Bike lanes slated for Jackson Boulevard

'Bump outs' will cause bicyclists to share the road at intersections

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

New dedicated bike lanes will be added later this year on Jackson Boulevard between Harlem and Ridgeland avenues, but curb extensions at intersections will still force riders into traffic.

The bike lanes will be added during a resurfacing of Jackson between Harlem and Oak Park avenues later this year. Bike lanes will replace on-street parking along certain sections of the boulevard. Addition of the bike lanes will cost the village an estimated $2,200.

The curb extensions, also known as bump outs, are a safety feature meant to slow traffic. 

"In those areas [where bump outs exist] it can't be a dedicated bike lane; it becomes a shared road," said village spokesman David Powers.

Powers said the bump outs were installed several years ago and the village Transportation Commission considered whether to remove them to make room for the bike lanes.

At a commission meeting held early last year, the majority of residents who testified said the bump outs should stay, according to meeting minutes.

Powers could not say how much it cost the village to install the bump outs, but several residents have argued that they have successfully slowed traffic and that it would be irresponsible to remove them.

The decision to remove parking and install dedicated bike lanes goes a step beyond the village's "Oak Park Bicycle Plan," a guide used to make the village more bicycle-friendly. That plan, released in August 2008, recommended shared lanes along the entire length of Jackson


Reader Comments

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Regular Jackson cyclist  

Posted: August 18th, 2014 2:44 PM

JBM, bike lanes do increase retail sales, but that isn't the purpose. FYI Harrison is on the Bike Plan to get bike route markings eventually. But it has too much parking to get rid of for a bike lane. Jackson very rarely has anybody parked on it. Harrison also isn't a thru street if you're trying to go west.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 18th, 2014 2:12 PM

I live one block from Jackson. I ride my bike at least 10 miles every day. I NEVER ride on Jackson. Too dark, too much traffic, too much north/south traffic, and there is no where to go on Jackson. Jackson's west end is a snake ride that ends at Harlem - not an easy street to cross. Jackson's east side ends at Colombus Park. I ride there but not on the snaky street between Central and Austin. There are very nice bike riding paths in Colombus Park. I use the Art District to get there. Aren't bike lanes supposed to increase retail sales? There is retail on both Madison and the Art District. None on Jackson. The smart riders on south side use the side streets -- much safer.


Posted: August 18th, 2014 1:38 PM

Brian, while it may make sense to put bike lanes within parkways, there is the matter of trees occupying those spaces.

Brian Slowiak from Westchester  

Posted: August 17th, 2014 4:59 PM

@ GE: If the cyclist wants to get to the other end, shouldn't the thought of dedicated bike lanes in the parkway be considered? There is no item or person moving on the parkway.

In Glen Ellyn formerly from OP  

Posted: August 16th, 2014 3:53 PM

Brian- Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side. Why did the cyclist want to share the road with larger vehicles? To get to the other end. Winter- Yes, do your own thing; that's what makes you beautiful, but you have an issue with sharing. You have an issue with other entities using your sidewalk where you think you should have sole or primary privilege or right. The 33 year old bicycle ordinances long preceded your inconvenience by popular sidewalk cafes.

Winter Skye from Chicago, Illinois  

Posted: August 16th, 2014 2:56 PM

@In Glen Ellyn: Sorry but I am not just yet another sheeple. I do my own thing. This stinks to high heaven. Businesses get to take PUBLIC sidewalks and block pedestrians and it's all good. Walking bikes is dumb as hell because I take up twice as much space alongside my bike! In narrow spaces it obstructs others quite a bit whereas riding slowly is a streamlined affair.

Brian Slowiak from Westchester  

Posted: August 16th, 2014 2:46 PM

@ GE: Completely serious, Tree roots could be cut or bridged over. Why would a cyclists want to share the road with a vehicle that is many times bigger than they are.

In Glen Ellyn formerly from OP  

Posted: August 16th, 2014 12:32 PM

Ok, I guess I don't do subtle or sarcasm well. Brian- were you making a joke or were you serious and would appreciate a list of reasons why bike paths aren't likely to appear on OP parkways?

In Glen Ellyn formerly from OP  

Posted: August 16th, 2014 12:28 PM

Brian- I really don't have a clue why the Village doesn't hire some cheap locals to redesign and restructure maybe just a few dozen miles of parkway to accomodate the heavy bicycle traffic. Nobody likes the trees anyway.

