Call

Blog

Law
02

Blog

Loop Link BRT; First Impressions.

By Jim Freeman

brt stop centerChicagoans who work in the loop have been enduring construction on Madison and Washington for the last several months. We’ve seen bus station islands emerge from what was the middle of the street. Now complete, the stations’ roof resembles the rib cage of some prehistoric animal. The glass ceilings lifted with steel rafters make artistic architecture for a bus stop. The Loop Link bus stops are off the sidewalk, separated by a green bicycle lane. People waiting for a Loop Link bus will no longer take up valuable sidewalk space, rather they will wait on the island for the next bus. Perhaps this signals the end of pedestrians wading through a huddled mass of people waiting for westbound buses at evening rush hour.
On Friday there was a CTA employee distributing fliers to bus commuters informing them of the change in loop bus stops starting this morning. The Loop Link is intended to make travel easier for motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians and CTA users alike. Traffic on Madison has been expanded from three through lanes to two dedicated car traffic lanes, one bus-only lane, and a green bicycle lane.

IMG_20151220_104453_148If you’re like me you’ve long felt that Chicago needed to provide some safe passage for bicyclists wishing to traverse the loop east and west. I’ve been dreamily watching the bike lanes take shape over the last few months. My hope is that the new green lanes may provide some conflict relief for my daily commute.

Today I rode the 20 Madison bus in to work today just to sample the anticipated Loop Link. Pickup was normal as any other day with the exception of the bus reading “20 Madison via Loop Link.” A lighted construction sign just east of Clinton warned traffic of new traffic patterns and advised motorists to stay out of the red “bus-only” lanes. The route was also the same, until we crossed over the river and entered the new red “bus-only” lanes marking the Loop Link.

e driver slowed the bus to about 5 mph. The bus eased forward until the front door was even with a yellow band marked on the bus stop island. I estimate the island will accommodate two buses at once.

After leaving the first loop link stop the bus was slowed to a stop by a right turning car partially blocking the bus only lane. I anticipate this will be a common disruption for rush hour loop link buses. It’s one thing to mark bus only lanes, but it’s quite another thing to actually keep other vehicles out of them.
I exited the bus at the new Dearborn stop. The islands are elevated, so there is no “step down” when exiting at a loop link stop. An elderly lady with a walker exited the bus behind me with ease.  walker lady

The islands are equipped with ramps to marked crosswalks across the adjacent bike lanes. I noticed that pedestrians tend to walk in the bike lanes rather than on the sidewalk when exiting the Loop Link islands. I expect we’ll see some interactions between bicyclists and pedestrians on this point while people learn how to negotiate the new bus stops.

Overall I’m very excited about loop link. As a transit user I hope it will provide more efficient bus travel during busy travel times. As a bicyclist I hope the bike lanes will provide safe travel to east/west loop commuters. Be careful when you’re riding in the new bike lanes. Be conscious of pedestrians in the lanes and watch out for drivers making turning movements across the bike lanes. Just because they mark bike lanes doesn’t mean we can run down pedestrians. Let’s be courteous while people get familiar with the new Loop Link traffic patterns.ped in bike lane

Comments

Ash Our Streets
Daniel Brazil Jan 13, 2021

As a Minneapolis-based attorney, I live, work, play and bike in the city. Although my city might be known for its lakes and our infamous Juicy Lucy, Minneapolis’ dedication to having safer streets for all should be included in that list. To reach the safe streets goal, numerous non-profit organizations and groups are working tirelessly […]

Read More
Ambassador
Rachael Maney Jan 11, 2021

Applications for the Bike Law Foundation Ambassador Program are now live. CLICK HERE FOR THE APPLICATION. The deadline to apply is Sunday, January 24th. Those selected will be notified on or before February 1. Thanks for your support and willingness to work together to make bicycling safer for all. We are committed to you, to one another, and […]

Read More
3-foot passing close call
Charlie Thomas Jan 11, 2021

It happens all the time: Someone emails me video footage, clearly showing they were biking along when a car buzzes past, coming within inches of a horrible crash — and there’s nothing I can do about it because we don’t have the laws in place to do something to help. Luckily, that might be about […]

Read More
killing cyclist bike law
Rachael Maney Dec 22, 2020

BIKE LAW ANNOUNCES THE INDICTMENT OF CARL BEHLER FOR KILLING CYCLIST AND INJURING OTHERS   Today, Carl Behler appeared in court for the first time for killing cyclist Arthur Carter and injuring others. He was indicted on Friday (12/18) by the Anne Arundel County Grand Jury and promptly arrested and detained for 7 crimes related […]

Read More
Bicycle Mayor
Bruce Hagen Dec 03, 2020

When I (Maria of Bike Law Georgia) called Pattie Baker, the first Metro Atlanta Bicycle Mayor, she was trudging through marshland on her bicycle on Alpharetta’s Big Creek Greenway. I pictured her in my mind with her bike, wearing her signature skirts, and mud on her sandals. Always on the go, the newly minted Metro […]

Read More
Alabama Bike Advocacy
Danny Feldman Dec 02, 2020

When Alabama bike advocate Jamie Miernik was growing up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, she dreamed of being an astronaut.  And today, although she is not an astronaut, as a chemical engineer who worked for Boeing on the NASA space station project, she put her knowledge and talents to use keeping the astronauts safe and sound in […]

Read More
Local bike shop Atlanta Bike Shop Mechanic
Bruce Hagen Nov 06, 2020

We have so many amazing local bike shops in the Atlanta Metro Area and in Georgia that it’s hard to single out any for the service that they provide, but here’s a short list of some of the shops from various parts of town and throughout the state. Eight Great Local Bike Shops in Georgia […]

Read More
Justice Ginsberg Bike Law
Lauri Boxer-Macomber Nov 03, 2020

Last month after Justice Ginsberg passed away, I went on one of those long solo rides to pedal things out.  I was hoping that time in the saddle would help settle the emotional torrent within me.  On one hand, I was feeling driven, empowered, and more motivated than ever to step things up a notch […]

Read More
Women on Bikes Rachael
Peter Wilborn Oct 11, 2020

Rachael Maney is the Director of the Bike Law Network and of the non-profit Bike Law Foundation. As most of you know, she has spent the last two weeks on these pages profiling 16 Women on Bikes leading up to yesterday’s inaugural Women’s Cycling Day. If you haven’t yet, read her profiles of and conversations with […]

Read More
Load More