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 am so glad this is a test. It's a great chance for us to get more organized and influence the design process. Thanks, Ash, for engaging the Alderman. Let's get him out on a bike ride!

A couple of thoughts:
There is no reason high speed traffic--probably higher than on other stretches of that road -- should bisect the park. It's almost like a freeway.

It's not easy to get from the east side of the park to the west. Sure, there is the bridge underpass, but it is convoluted and it's only one spot anyway. For example, it's very difficult to cross the blvd in front of the garden, even though a path, without a curb cut, beckons on the other side. We bike our kid across that point every day to get to school. It's the tensest part of our commute.

Cyclists should be able to use Sacramento/Humboldt as a north/south corridor through the park. If anything, it is more important to have that option as the other direct north/south travel options are two blocks on either side (Kedzie and California, and Kedzie is not all the great either)

But take the paths or the ring roads, you might say. . . . I do that sometimes. But 1) In winter, the paths are not always viable and 2) with the ring road you are more than likely going to need to cross the blvd anyway, which brings us back to the first point.

There are cheap design alternatives to the existing cross section that would better meet the needs of peds and bikers while possibly even improving conditions for motorists. I think a road diet could be perfect with a ped refuge and a center turn lane at some key spots to allow for turning onto the internal road system. The ped refuges would prevent cars passing in the middle lane. Maybe this test design will work too, though I can't see how it will help cyclists wanting to go north/south. I guess I'll just keep taking a lane. . .

Here is a road diet slide show by Michael Ronkin, one of my mentors from when I worked in bike/ped planning:

Sorry if this is not super coherent--got a bunch of pots simmering on my desk. Ack!
That would be outstanding.

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.
Here is the link to a survey post out by Ald. Maldonado regarding the calming project. PLEASE take a moment to voice your opinion and forward it on to as many people as possible. This road is currently unsafe for pedestrians and cyclists and this is our chance to have an impact on what the future of the road will look like. Humboldt can be a true bike boulevard with your help.


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