Eyes on the Street: Trattoria No. 10 Puts “Stop Signs” in Dearborn Bike Lane

Before. Photo: Justin Haugens.

The Trattoria No. 10 restaurant at 10 N Dearborn Street installed their own “stop for pedestrians” signs (taped to bricks) on Tuesday in the middle of the two-way Dearborn bike lane. The Chicago Department of Transportation received notification via Twitter, to which they responded:

Trattoria made a quick adjustment and now the signs are placed on the outside of the bike lane, one on the sidewalk and one in a hashed area that the restaurant’s valet operator uses to load vehicles. Michelle Stenzel pointed out on The Chainlink that loading in this area is dangerous because it gets in the way of people’s sightlines: “there is an alley right there, and drivers of turning vehicles can’t see the bicyclists (and vice versa).”

This is the first warm weather period since the bike lane opened in December, and bike traffic is growing while the sidewalks become busier. When I was riding on Tuesday and waiting for the bike-only signal at Randolph, I turned my head to notice five people queueing behind me. While it’s important for cyclists to stay aware of people on foot and yield to pedestrians, these signs added unnecessary confusion.

Restaurant owner Dan Rosenthal told Streetsblog that he recognizes it was a mistake to put the signs in the bike lane, saying “our chef, who bikes, told us that’s dangerous. We put them on the sides to eliminate that hazard.” Rosenthal said they placed the signs there because “there are a lot of unsuspecting pedestrians that cross here, we want everyone to be safe.” He has sent a letter to Alderman Brendan Reilly asking for something to be done. “If the city would help correct this hazardous condition, it would be better for the bikers and better for my guests,” he said.

after photo
After. Photo: Justin Haugens
  • kp

    Shouldn’t the signs say “Pedestrians, watch for bikes and don’t cross the bike lane illegally?”

  • The Illinois Vehicle Code doesn’t always provide the clearest instruction for many situations.

    625 ILCS 5/11-1002
    “(b) No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a moving vehicle which is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.”

    Bikes are not vehicles, but devices. I think it’s this code, though, that prohibits people from crossing the roadway here (or any portion of roadway):

    625 ILCS 5/11-1003
    “Between adjacent intersections at which traffic-control signals are in operation pedestrians shall not cross at any place except in a marked crosswalk.”

  • The spots south of the bollards are legal valet spots; the striped area is not. Loading and unloading in that area is illegal and creates a dangerous situation. If the Trattoria No. 10 valet people would simply refrain from entering into the striped area and leave it clear at all times, that would be a big help to improve visibility for everyone, and maybe the signs would be unnecessary. I do agree with T10 that we need better markings and stripings to help all users stay aware. Bright green paint along the entire length would help considerably.

  • I hope in version 2.0, when the whole roadway is re-done to make the cycle track permanent, that areas like the striped aread become median planters. Let’s hope that actual pedestrian islands are created between the cycle track & roadway as well.

  • bikey

    That seems like an inappropriate place for pedestrians to cross the street. Also, I agree the signs should warn pedestrians to look for bicyclists – they are, after all, the ones venturing in to a lane of moving traffic.

  • To clarify, management were requiring placement of the signs.

  • Joeg1985

    How about pedestrians need to learn to watch for cyclists?! Anyone ever think of that? He could have easily put up a sign on the sidewalk warning pedestrians of the bike path. Hello.

  • In version 2.0, I hope for design techniques like texture and color that make it obvious this is a path for moving bicycles, eliminating the need for signs,

  • There’s an almost identical situation at Petterino’s up the street.

  • I think there’s a solution that doesn’t involve more signs. For example, in many countries, colored pavement is used to denote paths for bicycling. Chicago uses green paint and big, white squares to denote these paths, which weren’t used anywhere on Dearborn Street.

  • Anonymous

    You should be looking at Chicago ordinances, not ILCS

  • Guest

    As of yesterday afternoon, the signs were back. One was halfway in the bike lane and half in the striped area.

    Isn’t placing signs on the sidewalk or road – even in a no-parking zone – still illegal?

  • Guest

    As of yesterday afternoon, the signs were back. One of them was halfway in the bike lane and half in the striped area.

    Isn’t placing signs on the sidewalk or road – even in a no-parking zone – still illegal?

  • Adam Herstein

    As of yesterday afternoon, the signs were back. One of them was still mostly in the bike lane. When I pointed it out to the valet, he just laughed at me. Perhaps he is not an employee of the restaurant?

    Isn’t placing signs on the sidewalk or road – even in a no-parking zone – still illegal?

  • guest

    That’s pretty darn rude, if not illegal. I’m tempted to make two “Stop for Cyclists” signs and place them outside his restaurant. It’s peds who venturing into a lane of traffic, so they should use a crosswalk.

  • Turner

    Yes, let’s not get distracted. This isn’t about the legality or practicality of a mid-block pedestrian crossing, and it’s only partially about hazardous placement of the signs. The valet service itself, here, may be a frustrating design (or zoning) problem, but it’s ultimately tangential.

    The fundamental issue is that Dan Rosenthal can’t make stuff up, put it on a sign, and stick it out in the public way in an attempt to get traffic to behave like he thinks it should behave.

    (Though it’s a fun thought experiment to imagine a world in which that kind of thing is okay…)

    625 ILCS 5/11-310 (“Display of Unauthorized Signs, Signals or Markings”) seems to the point:

    “(a) No person shall place, maintain or display upon or in view of any highway any unauthorized sign … which purports to be or is an imitation of or resembles an official traffic-control device … or which attempts to direct the movement of traffic.”

    Remedies would appear to go beyond CDOT asking politely:

    “(c) Every such prohibited sign, signal or marking is hereby declared to be a public nuisance and the authority having jurisdiction over the highway is hereby empowered to remove the same or cause it to be removed without notice.”

    and

    “(g) Any person failing to comply with this Section shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.”

    There are also probably some relevant signage violations to be found in Chicago’s zoning ordinance. Regardless of content, freestanding signs on public property (including the sidewalk) are subject to some regulation, especially in the downtown core.

    Personally, I think civic-minded citizens should be encouraged to pick up garbage and deposit it in an approved receptacle, when it’s left on streets or sidewalks. Let’s keep our city clean!

  • Adam Herstein

    Personally, I think civic-minded citizens should be encouraged to pick up garbage and deposit it in an approved receptacle, when it’s left on streets or sidewalks. Let’s keep our city clean!

    I seriously considered picking up the signs and tossing them in the trash yesterday…

  • Greg

    That’s funny, I saw those from while crossing at Washington the other day and thought they were something official. If he’s so worried about pedestrians, why hasn’t he been putting signs in the traffic lanes warning drivers for all these years?

  • MIKE

    The city streets do NOT revolve around bicyclists! There should be stop signs for bicyclists in every bike lane around the city. Bicycles should have to follow every rule other vehicles have to on the road, INCLUDING stopping at lights and signs. Bicyclists are NOT I repeat ARE NOT the reason these streets were created. Its for the CARS. Stop giving privileges to bicyclists, they pay no insurance, registration, licence plate fees, and are a general nuisance to the rest of the city. These bike lanes and bikers need to be regulated NOW!

  • “Bicyclists are NOT I repeat ARE NOT the reason these streets were created.”

    Sorry, my friend, but you’re sadly mistaken about that: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Roads_Movement

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