The Chainlink

A little more focus on supposed animosity between drivers and cyclists than necessary, but otherwise decently-researched article if one can look past the little tweaks for max. sensationalism:

http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/14787906-418/two-wheel-trouble-b...

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James BlackHeron wrote this:

I have always been shocked and dismayed by the way this city lays out intersections.

Granted, we are a LONG way from 8-80 infrastructure but what little infrastructure we have is very inconsistent and often just strands a cyclist in a danger zone when it gives up trying right before an intersection and then on through until the other side.   

Intersections, and the jockeying that goes on right before and after them, are the most dangerous places for cyclists on the street.  But the infrastructure is the weakest there.

The city could go a long way with putting in right turn ONLY lanes (not a right-hand through-intersection passing lane) immediately preceding every intersection.   Road diets to keep roads from getting a "belly bulge" in areas where it adds an extra lane only to give ZERO room for cyclists in these areas.  

My comment:

How true.   The City has "consistent" policies for Bike Lanes and the like, they just don't actually seem to be thought out clearly.  For example, Diversey has Bike Lanes, then suddenly they end and then they start up again a mile later.  Yes, they have "share the road" signs for that "missing" mile, but the Bike Lanes go to "no where".   And this is not the only example.   The new protected lanes that start on Roscoe end at Belmont where the Bicycle rider is just dumped out on 4 lane in each direction, getting ready for several bad intersections Belmont.  At least they could have linked Roscoe to California.  That would not have been that hard...

Cameron Puetz wrote:

If you post your approximate start and destination, people might be able to give you some advice on a better route. However there may not be one, there is a major shortage of safe east/west routes that cross the river and the Kennedy between Kinzie and Cortland (and between Cortland and Wilson for that matter).

My comment:

East-West across the River and the Kennedy is a real problem.   Wilson is certainly the best choice across the river between say, Addison and Foster.  Bryn Mawr's okay across the river, but you can't easily get to it.    If I am further South, I often "bite the bullet" and take Belmont.  Its bad, but its not nearly as bad as Addison or Irving Park.   What we really need is a couple of nice bicycle/Pedestrian bridges at say, Roscoe and Berteau.  I go all the way West to the airport, and frankly, there are no real good cross city east-west routes.  This contrasts with California, the LFP, and the North Shore Channel trail which provide pretty good North South routes on the North Side.

Wow, those are some mighty vicious comments on the article's page.  

10:10:1

A:B:C

A)ratio of cyclists are the devil and they have death and accidents coming to them

B)licence and tax cyclists and then I'll let them on the road

C)no one is perfect, can't we all just get along?

If the city were actually serious about bike infrastructure fixing the Diversey bridge over the river would be a snap.   It would only take a bit of paint and maybe a few bollards at first.

Fixing the Clusterfuck at Logan/Western would be a bit harder.  At the very least it would require both restriping the pavement as well as changing the traffic light pattern and flow.  The real issue isn't so much the crossing under the Kennedy but the way the RR bridge crosses the intersection East of that.  The whole intersection is a messed-up and poorly laid out from the beginning because of this.  

A road diet for Logan so that it is only 2 lanes from well West of the Kennedy underpass with only turning lanes at Western would help a lot -but inpatient right-turners off of Eastbound Logan onto Western would be an ongoing issue for any bicyclists trying to proceed Eastbound regardless of how it was laid out.   Maybe putting the bike lane in the middle of the traffic lanes would help but then left-turning lanes would come into conflict.  There really are no good options to fix this intersection , and like the Kedzie/Belmont disaster just a few miles up the Kennedy, are two of the most dangerous intersections in that part of the city and are also the major choke-points getting out of Logan Square to the East or the North East. 


Cameron Puetz said:

 If the Diversey bridge and the Logan/Western interchange were improved, Wrightwood/Logan/Diversey would make a good route.




Having the West-bound bike lane jump up over the curb with a curb-cut and ride on the 12' wide sidewalk between the curb and the skate park fence, bypassing the need for riding along the scary arco barriers and traffic at the S-curve, and dumping out onto the service drive on logan would be a good solution as well.   Something similar could bring in the Eastbound bike traffic from the other service drive.  Maybe jump down onto the boulevard just before the bridge -which would give the 4-lane configuration some time to merge back into 1 before the bike lane joined it under the bridge.

I have never understood why bicyclists wanted to mix it up with the 4-lane traffic on the main boulevard of Logan rather than drive the nice peaceful and serene service drives (especially when there is church parking on the road on the weekends.)   riding up there always seemed needlessly dangerous and confrontational with motorized traffic where there is such a good alternative on the service drives...

Well, the service drive is really not all it's cracked up to be for cycling.  There are still some intersection conflicts with cars turning off the main section of Logan.  It's also basically a side street, so you have to watch out for kids playing, people walking their dogs out to the island, etc.  And not to mention that there's not much room to go around double-parked cars or parallel parkers.  It's also tougher to navigate the square from the service drive.

