Share

Did You Know?

Only 0.7 percent of federal transportation funds are spent on improving pedestrian facilities.

Protected bike lanes coming to Logan/Western area

The area where Kevin Clark and Tyler Fabeck were tragically killed while riding their bikes in recent years is slated to finally receive long overdue safety upgrades.

Active Trans worked with Kevin Clark’s family and 1st Ward Ald. Daniel La Spata to push for improvements at the intersection of W. Logan Blvd. and N. Western Ave. after 32-year-old Kevin was hit and killed while riding his bike through the intersection in May.

Kevin was a drummer and music educator well known for his role in the 2003 School of Rock film, starring Jack Black.

IMPROVEMENTS COMING THIS FALL

The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) will install protected bike lanes on Logan in both directions between N. Campbell and W. Diversey. The department will remove a travel lane for cars on Logan between Campbell and Western to make space for the bike lane and it will help calm traffic in advance of the intersection.

The design includes adding green bicycle markings through the busy Western Avenue intersection under the expressway. Right turns from Logan to Western heading north will be eliminated and high-visibility crosswalks will be refreshed for people walking.

The city says work will start in mid-September and construction is expected to take about two weeks.

This project will make the corridor safer for everyone who travels through it and help prevent crashes and save lives.

While there’s plenty to like in this plan, there are a couple of elements that are disappointing.

The plan falls short in not creating a crosswalk for people crossing Logan/Western on the south side of the intersection. The city says signal timing and high levels of traffic exiting the expressway are preventing this addition in the short term.

Also, the bike lanes will be protected with only plastic bollards — although CDOT told Streetsblog there’s potential for upgrading the protected bike lanes to concrete in the long-term.

Active Trans will continue to advocate for these and other improvements to the intersection alongside our partners in the area in the years ahead.

BACKGROUND ON LOGAN/WESTERN INTERSECTION

The plans for making the intersection safer largely resemble recommendations from a community-informed report Active Trans published in 2018 in collaboration with the Logan Square Neighborhood Association.

Sadly, it took nearly three years and another fatal crash involving someone biking for the city to take action.

Many years before Kevin’s cash, in 2008, 22-year-old Tyler Fabeck was tragically hit and killed by a driver while riding his bike through the intersection. Countless other people walking and biking have been hit or nearly hit by cars or trucks at the location, and others avoid the intersection altogether because the safety issues are well-known.

At a vigil and press conference honoring Kevin Clark in June, his mother Allison urged the city to take action: “Kevin was such a kind, loving, joyful person. Losing him has been the worst thing to ever happen to our family. To the people who can make this intersection and the streets of Chicago safer, please, do it! Take action now.”

HOW IT HAPPENED

Credit goes to Kevin Clark and Tyler Fabeck’s families and the hundreds of local advocates who wouldn’t stand for more inaction from the city despite well-known safety issues for people walking and biking in the area.

More than 1,000 emails, Tweets, and phone calls poured into the offices of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Ald. La Spata, and 32nd Ward Ald. Scott Waguespack following Kevin’s death.

Ald. La Spata has years of personal experience biking through that treacherous intersection and organized a group of local, county, and state officials who represent the area to push the city to act. He brought Active Trans into the conversation and referenced our 2018 report as a starting point for discussions.

After the announcement, he expressed relief that improvements are on the way.

“I’m so grateful for the opportunity to bring safer infrastructure for cyclists, scooter riders, pedestrians, and also motorists to this stretch of the 1st ward. None of us will ever forget the deaths of Kevin Clark and Tyler Fabeck, but we will commemorate their losses through changes that will improve all of our lives. For me and so many others, the daily trips of my life (to the gym, Target, Home Depot, and on and on) just got a lot safer.”

Ald. Waguespack, who also represents the area, called the improvements “a good start to improve safety” and said he “looks forward to continuing the work throughout the network.”

_______________________________________________

Chicago residents: Take action now to thank city officials for improving the Logan/Western intersection.

_______________________________________________

WHAT’S NEXT?

Everyone who walks and bikes in Chicago knows there are dozens of intersections just as dangerous as Logan and Western. Many are located in majority Black and Brown neighborhoods on the South and West Sides where cars and trucks travel at high speeds down super-sized streets.

To continue to honor Kevin’s legacy and make Chicago streets safer for everyone, the work can’t stop with the upgrades at Logan and Western.

As Chicago implements its five-year capital plan and prepares to receive an infusion of transportation funds from the federal infrastructure bill, we must move beyond car- and truck-centric planning and invest in projects that advance environmental justice and racial equity.

Kevin’s cousin Matt Portman made this point clear at the vigil in June.

“Understand very clearly Mayor Lightfoot, Governor Pritzker, CDOT, IDOT and anyone else who can affect change with our streets. Fixing that intersection is the bare minimum that you can do. Chicago is a beautiful place to ride a bike. But it needs to be a safer one. So please, do more to make Chicago’s streets safer for cyclists and for everyone.”

 

 

Top photo shows family members of Kevin Clark installing a ghost bike bike memorial for him at the Logan/Western intersection.