Thursday, November 7, 2013

Broadway Bike Lanes Start Installation This Week

This is something odd:  a city project happening fast!  Ald. Cappleman's newsletter today says:
"Bike lanes will be installed on Broadway from Ainslie down to Montrose within the next several days. Weather permitting, the project should take about a week. The way the bike lanes will be laid out is described below.

The process to decide this started last year when some residents submitted the proposal as a participatory budgeting item, one of the many such projects funded with use of the Ward's $1.32 million menu funds. The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) completed a traffic study to confirm that the traffic on Broadway was light enough for the project to succeed. This project received wide support from community residents who voted to have this project take place.

I want to personally thank the many people who worked so hard to make this happen, especially the members of Bike Uptown, a great organization that remains focused on promoting "complete streets" which will enhance business development and encourage more foot traffic."
For graphics and more information about this project, check out Uptown Update's post from last week.


  1. I love the concept... but the "buffer" between Montrose and Wilson is just not designed with though.

  2. I am very supportive of creating bike lanes, however, I do not care for the concept of the "buffer lane" which is proposed between Montrose and Wilson.

    First of all, why go to all the trouble (and expense) to create a buffer lane for 1/4 of a mile and have unbuffered lanes on the rest of the strip? Putting cars away from the curb is probably more dangerous for everyone else (including bikers). Will the city be using those little plastic poles to indicate where the curb would be if you had a curb? (You can see these on Elston and Milwaukee Avenues.) Those will be knocked down by the first snow plow that hits Broadway. How will the street sweepers clean the curbs? Dedicated bikers will bike all winter long. But where will the snow go? This will probably force the bikers out into the traffic lanes kind of defeating the whole purpose of a buffered bike lane.

    Where autos and truck can make right turns, having bikes behind cars where you as a driver can't see them is crazy.

    And while I'm on the subject, as a taxpayer, I support the city making expenditures for the safety of bike riders. And I am not supporter of licensing bikers. However, a requirement that bikers where something bright and visible like a orange or yellow jacket or vest, a bike helmet, having all bikes at night have lights and reflectors, and simple requiring bikers to obey all traffic laws would be appreciated. Yesterday I saw a biker cross the path of a turning ambulance. The ambulance had its lights and siren on and the biker still didn't stop.

    There are so many more bike riders now that the city has committed itself to creating the bike lanes. But as I notice more riders, it is frightening how many don't seem concerned with their own safety. Hey when its raining out, and its dark so late in the afternoon and you have all these bikers riding in dark clothing with no lights, no reflectors, no helmets, there are going to be nasty accidents.

    I don't mind sharing the road. But hey, I'd like to see bikers share the responsibility for their safety.

  3. This summer while stopped at a stop sign on Broadway a biker slammed into the side of my car squeezing between me and the parked cars. He got up and biked off yelling sorry dude. Why sorry dude? His bike peddle and handlebars ripped up the paint on my car! The inconsiderate azz rushed down a one way in the opposite direction leaving me S.O.L. And out $$. If bikers are to share the road then make them buy and display a license plate and carry insurance. More bike will mean more accidents both auto and pedestrian, bikers need to be accountable and identifiable!

    1. pedal

      Actually, experience worldwide shows that more bikes make the streets safer for everyone. But I agree the guy who damaged your car with his pedal was an 'azz', like the drivers who damage our cars with their doors, or back into them in parking lots - and just drive away - every day.

  4. Toto and Jason, what you are seeing above is a general cross section of what the stretch between Montrose and Wilson will look like. Intersections will have different configurations to prevent the sorts of turning problems that you mentioned. Visibility and safety are chief concerns of the engineers tasked with designing the Broadway Complete Street. In regards to your concerns about the barrier-protected bike lanes: the safety improvements of using parked cars as a barrier are evident. Not only are cyclists protected from driver-side doorings, they can also ride safely separated from traffic. As long as passengers remain alert when opening their doors the potential for an accident is very low. Plastic flexposts provide guidance, but no protection from automobiles, which is why using the parking lane is so vital. These types of lanes have been successfully implemented throughout Chicago, such as on Elston and 55th Street.

    Enforcement is a key component of this project and is emphasized in nearly every CDOT transportation plan. It is very important that cyclists obey all rules of the road, including mounting appropriate lighting at night as required by Chicago law. Clearly demarcating where to expect bicyclists and modifying Broadway to make turns more clear and to bring down vehicle speeds will help in preventing conflicts between bikes, pedestrians, and motorists. Irresponsible roadway users of all stripes are sadly an unavoidable reality, but better design helps limit bad behavior and reduces the severity and frequency of crashes.

    Bike Uptown congratulates the Alderman and CDOT on the project. Not only will the Broadway Complete Street bring bicyclists (and dollars) to Uptown, it will make for a safer Broadway for pedestrians, transit users, and motorists as well. Pleas see our coverage from the public meeting in August for more details on the Road Diet, arguably the most important aspect of this project.

  5. I'd love to see how this all plays out around Argyle. Hopefully I won't have to take Broadway off my list when I travel north. Lawrence going west now is a joke.

  6. I think this plan going to create a huge increase in traffic. I'm not sure if anyone has driven west on Lawrence but it's a mess. A ten minute drive to Western now takes 20 at some times of the day. I think it’s funny that when a highrise is proposed all we hear about is how much traffic it’s going to create. Yet, when we’re reducing lanes on the busiest street in the neighborhood everyone loves the idea.

  7. The mix of the two types of bike lanes is indeed odd, but some protected lane is better than none. The safety benefits of them are huge. While I will miss driving at high speeds along Broadway, I'm rather excited about this project. I don't even have a bike! (yet)

  8. Bike Uptown:
    I use Elston regularly. The little plastic pipes that guide the parking get mowed down more often than you realize. And the "buffered lanes" are in a mainly industrial area, not a busy commercial area as proposed for Broadway. I don't see how these lanes will protect pedestrians as buses will still pull to the curb, crossing the bike lane that now has to veer out north of Wilson to become a "protected bike lane". Buffered bike lanes will not protect the pedestrians that will edge out into the street to see around automobiles that are parked in the middle of the street and for 1/4 mile will just cause massive confusion to drivers, pedestrians and bikers alike. Having consistency and predictability is more safe than mass confusion.

    The buffered lanes work best where there are few right turns and few curb cuts.

    Regarding enforcement: Has there ever been organized police traffic stops for bike riders? I've been stopped for seat belt enforcement checks twice. It certainly would be nice if the lights on bikes at night would be enforced. How about blowing traffic lights?

    Where are the leading bike organizations on advocating their fellow bikers to bike safely. Hey, I don't ever want to hit a biker. I drive as safely as possible and give a wide berth to bikers. But I am soooo tired of bikers who will not accept their responsibilities of riding in a safe manner and doing all they can to protect themselves.

  9. CitizenKen, not everyone is young. Not everyone is fit. I am disabled and have two kids. The bus is not an option because I can't get to a stop easily, especially since the Wilson lines were discontinued. The L is not an option because I can't climb the 60 or so steps to the platforms, yeah, so glad the CTA doesn't think the ADA applies! Biking is not an option because (see above). I am also chauffeur for my kids. My car is literally my lifeline out of the house. I realize biking is great if your body is functional and you are young enough to have the energy, but remember that Uptown has a very large amount of elderly people and disabled people. Please have some compassion for people who are not like you - you may be like them someday. Saying "get off your ass and ride a bike or shut up" is pretty callous for the large number of people who cannot do that.

    1. Typical Biker attitude Boohoo.. Selfish, self-entitled and callous towards others.