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.

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