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Stretch of Leland in Uptown where Lily Shambrook, 3, was fatally struck last year, is getting safety upgrades

The street is not getting major bikeway improvements, but hopefully planned curb bump-outs will lead to safer driver behavior.

6:01 PM CDT on September 13, 2023

The Leland/Winthrop intersection where Lily Shambrook was fatally struck on her mother’s bike is one of several getting bump-outs. Photo: John Greenfield

Last week the 47th Ward passed along the good news that the long-awaited Leland Avenue Neighborhood Greenway in Lincoln Square and Ravenswood, including a two-way protected bike lane between Western Avenue and Lincoln Avenue, is happening this year. This project is supported by alderpersons Andre Vasquez (40th) and Matt Martin (47th).

Rendering of the two-way protected bike lane on Leland between Western Avenue and Lincoln Avenue. Image: CDOT

Leland east of Clark in Uptown in the 46th Ward, represented by new alder Angela Clay, is also getting safety improvements. Clay's director of Neighborhood Services Anna Gaebler recently told Streetsblog that the Chicago Department of Transportation is installing detached curb bump-outs on almost all of the intersections between Clark and Sheridan Road. Here's the list she provided, adding that CDOT said they can't share renderings with the public at this time. (A Twitter user did post a rendering of the layout, apparently acquired through a Freedom of Information Act request.)

  • Leland & Clark, one detached bump-out (NE corner)
  • Leland & Dover, two detached bump-outs (SW & NE corner)
  • Leland & Malden, two detached bump-outs (SW & NE corner)
  • Leland & Magnolia, two detached bump-outs (SW & NE corner)
  • Leland & Racine, two detached bump-outs (SW & NE corner)
  • Leland & Winthrop, three detached bump-outs (SW, NW, and NE corner)
  • Leland & Kenmore, two detached bump-outs (SW & NE corner)

A CDOT info sheet Gaebler provided states that detached bump-outs differ from attached ones (aka sidewalk extensions) because they "float" one foot from the existing curb line for better drainage. But they shorten the crossing distance for pedestrians, stop drivers from parking too close to a crosswalk (which blocks sight lines), reduce turning speeds, and calm traffic by making the road seem narrower.

Example of a detached curb bump-out. Image: CDOT

While the bump-outs should have an overall positive effect on driver behavior, it appears that no significant improvements to bike infrastructure are planned. Currently there are shared-lane markings, aka "sharrows," on Leland east of Clark, and dashed bike lanes east of Broadway. "The plans display a painted dotted bike lane on the portion between Broadway and Sheridan," Gaebler said, indicating that no major bikeway changes will be made.

CDOT did not return a request for more details today.

In June 2022 Lily Shambrook, 3, was riding on the back of her mother's bicycle in the dashed bike lane, going east on Leland when a Mondelez semi truck driver clipped the bike near Winthrop and Lily was thrown under the wheels and fatally struck. Contributing to the tragedy was the fact a ComEd trucker had illegally parked in the bikeway near the intersection, forcing Lily's mom to merge from the bike lane into the travel lane.

Lily Shambrook by a fountain at McCormick Place during a bike ride on the Lakefront Trail. Photo: Provided

In January Lily's parents filed a lawsuit in an effort to hold the involved companies and the city of Chicago responsible for their daughter's death. Their attorney said at the time that the family's goal was to help keep others on bikes safer.

Obviously that aim would be better served if more robust bikeways were installed on the stretch of Leland where the crash happened. Former 46th Ward alder James Cappleman, who requested the curb bump-outs from CDOT after Lily's death, told Streetsblog today that the transportation department said protected bike lanes weren't an option. "CDOT's minimum requirements for protected bike lanes on both sides of the street with parking on each side entails: 7' width for each lane of parking, 5' width for each bike lane, and 10' width for each lane of traffic. Leland is too narrow for that."

It's unfortunate that Leland in Uptown is not getting bike infrastructure upgrades, but hopefully the bump-outs will generally improve driver behavior. The Shambrook family declined to comment on the planned changes to Leland, but indicated that they are glad that some safety improvements will be made.

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