Brian Slowiak from Westchester  

Posted: August 16th, 2014 11:18 AM

GE: The parkway, between the curb and public sidewalk. spaced with trees down the center of the parkway, possibly two lanes one each direction, on both sides of the street. Bikers would be off the street, protected by a curb, homeowners wouldn't have to cut grass. I cant think of a tree that blocks the entire parkway. Or west bound bike traffic north side of street, east bound traffic south side of street.

In Glen Ellyn formerly from OP  

Posted: August 16th, 2014 11:02 AM

Brian- the parkways with all the trees or the parkways next to the existing roadways wide enough to simulateously accomodate both cars and bikes? I don't know.


Posted: August 16th, 2014 10:52 AM

Thank you In GE, etc. for your specific citations of the Village Code.

Brian Slowiak from Westchester  

Posted: August 16th, 2014 10:26 AM

@ GE: Any idea, opinion, why the bike paths aren't placed on the parkway?

In Glen Ellyn formerly from OP  

Posted: August 16th, 2014 10:20 AM

And don't forget bike helmet (under age 17) and bike license!

In Glen Ellyn formerly from OP  

Posted: August 16th, 2014 10:13 AM

So, to Winter Skye or Violet Aura or whomever, for future reference and to avoid violating multiple village ordinances in a moment of "why should I go around?", refer to where you'll also find Chapter 15 Motor vehicles & Traffic Article 2 bicycles; Section 7, Item C Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway shall not ride other than single file except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.

In Glen Ellyn formerly from OP  

Posted: August 16th, 2014 10:07 AM

OP ordinances as of Feb, 2014 Chapter 15 Motor vehicles & Traffic Article 2 bicycles; Section 6 A. No person shall ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk within a business district. B. No person fifteen (15) or more years of age shall ride a bicycle upon any sidewalk in any zoning district. C. Whenever any person is riding a bicycle upon a sidewalk such person shall yield the right of way to any pedestrian and shall give audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian. (1981 Code).


Posted: August 15th, 2014 5:28 PM

Sorry, Maggie, It was Winter Skye that was riding on the Lake Street sidewalk. And,WS, I agree with you tables should not be set out on the sidewalk either blocking pedestrians. Maybe you should consider walking through the "dining area", stop and comment on how their dinner looks and ask if it tastes good. They really should have no expectation of privacy while out on the public right-of-way.

Winter Skye from Chicago, Illinois  

Posted: August 15th, 2014 5:13 PM

@Muntz: I WAS GOING TO THE MAIN LIBRARY!!! So I am supposed to go out of my way?! I was coming back from the book fair and it was only a few blocks. I mentioned that area versus east of Ridgeland because of the commercial district. Of course, it's fine and dandy for restaurants to have tables that obstruct the PUBLIC (!) sidewalk but heaven forbid someone rides slowly on the same sidewalk. I had an OP cop tell me it was cool to do it as long as I ride slowly. THAT is an intelligent rule! Can anyone direct me to the proper people to get this idiotic rule changed?


Posted: August 15th, 2014 2:32 PM

Once again it seems that muntz and I are on the same page; taking side streets is easier on everyone; riders or drivers. Maggy; you were on the Lake Street sidewalk between Euclid & OP Avenue? That's one of the blocks with the most pedestrian traffic! The cop was right. Two-abreast riders is lawful, unless they are impeding vehicular traffic. So, two buddies shooting the breeze and backing up cars behind them isn't the right thing to do.


Posted: August 15th, 2014 1:25 PM

@Winter-Now we're creating "biker malls" on our major thoroughfares? I'm sure the Lake St vendors will appreciate that. And why isn't east of Ridgeland worthy of your plan? My suggestion: Instead of Lake, take Pleasant. Instead of Chicago, take Iowa. Side streets will get you where you need to go...and with much more pleasant surroundings!

Avid Competitive Tricyclist from Oak Park  

Posted: August 15th, 2014 9:07 AM

Will oversized novelty tricycles be allowed in the bicycle lanes?

Winter Skye from Chicago, Illinois  

Posted: August 15th, 2014 9:01 AM

As someone who doesn't just ride my bike as a little fanciful day trip once a week but for whom my bike is my car, I would like to say that if this lane will be as "effective" as the Chicago Avenue lane is, I will go bald from pulling out my hair. It's not enough! I try to ride in the bike lane on Chicago Ave. and cars are on it all the time! The only solution is to ban cars in certain areas. Wouldn't it be nice to have ONLY bikes on Lake Street between Ridgeland and Harlem? The other night I was told by a cop to get in the street because I was riding on Lake between Euclid and OP Avenue. With all the tinted windows nowadays, it's hard to see into cars and there is so much in and out of cars parked on the main drag that I prefer riding on the sidewalk when I need to go down Lake Street! I go really slow and use my bell.

