The Chainlink

Months After Cyclist Killed In Irving Park, Bike Lane Remains Faded

Ald. Jim Gardiner said he's trying to get the lanes repainted, but the Department of Transportation was unresponsive.

IRVING PARK — Two months after a woman was killed while riding her bicycle along Milwaukee Avenue and pledges were made to improve the safety of a bike lane, nothing has been done. And bike safety activists are upset.

On Nov. 6, 37-year-old Carla Aiello of Norwood Park died after being hit by a dump truck in the 3800 block of North Milwaukee Avenue in Irving Park. Aiello, on her bike, and a truck driven by a 41-year-old man had both been traveling south on Milwaukee, with the bicyclist to the right of the dump truck, according to police.

Carla Aiello

When the truck driver turned right onto Kilbourn Avenue, it crashed into the Aiello, who rolled underneath the truck and was killed, police said.

Following the tragedy, 200 cyclists returned to the scene to draw attention to the sorry state of the bike lane in the area.

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"... that is an unmarked turning lane for the trucks."

Again, highlighting the need for infrastructure maintenance. I think we naturally tend to think of repainting bike Lanes, but it's also important to keep up with motor vehicle-focused maintenance. Potholes get a lot of ink in the Trib and Sun Times, but the other stuff needs doing as well.

I think that's right Skip.  If the roadways and their features are not maintained, we get two (at a minimum) results:  One is that the intended functionally such as it is isn't adhered to.  Sure, there's always some deviation, e.g. speeding, illegal lane use, running stop lights or signs, one way violations, parking in the wrong places, dooring and so forth, but if people can't even figure out what's supposed to happen because signs or markings are missing or the roads are in bad shape, it becomes all the more difficult for all participants to use the road and figure out the right things to do. 

The second undesirable result is that if the roadways and their attributes aren't maintained, it conveys to everybody that nobody cares.  "There USED to be a bike lane here, but that didn't work out, so it looks like we're moving away from that, or whatever.  Doesn't matter." and other variants of that sentiment.

Both of these results are undesirable for everyone involved. 

Good lord! Boston is unsafe for drivers as well- the absolute worst city i've ever driven/navigated.

Interesting article Skip...

...mayors broadly support bicycle lanes, [but] they may not be aware of current best cycling infrastructure design [which shows] that painted bike lanes may make conditions more dangerous for cyclists...[And yet] physically separate bicycle lanes are too expensive...

    Just what John Forester has been saying for the past 50 years.  And certainly evident in the fatal crash that is the subject of this thread.

From the article, "A few mayors acknowledged the problem. “Painted bicycle lanes are useless,” one mayor told interviewers. “They’ve got to be separate.” "   

So that's our LFT for sure as a way to get cars and bikes seperated.  It's NOT west-bound Randolph nor Elston nor Milwaukee nor much of Clybourn .  The PBLs don't seem to satisfy that requirement in this town either, because the bikes are emptied right out into the standard 4way and diagonal intersections, and what's worse is because they're poorly maintained, riders end up right back in traffic in what is now a narrower car lane because of the losses to the PBL.  Clybourn between North and Division is a bit of a disaster.   Better is the 606, the LFT, a few good trails on the south side (which have occasional crossings) and some other efforts.  

CDOT seems to have the opposite tactic by doing things that put cars, pedestrians and bikes in close proximity. 

Also, this (only tangentially related, but still interesting I think, as our local gummints consider how and where to allocate transportation money):

Another good article Skip...Thanks!

And back at ya....Here's a WBEZ segment about traffic and transit with Mary Wisniewski, the Trib's Transportation writer, that includes some frank and honest information about the Chicago Police Dept.'s lackadaisical approach to enforcing traffic laws: their policy is apparently 'Don't Bother!'

According to Ms Wisniewski, the Chicago cops don't enforce traffic laws because it would 'just slow down traffic!'  So their policy is apparently to just watch cars run red lights, speed, fail to yield...and so forth.  And do nothing...rather than pulling the driver over and spending 15-20 minutes issuing a ticket, blocking traffic, and creating a slow-down.....when they have crashes all over town investigate!

IMO the City is abdicating its responsibility for the safety of pedestrians and cyclists!   Very worrisome, for ALL road users.

Somebody took matters into their own hands!

Tired Of The City Not Maintaining Bike Lanes, Someone Spray Paints New Ones At Deadly Intersection

Months after cyclist Carla Aiello has hit and killed by a truck at Milwaukee and Kilbourn avenues, someone repainted the faded bike lanes this week.

IRVING PARK — Someone apparently frustrated with the city for not maintaining the bike lanes on Milwaukee Avenue near the Grayland Metra stop has taken matters into their own hands.

Cyclists traveling southwest along the 3800 block of North Milwaukee Avenue on Tuesday noticed a newly touched up bike lane created with what appears to be white spray paint. Within the retouched bike lane are hearts drawn with sidewalk chalk.

Finally.  I think the article has a typo that doesn't take away from the rest of the article but just to clear it up it mentions cyclists traveling southwest? along the 3800 block of North Milwaukee.  I honestly don't ride it often now but that stretch is probably traveling southeast or northwest but not southwest.  But beside that the article really focuses on and emphasizes the importance of the maintenance.  Thank you for telling about this Bob.


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