Eyes on the Street: Elston Avenue Obstacles

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A not-so-magic carpet ride: Red Carpet buses block the bike lane. Photo: Joe Robinson

Business owners along the Elston corridor recently groused about the city’s plans to upgrade the bike lanes between North and Webster from conventional to buffered lanes, arguing that bicyclists get in the way of their trucks. This week, cyclists in Elston’s existing protected bike lanes, located between Milwaukee and North, have had plenty of obstructions themselves.

Streetsblog reader Alex Hartzler wrote us to report that a construction project last night blocked the southbound protected lane on Elston, just south of North. “No accommodation for cyclists, of course,” he said.

“I rode by that last night, too,” Chicago Department of Transportation spokesman Pete Scales told me after I asked about the project. “There’s some ComEd electrical work going on, with a crew repairing the lines above. There is only one truck parked in the lane, with a ton of caution cones set out to warn passing traffic.”

“The caution cones may have the intent of warning traffic, but I doubt they have that effect,” Hartzler responded. “They are simply placed between the bollards.”

I asked transportation advocate Joe Robinson, who works nearby, to snap a photo of the worksite. When he got there, there was no ComEd truck to be seen. However, he did snap the above photo of five Red Carpet charter buses parked in the southbound protected lane at LeMoyne, close to where the electrical work took place.

Rather than bikes getting in the way of large vehicles on Elston, it seems that the opposite is true.

  • what_eva

    If you see this, CALL THE POLICE. They will come and ticket. ComEd doing repairs, fine, buses parked, not.

  • Wewilliewinkleman

    Oh golly gosh. Electrical work the blocks a bike lane (at night too)!!!!! Stop and think of what drivers have to deal with all the time with phone, gas and electrical work that closes traffic lanes all the time. Stop whinging. If bike riders at night don’t have light and reflectors so drivers can see them at night, who’s issue is that? I see plenty that don’t.

  • tooter turtle


  • Mishellie

    It’s the British spelling

  • Mishellie

    …. so it’s ok to close bike lanes at night with no accomodations and park busses in them during broad daylight as well… because SOME (a really small minority, from my experience…) cyclists don’t use lights?

    Good logic? Not.

  • Wewilliewinkleman

    Is there a different spelling for whinging?

    Busses, yeah, that’s a problem. But this thread is also about an assumption that no accomodation being made for cyclists while overhead electrical work by ComEd at night. Just like auto traffic lanes get blocked when utility work gets done. So as a driver, you slow down and proceed with caution. If accommodation for bikers means they shouldn’t have slow down and proceed with caution, well, that’s part of life. And as more bike lanes are installed the issues of utility work and road work will be more common. So go ahead and have a whinge binge, but realize accomodation may mean bikers may have to plan ahead for circumstances and adjust accordingly.

  • Fred

    Whine and whining is the American English.