Sunday, July 22, 2012
New Lanes on 55th St. a Learning Curve
-posted by chicago pop
It is truly amazing what good urban design is capable of. New lines on the street, and a few physical impediments to nudge behavior in the desired direction, and we already have tangible benefits: traffic moving at a much slower pace the length of 55th, improved safety for pedestrians at crosswalks, and more cyclists riding in the street - as they should be - with more confidence.
The sticky part is getting motorists to go with the new parking program, and park away from the curb. As of last week, local car owners must still be thinking all that new paint on the street was some kind of public art:
To their credit, on at least one block in about this area last week, I saw about half a dozen cars parking in the boxed lane BETWEEN the curbside bike lane and the lane of traffic - where the cars are supposed to go. But those vehicles were a minority.
That may change quickly, however, if - as the HPP reader who submitted these photos reports -- vehicles parked in the bike lanes continue to receive tickets, as they began to last week.
It would help, also, if more bollards were deployed to make parking in the bike lane physically impossible. My assumption was that these were on the way, but I don't know. It would make sense, after all this effort, to situate the bollards in such a way that the desired behavior was perfectly clear.
Everything comes with a learning curve. Even if it takes a few weeks for the locals get the hang of this, or maybe even the rest of the summer, in the long term it's what we call here at HPP 'real goddamn progress.' A round of applause to CDOT and to the Adlermen and traffic engineers and cycling/pedestrian activists who made this a reality. Sometimes an ingenious idea really can make the world a little bit more civilized.