Sidewalk protection on Logan Boulevard makes a spooky stretch much safer – Streetsblog Chicago


The section of Logan Boulevard from Campbell to Diversey has seen dramatic safety improvements for cyclists over the past year. Tragically, it took the deaths of two young men on bicycles hit by drivers – videographer Tyler Fabeck, 22, in 2008, and “School of Rock” drummer Kevin Clark, 32, last year – to urge the city to finally install bicycle infrastructure on one of the few practical bicycle paths connecting Logan Square to Lincoln Park Lakeview.

The project area.  Picture: Google Maps
The project area. Picture: Google Maps

In October of last year, the Chicago Department of Transportation implemented a “four-to-three road scheme” on the killer stretch of boulevard near Western Avenue, which has terrible sight lines due to Kennedy Airways. Expressway and Metra. The project removed one of the four lanes of traffic to make way for cycle paths demarcated by flexible plastic poles. This still relatively new infrastructure has just been upgraded as part of the city’s plan to add concrete infrastructure to all ‘protected’ cycle lanes by the end of 2023, providing physical separation between cars and cyclists.

The flexi-post bike lanes on Logan between Maplewood and Western avenues are now lined with prefabricated curbs, which are faster and cheaper to install than site-built curbs, and they can be easily relocated if the layout needs to change. The reflective plastic bollards along the westbound bike path are still in place – a reasonable visibility measure for drivers who might not notice the low light gray concrete slabs. Adding bollards to the eastbound bike path and/or painting the curbs yellow would also be a good move, especially in the dark underpass of the overpass.

Eastbound curb-protected bike path on Logan west of the overpass, looking east.  Photo: CDOT
Eastbound curb-protected bike path on Logan west of the overpass, looking east. Photo: CDOT

When pedaling east from Maplewood, the curbs extend to the intersection of Western – with an opening for the right-turn ramp lane – and resume just past that, continuing just past the very entrance. busy from the Target parking lot. The sidewalk protection ends about one hundred feet west of Elston Avenue, where right-turning drivers weave their way to the bike path. However, as someone who regularly cycles this route, I can report that the protected lane just before the intersection and the painted cycle lane to the traffic light did wonders to calm and clarify the flow of traffic, especially for cars turning right on Elston and cyclists continuing east on Logan.

Flexible bike paths near the Rock 'N Bowl.  Photo: Sharon Hoyer
Flexi-post bike paths near the Diversey River Bowl just south of the bridge looking east. Photo: Sharon Hoyer

East of Elston, where the road turns north to join Diversey Parkway, the eastbound lane is protected by a car park and no notable changes have yet been made. However, it’s all the more shocking that a bike lane separated from fast-moving traffic from Kedzie Boulevard abruptly ends in Diversey, which doesn’t even have unprotected bike lanes. It’s okay if you don’t plan to ride east from the Diversey River Bowl, but the lack of bike lanes may be a hindrance for some people who would otherwise like to cross the river east. It’s a great example of how Chicago needs to build a network of connected and protected bike lanes across the city to encourage less confident cyclists to commute on bikes.

Cycle path protected by westbound car park between Diversey and Elston, looking west.  Photo: Sharon Hoyer
Cycle path protected by westbound car park between Diversey and Elston, looking west. Photo: Sharon Hoyer

Returning west on Logan from Diversey, the parking lot protection disappears just east of Elston, with paint-only bike lanes running past Xport Fitness to a few hundred feet east of Western Ave. Westbound cyclists crossing Elston should beware of right-turning drivers, many of whom tend to speed around the curved downhill stretch of Logan from Diversey to the heavily trafficked Elston intersection.

The westbound painted bike path on Logan, west of Elston.  Photo: Sharon Hoyer
The painted westbound bike path on Logan between Elston and Western, looking west. Photo: Sharon Hoyer

Fortunately, the portion of this road that passes over the overpass – once the most dangerous and stressful stretch, which motivated careful cyclists like me to use the sidewalk – now seems the safest, as it has the most concrete protection. . As I was taking photos of the road that ran under the Metra tracks, a passing pedestrian said to me about the bike lanes, “Isn’t that great? »

“Yes,” I replied. “It’s a huge improvement.”


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