The Chainlink

I just found out about this meeting on Wednesday. I plan to be there. I am disappointed that speed humps are being installed in the park's inner drive.  They might slow down cars, but they are a bear for people on bikes, esp those of us who travel with our kids and/or trailers for cargo.  I do not know what will be discussed at the meeting--perhaps there will be an update on the status of Humboldt Blvds through the park.  See: http://www.thechainlink.org/forum/topics/are-bikes-getting-squeezed...

 

Humboldt Park Community Meeting
Wednesday
May 25, 2011
6pm-7pm

at Humboldt Park Boathouse

Slow down traffic within and around Humboldt Park
If you think fast moving cars make it hard to walk or bike safely to and from Humboldt Park, then you don’t want to miss this opportunity to hear some ideas for improvement.  We invite you to join us and
tell us what you think! Spanish translation provided

For more information contact:
Lucy Gomez-Feliciano
773-719-1936

This event is being sponsored by:
Humboldt Park Advisory Council
26th Ward Alderman Roberto Maldonado
Chicago Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities Partnership

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I mentioned this meeting my latest blog. 

Let’s keep talking about protected bike lanes

Why don't they fill all those stinking potholes in the north east corner of the park? I'm sorry I missed the meeting, because I would have gone to raise hell about that!

Steve, Ash and I have drafted a letter that I will take to the Alderman's ward night tonight. Would you like to be a signer (especially if you live in the 26th ward)

 

June 6, 2011
 
Dear Alderman Maldonado,

Thank you for convening a meeting about transportation issues in the ward on May 26, 2011, and your leadership in calming traffic in and around Humboldt Park and the community in general. Many of the design ideas presented at the meeting, such as extending the Division Street bike lanes, adding pedestrian refuge islands on North Avenue and adding curb cuts to the internal path system, have great potential to improve access and safety to and within the park.  Improving Humboldt Blvd for *all* users is a big piece of that puzzle.


Last fall, ward residents and others who bike through and to Humboldt Park reached out to you about the traffic calming project on Humboldt Boulevard (see attached). We expressed the need to improve conditions for cyclists, in addition to adding more crosswalks and reducing intersection conflicts.  This is consistent with Chicago’s Complete Street’s policy, which was adopted in 2006, and the Illinois Complete Streets law, passed in 2007.

While we think the road diet on Humboldt Boulevard is a huge step towards improving crossing conditions and reducing traffic speeds, we are dismayed to learn that no cycling accommodations are planned at this time.

Humboldt Boulevard provides critical access through the park; people will be cycling on this road whether or not designated cycling facilities exist, especially since the residential frontage roads along Sacramento north and south of the park provide such a pleasant biking environment, serving as de facto bikeways. Any work done now should serve our community’s needs into the future, without having to wait for retrofits (like a bike lane) that may or may not be built. This is especially important given the city’s strained budget.

We understand the concern about lack of connectivity between the road in the park and the bikeway network. However, given the pedestrian and bicycle planning efforts in the 35th wards, as well as the City’s overall efforts to improve safety and mobility for people of all ages, we feel confident that a design solution exists that can serve short term needs without compromising longer term vision. We propose the following alternatives for consideration:
  1. Include bicycle lanes on Humboldt Boulevard through the park and extend the road diet plus bicycle lanes to Palmer Square Park on the north end and the existing bike lanes on Augusta Boulevard on the south end.  Sacramento Avenue has only two travel lanes north of Palmer Square. Since the road diet is bringing the road down to two lanes through Humboldt Park, it would be prudent to continue the road diet through to the next two-lane segment of the street, creating more consistency and calming traffic along the whole corridor.
  2. Include bicycle lanes on Humboldt Boulevard through the park and extend the road diet to Wabansia Avenue, and then link to the frontage roads with pavement markings and signage.
  3. Include bicycle lanes through the park and reconfigure the intersection to allow for direct connections to the frontage road. This would also improve pedestrian access from the park to sidewalks to the north.
  4. At the least, stripe five feet wide “urban shoulders” as part of the road diet. While these would not be marked as bike lanes right now, they would have the dual purpose of delineating space for people who do cycle on the road while also keeping speeds in the vehicle travel lanes calm. This can be accomplished by slightly narrowing the center refuge median (5 feet shoulders, 10-11 feet travel lanes. 12-14 feet median/turn lane.)


Humboldt Park is both a popular destination and scenic area to commute through. We see people of all ages and backgrounds in and around the park, walking, pushing strollers, jogging, cycling, driving, playing and socializing.  We look forward to working with you and other neighbors to make our community a safe place to travel for people of all ages and travel modes.

Gin, I would be happy to sign the letter.  Do you just need an ok on here or an actual signature.  Also I am a 26th ward resident and would be happy to include my address if you want me to PM it to you.

 

Thanks for putting this together.

Thanks, Liz! Yes, please message me your address and I will add your name.

And here is a letter I am sending Emanuel and Klein, with a Bike Winter Sticker and Kidical Mass flyer.  Hope to see some of you at MBAC today.

