The Chainlink

 

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.

 

Views: 1644

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I broke my pelvis last year, crashing into a group of "yoots" headed for the basketball court at Foster Beach --  the one that's, like, 2 feet from the LFP.  In hindsight I should have come to a full stop and waited for the 15 or so gentlemen to meander across the path.  2 weeks in the hospital; 9 weeks on crutches; $100,000-worth of surgery and rehab.  Folks, the path is extremely dangerous.  Read John Forester's "Effective Cycling," for a professional traffic engineer's blisteringly critical opinion of multi-use paths.

The highrise (Lakeshore? is that the name?) building at the corner of Grand and lower LSD there is most definitely part of the problem.  It creates a solid wall you can't see around, I've seen numerous accidents there over the years.  You can see the plans for the Flyover if you google it, it's certainly doable.

 

Regarding LSD, let's get the history straight:

 

http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/1209.html

"Dirt roads built and maintained by townships were predominant in suburban areas
until the 1920s, but Chicago in 1861 created the Board of Public Works, the first agency in Illinois with a professional staff to build roads. A limited-access scenic parkway along the lakeshore was built to connect Chicago with then-suburban Hyde Park in 1869–70, and after concrete paving was developed in the twentieth century the parkway became the nucleus of Lake Shore Drive, the
precursor of the expressway system.

Gradually after about 1890 pressure on the state to build hard roads increased
as a result of lobbying by recreational bicyclists, farmers who needed to move
crops to market, and, eventually, motorists. The state's inventory of roads in
1905 counted only 7,864 miles of improved roads in Illinois—1,900 of them in
Chicago. The high cost of street construction forced the city after 1900 to
impose driver and auto license fees to finance them.

Systematic planning for public roads in Chicago began in 1910 when the Chicago
Plan Commission was created to implement the plan of Daniel Burnham and Edward
Bennett, which put heavy emphasis on avenues and thoroughfares. At the time
there were fewer than 10,000 automobiles registered in Chicago."

 

Depaving doesn't work wen we're talking about thousands of people commuting daily along the lakefront - even if they were all cyclists, you'd just have deep, muddy ruts (which is why cyclists pressed for hard roads in the first place).

 

Converting a lane for bikes seems more in the range of political possibility, if it was part of a plan including a rapid-bus and/or carpooling lane it might get some traction.

 

Dan Korn said:

Sorry, but I just don't see "them" doing anything at all like the picture at the start of this thread from Virginia Beach here in Chicago without removing, or at least seriously reducing, Lake Shore Drive. There's simply no more room for much of its length. The lake isn't the problem, the high-rises aren't the problem, the superhighway is the problem.


The question shouldn't be about why we can't get rid of Lake Shore Drive because it's an idea that's too extreme. The question we should be asking is, why do we have an eight-lane superhighway on our lake front in the first place?

 

I agree with the sentiment in the original post: "We, The People, of Chicago, need to get our heads around the idea of a radical remodel." Make no small plans!

By the way, thanks, clp, for promoting the Campaign for a Free and Clear Lakefront:
http://foreverfreeandclear.org/

And yes, I do have several versions of the Depave LSD T-shirt.

boo hoo for them. Anyone know the history of how that building ever get built? I thought that it was forbidden to build East of LSD.

 

Thanks Carter for the history lesson, you foiled my plan to not learn anything new today.

I'm not sure if it's technically illegal to build east of LSD or not, but let's just say that the building (as well as Marina Towers) comes up in the excellent book "The Outfit":

 

http://www.amazon.com/Outfit-Gus-Russo/dp/1582342792


There's always a remedy for the lack of free space along the lake, as well as the buildings "squatting" on the lakefront further north, which is bring in the Army Corp of Engineers to build breakways all along the coast- over time the lake will recede, and that land becomes property of the City of Chicago (in Hawaii the state claims new shoreland created by lava, those lucky devils).

 

Tim, I actually find that story encouraging for cyclists, as I interpret that to mean we were among the ORIGINAL intended users!


Tim S said:

boo hoo for them. Anyone know the history of how that building ever get built? I thought that it was forbidden to build East of LSD.

 

Thanks Carter for the history lesson, you foiled my plan to not learn anything new today.

