August 6, 2011
Gabe Klein, Commissioner
Department of Transportation
121 N. LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60602
Dear Commissioner Klein,
First, I want to thank you for all your advocacy on behalf of cyclists and pedestrians. As a regular bicycle commuter, I know the perils—and pleasures—of cycling on Chicago streets, and I very much appreciate all you’ve done to make such travel a little easier for Chicago’s citizens.
Now I’d like to direct your attention to an intersection that plagues me on a daily basis, that at Armitage, Elston, and Ashland. Going southbound on Elston on my bike, travel through that intersection goes without a hitch, but when I am going northbound, it gets a little dicey at the juncture between Ashland and Elston. Even when I am in the center lane, indicating, I would think, my intention to stay on Elston, cars routinely cut in front of me to turn right onto Ashland. Sometimes it is more treacherous than others, depending on how closely they cut me off.
What I’d like to propose is that the lanes on Elston south of Armitage be painted to indicate that those who intend to travel north on Ashland be in the right-hand lane and those traveling north on Elston be in the center lane; the far left lane is already marked for left turn onto Armitage. North of Armitage, I suggest that one of the two lanes that continue to Elston be turned into a bike lane. Ideally, I’d love a protected bike lane, but at this point I’d take anything that helped give bicyclists a clear right of way! Since this may be hard to understand in the abstract, I’ve created some drawings to illustrate what I mean.Current Intersection
In the picture at right [above here, in the blog], I’ve used purple to show what I think should be painted onto the road.
If you have any questions about my concerns or suggestions, I hope you will feel free to contact me. I know everything can’t be attended to at once, but I hope this is a matter that you can investigate and resolve quickly.