The Chainlink

Hey guys,


I may be working at 35th and Halsted next month in Bridgeport. I live in Uptown and would commute down there, but I normally never bike up or down Halsted. How safe is it to ride in terms of road quality, drivers, etc?


Also, what are your favorite bike streets to take that are parallel to and near Halsted?

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Are you adverse to the lakefront trail?  Halsted is pretty much your only option.  Also the bridge near Division is being replaced so you'll have to use a detour there.

I think Halsted is your best bet-- actually pretty lucky you have it available.

Isn't there a chance the bridge just south of Division will be open next month?

The detour via Kingsbury (I think-- whatever street FedEx is on) only adds a block or two.

Definitely not adverse to the LFT at all--I was actually considering that. Is it crowded in the weekday mornings, though?

Jared said:
Are you adverse to the lakefront trail?  Halsted is pretty much your only option.  Also the bridge near Division is being replaced so you'll have to use a detour there.

Halsted can be a crowded street, especially Wrigleyville, Boystown, River West, UIC and Greektown. Just exercise plenty of caution as some areas are under construction near downtown. I believe that is your best bet since it's the most direct route. Canal is a bit less congested, but it requires a detour.


As for potholes on Halsted, where do I begin. I think the worse by far is near Hubbard, as you reach the overpass. For many years, both ways are pretty bad, and depending on the traffic it can also get pretty crowded. I guess the take home message is learn the road, and just like on any city street, be aware of your surroundings. While there are bike lanes, there are many taxis, trucks and buses that travel on that street. The narrower areas are shared (like Greektown). Unfortunately there aren't many alternatives (I-90/94, pretty much slices up the city), unless you consider detours alternatives (i.e. Canal).


Good luck, you'll be a pro in no time!

I used to ride Halsted all the time. They've repaved a nice portion around Lakeview/Boystown the area south of Division until past Grand is a little rough and the road widens so cars increase speed to pass each other, turn and so forth.

I've been commuting from the northside to 31st and State for several years. I think the worst spots for potholes are between Grand and Hubbard. Traffic and ig'nant tourists are endemic in greektown. Beware of doors and unannounced left turns.


The LFT is a nice alternative when going to Uptown, but it's considerably longer because it's not very direct, and usually super crowded, so I would only do that on off-peak times when I was not in any kind of hurry.


The buses can also get pretty annoying to play leapfrog with. My inclination is to just take it slow for a block or two to let them get a few stop lights ahead of me.


Have fun, and make sure to stop at Bernice & John's at 32nd/Halsted on your way home.

Interesting thing about Greektown. You can pretty much avoid the hassle by going down green st. and cutting through UIC.
You'd have to divert further west to Peoria to cross 290.

Adam "Cezar" Jenkins said:
Interesting thing about Greektown. You can pretty much avoid the hassle by going down green st. and cutting through UIC.
If you do the lakefront path route, I'd suggest exiting the path at 31st but then making your way to 33rd pretty quickly. It crosses the Dan Ryan, and is much quieter than 31st.
Hi- We ride quiet streets up from UIC North and then South as well. I can second Peoria through that area but you have to jog  to Morgan just north of the west loop to cross the train tracks then get back to Peoria. We take Morgan south from UIC to Pilsen alot but not down to Bridgeport so I don't know how it goes beyond Pilsen.We find Peoria and Morgan to be quieter that Halstead and fast because there are fewer lights, far less traffic and no buses.  Anne Alt is a good resource on these routes too if she's out there!

Morgan doesn't cross the canal.

You'd have to divert further west to Loomis.

At this point the 'detour' gets so convoluted that the benefit outweighs the extra distance (as I surmised when I initially said "Halsted is probably the best bet").  Plus now you're crossing very rough street-level tracks in order to avoid potholes . . .

I hate riding main arteries and will do almost anything to avoid them, but there's not really a practical alternative for the OP without adding significant extra distance and complexity.

I commute from Edgewater to 40th and Halsted every day, and it's definitely not that bad.  From Uptown to the detour on Division, it's pretty much clear sailing.  The potholes and grated bridges you'll have to deal with are the worst from there to Jackson, there's also quite a lot steel plates on the road in that area to look out for.  After you pass UIC though, it's easy again, just one more grated bridge after Cermak, then straight down to 35th.  There aren't really any good alternatives that I've found, though I will occasionally take the LFP home, which adds a few miles.  The one trick I've found is that after you pass Archer, there are two one-way streets parallell to Halsted, so I cut over to Emerald on the way down and Union on the way home so I get 15 blocks (10 for you) of virtually traffic free riding.  There's also a great shop on 32nd, Blue City Cycles, you can stop by if you need to.  Traffic is generally light in the morning and medium in the afternoon, unless there's a Sox game, and it then it gets a bit crazy.  If you do decide to take the LFP, the fastest way is to get off at 18th street, just after Soldier Field, and take Archer, down to Halsted, there is a bike lane on Archer, but you will be sharing the road with big trucks.  It is not very crowded on the LFP weekday mornings, but anytime after 5pm is terrible.  Anyway, that's my advice.



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