 

Dear Mayor Emanuel and Commissioner Klein,

As a long time cyclist and promoter of low and no car living, I have been thrilled by your words and early deeds related to transportation. For example, installing a protected bicycle lane on Kinzie within weeks of taking office (and in time for Bike to Work Week) demonstrates your commitment to better infrastructure, and an overall spirit of urgency and innovation.

I am writing to request your help with another project that could use some quick action on behalf of a long term vision. Northwest side residents have been in communication with Alderman Maldonado about the Humboldt/Sacramento corridor connecting Palmer Square and Franklin Park via the boulevard system. This summer, Alderman Maldonado is using menu funds to address vehicular turning conflicts and lack of pedestrian crossings on Humboldt Blvd. within the park, which is great--these improvements are needed. However, bicycle accommodations are also sorely needed on Humboldt Blvd. through the park, which is both a destination and somewhat of a barrier to north/south travel.   Please see the attached letter which includes short and long term suggestions.

I also support the letter from Anne Alt about speed humps.  I commute with my child via bike seat or trailer, and am always somewhat disappointed when I see speed humps added to a favorite cycling route. The problem of speeding drivers must be addressed, but I wish we used other strategies that do not also degrade conditions for people on bikes. Ironically, speed humps were recently installed on the inner road of Humboldt Park, making that route through the park less desirable, even as the new plans for Humboldt Blvd lack bicycle accommodations.

All this aside, cycling is usually a wonderful way to get around Chicago. I grew up here car-free and I have never owned a car.  I used to rely on walking and transit, and still have much love for those modes. But cycling is what makes living car-free so joyful and easy here.  Ten years ago, I co-founded Bike Winter to help convince fellow cyclists and transportation planners that cycling year round is viable.  Many people have sold their cars as a result. Now that I am a parent, I try to support others who want to bicycle with their children via projects like Kidical Mass.

I look forward to working with you to help Chicago become a place where residents and visitors of all ages and abilities have safe, affordable, pleasant and active transportation options. Feel free to contact me at gin@breakthegridlock.org, 773.332.6117 or 3411 W. McLean #1, 60647.

Kind regards,

Gin Kilgore
Board President, Break the Gridlock

CC: Roberto Maldonado, 26th ward alderman; Kirsten Grove, CDOT Pedestrian Program; Ben Gomberg, CDOT Bicycle Program; Adolfo Hernandez, Active Transportation Alliance; Lucy Gomez, Logan Square Neighborhood Association

Break the Gridlock is a Chicago-based non-profit organization dedicated to supporting a vibrant network of grass roots advocates working to reduce dependency on the private automobile, encouraging the use of more appropriate transportation solutions. www.breakthegridlock.org

UPDATE: At last week's MBAC, I got some clarification about the plans. It seems the city has worked hard to create a design that will not make it too hard to add bike lanes in later. The ped refuge area will be buffered with paint so it won't have to be ground down later when the car lane shifts over for bike lanes. While I wish this summer project had the lanes, I am glad it seems we are not making it too difficult to add them later. Also, 14 feet is technically the width for a "shared lane" ie--enough width for a car to pass a cyclist.

 

I'd like this corridor to be in one of the first 25, or at least 100, miles of fast tracked improvements. :)

I agree with your wish to have this corridor included on the high priority list so that bike accommodations are added sooner rather than later.

Gin said:

UPDATE: At last week's MBAC, I got some clarification about the plans. It seems the city has worked hard to create a design that will not make it too hard to add bike lanes in later. The ped refuge area will be buffered with paint so it won't have to be ground down later when the car lane shifts over for bike lanes. While I wish this summer project had the lanes, I am glad it seems we are not making it too difficult to add them later. Also, 14 feet is technically the width for a "shared lane" ie--enough width for a car to pass a cyclist.

 

I'd like this corridor to be in one of the first 25, or at least 100, miles of fast tracked improvements. :)

The medians they're installing on Humboldt Blvd suck.  There's just enough space for a car and a bike to share the lane, which would be ok if the asphalt near the curb wasn't such a bumpy mess of potholes and patches.  I like riding through the park (it's a heck of a lot prettier than taking Western) but I feel bad having to take the lane and slow down traffic.  That won't stop me from taking the lane since I don't want to get tossed into a closely passing car by a big bump, but I'd rather not have to worry about somebody behind me getting pissed off in a confined roadway.  

 

Here's hoping they're planning to repave that stretch soon.

Im always confused why people dont use the trails or use the "frontage roads" (Luis Munoz Marin Dr) in that area. I guess its not as straight a route. When I had to commute through there, I loved getting off the busy road and ridding through the park.

It's too bad the pavement is in poor condition, b/c I did hear through the grapevine that the city tried to preserve enough room for bicycle lanes to eventually be installed on that strip (ie--the alderman was only interested in the medians for now, but the design does not preclude future lanes). I think the travel lane is 14 feet which is technically wide enough to be a shared lane. . . if the pavement is OK. Argh.

 

Davo--I agree, but sometimes I prefer the more direct route. Also, Munoz now has speed bumps, so that's a less appealing cycling option.

speed bumps on that drive... booo

 

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