Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Lincoln Avenue and Wells Street TLC - The "After" pics

You remember the "before" pictures from this Bike Walk Lincoln Park post a few weeks ago. CDOT crews have now made major improvements up and down the stretch of Lincoln Avenue that runs through Lincoln Park. There have also been exciting maintenance work on Wells Street for pedestrians and bicyclists. Read on for details!

Crosswalks got a lot of attention the entire stretch of Lincoln. Many were not only re-painted, but upgraded from two thin lines to the much more visible zebra-crosswalk type. 
The new crosswalk striping at Lincoln Avenue and Larrabee Street. (Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
The new white thermoplastic tape is so shiny, it glints in the afternoon sun. Yes, we have become geeky enough that this makes us very happy.

The new crosswalk at Lincoln Avenue and Geneva Terrace glints in the sun. (Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
Even though the new striping makes the crosswalk much more visible, it doesn't help make drivers stop for pedestrians trying to cross in crosswalks that don't have any stop signs or traffic lights. We watched as this group of out-of-town visitors in the picture below stood in the crosswalk at Lincoln and Lill and tried to cross, as multiple cars sped by them. The drivers didn't even slow down. After the group crossed safely and complained good-naturedly about how long it took, we assured them we're working on the problem. ; )

The new striping at the Lincoln and Lill crosswalk looks great but does nothing to make cars stop for pedestrians.
(Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
How about the Lincoln Avenue bike lane? The crews first painted the inner stripe, along the parked cars. They then repainted some of the bike symbols and sharrows, but not all of them.

New sharrows and bike symbols in the shared-lane stretch of the Lincoln Avenue bike lane.
(Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
The full bike lane on Lincoln got two nice new stripes on either side. Looks great, doesn't it? It was nearly invisible on this stretch before.

New bike lane striping on Lincoln Avenue, south of Diversey. (Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
Unfortunately, there was no continuation of the bike lane stripes through intersections, as we've seen in other parts of the city.

Also, you may notice that the TLC didn't include filling potholes or general resurfacing. We've learned that Lincoln Avenue is a state road, and therefore doesn't fall under the city's jurisdiction. The striping was done by the city anyway, but the lumps and bumps remain, unfortunately.

New bike lane striping on Lincoln Avenue looks great, but potholes remain a problem. (Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
How about the stamped-brick crosswalks at North and Wells? Here are the "after" pictures. In addition to the red paint and texturizing, they were given white stripes on either sides. The stop bars for cars were also repainted, so drivers are alerted to stay back from the pedestrian crossing.

Stamped brick crosswalks at North Avenue and Wells Street on the border of Lincoln Park and Old Town.
(Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
Stamped brick crosswalk at North and Wells. (Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
LATE BREAKING NEWS: The Wells Street bike lane just re-appeared on Halloween!

The Wells Street bike lane at St. Paul. (Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
You remember the "before"picture of the Wells Street bike lane at 1600 north, right? That part was basically invisible. Here's the before picture:
It's hard to believe that for years this was considered a marked bike lane on Wells Street at 1600 North.
(Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
And here's how it looks as of today:
That's much better! Hopefully bike symbols will still be added. (Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
Look at this picture below: A perfect trifecta of stamped brick crosswalk, clearly painted stop line for cars, and brightly marked bike lane.

A bicyclist enjoys the newly reappeared bike lane on Wells Street at North Avenue. (Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
Thank you to every person involved in supporting these changes, from Mayor Emanuel for recognizing the importance of biking and walking, to the CDOT crews who work to install the upgrades, and everyone in between. We look forward to seeing more of the same, in Lincoln Park and far beyond. These things matter.


  1. Here's why bike lanes take so long to get refreshed.

  2. On my ride into work this morning, I noticed that the dashed bike lanes were added through some intersections between Fullerton and Wells.

  3. Rob -- I noticed that too! I love the refresh and the improved treatments.

  4. Great job! And an interesting sidelight Steven - Federal CMAQ funding can be used only for NEW bike lanes? But not for MAINTAINING the bike lanes? No wonder the infrastructure of this country is so dilapidated. At some point we need to stop building new...and just repair what we already have!

    Using your numbers, that recent restriping cost $2300 per block! That's pretty expensive plastic tape! How much would a simple painted line cost? If we planned to restripe ALL lanes every five years I wonder if we could get that cost down to a more reasonable $500/block or less?

    All we really need is one guy running the striping machine, just like a street sweeper; no "crew," no precision surveyor's markings, no fancy crosswalks. Just a white line, for miles and miles through the city.