The Chainlink

Is there anything that can be done to quash a valet parking service operating in the bike lane? There's one at 150 N. Canal (156?) that almost gets me killed on a regular basis during my work commute. Anything I can do about it, short of changing my route? Thanks.

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Have you tried talking to the
manager of the restaurant?
Find out the name of the valet company that is being used at that location and then talk to the alderman of that area. Valets must have permits for the area they are using and I have heard with complaints aldermen can pull these permits.

you are talking about just south of lake street right?
where the bike lane shifts to the left side of the road?
next time you see a valet sign on the street, heck, even the sidewalk, let them know there's a $500 fine for that.
I'd definitely suggest speaking directly with them first. Diplomacy is often a beautiful thing. For all you know they could be completely oblivious to the laws that apply to bike lanes. If they brush you off or act like total goons, then proceed with talking to whoever does the aldering for that neighborhood. Please use government only as a means of last resort, and even then only sparingly.

jen said:
Find out the name of the valet company that is being used at that location and then talk to the alderman of that area. Valets must have permits for the area they are using and I have heard with complaints aldermen can pull these permits.

you are talking about just south of lake street right?
where the bike lane shifts to the left side of the road?
Spitting inside the cars will certainly cut down on their business.
Get a bell and ring it at them.
It is just south of Lake, with the bike lane on the east side of the road. At that point, I'm heading north on Canal.

jen said:
Find out the name of the valet company that is being used at that location and then talk to the alderman of that area. Valets must have permits for the area they are using and I have heard with complaints aldermen can pull these permits.

you are talking about just south of lake street right?
where the bike lane shifts to the left side of the road?
I haven't talked to anyone yet, and I'm not even sure that there is a restaurant there, though there may be. I thought it was valet parking for an office building. Anyway, several people here suggested I talk with the valet operator first, which I think is a good idea. I'll let you know what happens.

heather said:
Have you tried talking to the
manager of the restaurant?
It's not a restaurant. It looks like it's garage-parking for people who are too important to park their own cars.

This company appears to be the culprit.

As it happens, I was on Canal with a camera this morning, so I sat down across the street and watched the fun. Here's the scene in a quiet moment:


The gap ahead of that SUV is the valet service's signed, legally-mandated loading zone. Cars are (eventually) parked in a private garage just to the north of this, on the east side of the street. The little black lectern in the doorway is the attendant's post.

The bike lane, you'll note, actually ends about half-way through the loading zone. Not that this matters one way or another, as we'll see.

All of the following shots were taken between 9 AM, when I arrived, and 9:15, when I left.

One car:


(That would be a better shot without Mister Salmon. C'mon, folks.)

Two cars:


I suppose, to be fair, these two cars are only partially in the bike lane, though the transaction itself always happens such that the lane is entirely blocked by a door, an attendant and a driver.

Of course, if you let cars sit in your loading zone for a while without bothering to move them into the garage, this starts to happen:



Sorry, did you want a bike lane, young man?

And two more cars, all at once:



And hey, while we're at it, we might as well take up almost all of this block's bike lane:


That's six cars, some of which have been standing, partially or completely blocking the bike lane, for 15 minutes.

At this point I called 311 and went to work. Sorry to the government-o-phobes, but don't worry: I'm sure no tickets were written.

Anyway, this stretch of Canal is crazy enough without some valet madness happening here. I hope you get a useful response from the parking company!
Oh THAT section of Canal. This has been going on there for years. The Canal bike lane is pretty much a complete nightmare. That ongoing fiasco near Lake and the mess around the train stations led me to change my route a couple of years ago. Now, instead of Halsted->Harrison->Canal to Kinzie I stay west of the whole mess riding up Morgan (through UIC) to Washington to Jefferson for a few blocks (also not great). My evening commute is better as I can just stay on Kinzie past Halsted - but in the morning the meatpacking trucks make cutting through the randolf/morgan area a lot more trouble than it is worth.

I don't know which is worse, the absence of bike lanes downtown or their presence and abuse.

Valet parking in general is appalling and should be taxed out of existence. It is a prime example of privatizing profits and socializing costs as we've seen from this post. Lets replace those jobs with pedicabs shuttling the lazy rich in from remote parking facilities or something like that.
Well, I'm not a "government-o-phobe", just concerned about unintended consequences and believe that it's best to first attempt conflict resolution at it's source and move up from there if necessary.

Nice documentation, by the way. That part of Canal can be pretty nerve wracking to navigate.

burden said:
At this point I called 311 and went to work. Sorry to the government-o-phobes, but don't worry: I'm sure no tickets were written.
Looking at these pictures, I am reminded how "sensitive" Chicagoans sometimes are. Look at all those traffic lanes. Why not take one? As in, right down the exact middle of a lane... for that block only, if you like. You do have that right.

You're more likely to get hit by swerving into a lane to avoid an obstruction (read: valet) than by asserting your right to the roadway itself.

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