This is Virginia Beach. It's how the LFP should be, only with wider bike lanes. The LFP is a victim of it's own success and We, The People, of Chicago, need to get our heads around the idea of a radical remodel. Such a remodel would be necessarily expensive, but hey the LFP is that popular the remodel would surely be worth it, huh? Yes, it surely would!
I originally posted this as a reply to the 'Death of a Cyclist' discussion, but on reflection, I think the Virginia Beach model deserves a discussion of it's own.
I agree completely that a separate path for pedestrians and joggers would be ideal. Short of that, S. Cathi has it right — the LFP needs signs! They may not do that much good, but it would be a start. This is especially true on the part of the "path" that goes over the river. This is just a sidewalk and all the tourists look at us cyclists as if we have no business being there. Normally, they'd be right, but since it's the only possible way to go there (w/o a huge detour), we have no choice. The pedestrians need signs to warn them that this is a multi-use sidewalk and they better be careful. Even if cyclists are going slow and being careful, that's not enough to prevent accidents when pedestrians aren't aware that the cyclists are there and have a right to be there.
I think they should paint the pavement with rules of the path. For instance, slow traffic keep right and arrows indicating which side/lane is Northbound vs Southbound. I actually avoid the lakepath because of the chaos of tourists bumbling around, those weird 4 wheeled hummer like behemoths bikes - should be outlawed for taking up the entire lane, speed demons cutting you off with nary a "on your left" or any other kind of warning. I just feel safer (gulp) in the streets with the traffic. At least people have a clue about the rules there.
Never let the facts get in the way of a good rant against a supposedly dysfunctional government...
Bike Bloke said:
A few years back (5, 6, 7 - can anyone else remember?), there were grandiose plans coming from City Hall to include a separate LFP bridge at Lake Shore Drive. Since then, nothing. Predictable. Over to you, Chainlink investigative journalists....
While the LFT is a serious pain in the ass the LSD Bridge over the River is dangerous. Had a jogger turn on a dime to head back south, good thing I was going slower and was able to stop with a tap rather than a thud.
It would be nice to see the bridge shown in the Trib article, and looks like they have funding? I hope that in building the bridge they will make it to open so it will not impede boat traffic down the river.
That dreaded bridge over the river section is up for what will be a three year overhaul, they are going to re-configure the whole deal...The section that is right next to traffic is the most dangerous section of the LFP IMHO. I often wonder how many injuries occur there every year, esp when you throw the tourist factor in there going to the Pier. I have had MANY of them step right out in front of me, and that is one heck of a narrow,high cliff to jump into traffic. I walk my bike thru that section.
I've been riding for years and the first and only real accident I ever had was on the LFP while on my way to class in the south loop in 2009. A teenage kid on one of those low-seated bikes (that make your knees go up to your face) crashed into me head on when he swerved into my lane to pass someone. I went flying off my bike and the lifeguards on duty helped me up. The kid took off. I ended up breaking some bones in my hand. It's incredibly dangerous- now I only use it late at night, never on weekends. The streets are safer. I remember reading somewhere that they don't even keep any records of the accidents that occur on the LFP. If they did they could use that information to make it safer. Right now it's totally unregulated and chaotic. And I agree S. Cathi - those 4 wheel buggy bikes have got to go. Those things cause all kinds of trouble. You would think if Virginia Beach could get it right, why can't Chicago?
I'd like to see something like a limited-access highway for bicycles-only with multiple lanes, on-ramps and off-ramps. A pedal-expressway that runs down the lakeshore as part of a human-powered-vehicle super-highway grid for the city. Add in a few bike-boulevards here and there going North/South & East/West -and maybe even a couple of diagonal streets would be cool as well. There are quite a few unused rail corridors that could be made into bike-expressways which could link neighborhoods together with each other and to downtown.
It'll probably never happen, but it is fun to dream about.