What a bunch of maroons.  The Flyover would be the best thing they could ever ask for - they're lucky IMO we don't make them pay for it!

 

I was under the impression it's a done deal, did something change?

 

http://www.activetrans.org/blog/lcrandell/chicago-plan-commission-a...

 

Cameron Puetz said:

Lakepoint Tower is also one of the major barriers to getting the flyover built. There is a fair amount of NIBYism from its residents who are afraid that the flyover will make their private park on the roof of the parking garage less private. Also Lakepoint Tower’s residents tend to be retired and have lots of time to show up at public meetings and complain.

At least that’s the impression I’ve gotten when I’ve gone to public meetings about the flyover.


Carter O'Brien said:

The highrise (Lakeshore? is that the name?) building at the corner of Grand and lower LSD there is most definitely part of the problem.  It creates a solid wall you can't see around, I've seen numerous accidents there over the years.  You can see the plans for the Flyover if you google it, it's certainly doable.

 

Thanks for the history lesson, Carter, but I don't think any of the cyclists who advocated for paved roads around the turn of the previous century had an eight-lane superhighway on the lakefront in mind.

 

As for the Lake Point Tower, its placement directly adjacent to LSD does compound a pinch point of the lakefront trail by Navy Pier and the river, but I would hardly call it a major part of the problem of the entire 15-plus mile length of Lake Shore Drive.

 

At any rate, "Depave Lake Shore Drive" is the slogan, but it doesn't necessarily mean getting rid of all the pavement.  The problem isn't the pavement per se, it's that you have eight lanes of limited-access freeway with cars going at highway speeds, which makes the lakefront noisier, smellier, and less accessible to anyone not in a car.  So yes, by all means, let's take some of the space reclaimed by ridding ourselves of this monstrosity and use it to build a separated bicycle path.  It would need about one-tenth of the space and pavement that LSD demands.

 

BRT (bus lanes) would be okay, I suppose.  If that makes it seem more realistic to you, then go ahead and advocate for that.  As for carpool lanes, well, even cars with multiple passengers are part of the problem.  If you really need to drive that badly, you can take the interstate highway just a couple miles away, or Inner Lake Shore Drive.  Actually, LSD is kind of unique among all roads in the city in that it doesn't allow commercial truck traffic, so it's not really a vital economic transportation link.  It's not being used to bring us food or other goods.  All that would happen if we stopped letting drivers of private cars use our most precious land would be that they would have to drive a little farther.  Or ride a bike.

 

Carter O'Brien said:

Gradually after about 1890 pressure on the state to build hard roads increased
as a result of lobbying by recreational bicyclists, farmers who needed to move
crops to market, and, eventually, motorists. The state's inventory of roads in
1905 counted only 7,864 miles of improved roads in Illinois—1,900 of them in
Chicago. The high cost of street construction forced the city after 1900 to
impose driver and auto license fees to finance them.

Systematic planning for public roads in Chicago began in 1910 when the Chicago
Plan Commission was created to implement the plan of Daniel Burnham and Edward
Bennett, which put heavy emphasis on avenues and thoroughfares. At the time
there were fewer than 10,000 automobiles registered in Chicago."

 

Depaving doesn't work wen we're talking about thousands of people commuting daily along the lakefront - even if they were all cyclists, you'd just have deep, muddy ruts (which is why cyclists pressed for hard roads in the first place).

 

Converting a lane for bikes seems more in the range of political possibility, if it was part of a plan including a rapid-bus and/or carpooling lane it might get some traction.



Dan Korn said:
BRT (bus lanes) would be okay, I suppose.  If that makes it seem more realistic to you, then go ahead and advocate for that.  As for carpool lanes, well, even cars with multiple passengers are part of the problem.  If you really need to drive that badly, you can take the interstate highway just a couple miles away, or Inner Lake Shore Drive.  Actually, LSD is kind of unique among all roads in the city in that it doesn't allow commercial truck traffic, so it's not really a vital economic transportation link.  It's not being used to bring us food or other goods.  All that would happen if we stopped letting drivers of private cars use our most precious land would be that they would have to drive a little farther.  Or ride a bike.

