Saturday, August 25, 2012

New nearby bike lanes on Halsted, Elston and Clark!

In the past few weeks, new or upgraded bikeways have appeared close to Lincoln Park! It's funny that many have come near, but none are within the boundaries of our neighborhood. Below is a screen shot of the Active Transportation Alliance's ongoing bikeways tracker, taken on August 25, 2012 (I added the circle).
Blue lines = completed bikeway upgrades. Red lines = proposed/future upgrades. Purple line = bike lane
upgrade in progress. Green circle = invisible force field keeping improved bike lanes out of Lincoln Park. 
Even though none of the new bikeways are in our neighborhood, they are useful when we ride to and from other destinations, of course. I checked them all out and took a few pictures to share.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Do refuge islands discourage drivers from stopping for pedestrians?

I was on Clark Street today checking out the new bike lanes currently being installed on that street. I was on foot, so I used the pedestrian refuge island just south of North Avenue to cross Clark. Here's a vintage picture of the island from July 2011:
Pedestrian island on Clark Street at Germania Place, being used in July 2011. (Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
Since then, a "State Law/ Stop for Pedestrians in Crosswalk" sign has been installed at the southern tip of the island. You would think that the dual presence of the crosswalk and the sign would "make" drivers stop for pedestrians who are trying to cross the street. But curiously, I noticed that drivers there seem to be LESS inclined to stop.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Protected Bike Lane coming to Dearborn Street in the Loop!

by Michelle Stenzel

This news is really huge: Mayor Emanuel announced that the first protected bike lane in the Loop will be in place by the end of this year! One year ago, the Loop got its first bike lane of any sort on Madison Street (see our review of that lane in this prior post), and now we’re about to get an actual protected lane.

Here’s part of the official announcement:
By the end of this year, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) will install 34 miles of new bike facilities, including: 
  • A two-way north-south protected bike route through the Loop on Dearborn Street from Polk Street to Kinzie Street.  The City will also extend the Kinzie bike route east to meet up with this new route.  The Dearborn bikeway will separate bicyclists from high-speed traffic and include bicycle signals to separate bicycle and motor vehicle conflicts.
Here’s my map with the Polk-to-Kinzie stretch marked. I measured for you: It’s 1.2 miles long:
Map showing the stretch of Dearborn that will receive a protected bike lane, from Polk Street in the south to Kinzie Street on the North.
I’ve got lots of experience riding on Dearborn already, since it’s part of my northbound bike commute home, and let me tell you, it’s the worst part of my commute. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Bike parking, CTA service and other suggestions for the Children's site

Dear Alderman Smith,

You have expressed that the redevelopment of the Children’s Memorial site should be environmentally friendly. An important part of making a residential and commercial site sustainable is encouraging people to use bicycles, public transportation, and other sustainable modes of transportation. In order to make those choices as convenient as possible, we suggest the following:


Indoor bicycle parking considerations:

Residents of multi-unit housing need to be given an indoor, secured area where they can lock their bikes overnight or for the season, and know that it is safe from theft.

The site should provide generous amounts of secure indoor bicycle parking that can be accessed with relative ease from the street.

Outdoor bicycle parking considerations:

The new site is planned to have 85,000 square feet of commercial space, including potentially a large health club facility, in addition to restaurants, coffee shops and retail outlets. This will attract multitudes of visitors daily, in addition to employees of the business. 
 We think residents and visitors to the redeveloped Children's Memorial site would love a covered bike shelter like this one in Portland, Oregon. (Photo via CC by Flickr user Thomas Le Ngo)
In order to encourage employees and patrons to ride bicycles to the site, there should be plenty of well-placed outdoor bike racks near all the entrances/exits of the development, in particular near the retail areas and the planned health club.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Thoughts on "Lincoln Park Plaza" at the Children's Memorial site

by Michelle Stenzel

Recently, Alderman Michele Smith held the latest of several community meetings to facilitate communications between all parties about the ongoing design of the now-vacated Children's Memorial Hospital site at Lincoln, Fullerton and Halsted. I encourage you to review the video of the meeting and the PowerPoint presentation on this link to her newsletter in order to get the complete overview of the current proposal.

Here's what the site would look like when completed, as viewed from the north, on Lincoln Avenue approaching Fullerton. (All images in this post are taken from the presentation, prepared by architects Antunovich Associates, SOM, and developers McCaffrey Interests.)

More after the jump.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Pedestrian signs update: New locations, and some wear and tear

by Michelle Stenzel

More "Stop for Pedestrian" signs have been placed in Lincoln Park, and they're working well. From my observations at various installations over the past few weeks, it seems that most drivers are much more likely to drive slower as they approach, and stop when needed to allow pedestrians to cross. Sure, there are always the occasional drivers who have no problem buzzing past people in the crosswalk in spite of the signs, but that's now the exception.

There are now five signs at uncontrolled intersections (where there is no stop sign nor stop light) on Clark, between Fullerton and Diversey. These crosswalks see a very high volume of people crossing due to the wonderful variety of shops and restaurants on both sides of Clark.

More after the jump!