02 August 2010
Lest I Forget
A couple weeks ago, I wrote about dangerous cycling spots in Chicago. That post garnered a lot of positive feedback and I subsequently realized that I forgot about one of the worst ones. Logan Boulevard & Western Avenue.
Logan is a major bike route, connecting the boulevard system to Elston Avenue. Let us begin with Logan eastbound as it passes under the Kennedy Expressway:
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The boulevards feature service drives, which I always use as the center lanes have very little curb clearance and high speeds. As Logan approaches the Expressway, these end and bikes must enter the lane or use the sidewalk. The road curves as it passes under the freeway and the train viaduct, which is just a bad combination. I don't like driving west through here in late afternoon as well, when the light goes from dark shadow to blinding sun in an instant, all while managing a curve and trying not to hit a cyclist on your right.
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Moving along, Logan crosses Western Avenue, one of the busiest streets in the entire city. Here you can see the bad combination of shadow and street alignment. Furthermore, as you cross Western, Logan narrows from two lanes to one, before a dedicated bike lane appears. Traffic is often nightmarish here, with many people trying to turn left across the bike lane into the Target parking lot.
This one I don't have any simple answers for. I have lots of complicated, expensive ones but I doubt those will get very far. At the very least, bikes need to be given their own space under the freeway overpass. There's already been one cyclist fatality at this intersection in the last couple of years, memorialized by a ghost bike. (As an aside, while I appreciate the ghost bikes, I find this one to be rather distracting every time I pass it. I would hate to have to point out the irony if someday somebody were killed because a driver or cyclist was too focused on the side of the road.)
More posts to come in the near future, I've gotten some excellent feedback lately and it's greatly appreciated. Nice to know there's somebody out in the inter-ether.