Saturday, January 19, 2013

Bike commute from the Loop to Lincoln Park

by Michelle Stenzel

Map of the route shown on the video. Starting in
the Loop: Madison to Dearborn to Huron to Wells.
Last Friday was Chicago's Winter Bike to Work Day! Did you bike to work that day? Many people reading this post might not be bike commuters yet, due to fears of motor vehicle traffic on the streets, or just because it’s a great unknown. I spent many years only riding locally in the neighborhood, or to commute downtown, I rode on the Lakefront Trail to get to the edge of the Loop, and then I walked my bike the last block to work. The thought of riding down major arterials or in the central business district made me very nervous. In the years before I finally gathered the courage to ride on busy streets, it would have been nice to have a visual tour of what I could expect.

So, using my new handlebar-mounted video camera, I’ve filmed my bike commute home a number of times in the last few weeks and have posted one below. I chose this video because it’s pretty typical of my commute. It was taken on January 11, 2013, a Friday afternoon around 3:30 pm, on a cold (but above freezing) and overcast day. I begin my ride on Madison at Michigan Avenue and end the video just north of North and Wells, once I reach Lincoln Park. 

Note that I’m on bike lanes for every portion of this commute, except for the three blocks on Huron, which is designated on the Chicago Bike Map as being the “recommended bike route” to take from Dearborn to Wells.

My commute is about 18 minutes. I shortened the video to 13:23 by speeding up the parts where I’m waiting at a red light to 4x normal speed. I didn’t overlay any music because I wanted the viewer to hear the ambient noises. (Unfortunately, it makes the clips at red lights a little annoying!)
(More after the jump --->)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A virtual ride to the lake on the new Fullerton bridge

by Michelle Stenzel

The Fullerton Parkway bridge rebuild project was completed at the end of December and I've now had a chance to view the final result a few times. My overall opinion remains the same as it was on this post in March 2012, when Michael and I first learned of the plans days before demolition began: It's unfortunate that an entire sidewalk/multi-use trail was removed at this very important access point to the Lakefront Trail because it eliminated a natural, direct, and very well-used route. 

I made a video of the route to get to the lake arriving by bike from parts west on Fullerton. It's a little rough, but I'm new at making, editing and uploading videos, so take that into account.


In addition to the problems I mentioned in this follow up post of missing sidewalk, missing crosswalk and wide turn radii, I note that the off ramp from Lake Shore Drive is now a double-turn lane, with just a puny stop sign that will supposedly halt the drivers who were barrelling down LSD at 45 mph only 100 yards prior, and who are eager to make a right turn and continue on their way (the offramp is seen in the video at  1:38). I'm predicting a lot of motor vehicle traffic blocking the only crosswalk we have left.   (Following added January 8, 2013:) Update! This will not be simply a stop sign permanently. They are installing a traffic signal there as we speak. See my further thoughts in the comments section below.

John Greenfield of Grid Chicago wrote an article for New City that comments on the project and quotes from this blog.

Have you been on the rebuilt bridge? What are your thoughts?