Nuts, here I've spent the past three or so years gushing about the Chicago Bike Map and leaving unsolicited copies on uncounted coffee tables (what? no, I'm not a bicycling "evangelist," where did you get that idea?), when all of a sudden a comment in Hyde Park Progress alerts me to the fact that it might not be nearly as accurate as it is precise:
"As a tangent, there's a sign pointing cyclists up the wrong way on Hyde Park at this intersection with 57th. Does this make sense to anyone at all?"
It's a discussion on the super-intersection of 57th St., Stony Island Ave., and Lake Park Ave., so I'm pretty sure he means Lake Park. Besides, it's 57th Drive, not 57th Street, that intersects South Hyde Park Boulevard. (And don't get me started on South Hyde Park and East Hyde Park Boulevards. There are various boneheaded historical reasons why Chicago's lovely grid system all but explodes in this neighborhood.)
Anyway, 57th is one-way eastbound under the Illinois Central viaduct between Lake Park and Stony Island, while Lake Park is one-way southbound between 56th and 57th, smooshed between the railroad embankment and an alley that everyone uses as a sidewalk when it's not underwater. (I can only guess that the urban planners who designed this were extremely hungover at the time, because it doesn't make any sense otherwise.) This stretch of Lake Park is not one where a bicyclist would be wise to flout the law and go the wrong way because aside from the fact that it's illegal and annoys the hell out of everyone, this street is very narrow and gets a fairly steady stream of traffic. If there is indeed a bike route sign at 57th directing cyclists north, I can't say I've ever noticed it; I learned the hard way never to try going against traffic there long before those signs went up.
But let's take a look at the bike map:
Hmm. I'm very disappointed.
*The off-street path along 57th St., Cornell, and 57th Dr. to the underpass at 57th to the lakefront is unmarked.
*Lake Park Ave. is not marked as a one-way street between 56th and 57th, as unidirectional bike routes are supposed to be. Eep!
*The bike shop symbols are in the wrong places. One apparently failed to migrate to its new location, and one is duplicated at both the old and new locations. And yet Tati was faithfully added at 55th and Hyde Park Blvd. How puzzling.
*There is no indication whatsoever of just how awesome Tati is. I haven't been there myself yet, but I've heard it on good authority from everyone who is downright flabbergasted that I haven't been to Tati yet that it is, in fact, completely awesome. (If it makes you feel any better, I haven't been to Hyde Park Produce yet, either. I blame, among other things, the fact that my natural circadian rhythm is notoriously backwards.)
Anyway, if you're wide awake and in Hyde Park when Tati is open, you should stop by, say hi, and ask if "TATI" is actually an acronym. (I'm an editor; I fret about such things.) And if you think about it, ask if he has any of those big rubber bands that keep the spokes from poking the inner tube, and then let me know what the highly technical name for that is so I don't feel like a total idiot when I finally get my clueless bum over there. First impressions last, and I'm kind of afraid the guys at the other two non-Blackstone bike shops in Hyde Park might still recognize me. *hides*