The Chainlink

Hopefully you've heard by now that CDOT will begin construction this week on the city's first protected bike lane: Kinzie Street from Milwaukee Avenue/Desplaines Street to Wells Street. 

 

Full story on Steven Can Plan. 

 

I want to know what you think about this.

  • What do you feel will need special attention?
  • Is this the right or wrong location for such a facility? Why?
  • Are you going to thank/congratulate Rahm, Gabe, and the CDOT Bicycle Program?
  • Will you use it?

 

Cycle track and protected bike lane naysayers, this isn't the post for you. But if you've ridden in protected bike lanes before, then I welcome your constructive comments and criticism based on your actual experiences. 

Big intersection

The new beginning. Looking southeast at the intersection of Kinzie/Milwaukee/Desplaines. 

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Which honestly still isn't wide enough when there are cars parked.  The city says you should ride at least 3' from the cars to avoid doors.  Cars must pass with at least 3' of clearance.  Clearly, that's impossible when you only have 5-6' of total lane, unless you happen to be somewhere between 0" to -12" wide.

Steven Vance said:
All bike lanes in Chicago are at least 5 feet wide. Some are 6 feet wide. This one is no exception.

Stefanie Seskin said:

It's a little different in New York, as I'm pretty sure bicyclists are required to use bike lanes if present. In Illinois, they are not.

 

That said, I don't think signs are the answer. Slower auto traffic speeds, wider cycle track lanes (the piece that's done is ~4' +buffer zone), and, in the longer term, a different culture around transportation will help much more.

I rode through there this morning.  I didn't perceive it as a "crackdown," though I know that's what the Tribune chose to call it.  I saw CPD and CDOT getting out a strong Share the Road message (complete with large banner than said just that) to both motorists and bicyclists.  I didn't see cyclists being singled out at all.  I really wish that language hadn't been chosen; as if bicycling is something that needs to be cracked down upon.

Steven Vance said:
It seems you're hinting at a little irony in this situation. I agree. Maybe now's not the time to have an enforcement/education campaign at this location. Move it up the block to Grand. Come back a week or two after Kinzie is finished. 

Michelle said:

Sorry, I'm a newbie, flame me if this isn't where I'm supposed to post news, but here is a Trib article describing the "crack down" on bicyclists at the Kinzie/Milwaukee intersection this morning, even as crews continue work on the new lane.

 

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chibrknews-police...

And this is why cities, this one now included, have built protected bike lanes and cycle tracks. These facilities help reduce the incidence of these issues (dooring and being passed by drivers).

Joel said:
Which honestly still isn't wide enough when there are cars parked.  The city says you should ride at least 3' from the cars to avoid doors.  Cars must pass with at least 3' of clearance.  Clearly, that's impossible when you only have 5-6' of total lane, unless you happen to be somewhere between 0" to -12" wide.

I visited the location this morning and witnessed a lot of crosswalk riding for these box turns, but all of the people riding I witnessed riding in the crosswalk were doing so as a way to avoid waiting for the light to change for their direction.

Did they run the red light? Some might say yes, in a roundabout way, they did. 

 Box turn at the intersection


Cameron Puetz said:

I understand the intent to the crackdown, but really it was just proving how poorly designed that intersection is. The two things that they seemed to be cracking down on were cyclists riding in the cross walk while setting themselves up for a box turn onto Kinzie, or starting on red as the light was about to change to get a head start when trying to make a standard left turn onto Kinzie with the short light cycle. Also the way the police working on the crack down parked rendered the new stripping useless.

See what happened on Day 2

Some new information:

  • Bike box
  • Not protected uphill in front of Blommer
  • Left turn lanes in both directions on Kinzie at Milwaukee/Desplaines

Chicago's first bike box 

This morning, Active Trans attended Mayor Emanuel’s press conference to introduce Chicago’s first protected bike lane. Chicago’s new Department of Transportation Commissioner, Gabe Klein, was also on hand. We were excited to be there to show our support for this bold step forward for safer streets.

