Eyes on the Street: Milwaukee Repaving Done, Protected Lanes Taking Shape

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Looking north at Milwaukee/Chicago/Ogden, Chicago's worst intersection for bike crashes, now covered with silky-smooth pavement. Photo by John Greenfield.

The Chicago Department of Transportation’s Milwaukee Avenue protected bike lane project, which will connect existing PBLs on Kinzie and Elston is rolling along at a rapid pace. Yesterday white thermoplastic stripes were visible in the central section of the project, which is not being repaved. After riding the street this afternoon, I’m pleased to report that the north and south sections of the strip, which have been an obstacle course of rough pavement and exposed manhole covers since repaving started last week, are now covered with a smooth layer of asphalt, and even some pavement markings. More striping has been added to the central section as well, so the bikeway design is starting to come into focus.

Steven Vance and I are especially looking forward to seeing the effects of new pavement markings, including dashed bike lanes, bike boxes and high-visibility, zebra-striped crosswalks, on bike, pedestrian and motorist safety at the Milwaukee/Chicago/Ogden intersection, which currently has the highest bike crash rate in the city. These treatments will likely be completed this weekend, and we expect the new design will immediately make this confusing intersection safer and less chaotic. We look forward to seeing the bike crash rate drop here in the future, even as the number of cyclists on skyrockets. Here’s a quick tour of current conditions on Milwaukee.

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Looking southeast at Milwaukee and Carpenter. Buses will merge into PBL. Photo by John Greenfield.

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Looking northwest at Milwaukee/Grand/Halsted. To the business owner at last month's community meeting who insisted a dedicated right-turn lane is needed for cars here, despite CDOT traffic counts indicating the opposite: sorry, but cyclists are getting a bike box instead. Photo by John Greenfield.

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Looking southeast towards Milwaukee/Kinzie/Desplaines. The turn lane for bikes heading east onto Kinzie will now start further up Milwaukee. Photo by John Greenfield.