This is a must read. John Greenfield with Streetsblog Chicago and Chicago Reader wrote an exceptional article that covers the controversy surrounding the city's proposal to add protected bike lanes to Stony Island Avenue.
"Opponents—including Fifth Ward alderman Leslie Hairston—argue the lanes would cause traffic jams, while supporters say they’re a needed safety improvement."
Let's hope the city works through the concerns and implements the protected bike lane in a community that could really benefit from adding bike-friendly infrastructure.
"South Siders Spar Over Proposed Stony Island Protected Bike Lanes"
by John Greenfield
For much of its length, Stony Island Avenue is basically an expressway with stoplights. Located on the southeast side between 56th and 130th, it generally has eight travel lanes, the same number as Lake Shore Drive, although it carries half as many vehicles per day—35,000 versus 70,000. Due to this excess lane capacity, speeding is rampant.
The city has proposed converting a lane or two of Stony between 67th and 79th into protected bike lanes. Some residents, and Fifth Ward alderman Leslie Hairston, fear the “road diet” would cause traffic jams, and argue the street is too dangerous for bike lanes. Other neighbors say Stony is too dangerous not to have them.
According to the Chicago Crash Browser website, created by Streetsblog’s Steven Vance, 53 pedestrians and 16 bicyclists were injured along Stony Island between 67th Street (the southern border of Jackson Park) and 79th Street (where access ramps connect Stony with the Chicago Skyway) between 2010 and 2013.
Thank you for posting this. This is part of a larger disconnect on the south side, where politicians and car-oriented people don't see a lot of folks riding and don't have any sense of the need for more and better bike facilities so that more people are able to safely ride.
Thanks for posting this! Is there any letter campaign directed at Leslie Hairston? I'm in the 5th ward, and bike a lot, and would welcome this protected bike lane.
I think it's an excellent idea. I'd like to think cyclists helped move the North Branch extension forward when the project experienced some push-back. Maybe also a writing campaign to the city in support of a good idea?
This reminds me of the battle lost on the Far Northwest Side Milwaukee Avenue project.
Since this article, many members of the Major Taylor Chicago Cycling Club have expressed a desire to contact Alderman Hairston and advise her of the need and desire to have bike lanes on Stony Island. A few members have actually contacted her on her website. We welcome you to do the same. And, I don't want to speak too early, but I have reached out to Oboi Reed to see if Slow Roll would be interested in collaborating with Major Taylor Chicago to do a ride to her office.
Let me know if the ride is a go and I am happy to help get the word out if you'd like.
Great idea. I'd like to be part of that ride if it happens.
I'd be happy to be in on that ride, too.
Hairston is an utterly entitled hack -- she's been "serving" the 5th Ward since '99 with very little real accomplishments to show for it. Oh yeah, she brought South Shore the Magic Johnson Foundation-subsidized drive-thru Starbucks (a no-brainer) back in 2004 (and was still crowing about it in her campaign literature in 2015!) I ride Stony Island with some regularity (and I'm no timid mouse on city streets) and it can definitely get kinda hairy. It would be PRIME for a dedicated bike lane.
"We don't bike on this side of town"?! I would love to unpack that attitude.
"We don't bike on this side of town"
It's definitely a misguided attitude at best, we need to get Chicago to evolve past the whole "when you grow up you get a car" thing. I guarantee you that kids are biking all over the place, politicians need to connect the dots that these are future voters!