The Chainlink

As I was riding south last weekend at the end of Open Streets, I noticed a nasty hazard.  



As you can see from the first picture, it's right in front of Magnolia Bakery at Block 37 (between Randolph and Washington).  I'd seen this previously and reported it, but apparently my 311 report went into a black hole.

There is a large rectangular hole cut in the street next to the curb.  It's a few feet deep, and covered with the steel plate you see here, which is a few inches too small to cover the hole.  Whoever placed this plate could have put the gap next to the curb, where it would be harmless.  Instead, they chose to put it in the middle of the curb lane of southbound traffic.

I'm glad that I spotted it before riding into it.  I hope that it doesn't cause anyone else a bad accident.  I've reported it again this week.  Could a few more of you help me make some noise about this so the problem gets fixed?  Thanks!

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Thanks so much for jumping on this Anne.  Can you confirm with photos when you have a chance to look at the fix?

I've gotten 2 updates over the weekend.  On Saturday, a crew shifted the plate and used bolts to fix it in place.  Unfortunately, that fix did not hold, and the plate shifted by Sunday, presumably due to traffic.  I got a message yesterday saying that a crew would be out today to replace the too-small plate with a larger one that would fully cover the hole.  I'll take a look later today.

Thanks again Anne!

Anne Alt said:

I've gotten 2 updates over the weekend.  On Saturday, a crew shifted the plate and used bolts to fix it in place.  Unfortunately, that fix did not hold, and the plate shifted by Sunday, presumably due to traffic.  I got a message yesterday saying that a crew would be out today to replace the too-small plate with a larger one that would fully cover the hole.  I'll take a look later today.

I wonder why it took me weeks to get a similar problem fixed near my house.

I walked by during my lunch. A CDOT crew was working, putting 2 plates in to fully cover the hole. Hopefully these will stay put and not cause any additional problems - until the hole is finally filled (someday...).

Let's just hope now there isn't a big lip sticking out into the street to go around.

I rode in this morning and there's a second plated bolted next to the original that extends across most of the lane.  It's about a half-inch proud of the pavement so if you're on a road bike you're better going around it, and there's just enough space to avoid going into the left southbound lane.  In busier traffic this isn't a good long term solution, either.  If there any plan for fixing the hole itself?

HT to you people who ride Michigan Ave and State St. Until there is a bike lane there, I will never feel safe riding those strips, your presence and efforts to make the streets safe there are much appreciated. THANKS

Around 8:15-9 in the morning State Street is actually pretty open.  I wouldn't want to ride it during the day or at rush hour, though.  I've never liked biking on Michigan Avenue at any time, though it's a people-watching paradise.

In non-rush hour traffic, State St. can be rideable.  The new cover over the hole isn't perfect, but it's a considerable improvement over having that gap which could eat a wheel.

+1 - thanks to you, Anne, for going to bat for all of us - and for the updates!

I ride State 2-3x a month and also find it's all about time of day and bus-driver coolness. 


Juan said:

HT to you people who ride Michigan Ave and State St. Until there is a bike lane there, I will never feel safe riding those strips, your presence and efforts to make the streets safe there are much appreciated. THANKS

I exchanged a few emails with Gabe Klein in course of getting some answers.  He mentioned that CDOT is reviewing its policy on steel plate use.  I offered the following suggestions for bike safety:

* use of asphalt to create ramped edges/eliminate harsh impact of tire against square edge

* NO gaps in hole coverage at edges of plate(s) or between plates
* if bolts are used to secure plates, set them as low as possible to avoid creating additional hazard for cyclists


Does anyone have additional suggestions?

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