Bike paths get to Belmont in Lakeview, but not all the way to the lakefront – Streetsblog Chicago

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There was good news from Lakeview on Thursday: the Chicago Department of Transportation will add brand new bike lanes on Belmont Avenue as part of a street repaving project. Belmont is a retail-rich two-lane street in a part of town that could use more good east-west bike lanes, so it’s an obvious choice for a bike lane.

But the situation is also somewhat frustrating. While the resurfacing project will stretch 1.3 miles from Southport Avenue (1400 W.) to DuSable Lake Shore Drive (930 W.), bike lanes will only be striped from Southport to Clark Street (830 W.) , about half the length.

Ald yesterday. Tom Tunney (44th), announced the project, which is due to start later this month. Work will include ADA sidewalk improvements, as well as the removal and replacement of curbs and gutters for better drainage. CDOT is still working out details and renders have not yet been released.

The project area on Belmont between Ashland and DLSD.  Picture: Google Maps
Total project area of ​​1.5 miles on Belmont between Ashland and DLSD. Click to enlarge. Picture: Google Maps

Two other blocks of Belmont, between Southport and Ashland Avenue (1600 W.) will be repaved as part of the Lincoln/Ashland/Belmont streetscape project, and will also have bike lanes. All work must be completed in November.

A Streetsblog reader has reached out to us, noting that no comment has been solicited from the community on the proposed bike path, which they say is “admittedly a double-edged sword” because it also means that there was no opportunity for “Not in Opposition in the manner of My Back Yard.

The reader contacted the 44th Ward for more information and got a response from Jacob Shelly, Director of Infrastructure and Special Projects. “We received the first renderings of the plans a few months before the project,” wrote Shelly. “When we had our meeting with CDOT last month to see the updated plans, our office had a few small questions and additional suggestions for a few areas, so we’re just waiting for the project team to send out a revised copy. “

Shelly provided some additional details (her language):

  • “Cycle paths will be painted with protected areas at busy intersections. There will be green markings on the roadway at major intersections for cyclists. (Similar to the intersection of Broadway and Roscoe.)”
  • “All intersections will get additional bumps if not installed before.”
  • “Per CDOT, they felt that the bike lanes from Ashland to Clark were the best option. Having a bike lane running from Clark to DLSD east would not be the best option in the interests of rider safety. The street is a bit narrow and can get congested during rush hour CDOT’s bike lane plans for this project were only to run from Clark west towards Ashland.

Shelly said he would meet with CDOT next week and promised to ask if the department had any updates on their plans to share with the public.

The Streetsblog reader wrote to us, “I have no idea how not installing bike lanes east of Clark is ‘in the interest of cyclist safety,'” with a face palm emoji.

DLSD's Belmont Viaduct.  Picture: Google Maps
DLSD’s Belmont Viaduct. Picture: Google Maps

I kind of understand what CDOT and/or Shelly are getting at: Belmont east of Clark has a tighter alignment and the drive’s Belmont Viaduct isn’t a particularly safe place to enter or exit the Lakefront Trail . As it stands, cyclists are better off using the car-free underpasses at Roscoe Street (3400 N.) and Briar Place (3130 N.)

Instead, city officials should ask, “What can we do to Craft the Belmont section between Clark and the lakeside safe and pleasant to ride? The answer would be to remove parking on one side of the street and install physically protected bike lanes, including under DLSD.

That would be a much more constructive approach than just giving up and saying, “That’s not possible.”

We will provide an update once CDOT releases renders of the plan.

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