Monday, January 2, 2012

Community input sampling from the December North Side Streets for Cycling meeting

"I think I did pretty well, considering I started out with nothing but a bunch of blank paper."             ---- Steve Martin   
There was a great turnout of nearly 25 people the North Side Community Advisory Group meeting at Gill Park on December 17. The assignment of the day was to provide information on existing conditions for bicycling on the north side to the CDOT team who will put together Chicago’s new Streets For Cycling Plan 2020. We were asked to map and list specific destinations, barriers and assets.
Barriers are pink, gaps are purple, destinations are blue and assets are green.
There were eight community area maps for each of Lincoln Park, Lake View, North Center, Lincoln Square, Edgewater, Uptown, West Ridge and Rogers Park. Each one resulted in a map and a few pages of input. We’ve provided pictures of a few of the maps as examples.

The full results are too long to post, so we’ll just giving you a taste. (If you’re not already on the e-mail distribution list for the North Side Streets for Cycling Community Advisory Group, please e-mail to join and receive notices of the future meetings to be held in January and February!)

For destinations, the question posed was “Where do people in the neighborhood need to go?” In addition to all the CTA and Metra train stations within the neighborhoods, some of the other destinations included:

  • Halsted shopping/dining/DePaul University area from Armitage to Fullerton/Lincoln
  • Clark Street shopping/dining through the entire north side, esp at Diversey, Addison, and Foster (includes Andersonville)
  • Lincoln Ave businesses/Welles Park/library/music/dining/Lincoln Square from Grace to Lawrence (includes Lincoln Square)
  • Lane Tech/Clark Park/DeVry campus/Jewel/Mariano’s at the river/Western Avenue between Belmont and Addison
  • Broadway from Montrose to Lawrence (Jewel/Target/Wilson Yards/entertainment)
  • India town shopping/dining district on Devon from California to Leavitt 
  • Touhy Avenue from Sacramento to Western shopping/JCC/YMCA
  • Loyola University

Point barriers were defined as specific locations like hazardous intersections or narrow underpasses that limit access for bicyclists. This was a popular entry, and the submissions included:

  • Fullerton/Damen/Elston intersection
  • Belmont/Lincoln/Ashland intersection
  • Broadway and Clarendon intersection 
  • Montrose/Broadway/Sheridan intersection
  • Granville and Broadway intersection - no turn lanes on Granville cause confusion
  • Touhy/McCormick intersection needs safe crossing to/from North Branch Trail
  • Devon and Clark intersection

Line barriers are barriers such as rivers, expressways, wide arterials with high traffic speeds, which limit access or create hazardous conditions for bicycles. Some of the line barriers identified were: 

  • North Branch of the River has limited crossings, forces bicyclists onto dangerous routes
  • Ravenswood Metra tracks
  • Broadway in Edgewater community - four lane road, heavy traffic
  • Ashland is a great corridor but auto traffic speeds too high for biking
  • Western Avenue has high traffic volume, no bike lane, but much retail
  • North Avenue is horrible for bicyclists
  • Irving Park Road -- crossing IPR safely is limited and from Broadway to lake there are too many cars
  • Foster Avenue is a dangerous route with bad intersections (i.e. at Damen)

Finally, we were asked to list the assets to bicycling on the north side, and we recognize there are many, especially compared to other parts of the city, where there are even more wide arterial streets, higher speeds of car traffic, and higher crime rates. The lake front trail was most commonly listed as an asset (and a destination). Many groups listed the existing bike lanes on Lincoln, Halsted, Armitage, Damen, Pratt and Morse as positive factors in their areas. And many provided information about quiet and safe streets that they already use for bicycling, like Leland, Glenwood, Greenview, and Winnemac. And that leads to the next topic that will be addresssed, which is bike boulevards and short neighborhood connectors. We hope you join us.


  1. The Lake Shore Drive underpass just north of Addison is in unsafe condition - too many craters on the ramps and no mirrors where the tunnels meet the ramps. It was much better several years ago when it still had convex mirrors.

    In Rogers Park, Glenwood is mostly good, but the intersection with Pratt can be dangerous. Drivers on Pratt often speed, so it's a spot where northbound cyclists on Glenwood can easily get hit.

  2. Rogers is a useful route, but some of the intersections are tricky. At Paulina, many drivers run the stop signs, especially at night.

    The intersection with Howard and Greenview works better when traffic is heavy. When traffic is light, more drivers run the stop signs. Sightlines are deceptive, as the intersection may look clear while a speeding driver approaching the intersection may be hidden by one of the buildings.

  3. Thanks for the additional input, Fargo. -- Michelle Stenzel