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?
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.
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'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.
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.