The Chainlink

The Controversy Surrounding the City's Proposed Stony Island Avenue Protected Lane

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.

Read the full Chicago Reader article

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Hey Everyone - Thanks for the energy on this. Slow Roll Chicago will love to work with everyone on both a ride and an advocacy campaign. We can take lead on both, and will be great to have everyone's help on the planning process. Let me know your thoughts and let's go...

Has there been an analysis done of the traffic effects of the transformation of 55th?  That's also 5th ward, and seems very relevant to the discussion.  If Hairston has gotten a lot of complaints about 55th, that might be fueling her reluctance to see anything similar done to Stony Island.

Complaints by motorist? Complaining that they added 2 minutes to their commute? May the had to walk (on h my god!) an additional 5 feet to the doorway? Please!!!!! Hairston lives in another world, she 'claims' that Blacks do not bike! Where does she live? On Mars????

Thank you!

Plenty of people will complain about change, regardless of anything else.  Quantitative evidence of positive results might help.

Good luck with that. I agree regarding the resistance to change. "Quantitative evidence" will struggle against bias, prejudice, and unenlightened self-interest.

I can say with certainty, without the benefit of an empirical analysis, that 55th Street is easier/safer to cross as a pedestrian as a result of the road diet. I would walk my children to school (Ray Elementary) every day by crossing 55th Street. Even with a crossing guard at Kimbark, there were constantly motorists who would ignore the guard, the sign, the painted crosswalk, and my two children holding my hands. Although I often choose not to use the bike lane myself when riding 55th Street (due to the amount of shrapnel that doesn't get swept), I do see that the UofC students utilize it a good deal.

I got a response to my email on the website, after only a couple of hours.  I was certainly unaware of that community meeting, but it's something to look out for in the future:


Thank you for your input.  I will make sure the Alderman is aware.  However, I just wanted you to know that at a very well attended community meeting constituents vehemently stated that they did not want bike lanes on Stony Island.  Bike lanes have since been placed at other locations in the ward.      
Kimberly Webb
Chief of Staff, Fifth Ward 

I'd like to weigh in here.  Oboi, I will attend the Slow Roll event on Saturday.  If anyone who is here would like to discuss this with us informally, you will be able to find both Oboi, leader of Slow Roll Chicago, and me, chairman of the Major Taylor Chicago, at Ancien Cycles in Hyde Park Saturday evening.  I mention our organizations because not only do we ride OFTEN in  her ward, some of our members are residents of her ward.

Additionally, Major Taylor Chicago has encouraged our members to write Alderwoman Hairston and have gotten the same response back verbatim from Kimberly Webb.  We'd like to encourage everyone who would like to see cycling lanes on Stony Island to contact her.  She allows you to do this on her website.  And, be prepared to get the same response that was posted here by Elizabeth.  

Anne, we'd love to get CCC in on this.  We'll talk soon.  

When will you be hangin' at Ancien?

This event?

I thought it was in Ancien on Milwaukee.  It would be awesome if it's in Hyde Park!  Very excited about the new Ancien Cycles in Hyde Park.  Now they just need their food license...

I tend to get to places early.  I'll probably arrive in the earlier part of the event, and stay until about 8 pm or so.  

My apologies.  The event is at the Ancien Cycles on Milwaukee.  Thanks for pointing it out, Elizabeth.  Don't want to send people to the wrong place.


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