The chaotic traffic circle around Logan Square’s eagle-topped Illinois Centennial Monument pillar is a major barrier for pedestrians, discouraging foot traffic from one side of the neighborhood to the other. As a result, the multilane roundabout lowers revenue for businesses along on Logan Boulevard, Milwaukee and Kedzie.
There have been several proposals to make the six-way intersection more pedestrian-friendly, but there doesn’t seem to be any movement from the city yet for a long-term solution. So I was glad to see a short-term improvement in late November, in the form of thick, bold white stripes forming high-visibility international crosswalks at all the designated crossings around the circle.
However, it did seem rather late in the construction season to be striping thermoplastic, which only bonds well to asphalt at temperatures above 40 degrees. In the past when the Chicago Department of Transportation has rushed to complete bike lanes before winter sets in, the result has been crumbling markings, quickly scraped away by snowplows.
According to a November 21 blog post from Logan Square Circle Group, one of the organizations pushing for safety improvements, the crew was in fact racing against time when they striped the lines:
Thanks to a concerted neighborhood effort, Marking Specialists, a city of Chicago contractor, was sent out Wednesday and Thursday by CDOT to repaint the the lanes and crosswalks at the circle. Rann Garcia and his crew did a great job. Realizing they had a small window, they went out of their way to solicit neighborhood feedback, which they followed, to prioritize where to paint before the bad weather set in.
Unsurprisingly, many of the crosswalks are already badly deteriorated. When I asked CDOT spokesman Pete Scales if there are plans to re-stripe them, he wrote, “If they are under warranty will get them redone. If not, we can redo them.”
I asked Joe Robinson from Bike Walk Logan Square, which has also been advocating for fixing the circle, for his take on the situation. “Navigating the Logan Square circle by foot is treacherous,” he said. “Well-marked crosswalks are sorely needed. The paint that went down last fall has deteriorated rapidly. We hope CDOT is able to get new paint in place soon, we also hope it’s done in the right weather conditions, so that the paint sticks like it’s made to do.”