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Eyes on the Street: Roscoe and School/Aldine Greenway Begins to Take Shape

Curb extensions are under construction on both sides of Broadway at Aldine. Photo: John Greenfield

keating

Roscoe and School/Aldine is already a great low-stress couplet for traveling between West Lakeview and the Lakefront Trail, but it's in the process of getting even better. The Chicago Department of Transportation recently began constructing a new neighborhood greenway that will discourage cut-through motor vehicle traffic and speeding on these quiet side streets, shorten pedestrian crossings, and make the route even more bike-friendly.

The whole corridor will get sharrows (bike-and-chevron markings) or bike lanes, plus wayfinding signs. School/Aldine (the name changes east of Clark) has a park and school on it, and will be also getting many permeable curb extensions and bike-friendly sinusoidal speed humps, plus a raised crosswalk, to slow down drivers. The greenway features a couple of other unique features, which I'll explain shortly. Let's walk (or bike) through the project, first heading west from the lake on Roscoe, then returning east on School/Aldine. CDOT will likely wrap up the project next month. You can view detailed "LongPlot" renderings of here and here.

From the Lakefront Trail there's an underpass at Roscoe (although when I visited Tuesday evening after a rainstorm it was flooded and impassable.) After you come out the west end there will be a full-block curb extension on the east side of Inner Lake Shore Drive. Presumably this will be marked to allow cyclists to ride on it, so you'll be able to head north to Roscoe, where a green bike crosswalk will escort you west across the drive.

Screen Shot 2018-08-08 at 1.27.14 AM

From there it's a block west to Broadway, where CDOT is doing something unusual. Roscoe jogs north here, so to facilitate the move for cyclists, they're putting in a raised contraflow bike lane on the west side of Broadway, which will curve left to meet up with an on-street bike lane on the south side of Roscoe. A bus stop and several parking spots are being relocated or removed to make room for the bike lane.

Screen Shot 2018-08-08 at 1.39.35 AM

West of Broadway, Roscoe is only getting pavement markings and signs up to Lincoln Avenue. In contrast, the return trip from Lincoln to the lake on eastbound School/Aldine includes a total of ten speed humps, and six of the intersections are getting curb extensions to shorten crossings and "neck-down" the street, which will encourage drivers to maintain a safe speed and prevent them from parking too close to the intersections, improving sightlines. The curb extensions are already half-completed. The raised crosswalk will be added at Clifton (1130 West), by Hawthorne Academy elementary school.

Curb extensions under construction at School and Lakewood (1300 West.) Photo: John Greenfield
Curb extensions under construction at School and Lakewood (1300 West.) Photo: John Greenfield
Curb extensions under construction at School and Lakewood (1300 West.) Photo: John Greenfield

Back at Aldine/Broadway, two bus stops are being removed to make room for curb extensions on both sides of Broadway, plus a short stretch of bike lane on Broadway to facilitate a northbound jog for cyclists.

Screen Shot 2018-08-08 at 1.53.35 AM

From there it's a block east to Inner Lake Shore Drive, where cyclists can take another green bike crosswalk and the block-long curb extension to access the underpass.

While the jury is still out on whether the raised bike lane on Roscoe  will be worth the cost and logistical hassles, overall the greenway should be a big improvement for all road users. What do you think of the design? Let us know in the comments.

This post is made possible by a grant from the Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices, P.C., a Chicago, Illinois law firm committed to representing pedestrians and cyclists. The content is Streetsblog Chicago's own, and Keating Law Offices neither endorses the content nor exercises any editorial control.

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