Friday, November 7, 2014

StreetsBlog Chicago Checks in on Roosevelt Road Improvements

A raised bike path is under construction on the north side of Roosevelt, between Michigan and Indiana avenues, outside Potbelly and Trader Joe’s. (Image via StreetsBlog Chicago)
There are a lot of "improvements" underway on Roosevelt Road between State and Indiana.  One of the highest profile items is Chicago's first raised bike lane (via StreetsBlog Chicago):
Next month, bicyclists of all ages will have a safe new way to get to the Museum Campus, Lakefront Trail, and Soldier Field from the South Loop once construction crews complete the city’s first raised cycle track. A two-way bike path along Roosevelt Road, between Wabash and Indiana avenues, is being built on the same level as the sidewalk on the north side of the street. This separated path will keep bicyclists out of a busy five-lane road that’s often filled with cars and buses traveling to or from Lake Shore Drive and the museums.
We've had some posts on this topic and generally speaking are excited to see how this affects pedestrian and vehicular traffic in the area.  In the StreetsBlog post, many commenters are predicting traffic nightmares.  If you've ever been in the area during an event at Soldier Field, you probably can't fathom how traffic on Roosevelt could get worse.  Should be interesting to see how this changes the flow on Roosevelt.

Anyway, the post says that the city will be done with the project soon:
An electronic board at the site indicates that CDOT anticipates completing construction on December 1, four weeks from today. Once the project is finished, it will create a safer, off-street east-west route for Roosevelt bikers — but there will certainly be a learning curve for both bikers and pedestrians, as bicyclists will now share a surface with pedestrians. The bike path will be separated from both sidewalk and street by a row of street trees.
Great news for bikers, except for the fact that December is the start of the freezing season in Chicago and bike traffic tends to dip DRASTICALLY for the next couple months (because it will be freakin cold outside).

In semi-related news, the city is also nearing completion of the new skate park and grassy area on the south end of Grant Park.  DNAinfo has an article about skaters breaking in at night to use the park because they're stoked for it.  Silly skaters, they're going to ruin it before it's ready for them to shred on.

Similar to the Roosevelt Road improvements this project is scheduled to be done in early December.
New Grant Park skate park - between Michigan and Columbus just north of Roosevelt (via DNAinfo)

Anyway, some big time civic improvements are nearing completion on Roosevelt Road.  Hopefully they will be an asset to the Sloop.

What do you think, are these "improvements" good or bad for the neighborhood?

(Hat tip:  SS!)

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