I'd agree with you if you're talking about someone finishing their trip nearby and going into cool-down mode anyway.  But if I'm going down Wrightwood to Kostner, then taking it up to Belmont...that's a major slow-down in the middle of a long commute.

There just really is no good east-west solution and therefore I don't ride my bike to Elston often.  When I do, I'll take Belmont which isn't ideal but I am more familiar with the ebb and flow of traffic and tricky spots.

James BlackHeron said:

I have never understood why bicyclists wanted to mix it up with the 4-lane traffic on the main boulevard of Logan rather than drive the nice peaceful and serene service drives (especially when there is church parking on the road on the weekends.)   riding up there always seemed needlessly dangerous and confrontational with motorized traffic where there is such a good alternative on the service drives...

I don't see the conflicts you are describing as anywhere near as dangerous or life-threatening as riding on the blvd where the outer lanes are not nearly wide enough to accommodation auto traffic and bicyclists at the same time and the cars are travelling at extra-legal speeds of 40+MPH.

Then there is the perhaps-legitimate anger that motorists feel when there is a bicyclist blocking their way and creating traffic-flow issues when there is a whole service drive built just a few feet away that bikes should probably be taking.    I don't have an issue moving along at around 14MPH on my city bike or 18-20MPH on my road bike down the service drive here.  The pavement is glass-smooth (unlike many other blvd's like Kedzie to the south) and I unashamedly Idaho-stop through all the controls.

IMHO, my life is too precious to take the more-dangerous blvd -I see many more life-threatening conflicts with fast-moving cages compared to the occasional ped or dog-walker on the service drives. 

That's why I've never used the service drives on Logan or Kedzie much unless I'm approaching a nearby destination.

Don said:

Well, the service drive is really not all it's cracked up to be for cycling.  There are still some intersection conflicts with cars turning off the main section of Logan.  It's also basically a side street, so you have to watch out for kids playing, people walking their dogs out to the island, etc.  And not to mention that there's not much room to go around double-parked cars or parallel parkers.  It's also tougher to navigate the square from the service drive.

I'd agree with you if you're talking about someone finishing their trip nearby and going into cool-down mode anyway.  But if I'm going down Wrightwood to Kostner, then taking it up to Belmont...that's a major slow-down in the middle of a long commute.

I'm not saying that one is preferable over the other; just neither is ideal.  I completely avoid that route in the same way that I avoid riding on Western or other 4-lane roads, and also avoid side streets unless I'm close to home.  I'm not necessarily a fast rider, but I feel like the options there are either a white-knuckle sprint, or riding my brake anticipating obstacles.

I really think Logan Blvd. is a great candidate for a road diet.  Looking at the architecture and the greenery, Logan Blvd. used to be a desirable area, not just a place for cars to race through.  Same with Kedzie...those mansions wouldn't have been built if it was all about moving cars through as quickly as possible.  Obviously, it's going to take a long time to repair the damage that was done to the city in the cars-above-all-else era.

I don't want to sound like a "troll"  but I just don't think that any further "road diets" are going to be palatable to a majority of the population of the city.  I read a number of other blogs and the term "road diet" is almost as well received there as the concept of a license is here.    I not only ride a bicycle, I also drive, and frankly, some of the problems for the cars need to be corrected as well.    Perhaps a combination of road diets on certain roads and road fattening (with bans of Bicycles) on other streets.  My favorite example is Irving Park Road.   No sane Cyclist should ever ride on Irving (or Western).   And they are also good arterials for cars to go up and down at a faster pace.   I would consider banning parking on these streets, increase the speed limits, change the timing on the lights, ban bicycle traffic, limit pedestrian crossings to major intersections, and pretty much give these to the cars.  In exchange, I would then push for much more significant "road diets" for parallel streets including some infrastructure for cycles and pedestrians.  (Like a bridge across the river divided into travel lanes for bicycles and sidewalks for pedestrians... a little like a current road only without the cars.)

$10/gallon...

It's coming.

+1 million to this and the rest of what Cameron said.

Get rid of the belly-bulges where roads add a lane for no good reason -creating turbulence and crowding bicycles right off of the roadway.  Make the right lanes "Right Turn Only" and aggre$$ively enforce this. 

Stop this "fast road" BS.  Fast roads just attract more cars, and ruin neighborhoods for peds (people.)

$10/gallon gas will do the rest. 

Cameron Puetz said:

The short stretches for four lane road found in Chicago create turbulence and make traffic worse for everyone except aggressive drivers who use them to pass on the right. In these stretches, the right lane is a defacto turn lane. Making it formally a turn lane and eliminating through traffic that has to merge in suddenly would make traffic flow better by eliminating the turbulence from merging traffic, and make the road safer for everyone by making the flow of traffic more predictable.

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