I disagree.  Even though there's no truck traffic, it still is a vital economic transportation link if you consider how many people use it every day.  The lsd bridge across the chicago river saw something like 112,000 cars use it everyday in 2006.  If you dumped that many cars onto the local roads and expressways, you'd have gridlock for a good portion of the day.  Depaving part of LSD is an interesting idea but there would need to be viable transit alternatives along the lake front first otherwise the increased traffic would be a disaster for cars and bikes using local roads.

S said:
I disagree.  Even though there's no truck traffic, it still is a vital economic transportation link if you consider how many people use it every day.  The lsd bridge across the chicago river saw something like 112,000 cars use it everyday in 2006.  If you dumped that many cars onto the local roads and expressways, you'd have gridlock for a good portion of the day.  Depaving part of LSD is an interesting idea but there would need to be viable transit alternatives along the lake front first otherwise the increased traffic would be a disaster for cars and bikes using local roads.

I can see how you would think that, but it's simply not true. I'll take this opportunity to introduce you to the concept of induced demand:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Induced_demand

 

Basically, if you build it, they will come.  Building more roads brings more cars, and eventually, more congestion.

 

The converse of this is traffic evaporation:

http://www.onestreet.org/resources-for-increasing-bicycling/115-tra...

http://www.preservenet.com/freeways/FreewaysInducedReduced.html

 

In short, if you remove roads, the traffic simply goes away.

 

This isn't just a theory, it's been proven empirically time and time again, in San Francisco, London, Seoul, and many other cities where highways have been removed and automobile traffic has actually been reduced.  It may be counter-intuitive at first, but think about those cities, then think about cities which have tried to build more roads to cater to cars, like Houston and Los Angeles.  How well did that strategy work?  And more importantly, which of those cities do you want Chicago to look like?  More specifically, going back to the original subject of this article, what do you want our lakefront to look like?

 

Yes, we would need better mass transit and other alternatives.  We already do.  We have gridlock for large parts of the day on many roads now.  But building more roads and making it easier to drive isn't going to get us better transit, it's only going to create more car traffic.



Dan Korn said:

I can see how you would think that, but it's simply not true. I'll take this opportunity to introduce you to the concept of induced demand:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Induced_demand

 

Basically, if you build it, they will come.  Building more roads brings more cars, and eventually, more congestion.

 

The converse of this is traffic evaporation:

http://www.onestreet.org/resources-for-increasing-bicycling/115-tra...

http://www.preservenet.com/freeways/FreewaysInducedReduced.html

 

In short, if you remove roads, the traffic simply goes away.

 

This isn't just a theory, it's been proven empirically time and time again, in San Francisco, London, Seoul, and many other cities where highways have been removed and automobile traffic has actually been reduced.  It may be counter-intuitive at first, but think about those cities, then think about cities which have tried to build more roads to cater to cars, like Houston and Los Angeles.  How well did that strategy work?  And more importantly, which of those cities do you want Chicago to look like?  More specifically, going back to the original subject of this article, what do you want our lakefront to look like?

 

Yes, we would need better mass transit and other alternatives.  We already do.  We have gridlock for large parts of the day on many roads now.  But building more roads and making it easier to drive isn't going to get us better transit, it's only going to create more car traffic.

I'm aware of induced demand and that's not really applicable since I'm not advocating for more roads.  I didn't know about the converse but even your sources say that traffic evaporation only reduces traffic by about 20-40%.  That still means that there's going to be about 60k-70k of cars that use LSD that get shunted to local roads and expressways.  I don't see how that can be dealt with efficiently with the current infrastructure.  

 

Your last paragraph is a strawman attack.  I never mentioned adding more roads, I was merely asking how the existing traffic gets dealt with if LSD gets depaved.  One thing I don't see addressed is how do the transit needs of people on the south side get addressed without LSD.  The current transit options would require them to take a bus or two and then hop on the L to get north since there isn't a L line that goes along the lakefront south of the loop.  

This is true.  Traffic dissapears after the infrastructure is no longer there to carry it.

 

So do jobs and the economy.  

Dan Korn said:

 

This isn't just a theory, it's been proven empirically time and time again, in San Francisco, London, Seoul, and many other cities where highways have been removed and automobile traffic has actually been reduced.  

