Online Petition Pushes For Dedicated Bike Line In Wicker Park Neighborhood

Milwaukee Avenue, between Armitage and Division Streets, in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago, is one of the busiest in the city. Adding to the congestion is the number of bicyclists who attempt to navigate next cars and CTA buses. A new online petition, posted by the Active Transportation Alliance, is pushing a dedicated bike lane on this stretch of road.

According to data provided by the Chicago Department of Transportation showed more than 5,000 cyclists — and 13,000 vehicles — travel the Milwaukee Avenue corridor daily. Specifically, more than 800 cyclists ride through the triple intersection of Milwaukee, Damen and North avenues during the morning peak times to commute, according to the city.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the city is looking into the feasibility of installing a dedicated bike lane. By removing metered parking spaces to create a bike lane would mean the city would have to reimburse the parking meter company for spaces taken out of service. On-street parking would become an even greater obstacle for residents, shoppers, and restaurant and bar patrons. Another issue could be where loading zones would be located for businesses on Milwaukee.

City officials are planning a community meeting this summer to discuss proposed “near term” improvements based off the neighborhood master plan that could be implemented later this year to improve safety, slow car traffic and increase space for people biking and walking. The Milwaukee corridor is also heavily used by pedestrians, Claffey said. Such recommendations for Milwaukee Avenue could range from adding bike boxes and new crosswalks, closing the slip lanes that allow vehicles to turn right, installing curb “bump-outs” to shorten the distance for a pedestrian crossing a street and reducing the posted speed limit.

There are no easy answers here regarding a dedicated bicycle lane. I believe it would make traffic safer for everyone who travels on this stretch of road. Especially during rush hour. But the city will have to come up with the money to make it feasible. Where does that money come from? Additional metered parking in the neighborhood? If a bike lane would make the street safer and decrease traffic accidents, then  I think it should be a priority for the city counsel. Hopefully this online campaign will increase the awareness and force the city to act.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in Chicago bicycle accident or Chicago car crash, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Chicago Announces Launch Of “Vision Zero” Aimed To Eliminate Traffic Deaths

The Chicago Mayor’s office announced last month that it is launching “Vision Zero” action plan with the goal of eliminating all traffic deaths by 2026. In a press release may Rahm Emanuel state, ““Every day someone is injured or worse as the result of a car crash on Chicago’s streets… these crashes are preventable, and that is why we are stepping up our efforts, developing partnerships with communities and private industry. We are going to use all the resources at our disposal to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries in Chicago.”

All of the details of this new safety program will be released later this Fall, but the press release stated that the plan will look at traffic safety as a public health issue and identify priorities for the City’s engineering and education initiatives, as well as enforcement support for reducing crashes. City departments are currently working with stakeholders and the public to develop the final goals and strategies included in the plan. In 2016, more than 100 intersections will receive additional infrastructure to make it safer for people walking to cross the street. Among these is a Safe Routes to School project on the West Side that has installed 10 pedestrian refuge islands along Madison Street and Chicago Avenue. There are 10 schools located within a half-mile of these high crash areas. The City is also enhancing safety by making traffic signal improvements, resurfacing hundreds of miles of streets, installing speed feedback signs, and adding or improving 25 miles of bike lanes this year.

The city is treating this as a public health issue, as they should. Chicago has seen six bicycle traffic fatalities this year. That number equals the total number of bicycle traffic deaths from last year with three months still yet to go in 2016. Chicago is at a crossroads right now with bicycle safety. Chicago was recently named the top bicycle friendly city in country by Bicycling Magazine. We have more bicycle commuters than ever along with Divvy bike riders crowding our roads. This is a good thing. So are all of the dedicated bike lanes. But bicycle traffic accidents and fatalities are still prevalent. Bicyclers and motorists need to learn to co-exist. We need to be mindful of each other and always observe the rules of the road. “Vision Zero” is the perfect stepping stone to help lead to a better co-existence between bicyclists and motorists. I will be writing more about the initiative once the full plan is announced.

If you or one of you loved ones has been seriously injured in a Chicago bicycle accident or Chicago car crash, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Dangerous Chicago Intersection Finally To Receive Renovation

The intersection located at Lincoln, Ashland and Belmont Avenues will receive an overhaul, according to online blog DNA Info Chicago.  This intersection, often referred to as “Six Corners” is considered to be one of the most dangerous and congested intersections in the city. An average of 35 car crashes occur each year with daily traffic around 62,000 vehicles. The intersection with the highest traffic crash rate — Stony Island, South Chicago and 79th in South Shore — had an average 63 car crashes with about the same traffic volume.

The changes proposed by the Chicago Department of Transportation will receive local, state of federal funding. These changes will include:

  • Extending curbs at all six corners, which shortens and straightens crosswalks. The Lincoln Avenue bump outs would be specially designed to straighten the street for a more “intuitive” crossing.
  • Eliminating four turns, including the left turns from northbound Lincoln to Belmont and from southbound Ashland to Lincoln. Right turns from northbound Ashland to Belmont and from southbound Lincoln to Ashland would also be restricted.
  • Moving bus stops to the far sides of the intersection — southbound Ashland buses, for example, would stop at the southwest corner in front of Central Savings bank.
  • Adding bicycle lanes with dedicated, dotted crossings along Lincoln Avenue. Bicycle boxed spaces painted green would also put bicyclists ahead of vehicles at the cross.