Both the mayor and the CDOT commissioner talked about the importance of providing safe and affordable transportation options for all Chicagoans, regardless of age or ability. Mayor Emanuel stated a clear goal of making Chicago the most bike-friendly city in the country.

The first half mile of protected bike lane is a great step in the right direction. It will help connect two of the busiest cycling corridors in the city and will certainly provide a safer passage into the loop. But this pilot project is just a first step. We'll be following your comments on the Chainlink as you start using this new facility, so we can better communicate your feedback and needs to the city.

Ultimately, we will need a robust network of protected bikeways to have a significant impact. Later this week Active Trans will launch its Neighborhood Bikeways Campaign, which will focus on building a 100-mile network of protected bike lanes around the city -- a goal we share with the mayor and CDOT.

Active Trans has been advocating for safer and more innovative bikeways for years, and I don’t believe we’d be where we are today without the strong community of supporters and advocates we’re fortunate to have in Chicago.

As CDOT started work on the project yesterday, I was reflecting back to our member meeting last November, when we outlined some of our priorities for this year. During a feedback session, members had emphasized the importance of protected bike lanes. We committed to making protected bike lanes and educating mayoral candidates priorities for this year. We then went on to create a Sustainable Transportation Platform, which highlighted protected bike lanes.

We met with Mayor Emanuel, among other candidates, to discuss our platform during the campaign. After the election, we were represented on Mayor Emanuel’s Transportation and Infrastructure Transition Committee. We were excited to see Mayor Emanuel’s transition plan prove that he was serious about improving conditions for biking, walking and transit in Chicago.

We’re excited to see Emanuel’s commitment to this work, but ultimately we’ll need your support and support from aldermen and community groups across the city to reach the 100-mile goal. We look forward to working with you to make it happen!

 

-- Lee Crandell with Active Trans

Will this reduce eastbound traffic on Kinzie to 1 lane? It already is 1 lane, but cars like to steal every inch of that lane that they can which causes me the most frustration.

This may become a problem, or it may not. Just because it maybe is a problem in NYC, and we have a handful of vocal posters on CL that demand the right the ride down a bike lane at high speed, doesn’t guarantee that it will be an actual problem.

Hence my concern about placing more signs trying to guess what might become a problem or not. Instead, let’s build this bikelane, let’s use it and let’s see what works and what doesn’t. If the difference in travel speeds is truly a problem, it will be known soon enough, and -I’m optimistic here- future bike lanes will be designed to alleviate that problem.



H3N3 said:

I wasn't married to the signage idea-- I just threw it out there as an example of some cue that bikes are still permitted and intended users of the roadway outside of the protected lane. A sharrow out in the roadway would be fine.

 


A 5-foot wide bike lane with a physical barrier preventing a faster cyclist from diverting around a slower cyclist with safe clearance is not wide enough.

 

 

Stefanie Seskin said:

It's a little different in New York, as I'm pretty sure bicyclists are required to use bike lanes if present. In Illinois, they are not.

 

That said, I don't think signs are the answer. Slower auto traffic speeds, wider cycle track lanes (the piece that's done is ~4' +buffer zone), and, in the longer term, a different culture around transportation will help much more.


H3N3 said:

Regarding fast and slow cyclists- did you follow the drama about the cycle track they installed in New York that resulted in a lot of complaints from cyclists? There were a few threads here and a few thorough articles linked-- I'm not going to retype the whole thing.

 

Regarding signage--there is a danger that drivers will assume that bikes -have- to be in the cycle track if it's present, and an extra level of harrasment could result. This has been a danger everywhere seperate bicycle facilities have been installed.  Faster cyclists will not want to use the "track"-- they'll prefer to ride in the street at automotive speeds.

 

I don't get the comment that a sign is about "intercyclist community" at all.

If I'm in the ballpark as to what you meant by it, it's a nice thought but it has no connection to our current reality.