Regular Jackson cyclist  

Posted: August 15th, 2014 8:15 AM

Maggy, when I first saw your comment I dismissed it as just another bike-hater. You complained about bikes 2-across...which is actually legal in IL. MW took the bait, which is fine. But the complaining about bikes gets old so bicyclists get grumpy. Do you constantly complain about drivers? Pedestrians? There are far more (and more dangerous as MW points out) rule-breakers with cars. And plenty of people who don't cross the street at a crosswalk when on foot.


Posted: August 15th, 2014 6:52 AM

Mw or Mv from OP, so, until a pedestrian or a cyclists get killed, (has happened, in the city), its OK for cyclists, I am only discussing cyclists in this comment, not to follow the rules of the road. I invite you to watch near misses at my corner with cyclists going thru the stop-signs & blocking the street, walk with me downtown in the loop. dodging the cyclist who disregard the stoplights, pedestrians & zip in & out of traffic. I agree with the bike lanes, there is a great one on Dearborn.

In Glen Ellyn formerly from OP  

Posted: August 14th, 2014 6:03 PM

MV from OP- btw, full disclosure would require me to admit that I don't follow the motorist's rules-of-the-road to the letter while riding a bicycle of mine, but I do wear a helmet more often than they do, especially when motorists and pedestrians aren't present in the case of the former, and when other cyclists are present in the case of the latter. Spur of the moment 200 mile day ride from OP to Milwaukee on my mtn bike (w/rd. tires) from Lickton's- helmut; commute to Aldi- no helmut.

In Glen Ellyn formerly from OP  

Posted: August 14th, 2014 5:02 PM

MV from OP- from your post addressed to me, I see we agree that cyclists should obey the same rules-of-the-road as motorists. I don't see where we disagree, nor do I know what you're refering to as "a ludicrous premise" or even Maggy's "rediculous proposition". In any case, yes, taking Ridgeland Av (which I lived on, around the corner from Lickton's Cycle on Lake St.) up to the Chgo Bot. Gardens and Lincolnshire was a good ride, and as a start to Milwaukee and back on one Memorial Day ca. '91.

MW from OP  

Posted: August 14th, 2014 3:28 PM

@In Glen Ellyn formerly from OP Oh my, cyclists 'startle pedestrians'. To death perhaps? You do realize that drivers actually 'kill pedestrians'? On account of driving a vehicle that's, you know, bigger and faster by several orders of magnitude than a typical cyclist? It's a ludicrous premise. I agree that cyclists should follow the rules of the road - and you'll be happy to know that I do, to the letter - but the truth is that if they don't the only people they endanger are themselves. Period.

John Q  

Posted: August 14th, 2014 10:43 AM

Ebony you sound like a moron while trying to be snarky. The end.


Posted: August 13th, 2014 7:19 PM

I'll still take Adams (as I also take Lexington and Lemoyne). Yes, there are more stop signs, but fewer cars and no bump-outs.

In Glen Ellyn formerly from OP  

Posted: August 13th, 2014 6:18 PM

Brian Chang's suggestion may be the only responsible solution that maintains the benefit of slowing traffic as residents have attested to, and not undermining the intended safety aspect of dedicated bike lanes. How much will it cost to be responsible? I've ridden Jackson Blvd much in the past before the bump outs were in. Current avid and responsible cyclists should be good consultants. I admit I don't like the inviting bike lane that would direct you INTO traffic- right of way issues.

In Glen Ellyn formerly from OP  

Posted: August 13th, 2014 5:49 PM

I'd like to see how the striping will be near the "bump outs". I would never want to encourage MORE cyclists INTO traffic (much less onto a busy street), an apparent consequence of the bike lane being repeatedly interrupted by curb and grass. And the voiced alternative of continuing cycling in the traffic lane between bump outs to avoid the swerving in and out may just encourage motorists to think we cyclists are idiots for not using our "special" lane. Li'l space at bump outs better than none.

In Glen Ellyn formerly from OP  

Posted: August 13th, 2014 5:25 PM

MV of OP- you were harsh on Maggy. Maggy- you are totally right about cyclists as they too often startle pedestrians and are bound by the same rules of the road as motorists at all times. Cyclists often make the same mistakes as most motorists, rolling PAST the stop sign, stopping beyond the crosswalk, sometimes stopping partway into the cross-street. Oddly, some avid cyclists forget the motorist and pedestrian perspectives. OP ordinance in 80s, I think, forbid adult cyclists on sidewalks.

