Has anyone else noticed the new style of rough, hard, concrete patching that is being done and apparently accepted by the City of Chicago, often obliterating existing bike routes.

Clark St. between Howard and Devon used to be a prime commuting route for me.  In spite of many lights, they were well synchronized and you could make really good time on that part of the commute.  Not so good in the evening but a great morning route.

That was until last year when some utilty tore up the street right in the bike lane and replaced it not with asphalt, but with this hard concrete.  The crew that did the patch made not the slightest attempt to smooth their work out and now Clark is basically unrideable.

Now another bike lane that was part of my commute, Pratt Blvd., has gotten the same treatment.

So while the city, to great fanfare, introduces new protected bike lanes in some part of the city, they fail to enforce basic street-paving standards and lose bike lanes that have served us well for years.

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You are right, Ashland doesn't duplicate the Red Line, but it runs pretty close to the red line and both of them are North South routes.   We have LOTS of good North South transportation and compartively little East West. 

As for turning left, I am a big advocate of banning lots of left turns.  In Hawaii many roads ban left turns at Rush hour and require that the turn be made by going right into a small loop and then coming across at a light.   Easy enough to do. 

As for the local, if you keep the local in the same lane as the express, its not an issue.  Run each BRT lane on the outside, have the lanes not "walled off" so that the local can pass.

(And the walled off lane idea doesn't work for me at all.  What happens when, as happens with some frequency in chicago, the bus breaks down.....)

Alex Z said:

There is currently no bike lane on Ashland. It is two lanes in both directions, with parking on both sides and a median in the middle.

I don't know how drivers are supposed to turn left off of BRT Ashland, or if they are even allowed to. Perhaps they are not, which would be fine with me.

To David, I agree that keeping the local bus with only a single lane of traffic seems like a problem. I disagree that Ashland duplicates the Red Line, although I agree some good east-west routes would be good.

The bike lanes already exist.   Damen and Southport and on opposite sides of Ashland.  Both are bike laned and well used (well not Southport at the moment which is covered with bulldozers and paving machines from Irving to at least Grace).  The concern is that lots of cars will be forced off Ashland and gravitate to Damen and Southport.

The Ashland mess, in part, is a perfect example of the mess that the parking meter deal has done to logical city planning.   The BRT, even with the local bus still on the transit road, would be far less "troubling" if at least a portion of the meter parking could be eliminated allowing pulloffs and the like for the local bus and perhaps some bike lane options as well.  But that's all off the table because the City can't remove meter spaces.

Skip Montanaro 12mi said:

This thread is the first this Evanstonian has heard of the Ashland BRT.  If I understand it correctly (http://www.transitchicago.com/ashlandbrt/), the center lane and much of the median will be taken up with bus infrastructure, leaving one traffic lane and parallel parking in each direction.  No bike lane, correct?  Is there currently a bike lane on Ashland?  Is there a street (or small network of streets) parallel to Ashland which could accommodate bike lanes?  How are cars supposed to turn left off Ashland, make a right and go around the block?

Pointers to discussion here or elsewhere about this facility would be appreciated.

Thx...

I didn't realize the BRT lanes were walled off.

Even for safety reasons?

David crZven 10.6 said:

...the City can't remove meter spaces.

AFAIK that has yet to be determined for Ashland.

Alex Z said:

I didn't realize the BRT lanes were walled off.

The City can remove all the meters they want.  But they must pay the parking meter company for this.   This applies even in the case of construction.   The meter company loves this.  For example, the meters on Southport, due to the ready access to parking on the side streets are hardly even used fully.  But during the closing of the spots for construction, the City has to pay the full amount of the meter for the full time.   So if a meter is a $2,00 hr meter and active 12 hours per day, the City pays $24 per day per space for the construction.  And if its permanent, its the fee going forward essentially forever.  It is a VERY bad agreement written in such a way as to pretty much screw the city on everything.   And any kind of change at all -- for example a State law banning government employees from writing tickets to enforce private rights -- even if fought by the City -- would result in the City paying.  

All contracts can be broken with enough cash. Kickstarter, anyone?

So just for my own clarification, when will they start handing out the free mint chocolate chip ice cream?

I cannot confirm nor deny that Active Trans is working to secure Blue Bunny as a major sponsor for our bike/ped advocacy work. But not our transit work, where we may or may not be approaching a to-be-named-later froyo company.

Ethan "couldn't resist" Spotts, Active Trans

h'

So you did get a root canal then?

h' 1.0 said:

As requested:

http://www.thechainlink.org/forum/topics/ashland-selected-for-brt

Skip Montanaro 12mi said:

This thread is the first this Evanstonian has heard of the Ashland BRT.  If I understand it correctly (http://www.transitchicago.com/ashlandbrt/), the center lane and much of the median will be taken up with bus infrastructure, leaving one traffic lane and parallel parking in each direction.  No bike lane, correct?  Is there currently a bike lane on Ashland?  Is there a street (or small network of streets) parallel to Ashland which could accommodate bike lanes?  How are cars supposed to turn left off Ashland, make a right and go around the block?

Pointers to discussion here or elsewhere about this facility would be appreciated.

Thx...

The concrete patches that are poured-to-grade on asphalt streets by utility contractors are meant to temporary.  After curing, they are supposed to be ground down 1-1/2 to 2 inches deep and at least three feet wider than the concrete patch to make room for a smooth hot asphalt patch.  This is normally to be done in 21 working days, but in Loop it often takes much longer because there are very limited times that City grants permits to the contractors to work there.  The best way to speed the process up is a 311 complaint.  These are passed on to the utilities who try to get their contractors to them before being cited by the City.

One problem is that many of the sloppiest patches are ones left not by utility contractors but by City crews.  They don't have the same kind of accountability because the city inspectors can't issue fines to city crews.

The reason that the concrete is often not finished smooth is that a smooth surface is hard on the grinding machines, so unless the crew has a cyclist for a foreman (like me), they leave a "toothy" broom finish even in the bike lanes.

The ripples are made with a broom.  It is a faster way to keep temporary patches from becoming slippery than a full finish job.  It is also much easier on the grinding machines that will eventually be used to make room for an asphalt patch.

Tank-Ridin' Ryan said:

Yes!

Do anyone here know why the concrete that's laid down is rippled?  Does that happen naturally if it's not smoothed out, or is it intentional?

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