Eyes on the Street: Delivery Drivers Are Blocking New Clybourn Bike Lane

Delivery trucks and vans, including one from Gordon Food Service, are parked in the buffered bike lane on Clybourn Ave., and are nearly blocking the curb-protected bike lane.

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The new curb-protected bike lane on Clybourn Avenue and Division Street in Old Town aren’t even finished yet, but they’re already getting great use. Bike-specific traffic signals should be added later this fall, completing the project. However, there’s already a fly in the ointment – delivery drivers are blocking the lanes on a regular basis.

The bike lanes are located on Clybourn from Hasted Street to Division, and Division from Clybourn to Orleans Street. The problem is taking place by New City, a new mixed-use development on the southeast corner of Clybourn and Halsted, which includes 199 apartments and a shopping center. A movie theater and Mariano’s grocery store will be opening in the future.

There are loading zones on Clybourn near Halsted for truck and van drivers making deliveries to New City. However, the delivery drivers are also parking further south in the bike lane. On this stretch, the bikeway exists as a short, curbside buffered lane, and there are “No Parking” signs posted.

IMG_2401
The Clybourn lanes have become popular with cyclists. Photo: John Greenfield

Streetsblog reader Justin Haugens rides this stretch of Clybourn several days a week on his commute between Rogers Park and the South Loop. He reports that there are vehicles in the bike lane “one-third to one-half of the time.”

What’s particularly frustrating about this situation is that New City was built with seven underground loading spaces to accommodate all the deliveries for the 370,000 square foot mall, with the goal of keep trucks off the streets. “Burying the docks was also a popular move with the neighbors,” Mike Drew, principal at the firm Structured Development, told Chicago Magazine last November.

Not only are the delivery drivers parking in the buffered lanes, but their trucks and vans are often parked very close to the start of the curb-protected section. That forces bicyclists to hit their brakes and make a tricky maneuver around a vehicle to enter the curb-protected portion.

Delivery trucks are blocking the start of the new Clybourn Avenue bike lane. Photo: Justin Haugens
A delivery truck blocks the bike lane. Photo: Justin Haugens

Perhaps the illegal parking issue could have been avoided if the bike lane had built with curb-protection all the way up to the loading zone section, instead of having the curbs start about 440 feet southeast of Halsted/Clybourn. Or, if there was an expectation that drivers would be parking curbside here, the loading zone area should have been extended further south, and the buffered lane should have been striped to the left of the loading zones.

No use crying over spilled milk, though. We’re notifying the developer and local alderman Walter Burnett’s office in the hope that the drivers can be encouraged to use the underground loading dock instead of blocking the bike lane. Otherwise, it would make sense for the Chicago Police Department to start doing ticketing stings here.

Lyfe Kitchen encouraging bike lane blocking
Friday: Lyfe Kitchen placed a sign on the sidewalk encouraging its customers to park in the bike lane while they pick up their orders. If you’re in a hurry, it’s okay to force bicyclists to detour around parked cars and merge into faster moving traffic! Photo: Justin Haugens

These are the first protected bike lanes to be built by the Illinois Department of Transportation. Previously, IDOT blocked the city of Chicago from installing PBLs on state roads within the city. It would be a shame if this important bikeway continues to be less functional because of illegal parking.

This post is made possible by a grant from the Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices, P.C., a Chicago, Illinois law firm committed to representing pedestrians and cyclists. The content is Streetsblog Chicago’s own, and Keating Law Offices neither endorses the content nor exercises any editorial control.

  • Cubs fan, Bud man

    Breaking: delivery services consider tickets as part of the cost of doing business.

  • david vartanoff

    “Shocked” Delivery trucks look at parking tix as a cost of doing business. And, FWIW Berkeley residents parked in well marked bike lanes for years. Worse yet, in a commercial strip adjacent Cal Berkeley, the drivers are so lazy that they park in the traffic lanes even when space allocated for them to park is available. PCO’s claim they are under orders not to ticket these scofflaws. We need cheap “Denver boots” or some quick removal of tire valve tools.