Regular Jackson cyclist  

Posted: August 13th, 2014 2:54 PM

We'll see what happens (esp at rush hour) whether the bike lanes encourage more users--especially less confident riders. My guess is those of us already riding Washington or Jackson and ok with cars will ride in the regular traffic lane. The really interesting test will be when I have the bike trailer attached and my kids in the back what feels safest. IMO dedicated bike infrastructure is never a bad thing and we need more.


Posted: August 13th, 2014 2:43 PM

Ah, I missed the part about no street parking. So I can now see how the bump outs will cause the bike path to jut in and out of traffic. That seems confusing, especially at night. A "shared" bump out for pedestrians and bikes that is separated from traffic via a raised curb yet offers a slip through for bikes might work. How often are pedestrians and bicyclists going to be crossing these intersections simultaneously? Looks like it's not an option anyway.

Regular Jackson cyclist  

Posted: August 13th, 2014 2:32 PM

I should clarify that the engineer gave one example of how the bump outs could be lowered to allow the bike lane to continue over them. Not exactly what you suggest. But you get the idea. My understanding of what we will get now is bike lanes that start and stop at intersections. I want to ride the finished product before I decide how I feel about it.

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: August 13th, 2014 2:31 PM

@Brian, I like the idea but I can see an inattentive pedestrian getting hit by a cyclist while standing in the bike lane going through the cutout.

Brian Chang from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 13th, 2014 2:22 PM

@RJC, thanks for the update. I'm glad that the cut-outs were considered. I can understand not wanting to redo the bump outs, although I can't imagine it would be a huge expense in the grand scheme of things (1 or 2k per cut through?) Perhaps when the street is repaved, they can consider adding bicycle cut throughs.

Regular Jackson cyclist  

Posted: August 13th, 2014 2:13 PM

Brian, I was at the meetings and your idea was discussed by the Transportation Commission. It got some pushback from residents upset that the bump outs were just installed and we'd be spending money to essentially undo what we just spent money on. The Transportation Commission opted to recommend bike lanes but keep the bump outs as a compromise of sorts. I liked the cut-out idea best, too.

Brian Chang from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 13th, 2014 2:04 PM

@muntz - my proposal would cut through the bump out, resulting in an "bump island". Granted, the OP bump out "peninsulas" are shorter than those depicted in the example I linked to, so it might require a little bit of creative engineering. I'm waiting to hear back from the Village if this is something that can be done. Also, just because we can't fix the problem in Forest Park doesn't mean we shouldn't do anything about the issue in Oak Park.

MW from OP  

Posted: August 13th, 2014 2:04 PM

@Regular Jackson cyclist Excellent news :)

Regular Jackson cyclist  

Posted: August 13th, 2014 1:59 PM

Muntz, the parking on Jackson in OP is being eliminated for the bike lane, yes. (No bike lane on the curves though.) MW, I believe Ridgeland is being marked with a bike lane when the resurfacing is completed.

MW from OP  

Posted: August 13th, 2014 1:52 PM

@Oak Parker Car/Ped/Bike from Oak Park I'm really hoping for Ridgeland Ave. Neither Home nor Lombard continue straight into Chicago past North Ave. Ridgeland on the other hand is fairly broad, runs straight, up to North Ave where Narragansett picks up. Narragansett is marked for bikes all the way up and beyond... Foster Ave I think? Perhaps even Devon, which already makes it a nice connecting route to the Devon/Milwaukee Forest Preserve, North Branch Trail, the Botanic Garden and beyond.


Posted: August 13th, 2014 1:48 PM

@OP-The "bump outs" on Jackson in OP don't bump out as far as they do on the FP side (see google maps). In OP, they're maybe 1/2 a car width versus the almost full car width in FP. If you were to cut the bump outs back, you'd pretty much be eliminating them. And if Jackson in FP is indeed a bike route, bikers still have the FP bump outs to content with. And you cannot have a dedicated bike path on Jackson unless you eliminate street parking. It'll be a shared path anyway you slice it.

Oak Parker Car/Ped/Bike from Oak Park   

Posted: August 13th, 2014 1:28 PM

I am glad to see that we finally have a e/w bike lane south of Chicago avenue. This is just a start and we need to continue this trend. I like Brian's idea of cutting back or grinding down the bump out curbs so that they still calm traffic but cyclists could bike through them. Kudos for the VOP for installing these, please keep up the trend. Next up n/s on Lombard and Home Aves?

MW from OP  

Posted: August 13th, 2014 12:36 PM

Maggy, give me a single example of a cyclist blowing a stop light and killing a driver. Ridiculous proposition. I'll make it even easier though, give me a single example of a cyclist killing a pedestrian in the Chicago area within say... last 10 years. That's compared to thousands upon thousands of deaths caused by distracted drivers. So give me a break and use some logic for a change.

