Taginnovative

Chicago catches up to NYC in one 3-day project

What were Mayor Daley and the previous Transportation commissioners waiting for when it came installing modern and then-innovative bikeway facilities?

Why have Rahm Emanuel, Gabe Klein, and the Chicago Bicycle Program installed every modern and previously-innovative bikeway treatment under the sun in just three days? The project’s not over, but a lot has happened since Monday.

On Day 3 of construction of the Kinzie Street protected bike lane, CDOT builds (photos from the Bicycle Program’s Flickr photostream):

Bike-only left turn on southbound Milwaukee to Kinzie (perfect)

Through-intersection bike lane using European-style “yield squares” (okay, they’re actually called elephant’s feet)*

Same yield squares (elephant’s feet) at driveways.

Very wide!

New signage telling turning drivers to stop for people walking across the street and riding their bikes.

*I always forget that Chicago created its first through-intersection bike lane at Sheridan and Ardmore, at the north terminus of the Lakefront Trail, to get bicyclists onto the on-street bike lane network.

3D experimentation to improve pedestrian environment

3D experimentation to improve pedestrian environment from Steven Vance on Vimeo.

The movies aren’t the only place where you’ll see in 3D! Go check out Clark and Deming (about 2540 N Clark Street) in the Lincoln Park neighborhood to see a special pedestrian safety marking on the pavement. They were installed on October 18, 2010.

Designed to increase nighttime visibility

Who’s involved?

  • Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT)
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
  • Western Michigan University (WMU)

All three entities are involved in the installation of these optical illusion zig-zag markings.

Between and including years 2005 and 2009, there were at least 2 reports of injuries to people walking and at least 9 reports of collisions involving people riding bikes*. With that data in mind, I’m not sure why this location was selected for a pavement marking whose aim is to improve pedestrian safety. The data do indicate that this intersection has a lot of bicycle-related collisions, much more than I’m seeing for other intersections.

Clark and Deming

Curiously, there are no automobile traffic counts for miles in either direction on Clark Street so one cannot compare the number of collisions at the Clark and Deming intersection with other intersections in town. Out of over 1,200 count locations, Clark Street in Lincoln Park was skipped.

Not really stopping for pedestrians

*Data from the Illinois Department of Transportation Safety Data Mart (which was taken down in 2015 or 2016)

New Yorkers really want to keep their bike lanes

UPDATE March 21, 2011: Seniors for Safety and Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes have sued the New York City government. Stay up to date with Streetsblog and Brooklyn Spoke. While both are clearly in favor of the protected bike lanes on Prospect Park West, the other news sources (like the daily papers there) are getting decidedly nasty in their reporting. Brooklyn Spoke has been reporting on the Community Board 6 meetings. Read about why I post about this on Steven Can Plan.

UPDATE 10-22-10: Streetsblog has posted new data showing before and after conditions on Prospect Park West.

Alternate headline: People protecting their protected bike lanes, New York City edition.

New Yorkers will show up at rallies to ensure the protected bike lanes STAY. Photo by bicyclesonly.

New York City’s Department of Transportation (DOT) installed in early 2010 a two-way bike lane protected by a “floating parking lane” on Prospect Park West, an “arterial” road on the west side of Prospect Park. I rode on this bike lane during my August 2010 visit. It was fantastic.

It’s like riding on an off-street trail – cars won’t be giving you the ol’ right hook.

The only safety consideration is yielding to pedestrians who cross the bike lane. There’s no worry about dooring and little worry about moving cars hitting you.

Pay attention to the pedestrian crossing. Note the painted large pedestrian refuge area.

As you can see in this satellite image from Google Maps (link to map), the current roadway configuration from west to east is:

Parking lane – travel lane – travel lane – parking lane – buffer – bike lane (SB) – bike lane (NB)

Some residents want the bike lane removed. Their rationale is unclear, but it may have something to do with the perceived loss of parking. And being able to speed. The jury’s out on this matter. These residents announced a rally to demand its removal from the overbearing DOT. They specifically name DOT Commissioner Jeanette Sadik-Khan as the sole source of all that is wrong in transportation in New York City. Even the Borough President, Marty Markowitz*, is against it. (Also for irrational reasons.)

So the bike lane opponents showed up to their rally. But 200-300 bike lane supporters came, too (Streetsblog). A neighborhood group researched automobile speeding before and after the bike lane installation and found, post-installation, a drastic reduction of people driving more than 40 MPH.

Us Chicagoans need to borrow some of this pro-bike lane energy to support the Bike Boulevards Now! effort (I haven’t heard anything about this since it began in 2009.)

*From what I’ve read, the office Borough President is a ceremonial position. They get a spot on the Planning Commission board and Panel for Education Policy.

Video: Bicycling next to Phoenix Valley light rail train

UPDATE: View overhead photos of all of the bicycling treatments on Jefferson and Washington streets (the one-way couplet) between 7th and 24th Streets in Phoenix, Arizona, courtesy of the Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists.

My dad and I rode our bikes in the inside left-hand bike lane on eastbound, one-way, Washington Street in Phoenix, Arizona (purely to take this video).

The left-hand travel lane is for home and business access while the one-way light rail track (and its stations) run in the middle of the street. The lane is here so that there aren’t gobs of driveways and track crossings – it’s a safety feature. I think the bike lane is here instead of on the right side of the street (and next to the curb) because less traffic drives here. Also, there are few opportunities for right turns in front of the bicyclists.

Eventually, though, going east, the bike lane moves over to the right side through the use of a “perpendicular bike lane” adjacent to a crosswalk in a signalized intersection. The perpendicular bike lane looks like a bike box. This happens at 24th Street because the left-hand access lane disappears and Jefferson Street merges into Washington Street, between 25th and 27th Streets, which becomes a two-way street with the light rail tracks dividing the travel directions. (I would add links to Google Maps, but the imagery is outdated and doesn’t show the 1-year old train line; it does show some construction.)

I would call all of these features innovative designs and good solutions. I think tomorrow I will ride the area again (probably alone) to get a better feel for how it works and how safe bicyclists would perceive the design.

The video is sped up by 20% to be less droll. The audio drops out a few times because I was talking (giving my dad directions like a movie producer), but you can still hear the electronic sounds of the train as it approaches and departs the station. I didn’t have my camera’s bike mount so I held it in my hand. I want to come back to take photos instead of video. It was fun to make this video!

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