These are changes that are long awaited and should make the area safer for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists with the dedicated bike lane on Lincoln. I’ve said this before, but the city is standing by its’ statements from five years ago that they want to be a front runner for bicycle accessibility and safety. The city is proving again that they care about bicyclist safety.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago bike accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Chicago Continues To Install New Curb Protected Bike Lanes

The Chicago Tribune reported recently that the city of Chicago unveiled another new curb protected bicycle lanes. The lanes have a raised concrete median that protects bicyclists from motorists in the adjacent lane. The newest bike lane was constructed at 31st Street from LaSalle to Michigan Avenue. Previous curb protected bike lanes were installed last May on Sacramento Drive in Douglas Park, followed by one in November on Clybourn Avenue in Old Town There are plans in the works another similar lane in the downtown loop on Randolph from Michigan Avenue heading to Clinton Street in the West Loop.

“Curb-protected bike lanes provide better separation between people riding their bikes and people driving, provide better guidance for motorists as to where to park and or drive, prevent illegal parking in or near bike lanes, and are more aesthetically pleasing,” said Mike Claffey, spokesman for the Chicago Department of Transportation.

Chicago’s Mayor and the City Council catch a lot of flak for their handling of different issues like traffic cameras and the ride-sharing companies like Uber.  Regardless, I have to take my hat off to city officials for following through on their promise to make Chicago a world class bicycling city and to improve safety. These curb protected bicycle lanes are another step in that direction. Especially with amount of traffic congestion we see. It can obviously be dangerous at time for bicyclists to struggle for room on the roads. These curb protected lanes make life safer for everyone on the road.

If you or someone you love has been seriously been injured in a Chicago bicycle accident or Chicago traffic accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation.

New Bicycle Lanes Are Under Construction On Chicago’s Clybourn Ave

 

Multiple news outlets, including the Chicago Tribune, reported last month that the city began construction on a new stretch of dedicated bicycle lanes along Clybourn Avenue. The lanes will stretch from North Avenue to Division Street and from Division to Orleans. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) hopes the project will be completed by early August.

This is a welcome addition to Chicago bicycle enthusiasts as the number of bike commuters continues to grow. The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) estimated recently that 38% of all morning commuters are bicyclists.

I think a tip of the hat needs to go to Mayor Emanuel and his staff as they continue to expand and promote bicycling in Chicago. The mayor vowed when he took office that Chicago would continue to grow and become one of the most bicycle friendly cities in the world. Part of this vow has been his commitment to safety. By adding these dedicated bicycle lanes allows a separate and (hopefully) safe space for bicyclists. Drivers must honor that space and stay in their own lane. Although I haven’t seen any statistics on bicycle accidents recently, I believe the city is safer and healthier with all of these new bike lanes. There are now fewer vehicles on the road during rush hour commutes (which is good for everyone) and bicyclists can safely commute to their jobs knowing they have their own dedicated lane. I look forward to see where the mayor continues to expand these lanes.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago bike accident or Chicago traffic accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation.

There’s A City Hall Dispute Over Designated Bike Lane On Kinzie Avenue

The Chicago Sun Times reported last week that Alderman Brendan Reilly (42nd Ward) is in the midst of a battle regarding the closing of the designated bicycle lane on Kinzie Avenue as new high rises are set to be built.

The Alderman introduced an ordinance last Wednesday that seeks to compel Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld to remove the protected bike lane on Kinzie “as required” by the planned commercial and residential Wolf Point development.

Reilly told the Sun Times that Scheinfeld is considering using her “commissioner’s authority to ignore that directive” agreed to by her predecessor and approved by the Chicago Plan Commission.

Reilly said “traffic congestion concerns” demand that the protected bike lane be removed. Reilly’s ordinance would require the city to remove the protected bike lane — along with “all associated signage, markings or barriers” — from the portion of West Kinzie Street between Dearborn and the west bank of the Chicago River.

“Kinzie is a very busy street. With the added density of some, close to 2 million square feet of occupied space on Wolf Point, there’ll be a lot more traffic. Traffic studies suggested that a bike lane should be removed to allow for proper traffic flow and safety, and the commissioner is now second-guessing that,” he said.

Reilly’s plan would include moving the designated bike lane from Kinzie to Grand Avenue. According to the article, Scheinfeld has argued that CDOT did an internal study that suggests “it would not be safe to move these lanes from Kinzie to Grand Avenue,” the alderman said.

It is unclear what the details of the CDOT study show. Reilly contends that the developer’s behind the Wolf Point project did their own professional study, which showed that the move to Grand Avenue would be completely viable.

