Today’s Headlines for Monday, September 17

  • Mayoral Candidates Weigh in on O’Hare Express, Red Line Extension, Cams (Tribune)
  • Schwieterman on O’Hare Express: “There’s an Air of Unreality to the Project” (NYT)
  • Nicholas Ortiz, 48, Fatally Struck While Trying to Help a Driver in Need in Batavia (CBS)
  • Semi-Truck Driver Struck and Killed Tammie Ihrig, 55, in Cicero (Sun-Times)
  • Block Club Reports on the Crash That Seriously Injured a Cyclist in Logan Square
  • Yard Social Looks at Pollutions Solutions to Metra’s Doomsday Scenario
  • More Delays This Morning on Metra’s BNSF Line (CBS)
  • Rideshare Drivers Protest Today at O’Hare for Better Working Conditions (Sun-Times)
  • Short-Term Improvements Are Coming to Belmont/Ashland/Lincoln Soon (32nd Ward)
  • CBS Implies That the Concrete Upgrades to the Dearborn PBL Are a Waste of Money
  • What’s up With Those “Queers” Stickers on Divvies Across the City? (Twitter)
  • Cubs Player Ben Zobrist Rides a Heritage Bike to Work in Uniform (Cut4)

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  • Justin

    Would be very surprised to learn that only 800 people per day were using the dearborn bike lane. Maybe if you average it across the year and don’t look at peak biking season. Whenever I take the Dearborn bike lane after work its very busy. If they want to increase utilization they should extend it because it gets pretty janky after Oak St.

  • johnaustingreenfield

    It’s 800 trips per day during the evening rush, many more during the entire day.

  • Kevin M

    My thoughts on the mayoral candidates’ responses to Chicago transportation issues:

    1) Is Wilson a Libertarian?
    2) Brown’s preference for bike registration fees is as unlikely as her hopeless campaign
    3) Vallas’ support of BRT is encouraging
    4) Lightfoot’s & Vallas’ support of rapid transit on the Metra Electric line is also very encouraging

    I hope this topic keeps coming up during the campaign.

  • Jeremy

    If some turns are going to be banned at the Ashland/Belmont/Lincoln intersection, is there a plan to enforce that? The curb bump outs may be enough to prevent right turns from Ashland onto Lincoln.

  • Tooscrapps

    It needs to be extended all the way to Lincoln Park (North Ave).

  • Carter O’Brien

    Currently, Belmont traffic is not permitted to make left turns. But as a regular traveler I can tell you that the existing signage is woefully inadequate, and that combined with little/zero enforcement means you regularly see people do it. It’s usually followed by a healthy amount of near-psychotic honking. Allowing EB Belmont traffic people to turn left into the Whole Foods parking lot was not wise, as if a bus is making a stop at the same time (which is often) Belmont backs up through the intersection.

  • planetshwoop

    His quote of “$1500 per biker” is right, but soooo misleading. I’m sorry that was allowed in.

    Obviously there are morning and evening rush, and afternoons, and daytime, and… there are 365 days in (most) years, so adding a stat for one rush hour for one day for the whole project cost is just bad editing on the part of CBS. Number junk.

  • johnaustingreenfield
  • what_eva

    I’ll confess to being guilty of some of that near, no wait, actual psychotic honking. There are signs at both the center (on the overhanging signal) and left (on the vertical signal) sides of the intersection. I think you just get people who are too stupid/stubborn/arrogant to go around the block via Paulina or Greenview. You’d think it would get better in this day of navigation apps that all know you can’t turn left there, yet people still do it.

    As for the to-be-banned turns from Ashland to Lincoln, what the city needs to do (but won’t) is put signs indicating “to NB Lincoln” at School/Ashland SB and “to SB Lincoln” at … shoot, can’t use Barry that way, I guess at Wellington and Ashland NB? But Wellington isn’t good for that traffic. Ugh on that one. There is similar signage WB on Touhy in Lincolnwood to use the street before Lincoln to get to SEB Lincoln. Hard left from WB Touhy to SEB Lincoln is banned.

