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Want to Avoid the Chaos on Milwaukee? Try This Route Instead

Bicyclists try to share a narrow lane with drivers on Milwaukee Avenue. Photo: John Greenfield

As Steven Vance detailed Friday, so far the city has not provided accommodations for bicyclists on Milwaukee, the city’s busiest biking street, during a water main project that has torn up the street from Ogden to Erie. After Steven contacted Chicago Department of Transportation commissioner Gabe Klein about the issue, on Friday Klein asked the Department of Water Management “to put a better traffic management plan in place for cyclists ASAP.” We also sent a suggested alternative route for cyclists to CDOT.

This sign was recently relocated from the bike lane. Photo: Steven Vance

A construction warning sign that had recently been placed in the bike lane near Erie, at the base of the bridge over the Ohio feeder, has been relocated to the median, but otherwise Milwaukee is still an obstacle course for cyclists, and there are no signs are posted to indicate an detour route for bikes. Hopefully the city will add signage soon. In the meantime, rather than continue to curse the darkness, let’s light a candle with a look at a nice alternative to the Milwaukee chaos, a stair-step route that runs north of the diagonal street and works both southbound and northbound. The detour (photos below were taken during a southbound ride) only adds .2 miles to the trip, and it's mostly on quiet, low-traffic side streets.

View Milwaukee Avenue alternative in a larger map
Looking east on Chicago, at Morgan. To maximize comfort for cyclists, Jersey wall barriers could be used to create protected bike lanes between Milwaukee and Morgan on this broad, busy street. Sharrows stenciled across Chicago, and perhaps the addition of temporary four-way stop signs could help facilitate left turns from Morgan onto Chicago. Photo: John Greenfield
Looking south on Peoria towards Erie. Photo: John Greenfield
The south end of the construction site at Milwaukee and Erie. Photo: John Greenfield

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