Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Forty-seven ways to improve Lake Shore Drive and the Lakefront Trail

by Michelle Stenzel

In our last blog post, we invited you to attend a grassroots meeting to discuss North Lake Shore Drive, the Lakefront Trail, and surrounding areas. Thank you to those who joined us! 

Grassroots action at its best! Discussing the North Lake Shore Drive project at CityGrounds coffee bar.
(Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
We met in order to generate a list of issues facing people from Grand Avenue to Diversey Avenue, and came up with a total of 47 opportunities for improving Lake Shore Drive and the Lakefront Trail for people walking, biking and using public transit.  (More -->)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Come help document problems with Lake Shore Drive and the Lakefront Trail!

by Michelle Stenzel

The Lakefront Trail and Lake Shore Drive are famous routes in Chicago, known for providing walkers, bicyclists and drivers good transportation and great views of Lake Michigan and the downtown skyline. 

However, the Lakefront Trail is far too narrow at many points to serve the huge number of users, and its proximity to the lake means that waves often effectively shut it down. It's lacking greenery and natural elements from Grand to North. Many of the access points are grimy, dark, and inaccessible to people with mobility issues.
The Lakefront Trail near Ohio Street Beach on a typical summer evening. (Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
Because of its broad lanes and highway-like design, Lake Shore Drive acts as a barrier between the Lakefront Trail and the residents living west of the Drive. The street's design encourages speeding, leading to a high rate of crashes and injuries: 1,100 crashes per year, just on the northern section. Although it's very wide and 69,000 riders per day ride on 9 total bus routes, Lake Shore Drive has no dedicated space for public transportation. 
In this picture, I see 74 cars carrying an estimated 93 people in the northbound lanes and on ramp. All these people would   fit into one articulated CTA bus. (Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
Fortunately, the opportunity to improve Lake Shore Drive and surrounding areas for all users is now at hand. 

In August 2013, the first public meetings were held for the "Redefine the Drive" project, which is being undertaken jointly by the Illinois and Chicago departments of transportation. The project seeks to address problems with North Lake Shore Drive and surrounding areas, and the public is invited to provide input. This is an eight-year long project, so there's much more to come.  (More -->)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Bike boxes, curb bump outs and more planned for Lincoln and Halsted near Children's Memorial site

by Michelle Stenzel

The final plans for the Children's Memorial site have been released and approved by the city's Chicago Plan Commission. All documents are available for viewing via links provided on Alderman Michele Smith's website. I've reviewed them and will highlight some of the positive changes that are planned for biking and walking.


The documents include plans for continuous bike lanes on Halsted and Lincoln along the project site. Below is a document included in the plans, over which I've added green highlighting to make the lanes more visible. 
McCaffrey Interests' Planned Development exhibit, with my green highlighting added.
A few things to note: 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

How many people in Lincoln Park bike to work? Take transit? Live car-free?

by Michelle Stenzel

The 2010 Census produced a lot of data that has been made public, but it's often not very useful to ordinary citizens until someone overlays the numbers onto a map, and makes it easy for people to see the data come to life. We're fortunate that Shaun Jacobsen of Transitized has recently done just that, with the census data on how Chicagoans commute to work.

Screen shot of the Chicago Commute Mode Map by Shaun Jacobsen of Transitized.com
When you first open the map, it shows what the dominant mode of transportation is for each census tract, whether it's drive alone, carpool, transit, walk, bike, or telecommute. The blue tracts mean that transit is the dominant mode (not necessarily the majority, just the mode with the highest percent) of commuting for those residents, while red is drive alone, and purple is walking. You can hover over any of the tracts to get detailed data on that tract. You can also choose different layers to view by clicking on the icon on the upper left that looks like a stack of papers.  (More -->)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Opportunity is knocking: Follow up thoughts on the Children's Memorial redesign

by Michelle Stenzel

I attended the latest community meeting on the Children’s Memorial Hospital redevelopment site last week. More than 500 people came to hear the presentation by architect Joe Antunovich of Antunovich and Associates laying out the newest plan. 

There was a very big turnout of people at the Children's Memorial Redevelopment community meeting on January 14, 2013. (Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
Although there were some concerns expressed about the heights of the proposed buildings, most community members spoke in support of the plan. You can read more coverage about the meeting and further opinions on the plan on DNA Info Chicago, Streetsblog Chicago, and Transitized.

We provided our opinions on the new plan last week based on the presentation posted online. Today we're adding just a few further thoughts that have materialized through the community meeting. (More -->)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Our thoughts on the new Children's Memorial site plan

by Michelle Stenzel

A new proposed plan has been released for redevelopment of the Children's Memorial Hospital site, and we recently reviewed the proposal to evaluate its design in terms of walking, biking, transit and public spaces. It's a large site with many facets to the plan, and you should review the PDF of the presentation, which you can download from Ald. Michele Smith's web page, or attend the community presentation on Tuesday evening (January 14, 6:30 PM at DePaul Student Center). 
View of the new Children's Memorial proposal toward the southeast, with Lincoln Avenue on the right.
(All images in the post are from McCaffrey Interests presentation PDF unless otherwise noted)
The design of all the new buildings looks very nice! The external design of the new buildings is bright, airy, clean and modern. The plans call for preservation of historic buildings worth preserving, and lots of retail right where it's needed. (More -->)

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking back and looking forward

by Michelle Stenzel
Kidical Mass family bike rides began in Lincoln Park in 2013. (Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
It’s been a busy year for us at Bike Walk Lincoln Park! Before we ring in the new year, here’s a partial list of what we accomplished in 2013:
Led four “intersection evaluations”, in which we documented what’s working well and what’s not for people walking, biking, and using transit, and then submitted our recommendations to Alderman Smith for future improvements. This year we tackled the following intersections:
  • Clark and Fullerton
  • Halsted and Armitage
  • Halsted and Wrightwood
  • North and Sedgwick
Co-hosted a community workshop to brainstorm ideas for improving Clark Street from North to Armitage to make it better for people on foot, on bike and on transit.  More -->