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
Heading north out of the loop, where Franklin turns into Orleans at Wacker up to Hubbard. The Wacker intersection always has cars blocking the box (which is huge because Wacker is at least 5 lanes wide). The bike lane also changes position; it is on the far right of the bridge over the river, but then shifts to the left to allow for parked cars next to the Mart, then shifts back to the right down the decline, and narrows considerably as it approaches the bus stop.
Heading into the loop, Wells south of Wacker. The buffered bike lane north of Wacker is freshly paved. South of Wacker, the lane disappears, the pavement is awful, and the el supports are right there. It isn't dangerous, but the quick change in environment is eye opening and I am always more alert.
Also, the more I think about the 4 lane speedway that Clark is between Armitage and North, the angrier I get. Clark is 2 lanes north of Armitage and south of North. In between, it opens up and cars are traveling way to fast. Those extra lanes need to disappear soon. It isn't that bad for cyclists, but pedestrians have few opportunities to cross Clark to get into the park.
WB Higgins from Harlem to the left turn at Bryn Mawr. For some silly reason they made Higgins two (2) narrow lanes from Harlem to the end of the bridge (~1/4 mile). Traffic speeds up here. I usually have to take the lane to avoid getting close buzzed. Making the left turn on Bryn Mawr can be tricky if a clump of fast-moving traffic shows up at the wrong time.
Glenwood to Ridge, Ridge SE to Broadway. That section of Ridge requires 20 mph+. There's only one SE bound lane that doesn't turn onto Hollywood, and people drive 40-45 regularly. If I hit the light at Glenwood, then I can almost make it to Broadway before traffic catches me.
Yikes! I never mess with Ridge if I can help it. Try dodging East on Ardmore to Victoria instead--unless you like the adrenaline!
When I'm riding in from Beverly on Vincennes, it's usually the section from 84th to 81st - dark viaducts with potholes (now getting fixed!) and parents dropping off kids at Simeon High School. Crossing the Ryan at 71st would be a close second. Now going that way so often right now - construction at the Vincennes viaducts and bad pavement on 71st E of the Ryan.
Halsted is in better condition and less hairy, but also less direct.
2 parts at the start & finish - Kedzie, both north & southbound between Chicago & Washington, generally due to pavement conditions.
at the opposite end of my commute, 31st street in downers grove, between Highland ave & Meyers - since that's the only spot i need to ride on a 4-lane, 45 mph road.
A 4 (to 6) lane 45 mph road is the worst part of my commute also. It is called Archer Avenue. The speed limit is actually 25 or 30, but it is not at all uncommon for drivers to exceed 50 mph, even during rush hour. The avenue needs a _serious_ road diet. Perhaps a gastric bypass, followed by some kind of fasting diet and oh, I was gonna say a prescription for amphetamines, but speed is the problem not the solution!
"...speed is the problem not the solution!"
When I used to work at 18th and Western my hardest section/most annoying was going South on Ogden and turning left on to South bound Western Ave.
I used to take Damen South the whole way to Lake and then Oakley, which dead ends at Ogden. The only way to get to my old office, which was off of Western, was to take Ogden to Western and ride on Western for like 1/2 mile.
Currently my worst part is just dealing with Wells south of Wacker since I have to ride along Wells all the way to Jackson under the El. I'm not sure what is worse - the cars, peds or constant roar of trains overhead.
It used to be Wells through West Town. From Lincoln to Oak there are painted bike lanes but the drivers are the worst! I can't even count the near-misses I've had and then one morning I rolled up on Neil Townsend's dead body and the guy who opened the car door that sent him under the truck. (Ghost Bike is at Wells and Oak, about half a block from where he died.)
Ever since then I've jumped onto Sedgwick at Webster/Clark and followed it to Orleans at Division--much nicer. Wells can go to hell.