Today’s Headlines

  • How’s the Red Shutdown Working Out? (Tribune, Sun-Times, RedEye, NBC, DNA)
  • Wells Bridge Problems Caused Delays on Brown Line Yesterday (Tribune)
  • 19th Ward Ald. O’Shea, Who Didn’t Want Bike Lanes, Now Wants Bike-Share (Patch)
  • Some Metra Cops Make More in Overtime Than Regular Pay (Sun-Times)
  • 1 Dead, 4 Badly Injured in Washington Heights Collision (Tribune)
  • 4 Injured in Crash on Kennedy at Armitage (Tribune)
  • SRAM Has Replaced Schwinn as Chicago’s Leading Bike Company (Tribune)
  • An Intro to Chicago Bike Culture (WBEZ)
  • Wake Up! Waltz Rooftop Dancers Brighten Morning Commutes (DNA)
  • Bike Routes to Brewpubs (Reader)
  • Kudos to Supermarkets for Forcing People to Own Cars (LSD)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Fred

    This isn’t related to these articles, but I have a bike etiquette question. This morning I had the opportunity to ride the new Dearborn cycletrack for the first time. I was traveling south (contra-car traffic) and wanted to turn left from the cycletrack on to Washington to go to my destination to the east. What is the proper way to make a left turn across traffic in this scenario? There is no left turn lane, so are you supposed to hang out in the intersection in the path of bike traffic in both directions like a car would then make your turn when traffic (both car and bike) are clear? Luckily traffic was light and it wasn’t a big deal, but it certainly felt like the makings of a dangerous scenario. Did I do something incorrectly, or is it just an awkward scenario?

    Thanks in advance for any advice!

  • It’s an awkward scenario that the traffic planners should’ve planned for and marked, but they didn’t so don’t worry about it. IMHO, the safest and most courteous way to make these turns is to make a box turn, like a pedestrian would. Cross the intersection, get yourself turned the direction you want to go, and then proceed when you get the green light.

  • @Logan Square Driver, you forgot to mention supermarkets giving car drivers big buy-two-get-three-free discounts that aren’t available to people who can’t carry all that stuff. I see these deals on pop all the time. John Kass should be glad that Dominick’s has found a way to tax the Little Bike People for not driving grown-up vehicles!

  • Good question. The proper way to make a left turn in that situation is to cross to the other side of the street, turn your bike 90 degrees and wait for the green to cross Dearborn. That’s how it’s done in European cities where protected bike lanes are the norm.

    CDOT actually painted squares with bike symbols and arrows inside them to show cyclists where to hang out in the intersection while waiting to turn, but IDOT objected to having these on IDOT-jurisdiction streets, so some or all of them have been painted black, but they’re still visible.

  • Actually the Chicago Department of Transportation bike planners did plan for this and marked it. They wanted people to do exactly as you described. It was the Illinois Department of Transportation, the same organization that is blocking the installation of protected bike lanes on IDOT-jurisdiction streets in Chicago, that forced CDOT to paint over the bike boxes. In short, yay CDOT, boo IDOT.

  • The bigger issue, really, is that the parking at supermarkets is almost always free, which means everyone else who gets there on transit, biking, or walking ends up subsidizing the huge cost of building parking (even more if it’s a garage, and even more if it’s underground) through the increased cost of food at the particular store.

    Why would you want all that pop anyway? :-)

  • Fred

    Ah, I considered a box turn at the time, but like I said, traffic was light at the time so I just made my turn. Had traffic been heavier I probably would have gone for the box turn. I really wish this was more obvious at the street level.

    Thanks for the info!

  • Sure thing!

  • Fred

    This is why I hate the designated “Low Emission Vehicle” parking spots. If I show up on foot or bike, can I get express checkout or a discount for being completely zero emission? If a grocery store is going to try and incent people to buy low emission vehicles, shouldn’t they take it one step further to try to get shoppers to ditch their vehicles completely?

  • Fred

    Besides, I would think those that show up on foot or bike actually end up buying MORE. Not on an individual trip, but over the course of many trips over the course of a month. This is due to 1) active people can eat more because they are burning more calories and 2) more trips equals more opportunities to impulse shop. Each trip you have the opportunity to pick up a candy bar or bag of chips or package of cookies you never intended to buy. If you make 3-4 trips in 2 weeks instead of 1, you have 2-3 more opportunities to spend that extra buck or two.

  • “Yay CDOT, boo IDOT” can sum up most posts regarding bikes.

  • This blog is not about nonstop hating on IDOT. Look for coverage about the state bike transportation plan in the near future. One nice thing I can say about IDOT and bikes is their state bike maps, available for free at some Chicago bike shops, are very useful for downstate bike touring.

  • Good to hear! I’ll look forward to learning more.

  • I think that the grocery is not actually trying to incentivize people into buying low emission cars (what would they get out of it?) but is a feeble attempt to show their “green chops”.

  • I would advise against using the painted squares as they are placed very close to northbound traffic. They should have been placed between the bike lane and the crosswalk as was done on Elston at Division and is the standard practice in many European cities. Additionally, by placing the squares between northbound car traffic and the bike lane, the southbound bicyclist must cross the northbound bike lane, adding complexity to the maneuver over the alternative location between the bike lane and crosswalk.