15 March 2008

Gaps in sidewalk along Lakefront Path detour through Museum Campus

As fretted about earlier, but J's comment had me hoping that the most dangerous thing on the Lakefront Path was really just me with my lousy night vision. So I returned armed with a camera, a ruler, ample daylight, and far too much time on my hands. Judge for yourself.

First of all, the Park District's official detour is marked with a broken green centerline. (Why green? Nevermind, just follow it.) Second, I noticed that hoards of Real Cyclists (I'd like to thank the two who ran me into a tree in order to give a bollard ten inches of clearance for nothing at all) were cutting their own way through the Museum Campus via some route that was neither the normal one behind the Shedd Aquarium nor the detour next to the Field Museum, so I guess this doesn't affect you and you'll all just keep going your own way anyway. Third, the rest of us can follow the orange detour signs with the dude chasing after his bike, even though some of the other signs give mixed signals:

Now, those gaps at the joints in the concrete that I mentioned with some alarm really do exist, although they are unlikely to cause you any serious problems as long as you are paying attention to what's in front of you. (And you should be; it's the Museum Campus, after all.) There are two such joints on the marked detour, and they are normally covered with metal plates. In some places the slabs of concrete supporting those metal plates have disintegrated, probably owing to this winter's exceptionally brutal freeze-thaw-snow cycle. So the plates have fallen into the joints, exposing the large gaps in the pavement. Hopefully it's something the that Park District can get around to repairing soon; the size and placement of those holes still make me pretty nervous.

This is the first one you encounter when heading north:

Note the 90 degree turn with poor visibility around the corner. The exposed gap is in your lane.

The second one is longer but located such that it should be easier both to spot and to cross perpendicularly:

I guess we'll see what happens once the tourists come out in force.


At 16 March, 2008 08:15, Blogger J/tati said...

I dunno, I still think the "middle route" next to the Museum is the safest for both cyclists and tourists. These types of detours generally designed by traffic engineers who are not cyclists, so it's not too surprising about the gaps.

On the other hand, there are other major cyclist corridors, like Sheridan Road, with even crazier hazards.

At 16 March, 2008 12:46, Blogger J/tati said...

Hi Jennifer,

I took a closer look at the detour this morning and stand corrected. It's actually not too bad, except for the fact that it's not very clearly marked for cyclists. The other problem is that the initial turn off the path is 90 degrees and very sudden and it forces us across an intersection. But once you get there, it's probably better than either of the other routes, at least between 10AM and 6PM, when there are taxis and tourists. In the early morning and evenings, I would probably still take the middle route.


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