Friday, April 22, 2011

Lawrence Avenue To Go On A Diet

Just a small part of this happens in Uptown, but as we posted last summer, it will have an effect on us.  Appropriately for Earth Day...

Lawrence Avenue is getting slimmer between Ashland and Western:  it will lose a driving lane, but gain wider bike lanes, more shade trees, wider sidewalks and pedestrian oases.  It will also be more rainwater-draining.

This article from the Architect's Newspaper has projected photos and lots of details, including this:

"East of Ashland, Lawrence currently contains only two travel lanes, but will still undergo a similar slimming treatment. Sidewalks will be extended to accommodate 100 new shade trees and allow for al fresco dining."

It all sounds lovely, but we'll be happy if they just take care of the gaping potholes.  Everything else is gravy.


  1. and our portion of Lawrence from Ashland to Sheridan looks like dog crap, has no trees, and is one of the ugliest stretches of road in Chicago... and that includes the puke colored cemetary wall...

  2. Being that I live near the midpoint of this construction project, it makes sense somewhat that they will reduce the driving lanes, as its pretty much one lane East of Lawrence/Ashland and West of Lawrence/Western.

    However. As much as I like the idea of bike lane of traffic will force Lawrence to join the numerous East-West arteries that have become painfully awfully slow to drive down.

    I am sure that there will be a great deal of "lol ride a bike instead n00b," but the idea behind creating bike lanes doesn't necessarily encourage biking. I don't drive, but my own daily observations haven't seen a ton of bikes that use that particular stretch of road.

  3. Having a separated left turn lane will significantly ease traffic flow. They need to do this to Broadway and more of Lawrence.

  4. I can tell you, most bikers will avoid that stretch of Lawrence currently because four lane roads without demarcated bike lanes are the most dangerous to ride on. If there is only one lane in each direction, you don't have to worry about someone changing lanes to pass another vehicle. Not to mention, the shared bike path on Wilson is poorly marked.

  5. Yes! I would love to see this come to fruition. I visit a friend in Lincoln Square every week and avoid Lawrence at all costs. I would ride this route often if this is done. Cycle up people!

  6. @John

    There have been a number of studies that show reducing streets down to a single lane, making an alternating left turn lane and making a bike lane on it actually improves traffic flow in a congested area. Lawrence like many streets goes back and forth from single to double at random. Doing this causes blockages because people attempt to zip around "slower" traffic only to get stuck due to turning vehicles, having to merge down unexpectedly or a cyclist in the right lane unable to move further to the right because of parked cars. This plan makes the area safer for everyone involved, bringing speeds down to the appropriate rate for the area eliminating lane switching, making people more aware of bikes, making it safer for pedestrians (it's safer to cross 3 lanes than 4-7).

    Did you know that legally, a car is required to give a cyclist 3 feet of clearance space? Bike lanes give drivers an idea of where that clearance is. It also keeps cyclists from seemingly weaving in and out of parked cars. Unfortunately many bikers misunderstand a law thinking they are to ride as far to the right as is possible, that's not accurate, they are to ride as far to the right as is safe. On a street with parked cars, "safe" is actually leaving enough distance between them and the parked cars for a door to open. They should keep a straight line unless pulling off to stop or turn. Cyclists who misunderstand this rule make the mistake of moving over to the curb when cars aren't parked there, this weaving to the right and back into traffic makes it dangerous for drivers as they appear unpredictable and drivers often think the bike is pulling over to the side when they're not. The marked lanes help cyclists understand the law and how to better share the road.

    Don't worry, give it some time for people to get used to the change, you'll see a drastic improvement. Now if they'd just do the same thing to broadway from Sheridan until after it's gone past the L (going north) Broadway would be a LOT safer and easier to navigate for everyone.

  7. Hey Anditron, did you know it is the law that bikes must follow ALL the same traffic rules as cars, including not running red lights, not riding between cars, and using hand signals to indicate turns.. I think I have seen legal bike riders , hmm, I dont know,... never... just saying...

  8. I thought Lawrence was supposed to get those flowerpots like around the corner on Ashland?

  9. @ John,

    Most seasoned bikers that I know use Leland if heading west to Western b/c many drivers along that stretch of Lawrence are oblivious to our safety. I've been buzzed numerous times including by a guy who from about 50 yrds back was laying on his horn for me to get out of his way although I was in the shared lane space. He gunned it just as he approached me and missed me by about 6 inches going at least 40 mph.

    Cars are useful and convenient for sure but I am a huge bike advocate for health, environmental, economic and urban transportation ease reasons. We need bike lanes everywhere, with dividers if possible. If you have never experienced Bike the Drive or the Bike the Boulevards than you might not know what joy biking in the city with your kids, other families, friends and neighbors is truly like.

    My ideal Chicago is based around the idea that people walk, ride bikes, take the CTA and use car sharing services. The noise, pollution, irritation and driver angst vanish almost immediately and people gain a better appreciation for not only their surrounds and the city but for each other. There is more positive dialogue between people the more barriers such as cars are removed from the equation.

    So my big point is, riding a bike or walking does more than just get you from point A to point B. I just wish more drivers would try and consider that.

  10. @ Guapo,

    Don't hate on cyclists unless your one of them. Also keep in mind, like drivers, people on bikes can be equally clueless. If your in a car try to do your best to let it slide, I'm sure what some moron on a bike is doing to inconvenience you isn't really that much of an issue. Remember, you and your car can EASILY kill a person on a bike so breath deep, drive around them (giving them plenty of space)yell at them out your window and go about your business. Punch your steering wheel if you need to, rant about bikers to your buddies, just don't use your car to try and intimidate them.

  11. Uptown Action, that is a really dumb comment.. typical cyclist commentary.... blame everyone and make excuses for other cyclists not following the law... why the sanctamony? Not hating, UA, just stating a fact.. I have NEVER seen anyone on a bike in the street follow the laws .. ever.. ever... ever... get the point? So I always laugh when car drivers get crap from this group... you want a better image? be better citizens on the road..

  12. Guapo, could you be any more childish about this? No he said it first, no he said it! No He did! You claim that 'your jus sayin'. So what is the point that your 'jus saying'?

    Just because you have never seen a biker follow the rules means every biker is like that? And even if every biker doesn't follow the rules, does that make it ok for you to disregard the law as well? Remember the old 'two wrongs dont make a right?' saying? Just saying.

    I always stop at red lights and use hand signals when turning. You may see me on wilson everyday, riding a bright yellow Schwinn. Honk if you see me.

  13. Also the argument technique of "I'm not hating, just stating a FACT!" is a absolute crap.


    Hey, I'm not trying to start an argument, I'm just stating a FACT.