The Chainlink

From the city's website, link here.


CDOT, in conjunction with Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th), is conducting a test on Humboldt Drive through Humboldt Park aimed at calming traffic and improving pedestrian safety
and comfort.

Starting the week of August 23, a portion of Humboldt Drive between North Avenue and Division Street will be temporarily reduced from 4 lanes to 3 lanes.  This segment of Humboldt Drive will have one travel
lane in each direction, with a center lane used as a combination of
left-turn lane and pedestrian refuge area.  This change will both slow
vehicle speeds and reduce pedestrian exposure to approaching traffic. 

Engineers will study the effectiveness of these changes on driver behavior and pedestrian safety during the one-to-two-month test period.

CDOT’s traffic and pedestrian safety programs will analyze speed and behavioral changes for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians as a part of the effort to improve safety for all public way users.


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I have mixed emotions about this. As a driver, that is a great, speedy way to get shoot through the area. California has way too many stops. As a pedestrian, I can see how it would be a pain to cross. I always wonder why there is only 1 underground walkway. Although more expensive, perhaps putting in more underground walkways is a better alternative. Otherwise, I think they'd be better off putting big 'ole walkways at two points through there with yield signs (similar to what was done on Chicago, by Dominick's).
I kind of agree. As an occasional driver, that's definitely my preferred route. On a bike... I just ride through the park.
This is welcome and overdue, thanks for posting.
I would never, ever ride on Humboldt Blvd. except in a group of hundreds or more (fortunately that opportunity does arise multiple times each year :-) ) as it is treated as a speedway by motorists (as an aside I once saw Marshall Boulevard described in a realty listing as the "2900 Freeway"-- still cringing.)
I have multiple memories of drivers honking and swerving towards cyclists on that drive, one in particular on a Chicago Cycling Club ride where we were all riding single file to the right of the lane.
Have always been uncomfortable that it's a designated bike route . . .
I ride and/or run in Humboldt nearly everyday, and I'm glad they are looking at slowing traffic. It's quite dangerous to cross sometimes. Drivers do treat this stretch of road as a speedway. This is great!
I'm very happy this is happening. Western Ave. next? (crosses fingers). As an occasional driver, I'll get over there not being a street freeway through the city. That is what the actual freeway is for.
Again somethings I will never get, instead of enforcing the speed limit ( I drive throught there and always do the limit because it seems like the perfect speed trap). That area will be changed to slow down traffic.
So now money will be spent to study the issue, why? enforce what is already a law in that area (speed limit) or just change the thing.
For those of use old enough....remember the sidewalk areas that used to be in the middle of a lot of streets? They got taken out and then painted strips put down, this was to make it easier for emergency vehicles to get past traffic jams. Then flower pots got put in place to make the city more green...of course now emergency vehicles get stuck behind a bunch of cars that have no place to go....

ANYWAY the painted ped refuge area will just become a passing lane for the people that already ignore the speed limit in that area IMO
I hope the plan would also include bike lanes, utilizing the space gained from going from 4 driving lanes to 3. CDOT is doing this on Lawrence Avenue between Western and Ashland, and I would like to see other streets such as the 4-lane parts of Broadway and Sheridan get this 3-lane + bike lanes make-over.
I understand how more built up infrastructure may make drivers feel safer and drive faster (LSD) and making the street appear slow (removing lanes etc) will make them more cautious and drive slower. I've even read about experiments converting stoplights to stop signs showing a decline in accidents at those intersections. Not sure that would work at any street but it's interesting.

I am skeptical about the middle lanes though. I grew up by a street with one: drivers shoot down the middle without paying attention, crossing in a car is dangerous let alone having pedestrians try to cross.
I share your concern, still remembering what N. Ashland was like when the median was mostly just paint and not planters-- drivers used it to pull 35 MPH U-turns, get ahead of other traffic, start their left turns 1/2 block early- it was chaotic. It's not clear to me from the information here whether having a physically separated space is the ultimate goal.

Chris B said:
I understand how more built up infrastructure may make drivers feel safer and drive faster (LSD) and making the street appear slow (removing lanes etc) will make them more cautious and drive slower. I've even read about experiments converting stoplights to stop signs showing a decline in accidents at those intersections. Not sure that would work at any street but it's interesting.

I am skeptical about the middle lanes though. I grew up by a street with one: drivers shoot down the middle without paying attention, crossing in a car is dangerous let alone having pedestrians try to cross.
In this area that idea wouldn't work too well. When I had to bike that area I used the residential roads on the periphery or just rode through the park. IMO there is no need for a bike lane there when the're clearly visable other options.

Mark said:
I hope the plan would also include bike lanes, utilizing the space gained from going from 4 driving lanes to 3. CDOT is doing this on Lawrence Avenue between Western and Ashland, and I would like to see other streets such as the 4-lane parts of Broadway and Sheridan get this 3-lane + bike lanes make-over.
I met with Ald. Maldonado this morning to gauge his intent to add a bike lane and possibly sidewalks (there really is no sidewalk from the bridge north to North Av on Humboldt!). I brought along a couple of different blueprint proposals I drew up showing how easy it would be to add a dedicated biking lane and still maintain the 3 lane motor vehicle lanes now present. I also brought along a study performed on the "road diet" system of shrinking 4 lanes to two and adding biking/jogging lanes (provided by the lovely Gin).

He told me that he has no intention of adding a bicycle lane or any other accoutrements on that stretch because "the road is too dangerous for pedestrians". Maybe I am obtuse but to me the road seems too dangerous for pedestrians because there are no sidewalks, crosswalks or bike lanes. There isn't even a shoulder. Drivers speed through there at 45 miles per hour in what is now a 30 MPH zone. Adding well marked crosswalks at Munoz Marin Dr (both the north and south ends) and the bright yellow "Stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk" signs that are now being placed throughout the city and permanently reducing the through traffic from 4 to 3 lanes would help to ease speeders and congestion through the park.

Last week CDOT added those bicycle traffic detectors across Humboldt Blvd just north of the field house. What biker in their right mind would venture to bike this road in its current or even previous form? Measuring the numbers of cyclists through the park at this juncture will surely show minimal use and only add to an argument against bike lanes there as unnecessary.

If you are able, please shoot off a quick and friendly email or call to Ald Maldonado (773-395-0143) letting him know that you are in favor of safe and pedestrian/cyclist friendly access through the park that connects this stretch with the rest of the lovely boulevard system that runs from Palmer south to Grand. Please also let him know that you and many other cyclists would feel safe and confident in biking through this route if dedicated bike lanes were in place.
It's such a shame. The boulevard system was originally designed for bicycles and carriage rides. The boulevards are now 4-6 lane mini-expressways that are very dangerous to ride on. There is no reason bike lanes couldn't be added on the entire boulevard system. The boulevard system is as much of an asset to the city as the lakefront.

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