CDOT Does Paint-and-Post Safety Fixes at Belmont/Ashland/Lincoln

The paint-and-post bump-out at the northwest corner, looking southeast. Photo: CDOT
The paint-and-post bump-out at the northwest corner, looking southeast. Photo: CDOT

The six-way junction of Belmont, Ashland, and Lincoln one of the North Side’s most dangerous and inconvenient intersections for people on foot and bikes, recently got a little safer and more pleasant thanks to a quick-and-cheap makeover by the Chicago Department of Transportation. Eventually the improvements, done with street paint and flexible plastic posts, will be set in stone as CDOT pours concrete to create permanent sidewalk bump-outs.

Screen Shot 2018-12-06 at 2.30.57 PM
The locations of the pain-and-post bump-outs.

The recent intersection work was done as part of the Lincoln Avenue Arterial Resurfacing project, which also included striping brand new bike lanes on Lincoln between Lakeview and Lincoln Square. The short-term fixes to the six-way junction include:

  • Paint-and-post bump-outs installed at most corners: southwest (by Central Savings), south (by One Main Financial and a Divvy station), northeast (by Whole Foods), north (by a small plaza), and northwest (by several smaller storefronts.) The bump-outs help correct the skewed layout of the intersection, shorten pedestrian crossing distances, and discourage fast turns by drivers.
  • Dedicated bike lanes in the intersection approach and dashed bike lanes through the intersection.
  • Elimination of the left turn lanes on Lincoln, both northwest-bound and southeast-bound, to make room for the bike lanes and bump-outs.
  • Elimination of left-turns from Lincoln (onto both Belmont and Ashland) and hairpin right-turns from Ashland onto Lincoln.
A worker installs a flexible post on the bump-out at the southwest corn after last month's snowfall. Photo: Elizabeth Adam czyk
A worker installs a flexible post on the bump-out at the southwest corn after last month’s snowfall. Photo: Elizabeth Adam czyk

In the future the Lincoln Ashland Belmont Reconstruction project will completely rebuild the intersection with permanent infrastructure improvements, which are currently in Phase II (intermediate) design. Most notably, the temporary bump-outs will be rebuilt with concrete, and two new crosswalks will be added to allow pedestrians walking east-west along Belmont to traverse the intersection with a single crossing — right now two crossings are required.

In the future, the bump-outs will be made permanent with concrete, and two new crosswalks will be installed.
In the future, the bump-outs will be made permanent with concrete, and two new crosswalks will be installed.

While it’s great that complete streets makeovers like this are becoming increasingly common in North and Northwest Side neighborhoods that already decent places to walk and ride a bike, more of these kinds of projects are needed on the South and West sides, where most of the city’s high-crash corridors are located. Read more discussion of that issue here.

  • planetshwoop

    I wonder if the signal timing will change. If you come through on a bicycle, due to the huge size of the intersection, it can go from green to yellow and red before you’ve crossed.

    This is good news though. The actual bike lane on Lincoln is pleasant.

  • what_eva

    That’s probably a tough nut since it’s a 6 way with lots of traffic. There probably isn’t much leeway in the cycle.

  • planetshwoop

    Fair point.

    Part of what kills it / makes it a lot less efficient is left turns. They were changed from leading to trailing as part of the last make-over. But it creates a lot of “empty time” to allow the cars from Ashland to Lincoln.

    The original design, since scrapped, of creating an island or center would help a lot I think. Elston/California/Belmont is a good example of being more humane without such as massive waste of emptiness in the middle.

  • Carter O’Brien

    I’m a fan of trailing left turn arrows for sure, I really don’t understand why they aren’t the norm. Went through this intersection on the westbound #77 yesterday afternoon (I picked a great day not to be at the Jackson stop for the Blue Line), traffic seems to have rolled with the changes just fine. Now if we could just go back in time to get the City to do what so many of us warned them about, which is to not permit people to turn left into the Whole Foods from Belmont. Ugh. All it takes is one oversized SUV and a bus to completely jam up Belmont into the intersection.

  • Cameron

    What’s the bus stop on Lincoln in the proposed future design? Was this design leaving space for bringing back the #11?

  • Bernard Finucane

    Nice thought, but the bump-outs are in the wrong places. The north side of the intersection should be configured like this:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ff8264dd87868d65ba490f1aea0a8952a95be52662c0078a294d7a6171f83774.png

    The red lines indicate curbs, and the blue lines are crosswalks.

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