Eyes on the Street: Dearborn Street Striping Upgrades Begin

Parking and Standing symbols recently painted on the @Dearbornbikeln.
S is for standing. Photo: Justin Haugens

Frequent Dearborn Street bike lane user Justin Haugens sends us these photos from his way to work in the South Loop. At the Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Council meeting two weeks ago, a CDOT staffer said that Dearborn Street would be receiving a slew of upgrades to better identify areas of conflict between people driving and bicycling, and to reduce the incidence of people parking and blocking the bike lane.

Large “P” and “S” stencils have been applied to parking and standing sections, respectively. Some sections, depending on their length, got more than one stencil.

The photos also show that the paint has been replaced with longer-lasting thermoplastic. Thermoplastic wasn’t originally used when the road diet and bike lane was installed in November and December because it was too cold to apply.

CDOT will also be installing 25 additional plastic posts, green paint at alleys and driveways, and refreshed and new “LOOK” markings and decals at crosswalks to remind pedestrians about crossing bicycle traffic.

With these changes, the Dearborn Street two-way, parking protected bike lane remains the best new bike lane in Chicago, thanks to the enormous reduction in stress people feel while cycling downtown.

  • Adam Herstein

    This is good news. Any word on the missing two block connection between the Dearborn and Kinzie bike lanes, or has that been put on hold because of the Wolf Point construction?

  • No one – not CDOT, nor audience – brought this up.

    For future MBAC meetings, people should talk to Michelle Stenzel, Demond Drummer, and Mike Tomas prior to the meeting as they are the “community representatives” from north, south, and west sides, respectively.

    You can find everyone’s contact information here:

  • BlueFairlane

    Perhaps I’m being more dense than usual, but I don’t think I’d have been able to figure out what “P” and “S” stood for without being told. That’s kind of not obvious.

  • Anonymous

    I had the same thought.

  • Fred

    I’ll take “things that sound good on paper in a meeting, but fail in actual practice” for $800, Alex.

  • P is easy enough – its a standard (ie, the no parking sign is a P crossed out).

    S? Yeah, that had me baffled.

  • “P” for “Parking” is well-known around the country. And in Central, and South America, the letter “E” is used (same word, in Spanish and Portuguese: estacionamento).

  • BlueFairlane

    My first thought before I read it in the text was that the P was “pedestrian,” probably in part because of the seed planted in my brain from that poorly-named “P-street” concept. I had no idea what the “S” was supposed to be. Superman, maybe? Was this supposed to be a landing zone?

    As you would probably figure, I tend to be skeptical of this sort of thing working out the way you suggest. Also, does this mean cars are no longer supposed to park on the S?

  • They might have been better off writing “standing” in smaller letters below the giant S to introduce the concept.

  • BlueFairlane

    That makes a lot more sense to me.

  • I don’t know what standing is. What’s the difference between standing a car and parking a car?

  • BlueFairlane

    The plot thickens as the paint thins. I don’t know either. That ambiguity only adds to the limitations of this, as ambiguity in infrastructure is never a good thing.

  • Standing is letting passengers in/out and then going. Like a taxi would. Standing + waiting, or all passengers getting out of the car, is parking. At least that’s how it is in New York.

  • When there’s no driver in the car, it’s parked (even if it’s running).

  • I looked it up! The operator can be in the vehicle for it to be considered standing, or be near the vehicle.

    “Standing (to stand)” means the halting of a vehicle, whether occupied or not, otherwise than temporarily for the purpose of and while actually engaged in receiving or discharging passengers; provided, that, an operator is either in the vehicle or in the immediate vicinity, so as to be capable of immediately moving the vehicle at the direction of a police officer or traffic control aide.

    Here’s the code.

  • BlueFairlane

    Which leads back to the question … are cars no longer supposed to park on the “S”? And if not, do the people in the cars know that?


In 15 Days, Divvy Bike-Share Sold 1,300 Annual Memberships

Two of the major topics of the Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Council meeting on Wednesday were bike-share and the Dearborn Street bike lane. Divvy bike-share was supposed to launch with 40 stations today during the Bike To Work Day Rally, but on Tuesday, the company announced that the system would launch on June 28 with 75 […]

Eyes on the Street: Handy New Protected Bike Lanes on Harrison

The Chicago Department of Transportation is almost finished building the city’s latest protected bike lanes, on Harrison between Desplaines and Wabash, and they’re useful ones. The new PBLs serve as a handy connection between protected lanes on Desplaines, Canal, and Dearborn, as well as conventional and buffered lanes on Clinton, Franklin, and Wabash, and they’re […]

How Can Chicago Fix the “Weak Links” That Mar Bike Access Downtown?

Biking downtown has improved substantially with the addition of protected bike lanes on Kinzie Street and Dearborn Street, but much work remains to be done to create a safe, cohesive bike network linking people to Chicago’s biggest employment center. At last week’s meeting of the Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Council, Michelle Stenzel, a community representative for the […]

Eyes on the Street: New Bikeways on State Street and Archer Avenue

To borrow from a famous song, on State Street, that great street, I just gotta say, they’ve done something they haven’t done yet on (Chicago’s) Broadway. They’ve installed nearly perfect Windy City-style protected bike lanes. The one-mile bikeway on State from 18th Street to 26th Street, features silky-smooth new asphalt, a four-to-three conversion road diet, […]