Tonight: Defend the Marshall Boulevard Redesign

Marshall Boulevard bike lane
The road diet has calmed traffic at the curve from Marshall to 24th Boulevard.

Tonight the future of the Marshall Boulevard bike lane could be at stake at a community meeting hosted by 12th Ward Alderman George Cardenas.

The Marshall Boulevard bike lane was installed last fall and runs from Sacramento Drive in Douglas Park half a mile to 24th Boulevard in Little Village. It consists of a buffered lane on one side of the street and a parking-protected lane on the other side. The redesign has noticeably calmed traffic, according to resident Dan Korn. “The sharp curve at the corner of 24th and Marshall used to be good for at least one bad crash a month; it seems to be better now, so far,” he posted on The Chainlink.

When the redesign was implemented, curbside parking was removed on one side of the street, and residents were reportedly confused about where they could park. According to a post on The Chainlink, tempers flared because cars were ticketed en masse before the parking signs had been updated to reflect the new rules. This spring, the proper signs were put up.

Korn reports that compliance with the new parking rules has improved recently, but some local residents remain opposed to the redesign because “[t]hey think that there are not enough cyclists using the bike lanes to justify the parking that was removed.”

If you’d like to speak up for a redesign that has calmed traffic and created safer biking conditions, the meeting is at 5:30 p.m. at the Saucedo Academy School auditorium, 2850 W. 24th Blvd.

Also this week are two meetings that are part of ThinkBike, in which the Dutch consulate sends over transportation planners from the Netherlands to work with local planners on designing solutions. These meetings will deal with two specific projects. CDOT wants to connect the Lakefront Trail with the Loop via Monroe Street, currently four to six lanes wide without provisions for cycling. The second project is figuring out how to provide for cycling on Milwaukee between Division and North Avenue through Wicker Park. The workshops are invite-only, but the public can get in on the Dutch at two events, starting tomorrow.

There’s a reception with Chicago Department of Transportation commissioner Gabe Klein and Dutch Ambassador Rudolf Bekink Thursday morning at 9:00 a.m. at Collaboraction, 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave, Room 300 Theater, and a recap at 5:30 p.m. on Friday at the Cultural Center’s Millennium Park room. Both of these events are open to the public but you’re encouraged to RSVP.

ThinkBike first occurred in Chicago in fall 2010, when the initiatives under consideration were Lincoln Park (building a neighborhood-level bike plan and addressing Clark Street issues) and the Washington/Madison corridor downtown that is now part of the Central Loop BRT project.

Visit our calendar page for information on these and other events.

  • Anonymous

    Meh… I live there, and I see their point. It doesn’t get much use. I will say it’s a better use of the space than the wide lane that enabled people to drive there at highway speeds. Maybe there’s some other lane-narrowing use the neighborhood can come up with?

  • Laila Korn

    traffic calming at that curve is not only important for cyclists riding through the area but the hundreds of children that go to the schools on either side of this curve. before the traffic calming we saw a car crash into the guard rails EVERY time it rained. rarely were the authorities called, so there aren’t records of many of the crashes. i literally saw a car dragging its undercarriage away from the scene rather than call authorities or a tow truck.

    aside from safety concerns for students it would be great if these 2 schools were encouraged to create a “safe routes” for their kids who could then ride their bikes to school (or walk).

  • Laila Korn

    John, you know that it will only get more used if cycling is also encouraged instead of disparaged in the neighborhood. also, it gets more use than I think people suppose, and would get more use if the daily school drop-off and pick-up along with the weekly funeral line-up didn’t completely block cyclists as well.

  • Anonymous

    Well, maybe CDOT can bring some real numbers. I don’t know who’s disparaging cycling in the neighborhood. I really don’t see how rearranging what other people do in the neighborhood to make cycling more convenient sells cycling. Seems like a cart before the horse approach to me, as does the lane itself.

  • Kevin M

    Is there enough automobile traffic to justify (the return to) a 4-lane road?

  • Adam Herstein

    This is the real question.

  • I don’t think there’s enough people parking on Clark St before Andersonville. So can we turn it into a park? Some protected bike lanes to provide safety from the cars that normally (I believe) exceed the 25mph posted speed limit? I mean I can understand the opposition to a bike lane, but I can’t get behind people using the lanes for other reasons just because they don’t agree with it.

    Also… really wish I could go to ThinkBike :-( Hope there’s a lot of good coverage on it!

  • Dan Korn
  • Laila Korn

    part of the problem is that it isn’t really wide enough to be a 4-lane road (unless all parking and the bike lanes are eliminated) AND this is a road that winds through a residential neighborhood. The principal of one of the 3 schools talked about the congestion during afternoon pick-up between Saucedo, Tepochali (spelling is really wrong there), and Spry some 5,000 children are released from classes within a 90 minute period. That’s one of the big reasons I think traffic calming is so important, especially when you realize that this all happens on a 90 degree turn.

  • Anonymous

    No, there is not. That’s why traffic flowed at highway speeds, and why there were so many crashes. On a residential street. With two schools. And a ninety degree bend. Oops.

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Last night about 30 people showed up to discuss car parking issues on Marshall Boulevard in Little Village, at a meeting hosted by 12th Ward Alderman George Cardenas at the Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy. The redesign of Marshall Boulevard last fall added a protected bike lane on one side of the street and a buffered […]