The Chainlink

Pier pressure: is the Navy Pier Flyover bike/ped bridge really worth $45 million or is there an alternative?

Everyone agrees that conditions on Chicago's Lakefront Trail between the river and Ohio Street Beach need to be improved. The Chicago Department of Transportation is planning to build the Navy Pier Flyover, a bridge-like structure that would carry trail users up over the river, Illinois Street and Grand Avenue, bypassing these problem spots, at a jaw-dropping $45 million price tag. To put that in perspective, in 2008 the Portland, Oregon, Bureau of Transportation estimated the entire replacement cost of that city's then 300-mile bike network at about $60 million. Today on Grid Chicago Steven Vance proposes an alternative: http://gridchicago.com/2012/navy-pier-flyover-is-it-worth-45-million-or-is-there-another-way/

What do you think: is it worth spending $45 million on the flyover or do you prefer Steven's proposal?


Keep moving forward,

John Greenfield

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Add concrete K-barriers between the car lanes and the bike lanes; narrow the sidewalk a little bit if necessary. With the zombie presence around there, two-way bike traffic not separated from high-speed car traffic seems like a recipe for some kind of disaster.

David

The bikes and car would be separated by guardrails, as they were when the sidewalk was repaired.

+1

Liz said:

I always thought that 2-way on street bike paths in the pink areas would solve 2 problems:
1. the winter ice block on the curve 

2. reduce congestion around navy pier

The lack of a protected bike lane on Columbus is ridiculous.  That street is way to wide for the safe flow of traffic and drivers treat it like the do lake shore drive.  There's no reason for 6 lanes of traffic on that road.  

There were public meetings several years ago, when the idea was first introduced.  I went to one.  Of course, Lake Point Tower residents were mostly screaming against it. Lots of paranoia in that fortress.

Steven Vance said:

Public meetings may have already happened (years ago), but I wasn't able to get evidence of this in the past two weeks. 

Mollie said:

Will there not be a public hearing on this?  Completely agreed that something needs to be done around Navy Pier, but $45 million on that short of a stretch is crazy (especially when another city completely redesigned its system for a little more) when there are so many other bad spots, potholes, lack of bike lanes, etc.

The Lake Point Tower residents should be satisfied with the current design. It'd be pretty hard to scale that fence.

I think the graphic does a fine job communicating the concept here in this forum.

It is great.    Not only is it great, but I feel it is the best solution short of blowing the whole bike-infrastructure budget on pie-in-the-sky projects such as the fly-over.

I agree with Liz that simply building more and better backbone bike infrastructure further West would do  more for bicyclists travelling in this area than the fly-over.  The LFP is a poor system to rely on as "backbone" bicycle infrastructure to begin with and fixing this small part of it does not address the other systemic problems with the rest of the route.  If anything, it'll just make them worse if more bicyclists begin to rely on it rather than using surface streets and other routes to the West.   We need MORE bicyclists out on the streets not FEWER.  

Abandoning the LFP as "backbone infrastructure" and fixing what is broken with the rest of the bike corridors/spokes/boulevards or whatever they are calling them today is the real answer to our infrastructure needs.  

I'm not for totally abandoning the LFP as part of the system,   but spending this much money on something that should not be the focal point of the infrastructure is bad-planning IMHO and a poor use of limited funding. 



Steven Vance said:

I am totally looking for someone with real graphic design skills to donate their time to make a new rendering for us. Maybe if I spent 30 more minutes, it could look a little cleaner, but that's as good as I get when it comes to drawing with a computer. 

One would hope that they'd be satisfied, but the design presented in those early meetings had pretty good security features.

John Greenfield said:

The Lake Point Tower residents should be satisfied with the current design. It'd be pretty hard to scale that fence.

I agree wholeheartedly with all the points you've made in this comment.  The graphic communicates the concept well.

James BlackHeron said:

I think the graphic does a fine job communicating the concept here in this forum.

It is great.    Not only is it great, but I feel it is the best solution short of blowing the whole bike-infrastructure budget on pie-in-the-sky projects such as the fly-over.

I agree with Liz that simply building more and better backbone bike infrastructure further West would do  more for bicyclists travelling in this area than the fly-over.  The LFP is a poor system to rely on as "backbone" bicycle infrastructure to begin with and fixing this small part of it does not address the other systemic problems with the rest of the route.  If anything, it'll just make them worse if more bicyclists begin to rely on it rather than using surface streets and other routes to the West.   We need MORE bicyclists out on the streets not FEWER.  

Abandoning the LFP as "backbone infrastructure" and fixing what is broken with the rest of the bike corridors/spokes/boulevards or whatever they are calling them today is the real answer to our infrastructure needs.  

I'm not for totally abandoning the LFP as part of the system,   but spending this much money on something that should not be the focal point of the infrastructure is bad-planning IMHO and a poor use of limited funding. 



Steven Vance said:

I am totally looking for someone with real graphic design skills to donate their time to make a new rendering for us. Maybe if I spent 30 more minutes, it could look a little cleaner, but that's as good as I get when it comes to drawing with a computer. 

:-D


Daniel G said:

Maybe we'll luck out and the bike bridge will get leased to the Saudis on a 99 year term for 2 billion dollars, cash upfront. There can be a toll for the recreational bikers and an alt route for everyone else.

I like this plan.  Another safety enhancement would be to add a red light camera at Grand/LSD.  I have not seen another intersection where drivers speed through a red light like this one.  This camera could easily finance the alternate plan and use the flyover funds for another improvement along the LFT.  (Like a separate bike path between North and Fullerton).

If I had better graphic design skills, or a better command of Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, I would have added the guardrails in myself. I'm working with someone else to get a proper rendering produced. 

Thank you for the discussion about this proposal. I've requested more information from CDOT, via a FOIA request (I wish it didn't always have to come to that). 

How much discretion would CDOT have over the use of these funds if the flyover weren't built; i.e. does the $44.5 million in funding from the State of Illinois and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grants from the Federal Highway Administration just disappear if not applied to this infrastructure project? 

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