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Day Four of Streetsblog Chicago’s Bike Lane Week: A few surprises on the Mid-North Side

Interestingly, I saw a few things that were previously off my sustainable transportation infrastructure geek radar.

CDOT has installed bus stop-raised bike lane combos on Belmont east of Western. Wait, what? Photo: John Greenfield

This post is sponsored by the Active Transportation Alliance

Check out Day One: Mid-South Side here.

Check out Day Two: Far Southwest Side here.

Check out Day Three: Near Southwest and Near South Side here.

Check out Day Five: Near Northwest Side, Far West Side, Near West Side, Near North Side here

I was under the impression that bike lane construction season in Chicago had pretty much wrapped up for 2023. After all, we had snow a couple weeks ago, and it's hard to lay down thermoplastic and concrete when it gets cold. But during my ramblings today on Day Four of Streetsblog Chicago's Bike Lane Week, I was pleased to find that the Chicago Department of Transportation still has a few cards up its sleeves this year.

Below is SBC's map of 2013 finished and underway projects. My goal is to visit all of the bikeways that Streetsblog hasn't checked out in person yet this year. The weather was relatively warm today, and I hit the street on the late side after editing Igor Studenkov's insightful piece on the less-than-Swift progress of Yellow Line restoration after last month's crash.

So instead of spending an hour on the 'L' taking my bike to a starting point far from SBC's Uptown headquarters, as I did on Day One, Day Two, and Day Three, I pedaled to a few locations on the Mid-North Side. But, interestingly, I still saw a few things that were previously off my sustainable transportation infrastructure geek radar.

The Leavitt Greenway north of Montrose Avenue

For example, I've already thoroughly discussed the Leavitt Street Neighborhood Greenway, a side street route with contraflow ("wrong-way") bike lanes on its one-way-only stretches, between Diversey Boulevard and Montrose Avenue. CDOT was supposed to extend the bikeway about a mile further north to Berwyn Avenue, but the last few times I checked, it hadn't happened.

The Leavitt Greenway extension, looking north from its five-lane Montrose/Lincoln. See how I made the transition to the stretch north of Montrose in the video below. Photo: John Greenfield

But when I stopped by today, I was pleased to see that the route has been lengthened by about 50 percent. Take a virtual ride below.

Rockwell/Argyle Greenway

After that, I swung by a new segment of Neighborhood Greenways on Rockwell and Argle streets that runs from Lawrence Avenue to the North Shore Channel Trail. It's a good alternate to the under-construction section of Lawrence that parallels Argyle here, which is worth avoiding. There's an interesting treatment of the south-turning contraflow lane at the Rockwell/Argyle junction.

Argyle/Rockwell, looking north. Photo: John Geenfield
The Argyle Greenway intersects with the North Shore Channel Trail. Photo: John Greenfield

Lawrence Avenue bike lanes and bus lane

From there I rode west on some new non-protected bike lanes on Lawrence west of the river.

New bike lanes on Lawrence west of the river, looking west. John Greenfield

The interesting thing about the corridor is that there's now an eastbound bike-bus lane near the Kimball Brown Line station. Since there's currently no camera enforcement of bus and bike lanes in Chicago, many motorists will surely drive and stand in this location whenever it's convenient to do so.

New bus-bike lane at the Kimball station, looking east. Photo: John Greenfield

Berteau Neighborhood Greenway extension

Next I stopped by the Berteau Avenue Neighborhood Greenway a few blocks west of Lincoln Avenue to Western Avenue. You can now bike in both directions on Berteau all the way from Clark, about 10 blocks. As you can see in the photo below, drivers aren't respecting the contraflow lane perfectly.

Entrance to the Berteau Greenway from Western, looking west. Photo: John Greenfield

Then I stopped by a new bit of curb-protected bike lane on on Roscoe west of Western. It's only a block long, but it always annoyed me that this stretch didn't have physical protection, while just west of there Campbell Avenue has had nice curb protection for a couple of years.

Curb protection on Roscoe west of Western, looking north. Photo: John Greenfield

Afterwards, I looked at Belmont Avenue between Campbell and Ashland, which I thought was just going to get non-protected bike lanes, in contrast to the nice recently installed protected bike lanes on Belmont between Campbell and Kimball, which Streetsblog has previously discussed in depth. When I stopped by today, I noticed that the stretch of protected lane next to the 312 River Run off-street trail entrance now has a two-way bike lane, making it easier to come and go from the trail curb cuts to Rockwell Avenue.

The new two-way protected bike lane next to the 312 RiverRun entrance, looking west. You can use this lane to get to and from the pedestrian islands that allow you to safely cross Belmont at Rockwell. Photo: John Greenfield

Bike-bus lanes have been added on parts of the Campbell-Ashland corridor.

People ride bikes on a new bike-bus west of Western, looking west. Phpto: John Greenfield

But what really blew my mind is that combination bus stop islands and raised bike lanes have been added in a few locations. This year I've scanned CDOT bike maps and to-do lists on a regular basis, and I hadn't heard anything about that plan!

Raised bike lanes and bus islands on Belmont east of Western, looking east. Photo: John Greenfield

Just before I rode off, I saw a CDOT crew installing high-visibility crosswalks along Belmont.

Using a torch to install stamped high-viz crosswalks along Belmont, looking southwest. Photo: John Greenfield

So we may see a few more interesting bike-ped improvements this year before winter sets in for good.

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Check out Day One: Mid-South Side here.

Check out Day Two: Far Southwest Side here.

Check out Day Three: Near Southwest and Near South Side here.

Check out Day Five: Near Northwest Side, Far West Side, Near West Side, Near North Side here

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