Bessie Coleman Dr . Lots of traffic, trucks ,cabs and passenger vehicles, and seemingly not many people paying attention
Been there enough times.
Illinois from McClurg to the bridge. I'm going to be either doored or right-hooked on that stretch someday.
Northbound Elston at Ashland during the evening commute. Drivers cut across lanes to turn right on to Ashland without paying attention. I have yet to find a way to go through that intersection feeling safe.
Ditto—until they change that sea of asphalt and enforce a speed limit I will never feel safe there. By jumping the red light at Armitage (very carefully) I can usually get ahead of the cars and make it safely into the left lane so I can cross without being right-hooked by cars trying to get from Elston onto Ashland at Kennedy speed.
Double Ditto. That is just a mess. It sucks cause Elston is mostly safer than Milwaukee - but I avoid it because of that intersection and at Fullerton.
I too work in the NW burbs, and the worst is probably the part on Wolf road (Golf to Prairie Ave). While it's only about 1/2 mile, it's still a fast 4-lane road.
I've noticed this issue as well. I don't feel safe making that hard left for the reasons you describe, so I cross Kinzie, stop, and proceed west when Kinzie gets the green light.
I take Foster ave east to the LFP. Where Foster intersects with the ramp for the outer drive both eastbound traffic lanes can turn right onto the ramp. The far right lane is easy to avoid but the left lane can either go straight or turn right onto the ramp. This leaves a cyclist no safe place to be. Since the ramp goes from two lanes into one before it merges onto the outer drive all the cars try and drag race to get be first. I have tried riding in the middle of the lane only to get nearly run over by traffic racing to be first on the ramp. I have tried riding on the double yellow line but there is no easy way to get there, again the traffic seems to be going much faster there.
I've found that if you take the left lane and stay on the left 1/3 of the lane it's not too bad. I try to take it on a red at the traffic light just before the ramp or before the light if you're not going to get a red. Oh, I also don't try to move up if I get a red at the light so that I have a clear spot in traffic.
Ending the ride at work. I typically want to keep on going.