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Old 05-27-09, 09:31 PM   #1
duke_of_hazard
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improvement to Chicago bike lanes

I notice most bike lanes in Chicago on two-way streets don't leave much room for a car to pass you with 3 feet of space while you are avoiding the doors zone. One improvement would be to make the bike lanes one way on a two-way street and shift the median off-center. In other words, on a two-way street you only have one bike lane going in one direction which is next to a wider car lane.

Not sure if I'm making much sense here. If not I can try and draw diagram up.
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Old 05-28-09, 06:51 AM   #2
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In that case the bike lanes would be one way only I assume. So you as a cyclist would have to figure out which streets you could take, regardless of the flow of car traffic? I don't think that's a good idea.
Especially if you would designate that bike lane you mentioned as a two way bike lane. Because then you would ride against traffic and that is no good at all.
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Old 05-28-09, 08:50 AM   #3
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In that case the bike lanes would be one way only I assume. So you as a cyclist would have to figure out which streets you could take, regardless of the flow of car traffic? I don't think that's a good idea.
Especially if you would designate that bike lane you mentioned as a two way bike lane. Because then you would ride against traffic and that is no good at all.
That's right, it would be one-way. I don't see it as big deal to have to figure out which roads have a bike-lane in your direction of travel. Car drivers have to deal with one-way vs. two-way roads all the time, so I see no difference for bikes.
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Old 05-28-09, 09:06 AM   #4
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Well.. since bikes are vehicles which can ride with car traffic, I wouldn't be surprised if cyclist would also ride the other way on the street with cars, even if there is only a one-way bike lane on the other side. I would. Therefore negating the effect of the purpose of that bike lane.
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Old 05-28-09, 09:23 AM   #5
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Well.. since bikes are vehicles which can ride with car traffic, I wouldn't be surprised if cyclist would also ride the other way on the street with cars, even if there is only a one-way bike lane on the other side. I would. Therefore negating the effect of the purpose of that bike lane.
That is perfectly fine, to have bikes ride as vehicles on one side and ride in bike lane on the other side. Both are perfectly safe. The problem is trying to squeeze a two-way bike lane on an already narrow road.
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Old 05-28-09, 09:51 AM   #6
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Oh, ok. I see now where you are getting at.
But, I believe if you would build those one way bike lanes, there would be so many idiots riding against the proper direction on those bike lanes that it would become more of a hazard than anything else.
Proper education of motorists and cyclists is much more important. So many people still ride against traffic it's not even funny. I wonder who the F taught those people to begin with.
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Old 05-28-09, 06:45 PM   #7
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So on say, Devon Avenue up on teh North Side, you would want to have a BOL marked on one side of the street, allowing one wide enough traffic lane for cars, buses, and car/bus bypassing? to get cyclist dooring clearance? Which direction would you choose and why?
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Old 05-28-09, 07:59 PM   #8
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So on say, Devon Avenue up on teh North Side, you would want to have a BOL marked on one side of the street, allowing one wide enough traffic lane for cars, buses, and car/bus bypassing? to get cyclist dooring clearance? Which direction would you choose and why?
that is correct. Regarding direction, since Chicago is basically a grid pattern they could alternate directions every block.
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Old 05-29-09, 07:46 AM   #9
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that is correct. Regarding direction, since Chicago is basically a grid pattern they could alternate directions every block.
Ok, it's a grid, but most of the neighborhoods have commercial/arterials spaced every half-mile. At the quarter miles you're in solidly residential areas often broken up by industrial clusters. Routing for cyclists becomes far more difficult, with much greater exposure to stop signs, street glass/debris, and the funky Chicago-style roundabouts. Cross-street visibility is far worse on these side streets where the brick three-story walk-ups are ubiquitous, due to unrestricted curb parking. And do drivers really stop at the ubiquitous stop signs? Plus in this Devon Avenue area there is so much double-parking to load/unload groceries and the family, that the BOL will not truly belong to the cyclist. And in this area and others, there is zero opportunity to widen the street. Then there's winter snow removal on the sidestreets ...

I'm mainly using Rogers Park as an example, but the same issues exist in many other parts of the city as well.

I think a better trade-off is public-service messages to drivers, to check for clearance before opening a door, and to know they are responsible for cyclist injury and equipment damage they may cause, AND to cyclists to be visible and vigilant. If it gets on TV and the local Net services, it might sink in better. It can also be an opportunity to establish minimum day/night cyclist visibility requirements, as well.

The best place to communicate to a huge range of drivers might be the back page of the newspaper, right with the Cubs, Sox, Bulls, Bears, and Hawks!
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Old 05-29-09, 07:52 AM   #10
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I notice most bike lanes in Chicago on two-way streets don't leave much room for a car to pass you with 3 feet of space while you are avoiding the doors zone. One improvement would be to make the bike lanes one way on a two-way street and shift the median off-center. In other words, on a two-way street you only have one bike lane going in one direction which is next to a wider car lane.

Not sure if I'm making much sense here. If not I can try and draw diagram up.
I agree with doing a scale drawing to see exactly how the space lays out. You'll need to get actual street widths, curb-to-curb. As an engineer I've found attempting to design up a new idea is a great way to study it and see for oneself if it's viable, or what it would take to make it viable. My previous post is based on being a native and former North Sider.

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