Ebony from the real op  

Posted: August 13th, 2014 11:55 AM

Muntz - Isn't east of Austin in Chicago? Hopefully OP is smart enough to avoid paying for something like this in Chicago, but I doubt it. Besides, bike lanes east of Austin would really just make it easier to transport stolen bikes.

Regular Jackson rider  

Posted: August 13th, 2014 10:36 AM

Muntz, Jackson matches up to the Forest Park bike route on Jackson to the west of Harlem. Which then connects to the Prairie Path on Des Plaines. Jackson is also ideal because it has traffic lights for crossing the N/S streets. But it depends on the type of rider.


Posted: August 13th, 2014 10:24 AM

Wouldn't Adams be a better choice for biking? There is no bike path on Jackson west of Harlem or east of Austin, so it's not like this stretch is part of a major bike path network. If your trying to get E/W in that area, why not chose a less congested street?


Posted: August 13th, 2014 9:51 AM

I agree Maggie; life is getting darn dangerous with all these bikes on the road, not to mention all the extra co2 the darn bikers are producing.

John Abbott from Oak Park  

Posted: August 13th, 2014 8:24 AM

It's not often that public policies can be reconciled with a "both/and" instead of an "either/or." I hope the Village takes Brian Chang's proposal seriously -- seems to me an elegant solution to this problem.

Regular Jackson cyclist  

Posted: August 13th, 2014 7:59 AM

Several options were presented and discussed including removing or modifying the bump outs. Can't please everybody though. Keep in mind that nothing requires a bike to ride in a bike lane when one is present. The safest line of travel now I ride just left of the bump outs to prevent weaving. As it is, you have to take the lane on the curves. It will be interesting to see what the finished product looks like in terms of ease-of-use.


Posted: August 13th, 2014 7:12 AM

Will bikers need to follow the rules of the road? Especially stopping at stop signs, I have seen too many near misses with bikers not stopping at a stop sign & I have almost been run over walking across the street by bicyclists. Also, aren't they suppose to ride single file in the street? Not 2-3-4 across blocking traffic?

Jim from South Oak Park  

Posted: August 12th, 2014 9:04 PM

I'm a long-time cyclist, and I find the "bump outs" a safety hazard that will cause an accident. It's just when. They force a bike into traffic at a point where the road narrows with no room for a car and a bike. And because the "bump outs" repeat, they force a bike to weave in and out of traffic. The cyclist's defensive tactic fit to "take the lane" the whole way down Jackson. Just see how drivers like that. When someone is injured, I'd be glad to testify the design ignores cyclist safety.

MW from OP  

Posted: August 12th, 2014 8:50 PM

@ Avid biker: Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the article stipulating that the extensions will remain in place? Also, for those interested, 2008 Bicycle Plan prepared by Active Transportation Alliance may be found here: Info on Jackson may be found on pages 11 and 12. A fair assessment in my opinion. Those painted bike lanes may not provide riders with a physical sense of safety, but at least they alert the drivers...

Brian Chang from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 12th, 2014 7:59 PM

Here's an illustration of what I'm suggesting:

Regular Jackson cyclist  

Posted: August 12th, 2014 7:58 PM

I already ride Jackson but have backed the idea at each step. The striping will alert drivers that it is a cycling route more and I'm happy to see bike lanes as many places as possible in OP. Can't wait to ride the new lanes!

Brian Chang from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 12th, 2014 7:56 PM

Would it be possible to make bicycle width cut-throughs in the pedestrian bump outs, thereby preserving the road narrowing feature but still allowing a separate path for bicycles?

Avid biker (really) from OP  

Posted: August 12th, 2014 7:39 PM

Bad idea. Jackson is narrow and often very busy. A bike lane would have to be right next to car traffic which is not safe for children, families, and the elderly. The current configuration of Jackson is pedestrian friendly thanks to curb extensions at crossings. These extensions would have to be removed to accommodate bike lanes. The result would be a street that is less pedestrian-friendly, unsafe for bikers, and wider (due to bike lanes) which will encourage higher speed car traffic.

MW from OP  

Posted: August 12th, 2014 6:27 PM

Good news of course. Not that Jackson is hard to bike as it is, but the bike lanes are bound to encourage some newbies to give it a shot. Still, as a daily cyclist on Ridgeland Ave, all the way up to North, I wonder if there are still plans to resurface and install bike lanes there? East-West bike routes abound in OP, but North-South are still sorely lacking.

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