Urban Cyclist Paranoia Unveiled Over Lane Relocation

Background Reading

Summary

A bicyclist in the marked bike lane on West Kinzie and North Orleans streetsin 2012. (José M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)

A bicyclist in the marked bike lane on West Kinzie and North Orleans streetsin 2012. (José M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)

Downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly introduced a measure Wednesday to try to force the city’s transportation commissioner to pull a protected bike lane off Kinzie Street.

According to Reilly, community-approved development plans for buildings going up on Wolf Point included an agreement that the bike lane would be moved off Kinzie Street and onto nearby Grand Avenue because the heavy auto traffic trying to get into the buildings from Kinzie would be incompatible with the bike lane.

“(Commissioner of Transportation Rebekah Scheinfeld) is considering using her authority to ignore that directive,” Reilly said.

Scheinfeld could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Agency spokesman Michael Claffey said he was looking into the issue.

According to Reilly, Scheinfeld is citing “an internal study” showing it would not be safe to move the bike lane to Grand Avenue. But Reilly said Scheinfeld’s study “is not a professional study.”

The 42nd Ward alderman’s order would require Scheinfeld to remove the Kinzie bike lane.

Copyright © 2015, Chicago Tribune


TakeAways

I smell a bit of Kabuki Theatre going on here. The Mayor’s Office knows that there are likely to be the same kinds of hysterics amongst the members of the Urban Cycling Movement here in Chicago that prompted some of them to assume that bike racks which have now been relocated to the front of the Navy Pier Area were moved out of spite.

Chicago's Cycling Movement Issues A Leftist Manifesto

Chicago’s Cycling Movement Issues A Leftist Manifesto

In fact on the Chicago ‘Whine and Jeez’ Club Bicycle Forum a small fracas began when the fact that racks been moved or were thought to be missing was disclosed. Part of the Collective Narrative of Victimhood that these folks share demands that anything that inconveniences them in the slightest be considered an affront to the entire group and a demonstration of anti-bike sentiment in the general population and especially coming out of City Hall.

I can only guess that their salad days manifesto of a year or two ago has long since had its parchment burned in favor of an even more aggressive missive that intends to defy and even larger segment of society.

Such a pathetic little group.

Even Their Members Would Like To See Kinzie Street Lane Relocated

One rider on their forum admitted to using the Kinzie Street Lane every day. But regretted that near collisions with automobiles is greater there than anywhere else. And as usual she is not giving the City of Chicago high marks for its ‘house cleaning‘. Like so many miles of these bike lanes in Chicago that were painted a pretty shade of green and separated from the roadway by PVC bollards, maintenance has been abysmal.

The paint is long since peeled off and the bollards plowed up during winters. The notion is that finding a better alternative would be a welcomed change. Smart lady!

Chicago Bike Lanes Are Pathetic

When the entirety of your advocacy is based on ‘street furniture‘ you run the risk of having street closures disrupt your feeling of security. That is the problem being faces by Urban Cycling Movement members all over the country.

In most instances they would have been far better off to find ‘off street routes‘ that segregated bicyclists from cars. The Brits are seeking to do this in London. By making use of things like their Underground Tube, bikes can move about the city without having to deal with traffic intersections and the noise and pollution above ground.

Even pedestrians are going to share this cool, quiet environment. That will be special. Meanwhile the situation here stateside is pretty pathetic. We are constantly trying to shoe-horn in bike lanes in places that are essentially the drainage ditches of the roadway and not liking the fact that snow, rain, and general debris are doing what the road design requires of them, flow to the edges.

That in turn makes these abysmal places to ride bicycles which have anything short of puncture proof tires. Merchants and building owners use this area to shovel the snow plowed up onto their sidewalks by trucks to clear them. So all winter long the silly buggers that embraced these on-street lanes are calling and clamoring about an unclear bike lane.

The whole scenario is a bit like a black comedy. But heh, the Active Transportation Alliance told those folks, this was the best they could hope for. So we have pretty green peeling paint that turns a very shabby dull green (see the photo above) and in many places never gets retouched as often as needed.

Sheesh!