It will be interesting to see if the Mayor intervenes in this situation. Alderman Reilly has clearly been a proponent of designated bike lanes as you can find them all over his Ward, including up and down Dearborn and Wells streets. It is possible that the Commissioner is receiving negative feedback from bicyclist groups opposing the closing of the Kinzie lane. I’m not an avid bicyclist so I can’t comment on whether Grand Avenue would be just as viable or safe as Kinzie but on its’ face it looks like a reasonable alternative in order to allow this construction to go forward.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Chicago bike accident or Chicago car crash, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

New York City Cuts Speed Limit. Should Chicago?

The New York Daily News reported this month that the New York City Council passed legislation that cut the speed limit to 25 mph. The change in speed limit was done in an effort to cut back on traffic fatalities in the city. City officials believe that the slower speed limit was decrease the chance of fatality by 50% compared to vehicles driving 30 mph. No scientific evidence or studies were provided in the article to back this claim.

“By lowering the speed limit, we send a message to drivers that they must not only drive slower, but safer on our streets,” said Transportation Committee chairman Ydanis Rodriguez. “For too long our roads have been a battleground between pedestrians and drivers, costing countless lives in preventable situations. This type of environment is unacceptable and will be tolerated no longer.”

Highways and parkways will still have higher limits, while school zones and other spots will still have lower speeds.

Should the Chicago mayor’s office and the City Council here consider a similar measure? Mayor Emanuel has stated over and over that he is committed to protecting pedestrians and bicyclists. He has taken steps by inserting speeder cameras and has opened protected bicycle lanes throughout the city. Emanuel has stated that the cameras were inserted for safety purposes only and are not a money grab for the city. Ok, then why not follow in New York’s footsteps and lower the speed limit. If safety is priority one for drivers and pedestrians, the I believe the mayor and City Council should strongly consider lowering the speed limits, at least in certain areas of the city.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Bicycling Magazine Ranks Chicago No. 2 Among Most Bicycle Friendly Cities

According to Bicycling Magazine, Chicago now ranks as the second best city in the United States for bicyclists. Chicago was previously ranked number 5 in 2012 and number 10 in 2010.

The magazine cited the city’s Navy Pier Flyover construction project, the recent hike in fines for dooring cyclists, and the plans for new protected bike lanes as a few of the reasons Chicago rose in the rankings. It also applauded the city for helping Chicagoans “re-discover” cycling.  Although the magazine did not cite the rise in bike sharing, credit must be given to the city for its’ partnership with the company Divvy. Divvy bikes are available throughout the city for short term rentals, which has definitely increased the interest in bicycling in Chicago.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been taking a lot of heat for various issues such as the red light and speeder cameras, but credit must given for following through on his bicycling initiatives. He has made it a point to make the life for bicyclists much safer and has made bicycling much more accessible for everyone.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago bicycle accident or Chicago traffic accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

 

Chicago Officials Announce First Barrier Protected Bike Lane

The fantastic Chicago website DNAinfo.com reported this week that Chicago transportation officials have begun plans for the first concrete barrier protected bicycle lane. The lane will be constructed on a stretch of Clybourn in the Old Town neighborhood. “This would be the first use of concrete physical separation,” said Nathan Roseberry, a senior engineer with the Illinois Department of Transportation. “We are going to be using this project as a means to study elements of the design to see how they work, see how they can be improved.”

The first proposal would include barrier-protected lanes on both sides of the street from Halsted Street to Division Street.

A second proposal, presented as an alternative, would include barrier-protected lanes from Halsted to Larrabee, and then a striped bike lane from Larrabee to Division. That option would preserve parking spaces, but would get rid of the physical separation between cyclists and vehicle traffic.

Both options would take Clybourn down to one lane of traffic at all times and result in a loss of parking along the street.

This is continued progress for Mayor Emanuel and his quest to make Chicago the most bicycle friendly city in North America. The positive development for me is that this should prevent potential violent traffic accidents between bikes and automobiles. The isolated  bike lane will protect bicyclists from vehicle collisions and dooring accidents. I will be interested to see if the city plans on adding additional barriers to bike lanes in other parts of the city, including downtown.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago bike accident or Chicago car accident, then call Chicago personal injury, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Chicago To Introduce Bicyclist Rest Stations Along Bike Lanes

I wrote a few weeks back about Chicago officials’ plans to press forward towards another 60 miles of bike lanes throughout the city. According to CBS News, the city is now planning to add new rest stations along portions of certain lanes. This is another step officials have taken to make Chicago a world-renowned bicycle friendly city. The rest stations was borrowed from similar contraptions used in the Coppenhagen. The stations contain a bars used as arm and foot rests. These little creations are called a “Curbees,” and will be placed at stop lights and  presumably only allowed for use at red lights. The first of these rest stations has already been placed at the busy intersection of Milwaukee and Ogden.

There is no doubt that Mayor Emanuel and his staff have continued where former Mayor Daley left off in making Chicago a bicycle friendly city. Hopefully bicyclists will take advantage of these stops and will lead to safer roads for both motorists and bicyclists.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago bike accident or Chicago car accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.