 

 

jennifer james said:

I guess I'm not sure about the slow cyclists use lane? I think a mix of cyclists will use the lane, of all different speeds. Why do they need to make up a sign about who needs to use the lane and label it as less of anything at this point? I'm not sure cars will be doing much heavy thinking about who belongs where on the road. Most cars don't really think about cyclists very much at all either way--A sign is more about intercyclist community thought than anything to do with how traffic acts I think.

H3N3 said:

Semi-connected thought.

There should be signage making it clear to motorists that use of the protected lane by bicycles is not a requirement.  E.G. "slower cycles please use bicycle lane."

Otherwise we'll end up multiplying driver harassment, and making bitter enemies of the cyclists who are unable to ride at less than 20 mph.

I wasn't married to the signage idea-- I just threw it out there as an example of some cue that bikes are still permitted and intended users of the roadway outside of the protected lane. A sharrow out in the roadway would be fine.


A 5-foot wide bike lane with a physical barrier preventing a faster cyclist from diverting around a slower cyclist with safe clearance is not wide enough.



Stefanie Seskin said:

It's a little different in New York, as I'm pretty sure bicyclists are required to use bike lanes if present. In Illinois, they are not.

 

That said, I don't think signs are the answer. Slower auto traffic speeds, wider cycle track lanes (the piece that's done is ~4' +buffer zone), and, in the longer term, a different culture around transportation will help much more.


H3N3 said:

Regarding fast and slow cyclists- did you follow the drama about the cycle track they installed in New York that resulted in a lot of complaints from cyclists? There were a few threads here and a few thorough articles linked-- I'm not going to retype the whole thing.

 

Regarding signage--there is a danger that drivers will assume that bikes -have- to be in the cycle track if it's present, and an extra level of harrasment could result. This has been a danger everywhere seperate bicycle facilities have been installed.  Faster cyclists will not want to use the "track"-- they'll prefer to ride in the street at automotive speeds.

 

I don't get the comment that a sign is about "intercyclist community" at all.

If I'm in the ballpark as to what you meant by it, it's a nice thought but it has no connection to our current reality.

 

 

jennifer james said:

I guess I'm not sure about the slow cyclists use lane? I think a mix of cyclists will use the lane, of all different speeds. Why do they need to make up a sign about who needs to use the lane and label it as less of anything at this point? I'm not sure cars will be doing much heavy thinking about who belongs where on the road. Most cars don't really think about cyclists very much at all either way--A sign is more about intercyclist community thought than anything to do with how traffic acts I think.

H3N3 said:

Semi-connected thought.

There should be signage making it clear to motorists that use of the protected lane by bicycles is not a requirement.  E.G. "slower cycles please use bicycle lane."

Otherwise we'll end up multiplying driver harassment, and making bitter enemies of the cyclists who are unable to ride at less than 20 mph.

Why are we waiting for little crumbs of information from the MSM rather than getting our questions answered by the bike planning folks?

Cameron Puetz said:

The Sun-Times is reporting that the Stony Island project is still in the works.

 

http://www.suntimes.com/news/politics/5829886-418/kinzie-to-get-chi...

Duppie said:

This Tribune article gives some more detail. Apparently the Kinzie cycle track is being paid for by money originally designated for the cycle track on Stony Island. That project has been cancelled.

 

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-bike-track-0606-201...

Per Leslie Hairston, the original report about the funding being switched from Stony Island to Kinzie was not accurate, according to Gabe Klein, and that the Stony Island project is planned to go forward. She sounded quite irritated over the whole thing and wants to get both something in writing from CDOT and a correction from the paper.

VERY interesting.  Thanks for the clarification. I'm glad to hear this news.

Dr. Doom said:

Per Leslie Hairston, the original report about the funding being switched from Stony Island to Kinzie was not accurate, according to Gabe Klein, and that the Stony Island project is planned to go forward. She sounded quite irritated over the whole thing and wants to get both something in writing from CDOT and a correction from the paper.

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