44th, 46th, + 47th Ward Greenway PowerWalk

Monday night, representatives from Lakeview, Uptown and Lincoln Square’s Alderman’s Offices walked the length of the Berteau Greenway, from Clark to Lincoln, with the lovely Dave Smith from CDOT and Lee Crandell from the Lakeview Chamber, to learn more about treatments along the Berteau Greenway. We don’t know how common is it to do collaborative walk-a-longs, but this was great fun as the 46th Ward looks forward to our own Leland Greenway, and the 44th Ward plans to install something similar on School Street.

Bike Uptown organized the walk-a-long so that everyone could learn from Alderman Pawar and his staff planner, Bill Higgins, about their experience. Our aim is to apply those learnings to the 46th Ward Leland Greenway, funded through Participatory Budgeting. The Leland Greenway should be designed this fall and winter, and installed in spring 2014.

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Left to right: Dave Smith (CDOT), Mr. S (44th Ward Office), Eric Hanss (Bike Uptown), Lee Crandell (Lakeview Chamber of Commerce), Alderman Ameya Pawar (47th Ward), Matt Hauschild (46th Ward Office), Bill Higgins (47th Ward Office), Alderman James Cappleman (46th Ward)

Highlights of the Berteau Greenway Walk-a-Long

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At Clark and Berteau, a pedestrian refuge island made it easy to cross the street. The elements of the design that emphasized pedestrian safety were popular with residents.

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The contra-flow bike lane was enticing to drivers and cyclists alike because cyclists were already riding against traffic- and this accommodation made it safer for them to do that. Drivers also liked that the contra-flow lane “gave the bikes a clear place to ride in,” which made drivers feel like the environment was more predictable.

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Stormwater bump-outs at Berteau and Ashland were also popular with residents who were irritated with flooding. An interesting way to get community buy-in for the Greenway was to position the stormwater management elements as part of the overall Greenway package. Residents could let the Alderman’s office know where they saw existing flooding issues, and the office could then recommend those places to CDOT as candidates for stormwater management gardens. Alderman Cappleman is aware of flooding problems in the 1200 block of West Leland and was interested in this solution. New CDOT guidelines requiring sustainable design elements–like stormwater bump-outs–in all projects have just been announced. These additions can actually be more cost effective in the short- as well as the long-run.

Further notes:

  • To encourage slower, steady speeds along Berteau, CDOT replaced STOP signs with traffic circles.
  • The speed limit was lowered from 30 MPH to 20 MPH.
  • The gardens in traffic circles are maintained by community groups.
  • CDOT used sharrows along Berteau where traffic is bi-directional to enforce the idea of a gentle neighborhood street.
  • Chicanes were considered but not used at Berteau and Ravenswood. Chicanes are most helpful for mid-block situations where there are not many STOP signs. We’re not sure where or whether they would be helpful on Leland but we’d like to explore them.
  • There is a cute bike traffic signal at Berteau and Damen.

We also learned that when presenting Greenway ideas to community residents, it’s a good idea to start gathering input well before the design is finalized. While CDOT is full of smart and capable planners like Dave Smith who can design a Greenway in their sleep, it’s important to CDOT and to the Alderman that they gather community intelligence early in the process. What do you wish the Alderman knew about Leland?

3 comments

  1. Had no idea the speed limit was 30 mph before – 20’s plenty!

  2. The easternmost end of Leland at Arai Park needs thought, but are some cool options, also if the fencing around the playing field has to stay. Just one possibility might be diverting south along the alley and through the enticing unused space (http://goo.gl/maps/4cgr8) under Uplift High School’s skybridge over Eastwood. I could definitely see kids riding to school and parking there, and there still being enough room for a bike track.

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