Today’s Headlines for Wednesday, January 6

  • CTA Expanding “Second Chance” Jobs Program for Ex-Offenders (NBC)
  • DNA Readers Upset About the Belmont Overpass Coming Down
  • Man Gets 10 Years for 2013 DUI Crash That Killed Glenview Couple (Sun-Times)
  • Driver Busted for DUI During Morning School Drop-Off in Riverside (Sun-Times)
  • Buffalo Grove Crossing Guards Laid Off Due to Funding Dispute (Herald)
  • Developer Cites The 606 as Incentive for Building Luxury Homes (CRED)
  • License Plate Renewals Drop After State Stops Sending Reminder Notices (Tribune)
  • Slow Roll Hosts the Big Marsh Freedom Ride on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

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  • Re: the Western/Belmont flyover.

    Probably they (we) should do a Damen/Fullerton/Elston trick and pedestrianize/bikize Clybourn into a retail square a la Lincoln Square and force Clybourn traffic to use Barry to the south. Then Belmont/Western would become a normal 4-way corner. As it is the end/beginning of Clybourn there is not a lot of traffic on that final/beginning stretch. Barry could become retail commercial as well. Sorry residents. Or Nelson might work except the connection around Oakley would need to be finessed.

    As I driver I have always appreciated the overpass. As a taxpayer I can appreciate the maintenance cost reduction.

    As a bus rider, when my car is at my Western Ave. repair shop, I don’t get the benefits of the overpass, at least directly. Perhaps indirectly because of reduced traffic. Even an express bus or a BRT on Western would need to stop at Belmont.

    I have never biked in that area.

  • Marc Dreyfuss

    Re: Western Avenue. Maybe this an opportunity to replace the flyover with an underpass, like many in the “squares” in DC. Western is a major, major N-S arterial, and this 5-way intersection is going to be such a traffic nightmare that it won’t be able to be bicycle or ped friendly.

    The only way I can conceive to make this more multimodal without grade separation is to cul-de sac Clyborn (in order to provide access to the businesses along that road and build a large plaza between there and the SE corner of Western/Belmont. This would, in turn, require improvements to Barry and Oakton, including traffic signals at their respective intersections with Western and Belmont. Could work though…

  • cjlane

    “this 5-way intersection is going to be such a traffic nightmare that it won’t be able to be bicycle or ped friendly”

    It certainly will be bike/ped friendlier than what current exists, as there will no longer be absurdly blocked sight lines.

    That said, I like Jeff’s proposal.

  • It’s the same as Marc’s second proposal.

  • It’s not going to be bicycle/pedestrian unfriendly because it’s going to be a 5-way intersection. It’s going to be unfriendly because the city isn’t doing anything to make it “friendly”.

    The problems for pedestrians and cyclists are the result of design choices made “back then” and being made now. Design choices that I pointed out last year.

    I really like the cul-de-sac idea!

  • Totally. There’s little reason for Clybourn to come up all the way to Belmont/Western.

  • cjlane

    Well, you were much more specific. Merely cul de sac’ing Clybourn doesn’t do the same thing, really, as ‘re-routing’ the flow onto Barry.

  • planetshwoop

    Western feels like a major arterial there bc it is a giant highway. Our perception is clouded by what’s there, and the fact that the flyover probably encourages extra cars. Milwaukee and Western is OK for bikes and peds, Lawrence and Western (where Lincoln crosses) is also sane if not great.

    I don’t think it will be as bad as it looks bc eventually the lack of flyover will reduce traffic.

  • Anne A

    Western/Belmont/Clybourn should be a roundabout.

  • johnaustingreenfield

    “Roundabout”? Yes!

  • Anne A

    Here’s a New England example that handles a substantial volume of traffic.,-71.3605341,357m/data=!3m1!1e3

  • Anne A

    Another NE example – 5-way intersection, smaller roads.,-71.3120112,89m/data=!3m1!1e3

  • Anne A

    Here’s a Boston example that’s more complex than Western-Belmont-Clybourn and probably has a MUCH higher traffic volume.,-71.0702469,177m/data=!3m1!1e3

  • I wish anybody had real plans for the kind of public-education project that would be necessary to teach Chicago drivers that roundabouts are useful and awesome. As it is they’re treated as broken and deliberately disobeyed.

  • BlueFairlane

    It’s interesting, though, that in all these images, the road is virtually empty. The Google satellite would have a hard time finding a similar moment at Western and Belmont.

  • Anne A

    Better signage would help. Signs should have right arrows, not the STOOPID dot patterns that are used at the little drop-in roundabouts.

  • Anne A

    If you zoom in on the satellite view, you see ghost images of vehicles. Street view looks quite different. From my experience with this roundabout, I’d guess that traffic volume is well in excess of 30,000 vehicles per day.

  • BlueFairlane

    It’s true that I’ve never driven this particular section of Boston and don’t know what the traffic’s like here, but even with the ghost cars in the image, I’m not seeing anything like the volume you see on Western.

    I’ve driven through both the roundabouts you posted from New Hampshire. (My first wife was a Mainer with New Hampshire relations.) Both of those might as well be rural.

  • Part of the problem is people think those little traffic calming circles increasingly common in the middle of side street intersections are roundabouts, which they are most definitely not.

    I would love to see a roundabout at this intersection, it could only be an improvement.

  • I’d like to see painted arrows on the pavement makign it clear where you’re supposed to go.

  • Henry

    How would a roundabout affect east-west cycling on Belmont?

    I’ve been looking around online for “safe for cycling” roundabouts, and most examples either have grade separation or use a lot more real estate for 90-degree conflict points. And the latter ones *appear* to have roads with lower traffic volumes than Western (but I can’t back this up with any numbers).

  • Anne A

    I traveled through this intersection fairly often when I went into Boston, so it’s an old familiar. What you see in the satellite view is NOT representative of the traffic conditions I typically saw there.

  • Anne A

    Since the early 1980s, Derry has become a commuter suburb for folks traveling to jobs in all directions. That particular intersection gets really busy at rush hour, especially the overlap between school traffic and commute traffic.

    Epsom isn’t a big town, but that intersection is a fairly major one for the area.


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