Dear Mayor Rahm,
I have heard it through the grapevine that you have a tendency to drop an f-bomb or two in heated conversations. Well then let me put this in terms that you can understand.
Dearborn Street is a f#@king nightmare with the new bike lane configuration!!! What in the f#@k where you people thinking when you devised this plan? Does anybody who is responsible for this plan even drive on Dearborn Street? I heard that the Alderman who was behind the design is a big biker. If that is true I’m even more amazed because I don’t even think a non-biker could have thought up a plan that less favored bikers while completely f#@king motorists at the same time.
As far as I can tell from my limited capabilities, Dearborn Street is the only street offering a motorist a one-way northbound path that runs from the South Loop all the way to Division Street anywhere between Lake Michigan and Halsted. Let’s review shall we?
Lake Shore Drive (LSD) doesn’t count because it’s technically an expressway
Columbus which starts at Roosevelt ends around Chicago Avenue
Michigan Avenue gets close but peters out at the LSD entrance around Oak Street
State Street sort of makes it except that it merges with Rush around Chestnut and has all that stuff to deal with in the loop anyways
Clark can’t figure out if it’s one way north or south or if it goes both ways
LaSalle tries to go both ways too but runs into a board of trade and looses focus
Wells has been closed at Kinzie for months now. Who knows why?
Mini streets like Des Plaines and Jefferson all seem to die at the river
And then there is Halsted which would make a solid run from way far south all the way to Evanston. Except when the bridge is out south of Division like it was the last two years.
With all of that in mind can I ask you this on little question? Who in the f#@k thought it was a good idea to narrow Dearborn Street to two lanes going northbound with parking spaces in the middle of nowhere and unsafe and un-useable bike lanes on the west side of the street?
Now take note here I’m both a biker and a motorist. I frequently ride my bike through city streets in the better seasons and I drive the loop 12 months a year.
For those of you less familiar the current two lanes northbound configuration means that anytime a car or a truck tries to double park on the east side of Dearborn for a stop and drop or a delivery, traffic is compromised to one and a half lanes. Anytime a car tries to parallel park on the west side of the street traffic is compromised to one and a half lanes. Anytime at any of the intersections that allow for a left hand turn, if there are more than three cars wishing to turn left traffic is compromised to only one lane. When a police officer decides to stop in one of the northbound lanes without even attempting to get over to one side traffic is compromised to a half of one lane (I’ve seen it four times already). In summary the entire flow of traffic on the most important north to south street is completely f#@ked all so we can have two dedicated bike lanes, one in each direction on the extreme west side of Dearborn Street.
Well in case you haven’t noticed…NO BIKERS ARE USING THE BIKE LANES! I know I would never use the southbound bike lane along the west edge curb of Dearborn Street. Wanna know why? Because for years pedestrians have been wandering off of that curb into the middle of the street looking only to the right (if at all) for safety since Dearborn has been a one way street for like f#@king ever. You know what happens when a pedestrian steps in front of a biker traveling at a safe but normal commuting speed? The pedestrian gets hit, the biker flips over their handlebars and lands either on a car parked in the new northbound middle of the road parking spaces – or worse – into oncoming northbound traffic. SPLAT!
Trust me I’ve been up and down Dearborn Street almost daily for the last month and every time I’ve seen a biker, it’s always going northbound and it’s always on the EAST side of the street not in the bike lanes. Now you can try to say to me that if we give it time that people will adapt and things will change. Maybe so but my bet is that this is just a bad idea that needs to be put to rest before somebody or a bunch of somebodies get hurt. I’m all for making Chicago even more bike friendly for a multitude of reasons but let’s chalk this one up to fail and move on.
Any thoughts? Am I crazy? Both? Just another whim for the New Year. Happy, Happy…