The Chainlink

We've had some discussion lately about the need for more bike facilities on the southwest. Folks have spoken up about Archer and other streets.  I welcome your constructive comments and ideas here. 

The next Mayor's Bike Advisory Council meeting is coming up in a few weeks. If you have issues you'd like me to raise there, please speak up here!

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Several years ago, I attended a public meeting about a proposed underpass that IDOT was considering to connect the broken pieces of Central SW of Midway Airport.  If this ever gets built (and I keep asking about it), it could be a huge win for cyclists, as it would include bike lanes and sidewalks. It would actually provide a rideable north-south route in an area where those are pretty much non-existent for miles.

http://patch.com/illinois/oaklawn/central-avenue-underpass-of-rail-...

That would be huge if it actually went through

I agree. Among other things, it could make bike-train (orange line) trips much more viable for folks traveling to/from points south and west of Midway.

At the 6/11 MBAC meeting, I got an update on this project. IDOT is continuing to work on designs. There was a meeting earlier on the same date between IDOT and CDOT. CDOT rejected the most recent version of the plans because the designs did not meet Complete Streets requirements. "

IDOT has a tendency to be rather car-centric in its designs and not get the whole Complete Streets thing. I appreciate the fact that CDOT is pushing them on this so that this project isn't an expensive wasted opportunity.

One of the best things we can do at the neighborhood level is let our aldermen know where bike infrastructure is needed and what you'd like to see - lanes, bike racks, even bike corrals.

A good way to ask is to push for Complete Streets. This opens the door to more ways to fund projects (in terms of CDOT or IDOT getting government funding to pay for it).  Also, when you ask for better ped AND bike infra, aldermen who aren't necessarily pro bike may be more willing to go along.

Hey Anne, thanks for these updates and tips.  I actually live in Ward 25, but do a lot of traveling through wards 11 and 12... what's the best way to approach improving the connections there across the river (and across ward boundaries)?

(Just a shout out 25th ward represent! Curious of how many of us are on this discussion).

Working across ward boundaries can be a challenge. Which specific river crossings do you want to see improved?

I think it's officially called the South Branch or the Sanitary & Ship Canal. There are 6 crossings(Central, Cicero, Pulaski, Kedzie, California, and Western) of which 2 are viable and somewhat safe. I recently had a trip from Southwest(Midway) area to Northwest(Portage Park) area and decided to take Central going north. Bad idea. Central=massive 3 lane overpass. Cicero=3 lane speeding/merging nightmare. Pulaski = another massive 3 lane overpass. Kedzie= 2 lane concrete bridge underpass(?), passable. California=2 lane metal grated bridge underpass. Western=2 lane concrete overpass. Bike lane is faded and road is filled with potholes. Passable but should be improved.

I don't expect more bridges to be built but perhaps just a bit more signage or protected bridge crossings?

I can't add much to what Felipe posted, but Western and California would be my top picks.

I usually use California (northbound) or Western (southbound) if I don't ride all the way in to Loomis.  Closing up the grating on CA would be nice, but the traffic for the 55 ramp is stressful.  My fantasy would be transforming the Western Ave/Blvd flyover loop-de-loop into something more bike friendly...

Or maybe something could be done with one of the railroad bridges west of Western adjacent to Richard Daley Park?  I haven't spent enough time to note how much use those get...  Sigh!  Wishful thinking...

And having mentioned Loomis, there's another candidate for closing the open grating.

Good info. TY.

On a related topic, I've been considering the idea of doing some traffic counts in some S/SW side locations.  I'd like to do before/after at a couple of Vincennes locations (relative to completion of Vincennes/83rd viaducts), and a few other spots.

Would anyone be interested in spending a few hours doing this on one or more dates in the next few months?

Do you have locations you'd like to nominate for this?

FYI - I've done several of these as a volunteer and can provide forms and guidance.

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