  • Mike McCune

    Raise the fines until it is too costly to illegally park. It’s not like the city doesn’t need the money.

  • Jeremy

    CDOT and CPD aren’t interested in enforcing parking regulations. It would be easy to do outreach to find problem areas, then spend the next couple of weeks writing thousands of tickets.

    There are plenty of people parked in tow zones outside of Starbucks in the morning. Have you ever seen CPD writing tickets?

  • CPD hasn’t had the manpower to even handle aggressive crime for at least fifteen years.

    It used to be that if you were driving around with a cracked windshield or one headlight out you’d get pulled over and cited within a week. Now you can do it for months and months and nothing happens. No manpower leads to letting ‘lesser’ stuff slide.

  • ReadIcculus

    If the City fined half of the people that don’t shovel their sidewalks in winter and collected the money from even half of that crowd a lot of our $$ problems could be solved. Frustrating to see revenue opportunities ignored!

  • Gerald Spencer

    Livery drivers and delivery drivers, what is the difference? None, both are scofflaw categories of drivers. Just as low down as pedestrian jaywalkers and the cab drivers that are forever blowing their horns at drivers who wait at the traffic lights for pedestrians to cross. At any given time, there must be 50 thousand violations occuring in the city. Just stand at any busy corner and watch one violation after another. It would be nice if people weren’t so stuck on themselves but there we have it, the cause of all anarchy.

  • I’m unsure if those suggesting parking citations are part of doing business also suggest that unsafe practices are also professional aspects of driving.

    This property has off street loading areas specifically to avoid this choice.

  • This happens almost daily on South Halsted Street in Bridgeport (2857 S. Halsted). Truck doesn’t fit in the dock? Leave it sticking out into the bike lane. Bicyclists have to weave around these trucks, into traffic.

  • neroden

    Yet they still have the manpower to run a “black site” where they torture innocent people?

    http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/feb/24/chicago-police-detain-americans-black-site

    CPD has plenty of manpower — it’s just the wrong sort of manpower. They need to get rid of all the dirty cops on power trips and replace them with real by-the-book cops.

  • That site only requires a few people to run it, and they can all go to work in one building.

    Actually enforcing traffic and vehicular violations would require an enormous workforce, spread out over the entire city, and watchful. We haven’t had that since 1991. Meter-reading has been outsourced. Red light cameras do some things, but nobody’s given out any serious number of gridlock tickets (for stopping your car in an intersection and getting caught there on the light change) in over a decade. People stop following laws when there is no penalty for breaking them.

    Come to think of it, actually engaging in communities and doing true anti-violence work (instead of just assuming everyone who lives in a violent zip code is the enemy) would ALSO require a much larger force than we have had for twenty years. Which is why the West and South sides are turning into Ferguson-level tinderboxes, where even the law-abiding and respectable citizens never call the cops in on anything, because they will be treated poorly if they do.

  • neroden

    I still don’t think it has anything to do with the number of cops. NYC has a humungously high number of cops per capita, and their cops are, on average, (a) totally uninterested in arresting motorists who run over pedestrians on the sidewalk and (b) very interested in torturing and assaulting innocent people.

    In LA, no law-abiding or respectable citizen in nearly any neighborhood calls the cops in on anything for *decades* because the cops are such violent criminals. They’ve got lots of cops too… the trouble is that most of the cops are scum.

    The ones who aren’t scum get chased out by the scum, which is the usual problem with sick police departments — see Joe Crystal, Frank Serpico, Adrian Schoolcraft, and I could name a dozen others with a little research.

  • There is no way to enforce roadworthiness, lack of gridlock, and general traffic manners without a really enormous number of eyes scattered around the whole city and empowered to ticket.

    You can have good policing with few cops … in some areas. You cannot have this. Unless you suddenly start using remote cameras for a lot more than Springfield is going to let us use them for.

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