Today’s Headlines for Wednesday, June 1

  • Tractor Driver Struck and Killed 7-Year-Old Girl in West Englewood (Tribune)
  • Woman Who Fatally Struck 51-Year-Old Man, Fled the Scene Charged With DUI (Tribune)
  • Police Release Security Footage of Men Suspected of Chasing Couple Onto LSD (Tribune)
  • Illinois Pedestrian Fatalities Increased by 18 Percent Last Year (Tribune)
  • Man Rescued After Falling From Downtown Bridge Onto Metra Canopy (Tribune)
  • South Side Weekly Looks at Concerns Over Trail-Related Gentrification
  • Ald. Hopkins Releases Rendering of 606 Extended East to Lincoln Park (DNA)
  • Line at Bucktown Emissions Facility Creates Gridlock in Lincoln Park (DNA)
  • Free Trips to & From New River Taxi Stop at 600 W. Chicago Through 6/3 (Curbed)

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  • JacobEPeters

    There was no rendering of the 606 extension shown in that article. Just a diagram slapped on a photo. The real constraint will be whether we can clear the Metra tracks while still going underneath the Kennedy. That is something that needs to be answered in section, not in plan. There is 22′ of clearance needed above commuter rail tracks and assuming a similar design to the Lakfront Flyover there would be 3′ of structural depth beneath the path level.

    This means that 25′ of grade change will be needed in the ~500′ between the end of the trail & the Metra tracks. The 1:20 slope means that it will be on the edge of being considered a ramp based on ADA compliance. However, it will also need to have clearances between the trail & the underside of the Kennedy supports. If the underside of the Kennedy is less than 35′, it might be necessary for the trail to bend parallel to the tracks for a bit to clear the highway & the tracks.

    Once it is above the tracks it will need to get back to grade (trail level as well as Elston access) over a relatively short distance which might require curves on the east side of the flyover as well.

    The point is, that ain’t no rendering, & it doesn’t convey any of the complexity or offer solutions for how to overcome these obstacles.

  • So having just spent a week in DC, let me just say how bedazzled I was by the focus on pedestrians.

    One major design improvement when it comes to traffic controls would be worth implementing here, and I’m kind of surprised Gabe Klein didn’t (it may not have been deemed cost effective):

    When the timers start, the walk sign stays lit. This sends a crystal clear message to motorists and pedestrians.

    Contrast that with Chicago, where I have heard TMA staffers on many occasions scolding and stopping pedestrians trying to cross the street when the timer is going, as “you can’t walk when it’s flashing.” The confusion may stem from the fact that legally you are not supposed to enter a crosswalk once the don’t walk sign starts flashing – but in general the TMA staff are just prioritizing
    motorists turning right on a red light over pedestrians.

    And no joke, every single time I was out walking around with colleagues (this was a national conference), it was noted that as a rule I was distrustful of the signals and was always being overcautious, expecting right turning vehicles on red and so forth. Ugh. Thanks for the crappy hard-wiring, Chicago!

  • what_eva

    Given that the timers are based on having sufficient time for a senior citizen to cross safely, I completely agree. A healthy adult can cross in much less time if walking briskly or jogging.

  • Chicagoan

    The grass is always greener I suppose.

    I had a friend visiting from Boston (Also a great walking metropolis!) a few weeks ago and he marveled at the pedestrian experience in this city, specifically the big sidewalks, the sidewalk cafes, and the short crosswalks.

    Meanwhile, I often times find myself in danger of Lincoln Park moms and their Mercedes Benz SUV’s at just about every intersection.

  • what_eva

    On the emissions testing center backup, nice work by WBBM (linked in DNA story and Ald Hopkins’ tweet) using a photo of a backup at an obviously suburban testing center.

  • Anne A

    At some locations, the timers do not allow sufficient time for a senior to cross safely. There are locations in the Loop where the timer allows EIGHT seconds.

