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Protected Bike Lanes

The Clark PBLs and bus boarding islands between Irving Park and Montrose are progressing nicely

When Streetsblog stopped by on Monday, a northbound concrete raised bike lane on the east side of Clark, along with new bus infrastructure, was partially complete

Looking north toward the under-construction northbound raised bike lane and bus island on the east side of Clark. Photo: John Greenfield

This post is sponsored by Ride Illinois.

Update 11/9/23, 3:15 PM: As the Chicago Department of Transportation said was happening yesterday, Clark Street between Irving Park Road (4000 N.) and Montrose Avenue (4400 N.) was milled recently and is slated for repaving next week. Therefore, it's best to avoid this corridor. CDOT doesn't seem to have posted an alternative route for bike riders in the meantime, but here's what I'd suggest.

My recommended detour while this stretch of Clark is being repaved, from north to south, although it works in both directions: Southeast on Clark Street, east on Wilson Avenue (4600 N.), southeast on Broadway, south on Sheridan Road (1000 W.), southeast on Clark. Image: Google Maps

It's not a particularly low-stress route, but all streets have two mixed-traffic lanes, and major intersections have stoplights. It should work fine in both directions for so-called for "strong and confident" cyclists who were already OK with biking on Clark. (Of course, the new Clark protected bike lanes should make this section of Clark work for "interested but concerned" folks as well, if only for half a mile.)

To give you an idea of what you can look forward to one the PBL is finished, here's a short clip of what it's like riding north on Clark on the new (again, partially completed) raised bike lane (which incorporates a bus island) and curb-protected bike lane from Bell Plaine Avenue (4100 N.) to Berteau Avenue (4200 N.)

Update 11/8/23, 5:00 PM: Chicago Department of Transportation spokesperson Erica Schroder provided this additional info: "Clark is being milled today and paving is scheduled for next week. After that there will be a few weeks of concrete work. We expect the project to be substantially complete by mid-December."

Last week, I checked out the new concrete-protected bike lanes on Clark Street between Montrose Avenue (4400 N.) and Irving Park Road (4000 N.), on the border of Lakeview and Uptown next to Graceland Cemetery. Read last week's post for more details on what the initiative involves, and what it will hopefully achieve. In a nutshell, the lightly-used car parking spaces on the east side of Clark next to the boneyard are being converted, Wrigley charter buses will be parked on Irving Park, and bus islands and a new bus standing zone are being added. Here's an overview.

The plan for the project. Image: CDOT

When I stopped by earlier this week, the work was continuing to come along nicely. Last time I was there, southbound curb PBLs were already installed on the west side of Clark a little south of Berteau Avenue (4200 N.), basically all the way to Irving Park. A CDOT crew was there working on the east side of Clark.

Looking south at concrete protection (not fully cleaned up) on the southbound bike lane on the west side of Clark, just north of Irving Park. Photo: John Greenfield

When I stopped by on Monday, a northbound concrete raised bike lane on the east side of Clark, along with new bus infrastructure, was partially complete.

Looking south at a northbound raised bike lane taking shape on the east side of Clark between Belle Plaine and Berteau. Photo: John Greenfield

As you continue north on the east side of Clark from there, north of Belle Plaine Avenue (4100 N.), the raised bike lane is combined with a bus-boarding island. This setup is getting more common in Chicago, such as on Milwaukee Avenue in Bucktown.

Looking south on the combination raised bike lane and bus boarding island on the east side of Clark, north of Belle Plaine, the northern terminus of the CTA's #9 Ashland Bus route. It looks like a barrier has been placed on the structure to discourage biking on it until it is fully ready to ride.

As you ride north on Clark towards Southport Avenue (1400 W.), the raised bike lane drops to street level again, and there's a curb-protected bike lane.

Looking north at the curb-protected bike lane on the east side of Clark, just east of Southport. Photo: John Greenfield

As I noted last week, the well-intended but poorly-executed bike and pedestrian island at Berteau Avenue (4200 N.) and Clark, the eastern terminus of the Berteau Neighborhood Greenway side street route, has been removed. Bike riders loved to hate this structure because they were often squeezed between moving vehicles and the curb when passing it. This time I snapped a photo.

Berteau and Clark, before and after the island removal. Images: Google Maps, John Greenfield

Last time I checked, no construction had been done north of Berteau. But I'll try to take another look later today.

Meanwhile, our good friends at the car-obsessed Uptown Update news blog (just kidding, it's an anonymous website so I have no idea who they are) published a quote from bike-friendly alder Matt Martin (47th) about this project last month.

Screenshot of Uptown Update.

Of course this being Uptown Update, as a Streetsblog reader pointed out, the website made a point of putting the part about the car-parking conversion in bold, sort of like Paul Revere shouting that "The British are coming!"

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