Whiny CBS 2 Chicago Report on the Dearborn Bike Lane Remodeling



Slightly whiny and jaded report from CBS2's Derrick Blakley and comments from the never-bike-friendly Rob Johnson. 

The Dearborn bike path reconstruction project to cost 1.2 million dollars.

"The concrete curbs make it much more difficult for vehicles to be able to enter and obstruct the bike lane," said Jim Merrell of the ATA.

"The Dearborn bike lane is being upgraded from Polk Street to Kinzie and cost almost $1.2 million. The city says around 800 cyclists use the Dearborn Bikeway for the p.m. rush, which comes out to $1,500 per cyclist."

The money comes from a federal grant, not local taxes, but as Derrick Blakley notes and Rob Johnson smugly agrees, 'they are your tax dollars.' 

Gee, they must never rework any roads for vehicular traffic ever?

I heard the live radio promo Friday evening on AM78 and Rob Johnson was really playing it up to the vehicle drivers how much of a waste of taxpayers money this was and not necessary for the added safety of cyclists. IMO, Rob Johnson is getting in the John Kass cyclist lovers category. 

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I have mixed feeling about this. I  am  a big proponent  and  user of the Dearborn lane.  Motorists get it and I think most  users feel pretty safe vis a vis motorists, even the ones who will  need  to  make a left  turn past  the lane.   The problem  since  the very beginning has been unaware  pedestrians crossing the street through the lane or  simply wandering in because they are  not paying  attention. I don't really see a big benefit from  the concrete barriers.  Where there is  lot's of space I get  it. Where space  is a premium the  width of the concrete barrier makes  less room  for driving  and  parking  and  hence more  room for  conflict as the thoroughfare is more congested. Also, there are  times when there  is a  pothole or debris or a weird sewer cover and we all  move  over  and gracefully  maneuver. This is not  always feasible with  a rigid barrier to the lane.  

I have always had a similar  issue with  the signs that  tell  people to  stop in the  middle  of the  street.  Those signs make things  more  congested and thereby make  LESS room for  me as  a cyclist  to  ride by. 

All this  being said, the snotty tone of the  reporter  and the talking  head was offensive. There was no discussion of whether  the  "improvement" will do what  it seeks  to do but  only an inference  that money is being  wasted.  

Here's yesterday's Streetsblog post on the errors in the CBS report:


After our piece came out, they corrected the misinformation in the segment:


I ride Dearborn frequently as I live near Dearborn/Polk--as someone who has been hit, doored, and nearly run over I appreciate protected bike lanes. I have no qualms riding in the street and nearly always do but I know that protected bike lanes absolutely encourage less confident cyclists to get out there and ride.

When I first heard of and watched this CBS2 Chicago report on Friday evening I knew something wasn't right, besides their anti-bike bias. The $1.2 million figure did seem awfully high. I'm glad that the ATA, CDOT and others have corrected CBS2's inaccurately interpreted info. We do all make mistakes now and then and need to correct them. 

The CBS2 Chicago report of the Dearborn bike lane redo was biased and used inaccurately interpreted info. This community would like to see a good-faith reporting correction from CBS2's Derrick Blakely and perhaps with Rob Johnson doing a corrective intro also. Maybe they could apologize to the cycling community just outside their studio by the Picasso statue on the 6pm news on Friday September 28th just before the CCM ride departs.

Note to the  random cyclist who represented the 'unsure' cyclist opinion sample in Derrick Blakely's report, no biggie with your 'just more concrete' non-opinion answer. In the future, just recognize that any reporter that interviews you can craft your answer into their interpretation so be careful how you respond. 

OK, so what am I missing. I've walked by the Dearborn bike lane several times over the past few weeks, and it sure looks like they're not putting a concrete curb the full length of the block. Instead they're putting the curbs at the ends of the blocks, and a few spots in between. What's the point? They don't think drivers will take advantage of the gaps in the concrete to pull into the bike lane?

Agreed, I pointed that out on Streetsblog as well.  They're putting concrete islands at the intersections, except where left hand turns are allowed.  And then a tiny curb in the center.  The rest is paint and plastic bollards.  Why is CDOT so afraid of regulating car traffic?


Ask CDOT. Contact emails and phone numbers in link.

Fox32TV just a day ago did a news video clip (can't find it) of drivers complaining about the protective concrete islands now because it causes them to turn sharply and is damaging tires because the new concrete is not easily visible because it is currently unpainted and an uncompleted project.

The concrete is hard to see. They should have left construction barricades or orange cones in place until the curbs are painted.

The concrete looks to be is fifty foot separation islands at intersections. Vehicles will still have plenty of space to park in the bike lane, just not at corners.

Well, there is still the 8 ft opening at the end of each block, so don't rule out a handful of nitwits entering the lanes. The bike lane at Congress and Dearborn looks like it's ripe for vehicles turning left on to Dearborn to cut the corner too sharp, and enter the bike lane. Hopefully they'll paint dashed turn lanes to direct traffic to the vehicle lanes.

To me it appears this is of no benefit to cyclists. Now the pedestrians who stand in the path are better protected from cars and will clog the lane even more than they did before. Perhaps the benefit was never intended for cyclists but rather for pedestrians.


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