  • what_eva

    I’ve never seen any timers that short in the loop. I’ve seen 8 seconds on some side streets with curb bumpouts where you only have to cross 1 lane.

  • This is probably a downtown thing, I see it all the time during rush hour on Michigan Avenue.

  • ardecila

    Or you just go under the Metra tracks and then you only need 10′ of elevation change. Pedestrian underpasses are built all the time, costing about $4-5M at the high end (or possibly more for the ginormous, gold-plated underpasses by the Museum Campus).

  • JacobEPeters

    The problem is the proximity of Elston. If you got beneath the Metra tracks you would have ~260′ to get up to the bridge over Elston, and you would need more than 10′ if you wanted to construct the tunnel without disrupting Metra service. It would be possible, but less in keeping with the idea of the 606 as an elevated trail connecting parks.

  • cjlane

    “I’ve never seen anyone scolding or stopping people trying to get across the street during a flashing signal”

    I had an argument with a CTA driver (he was behind the wheel) about this over a decade ago. It definitely happens.

  • Anne A

    I heard reports from people at other locations of similar conditions – waits of an hour or more with huge traffic backups.

  • Anne A

    State and Monroe – west side of the intersection – not exactly a side street with curb bumpouts. I go through this intersection every day. I’ve seen others. This is the one I see most often.

  • Michigan at the north end of the Cultural Center is more than 8 seconds, but not enough for me to get across in one walk light without jogging — and I walk fast! Someone with mobility impairments will have a hard time even getting to the center median in one whole signal.

  • How did the train tracks do it? Why not do it the same way?

  • duppie

    The train tracks crossed at grade.
    With literally dozens of trains per hour passing there (at rush hour, that may not be a good option.

  • ardecila

    Ah, but disrupting Metra service isn’t the end of the world. There shouldn’t really be any utility lines to worry about, so you just terminate trains at Clybourn over a couple of winter weekends. While the tracks are out of service, you dig out the tracks and drop in a few prefab tunnel liners.

    Whole underpass built in 3 days, $3.1M.

  • JacobEPeters

    I know, it just is an unnecessary inconvenience for an option that isn’t as in keeping with the elevated trail concept. It’s an option, but neither one is a perfect solution. The line on a photo is as much a “rendering” as what we just did is an “alternatives analysis”.

  • Anne A

    I also see it often along State, Dearborn, Clark… especially at morning or evening rush hour.

  • Anne A

    That’s a challenge for sure. Wacker at Lake, Clark or LaSalle, along with LaSalle at Lake, are also bad in this respect. I recall these being in the neighborhood of 20 seconds, after a very brief walk signal. These are fairly wide crossings. There have been times when I was on crutches and found it difficult even to get to the median in that time.

  • Cameron Puetz

    The train tracks went over Ashland, under the Kennedy and then merged with the UP tracks. There’s a small switch yard there that handled traffic headed for Goose Island and the Clybourn corridor. That rail junction is where the Clybourn Metra station got its name.

  • Attrill

    Yeah, that’s certainly not a rendering. I’m at the Eastern end of the trail pretty much every weekday and looked at the crossing there for the thousandth time this morning – it’s almost impossible to go over the tracks, and certainly not in a straight shot.

    The old bridge over Ashland was too low, and was frequently hit by trucks. Any new bridge will have to be a bit higher than the old one. That leaves very little room as it passes under the Kennedy, and it certainly can’t gain any height while it passes under. The trail could turn North after clearing the Kennedy and switchback to pass over the tracks, but there’s nowhere near enough room between the tracks and the buildings on Besly Ct. to come back down – most of that block would need to be demolished to make room. Overall I think a tunnel/viaduct of some sort is going to be the only way to get past the tracks, and would create a much shorter route than a series of switchbacks would.

  • Pet P

    Saturday morning Ashland was horrendously backed up due to all the idiots waiting to turn into the Webster center. The sooner we can do away with this money-wasting job creation program, the better.