Thursday, November 11, 2010

Better is in the eye of the beholder

A week or so ago, my mainly internet but sometimes in real life friend, Snak Shak, said there's a better way to get downtown than Park/Portland. Starting the next day, I stopped using Park/Portland, because I knew he was right. I gave Chicago the old college try, but I'm not convinced. It took me a few days to get the feel of the traffic flow, but for me Chicago still has one main strike against it. Specifically, there's no good way to get onto the Greenway that doesn't involve stairs. The closest rideable entrance I found was at 11th, and to get there you need to cross Chicago against the flow of traffic, then battle the traffic coming out of the Allina. Plus, the buses on Chicago were not fun. Truthfully, I didn't find it pleasant.

I tried some other alternates over the last week as well. My current favorite seems to be under construction. With the extension of the bike lanes further north on Minnehaha, it makes that route a lot more attractive going north of the Greenway. It also lets me avoid the construction currently happening on the LRT trail. So I take Minnehaha to the detour point at 24th St, cross the curly bridge over Hiawatha, and then take 11th Ave north into downtown by way of Elliot Park. It does seem to shave about 10 minutes off the Park/Portland route, and eliminates a lot of the Park/Portland speed traffic. But still, it seems there should be a better way.


Snak Shak said...

"Starting the next day, I stopped using Park/Portland, because I knew he was right..."

Thanks for that un-earned vote of confidence.

I first came to Chicago in winter, on the advise of Bikesmith. He told me it's a better winter route than Park/Portland. I have ridden it in winter and it's fine, but I wanted to explore it in better weather, too, so I gave it a chance.

From where I start, I can take Chicago almost all the way from the house due north to downtown. Coming from the southeast 'burbs, I don't think Chicago makes as much as much sense. I agree that the buses on Chicago are a problem. However, I would rather the buses on individually rather than deal with the fairy steady stream of traffic on Park/Portland.

I think Chicago is a better option if you are starting between Cedar and Park Ave. - east of there I am less certain. I guess I would head north on 42nd from Minnehaha Park and then pick my way through Seward and get on the Greenway at Bracket Park and then head up the LRT to downtown.

rigtenzin said...

I used to ride Park/Portland regularly, but took Chicago to break up the monotony. I'm sure Chicago is better when there is a snow pack on the streets that causes cars to park in the bike lanes on Park/Portland.

Reuben said...

Have y'all tried Bloomington? That will only take you as far north as Franklin, but I've found it to be pretty bike-friendly. Also, if you don't mind side streets, 15th Ave is a little-known route that stretches unbroken between Minnehaha Parkway and Franklin Ave.