Dan,  if you want to make changes even remotely on the level you're proposing, you are going to need to sell motorists, and everyone who benefits from the commerce LSD facilitates.  Having a condescending attitude about drivers as a whole is counterproductive, many - if not most - cyclists drive as well as bike.

 

Second, your understanding of the scale and scope of Chicago's economy is a little too pie-in-the-sky for me to take seriously, as is illustrated by this comment on LSD: "It's not being used to bring us food or other goods."

 

People's creativity and work are goods, Dan.  Getting tens of thousands of people into the City every day to work is a fantastic thing.

 

This isn't 15th century Tenochtitlan, where surrounding areas will bring us food and other goods as tribute.  Without Chicago producing things we can trade for those things, we disappear.  Been to St. Louis recently?  That's what happens when people stop needing to go to or through your town for commerce.

 

If you don't like people and crowds, a city of almost 3 million is the wrong place to be.  If you want uninterrupted stretches for your bike, they are in abundance all over the state and region.  But if you want jobs and healthy neighborhoods, people and their admittedly-aggravating habits come with them.

 

And Lake Point Tower is most definitely a major problem.  It's not just that it's a pinch point, it's that it is a blind corner at Navy Pier, the single largest tourist destination in Illinois - it brings 8,000,000 people a year to Chicago, a serious economic engine for the City.  But regardless, it's about to be fixed with the Flyover, so what's the problem?

 

My point on the history was simply that cyclists were driving forces for road change back in the day - I'm fine with the concept of carving out more space for bikes on the Lakefront (I've been a member of the CBF-now-ATA for 14 years; learning about they were fixing the North Avenue stretch was the catalyst), but it needs buy-in from a lot of govt agencies as well as constituents who drive, and as the prior posts expounded on, you need to consider consequences of dislocating traffic. 


Dan Korn said:

Thanks for the history lesson, Carter, but I don't think any of the cyclists who advocated for paved roads around the turn of the previous century had an eight-lane superhighway on the lakefront in mind.

 

As for the Lake Point Tower, its placement directly adjacent to LSD does compound a pinch point of the lakefront trail by Navy Pier and the river, but I would hardly call it a major part of the problem of the entire 15-plus mile length of Lake Shore Drive.

 

At any rate, "Depave Lake Shore Drive" is the slogan, but it doesn't necessarily mean getting rid of all the pavement.  The problem isn't the pavement per se, it's that you have eight lanes of limited-access freeway with cars going at highway speeds, which makes the lakefront noisier, smellier, and less accessible to anyone not in a car.  So yes, by all means, let's take some of the space reclaimed by ridding ourselves of this monstrosity and use it to build a separated bicycle path.  It would need about one-tenth of the space and pavement that LSD demands.

 

BRT (bus lanes) would be okay, I suppose.  If that makes it seem more realistic to you, then go ahead and advocate for that.  As for carpool lanes, well, even cars with multiple passengers are part of the problem.  If you really need to drive that badly, you can take the interstate highway just a couple miles away, or Inner Lake Shore Drive.  Actually, LSD is kind of unique among all roads in the city in that it doesn't allow commercial truck traffic, so it's not really a vital economic transportation link.  It's not being used to bring us food or other goods.  All that would happen if we stopped letting drivers of private cars use our most precious land would be that they would have to drive a little farther.  Or ride a bike.


That's also been my experience.

Cameron Puetz said:
Lakepoint Tower is also one of the major barriers to getting the flyover built. There is a fair amount of NIMBYism from its residents who are afraid that the flyover will make their private park on the roof of the parking garage less private. Also Lakepoint Tower’s residents tend to be retired and have lots of time to show up at public meetings and complain.

At least that’s the impression I’ve gotten when I’ve gone to public meetings about the flyover.


Carter O'Brien said:

The highrise (Lakeshore? is that the name?) building at the corner of Grand and lower LSD there is most definitely part of the problem.  It creates a solid wall you can't see around, I've seen numerous accidents there over the years.  You can see the plans for the Flyover if you google it, it's certainly doable.

 

RSS

© 2008-2016   The Chainlink Community, L.L.C.   Powered by

Disclaimer  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service