It looks like nothing now. It’s just a street with mixed one-way and two-way segments. The bike boulevard’s best idea is making it two-way for bicycling. One-way streets are annoying, especially to people new to the neighborhood (like when visiting friends). The route is Berteau Avenue, the site of the first bike boulevard, from Lincoln Avenue on the west to Clark Street on the east (dead ending at Graceland Cemetery).
Article updated February 6, 2012, 11:30, to add photo of Portland bioswale.
The eastern “entrance” to the bike boulevard.
CDOT is calling it instead a “neighborhood greenway”. I don’t know what’s so “greenway” about it, even after John’s interview with Mike Amsden of CDOT for Grid Chicago. Portland and Seattle have very specific stormwater management features built into their neighborhood greenways, so the names make more sense there. Chicago has a stormwater mismanagement feature: Deep Tunnel (or TARP; see more articles I wrote), where we are trying to build ourselves out of flooding. But it’s not possible. During every major rain storm we have to open the sewers and dump untreated stormwater and sewage into Lake Michigan. Many beaches close the next day.
A bioswale in Portland, at the corner of SE Clay Street and SE 12th Avenue, collects water runoff from the street and sidewalks. The plants in the bioswale absorb the water they can; other water is cleaned and absorbed into the soil where it slowly enters the earth. The earth is probably the only underground reservoir we need.
I understand the idea behind removing “bike” from the facility’s name, as the project is about traffic calming and making it safer and smoother for all transportation modes to maneuver on this street. That’s fine, but I’m hoping for bioswales and other features to be included in this facility.
Needs some new asphalt.
This photo reminds me to ask CDOT if a repaving is part of the project. I presume it will be because it’s very dumb to install new pavement markings on bad pavement (but it happened at least once last year, on Armitage Avenue east of Western Avenue).
I agree with the notion that streets with schools receive a higher priority than streets without, but I don’t think they should be weighted higher than streets with high bicycling volume or crashes (I don’t know exactly if there’s such a detailed weighting system in the bikeway planning section of the Chicago Bicycle Program).
Brown Line passes an office building
There’s at least one building with active businesses on the route. This one has the EveryBlock headquarters inside.
Regional rail trains pass here
Metra is rebuilding tens of viaducts on the Union Pacific North line, including this one over Berteau. Not all the streets have underpasses so Berteau was a natural choice as an east-west route in the neighborhood because of this barrier.
I took all of these photos with a Panasonic GH1, and accompanying lens, a LUMIX G 20/f1.7mm.
More discussion on this is in the comments below, on The Chainlink, on Grid Chicago, and on EveryBlock.