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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Exactly WHERE are these other "alleged" bike lanes placed? South Shore Drive (which is regularly used as a temporary parking lane) is the only North-South route that I know that traverses Woodlawn/South Shore. South Chicago Avenue (which I LOVE blasting up & down) runs Southeast-Northwest and does not really serve to connect north-south transit. Of course, South Chicago Ave is so marginal that even cars don't use it much.

How about a 1 week trial lane reduction?  Put up traffic cones in the proposed area for one week, right up to the crosswalk at each crossing.

That would be great.  I'm not sure what's been done in the past for IDOT roads.

The only problem with that idea is it is not accurate. It takes longer than a week for people to adjust to new traffic patterns.

I've thought about the same idea. Take at look at construction closures, the first couple of weeks traffic is terrible, then things balance out.

Temporary lane closures are different than properly designed road configurations.

Now if the road is way over-built maybe it wouldn't make a difference. I wish it were than easy, maybe we would have a great bike lane on Milwaukee Ave, rather than the same old re-painted freeway.

Keep pushing back at the select few people not wanting the changes. They do a good job selling false information to others in the area resulting in no improvement for all users involved.

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