— M. Masterpiece (@MsMMasterpiece) January 9, 2014
A mysterious dumpster blocked both lanes of the Dearborn protected bike lane this morning, causing Chicagoans to tweet their displeasure.
The dumpster, placed there by Waste Management, appeared to be filled with snow. The sidewalks of the adjacent 55 West Wacker building were completely cleared. I went inside to talk to the front desk security guard, but told me he’d just started his shift and didn’t know the story.
I alerted the Chicago Department of Transportation’s Permit Office at 8 AM and got a response within the hour. A staffer wrote back saying that there was no permit for the dumpster, and that its location has a permit moratorium due to the presence of the bike lane, so Waste Management wouldn’t have been issued a permit if they had applied for one.
The staffer said CDOT contacted the dumpster company to have it removed and he confirmed it had been removed by 10:35 a.m. He wasn’t sure whether that was because of CDOT’s request or because Waste Management had already been planning to pick it up. I’m waiting to hear back from Waste Management about this, but kudos to CDOT for their speedy response.
The dumpster wasn’t the only roadblock on Dearborn this morning. In addition to the usual line of slush on the outside of the bike lane left by snow plows (and in the middle when the plow makes two passes), there was a large pile of snow obstructing the lane at Randolph that forced me to dismount and walk my bike across it. “We are doing all we can, every day, to get the snow out of the protected bike lanes,” wrote CDOT spokesman Pete Scales. He added that because of the bike lanes’ curbside location, “snow/ice/slush that is still out there will eventually find its way into the bike lane near the gutters, and will need to be cleaned out repeatedly.” Dearborn, Scales said, has been plowed ten times in the past nine days.