Tagpark

Humboldt Park “do over”

Read the story below and the final paragraph to fully understand this drawing.

If you, like Alderman Roberto Maldonado (26th Ward), received complaints about speeding traffic and difficulty crossing Humboldt Drive, how would you respond?

The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) responded by temporarily changing “the four-lane street into two travel lanes with a center lane used as a combination left-turn lane and pedestrian refuge area, using orange traffic barrels to keep moving cars out of the center lane.” (All quotes from Vote With Your Feet / Time Out Chicago, by John Greenfield.)

Narrowing the lane could reduce automobile speed and the refuge island should make it easier to cross the street, even if it has to be done in two movements. “After CDOT analyzes the effects on traffic speed and behavior, [CDOT spokesperson Brian] Steele says, the changes may become permanent next year.”

But bicyclists are not considered in this installation. That seems to be by design.

“He [Alderman Maldonado] told me that he has no intention of adding a bicycle lane or any other accouterments on that stretch because ‘the road is too dangerous for pedestrians,’” she says. Lottes recently posted on the local bike website thechainlink.org, asking members to lobby Maldonado for bike lanes on Humboldt. “To me the road seems too dangerous for pedestrians because there are no sidewalks, crosswalks or bike lanes.”

A local resident, Gin, asked me if I could draw up something for Humboldt Drive and I drew what you saw above. I based it on a bike lane design I saw in New York City: two-way, barrier protected (see photo below). The intersections between the bike lane and the other lanes will need special care – I don’t have any expertise there, but I know some people in Portland and New York City who do.

What else might you propose? Here’s a map of the park (centered on where I drew the bike lane), and a street view of the location.

Cargo bike obsessiveness

You’ve never seen anything cuter than this.

Blue is a Yuba Mundo, v3

Pink is a DeFietsfabriek (now defunct) omafiets.

The park is Palmisano.

Park wins while parking fails neighborhood

This post on the removal of car parking at a park inspired me to write this post about the addition of car parking at a park.

Palmisano (Stearns Quarry) Park was created out of a dolomite limestone quarry and landfill in Bridgeport. The park is well designed and has a variety of landscape features. It’s quite popular, especially with elderly Asian residents.

Now, after a year of it being open, many diagonal parking spaces were installed on 27th Street. Space was removed from the parkway to create additional parking spaces where only parallel spaces existed.

Access to the park is not an issue. There are hundreds of households and thousands of residents within half a mile. There’re bike lanes and bus stops. There is a signalized intersection that makes it safer for people to cross the street to the park. Lastly, there are many unused parallel parking spaces lining two sides of the park.

So why was parking added? Did the neighbors ask for it? Did the Chicago Park District feel new parking was needed?

In a nutshell, my complaints against this are:

  1. It removed parkway – this should be sacred space. Perhaps we can institute a “tit-for-tat” policy (modeled after a parking meter agreement*) where if parkway is removed in one place, parkway has to be expanded or improved in another place.
  2. Potentially increases traffic in area by encouraging more driving by offering free parking. All parking surrounding the park is free.
  3. Parking space for drivers with handicap badges does not have a ramp. This is the most perplexing part – you may have to open the photo to its full size to notice this.
  4. Bumpout is not a bioswale. I highly doubt anyone will maintain the grass and soil. This landscaping will die.
  5. Bumpout’s large radius will not calm traffic (I watch it every day).

I would like to see the bumpout “island” transformed into a proper curb extension at a stop sign where drivers typically pause in the crosswalk and quickly turn right into southbound Halsted without stopping. I would like to see a bioswale collect the water from the street at this curb and divert it to the park’s wetlands.

*As I understand it, if parking meter spaces are removed and converted to another use (like a curb extension or on-street bicycle parking), a non-metered space must be converted to the equivalent metered spaces removed.

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