    I haven’t paid it much attention, but I thought there was enough room between the bus stop and the WF parking lot entrance for cars to go around a left turner (unless there’s 3+ backed up to turn?) I get that WF probably demanded an entrance there otherwise there’s not a good way into it from EB Belmont (north on Paulina, east on School, south on Ashland, east on Melrose is a mess).

    Funny related story. There was a community meeting about a year ago about this project (and the permanent one to add curbs, etc) at St Luke’s. A big chunk of the Q&A was some of the residents of the St Luke’s senior apartments (across Belmont from the church, south side) ripping into Tunney because some free parking spots were lost as metered spots from near Ashland got shifted down the block to allow the aforementioned passing space. These spots apparently had been frequently used by the residents’ PT/nurses/etc for visits and now there’s no free parking nearby (nevermind the fact that the building has its own parking lot that I’ve never seen anywhere close to full behind it that should be used for such visits).

  • what_eva

    I’ve always found it very klutzy how the lane becomes left-turn only at Walton (in front of the Newberry Library) with little warning. The first time I hit that, I ended up dismounting and walking across Dearborn to continue north. Now that I know, I merge across in the block before. It’s usually not a problem as the stop signs create gaps. Aside from that, I don’t have much of a problem north of there as there just isn’t that much traffic. If there’s width for a lane, it would be a nice addition. I’ve also noticed that the bike traffic thins out quite a bit by then as people turn off on various streets.

  • Carter O’Brien

    Oh, I definitely am not judging anyone who loses their cool stuck behind those kind of myopic people. I file them under “Ask not for whom the horn honks, it honks for thee.”

    But enough people do it as opposed to other no left turn intersections, that it has to be something about the signs positioning, and I think they need to be larger. It’s a visually chaotic intersection. That said, no sympathy for the violators, they truly deserve to be ticketed.

    On the bus/WF thing, there really should be enough for everyone to coexist, but the Belmont bus bunching is at times a culprit, or there is more than car waiting to turn left, or the turner didn’t signal so cars got stuck behind them with no way to get around, etc.

    In general, the fewer left turns the better. Just like with UPS, it would be better in most cases for people to simply learn how to approach where they want to go so a right turn gets them in and out. I loved the fact that the older WF banned left turns out of their street level parking lot, I think that should be the standard.

  • what_eva

    In addition to the visual chaos, the sheer size of the intersection is certainly a factor as well, so those left turn signs are really far away. I suspect a lit up one might help in addition to larger ones.

    Belmont bus bunching is just terrible and CTA does nothing to even attempt to fix it. I know that traffic is a major factor in causing it, but there are options. When 4 WB buses all pull up to the red line at once, why aren’t some going express? When it’s 4 EB, why aren’t some short-turning at Halsted (even if they have to wait a little bit to not catch the one in front) instead of all going to St Joe’s and keeping the bunch going the other direction?

    I think Target kept the no-left-turn onto School out of the lot.

    And thank you for the poetry, love it!

  • Carter O’Brien

    LOL. I was thinking of you as I watched a WB Belmont driver yesterday signal for a left turn well in advance of the intersection, then begrudgingly go straight after the usual symphony of horns. And the problem is pretty obvious to me, you literally don’t see a left turn sign until you have already mentally committed to turning left. If you’re using a signal you’re both leaps and bounds more courteous than drivers who don’t, and also not trying to be sneaky about it.

    So people assume they can turn left, are busy looking for an opening, and then between the cascade of honks and the woefully small signage they may finally realize what’s up, and then the classic fight-or-flight syndrome kicks in. If this isn’t addressed as part of the new intersection design heads need to roll, because those drivers are extremely dangerous to pedestrians and cyclists once they’re in a panicked state.

  • what_eva

    That’s a reasonable point. Maybe some paint on the road in both lanes. Straight only and right turn only plus some signs on the near side of the intersection.

    Agreed on danger to peds/cyclists because in that adrenalized scenario, if they have a gap in oncoming traffic, they’ll often shoot through it to make that left, regardless of peds who may be in the crosswalk.

  • Carter O’Brien

    /facepalm city, just saw a car on Belmont west of Ashland/Lincoln do a clumsy ass U turn in order to – wait for it – make an illegal left turn from Belmont. The horns were angry this morning, as well they should have been.