Today’s Headlines for Thursday, December 22

  • “Lake Front Bike Path is a Disaster”: Emails Reveal Backstory of $12M Griffin Donation (Tribune)
  • Tribune Praises Trail Separation Plan, Calls for Converting Soldier Field Lot to Green Space
  • CDOT Commissioner Scheinfeld Discusses Upcoming Infrastructure Projects (WTTW)
  • Emanuel Cuts Ribbon on 1st Completed Section of $222M Cargo Handling Facility at O’Hare (DNA)
  • 4 Hurt After Driver of Stolen SUV Crashed Into a CTA Bus in Bronzeville (Tribune)
  • DUI Crackdown in the Bridgeport Area This Weekend (DNA)
  • Sign Active Trans‘ Vision Zero Call to Action in Support of Safer Street Designs
  • Newsman & Ride-Share Driver Anthony Ponce Discusses His Support for Active Trans
  • Fascinating Archival Footage of the Earliest Days of the CTA (DNA)
  • Hero Issues Fake Tickets to People Who Selfishly Call “Dibs” on Parking Spots (DNA)
  • Today’s 606 Trail Report: “Beautiful Morning for a Bike Ride on the 612!” (FOTBT)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • skyrefuge

    “To install bump-outs at the crash site, first rush hour parking restrictions need to be removed on this stretch of Central.”

    Why? I’ve never seen an explanation for this statement in all these articles. Do you mean to simply say “Rush hour parking restrictions make no longer make sense if the curb lane is already obstructed by bump-outs”? Because it seems physically possible to simultaneously have bump-outs AND rush hour parking restrictions, right? Or is it some sort of legal prerequisite that parking restrictions must be removed before bump-outs can be funded?

    I ask because “create taxpayer-funded storage space for private vehicles” is something normally abhorrent to Streetsblog, but that seems to be the hoped-for result here. I understand that it may be a best-available-option situation, but I just want to make sure we aren’t being jiu-jitsued by some “never let a tragedy go to waste” politicians who simply see an opportunity to give their residents some free parking.

  • johnaustingreenfield

    CDOT won’t install bump-outs on streets with RHPCs because the empty parking lanes function as de facto travel lanes, so the bump-outs are believed to be a hazard for people driving in the parking lanes. But the whole RHPC concept is flawed. It’s unclear whether it’s actually legal to drive in the parking lanes. At any rate CDOT, and even Sposato, it seems, are acknowledging that this is a fundamentally dangerous practice.

    “Creat[ing] taxpayer-funded storage space for private vehicles” is something normally abhorrent to Streetsblog.” Nah, curbside parking isn’t a bad thing in itself. It narrows the street, calming traffic, and provides protection for pedestrians on the sidewalk and, in the case of parking-protected bike lanes, bicyclists. And while many businesses do just fine with good pedestrian, bike, and transit access, others may feel they truly need to be accessible to drivers to survive.

    That said, curbside parking shouldn’t always take priority over other street uses. For example, it’s a missed opportunity when protected lanes are rejected for busy cycling corridors due to the need to eliminate some parking spaces. And parking on retail strips and some other locations should always be metered to promote parking turnaround and compensate the city for the public resource that’s being used.

  • skyrefuge

    Ah, ok, the questionable legality of driving in “parking” lanes seems to be the key thing I was missing (though how is a “parking lane” defined anyway?) I’m not too familiar with driving on Central, but I drive on other streets where a parked in the curbside lane is rare enough that drivers will “give it a shot” to see how far they can make it before getting blocked by a parked car. In that case, the parked car is functionally the same as a bumpout, so I wondered why a random car blocking a travel lane was acceptable, but a bumpout blocking a travel lane was not. Maybe the fact that the curbside lane is *never* supposed to be a “travel lane” is the required unifying assumption.

    I agree with the traffic-calming benefits of a lane filled with parked cars, I just find it philosophically humorous how those benefits only materialize if people voluntarily choose to park their cars on the street. Essentially the DOT say “hey, if we narrowed this street and put up some barriers between the cars and pedestrians/cyclists, it would improve safety for everyone. Hmm, except we’d need a substantial amount of physical material to accomplish the narrowing and create the barriers, which would cost a lot of money. I know! Let’s just have people volunteer to pile their unused cars in that space!”

    The funny thing is that, if for whatever reason, not enough people volunteer, the safety benefits do not materialize. At the moment, that sounds like just a theoretical curiosity (“who wouldn’t take advantage of free parking?!”), but once we shift to self-driving Ubers for our driving needs, it will be a real issue, because no one will be willing to volunteer their car as a safety barrier any longer.

  • ChicagoCyclist

    Rush-hour parking restrictions can help cyclists by creating a “de facto” bike lane at rush hour times of day. If the City stripes the parking lane — or if there are enough cyclists using the lanes :) — then cars using it as a travel lane would be less likely/common.

  • Mcass777

    Bump outs are overrated as far as I am concerned. Take the new ones on Elston. When biking, you are funneled into traffic, no matter if cars are moving or not. The ones that have been installed between Pulaski and Montrose and at Grace are especially tight. I wish these would be studied more.

  • Carter O’Brien

    That’s not really how they work in practice.

    What I see instead are drivers using them to weave in and out traffic, which is a nightmare for a cyclist.

    They aren’t/can’t be real lanes because they aren’t striped/demarcated as such, so there is no actual way to tell when they start and where they stop, either relative to the existing lane or to other legal usage (no parking zones for bus stops and loading zones).

    Real rush hour lanes are the reversibles (90/94 and up where Sheridan ends at Hollywood) look like is what they did, where there are signals and signage.

    RHPC as “rush hour lanes” is the City abdicating its responsibility to manage traffic, and IMO a colossal lawsuit waiting in the wings.