Berteau Greenway: Everybody’s Two Cents

Last night, CDOT staff and Alderman Ameya Pawar hosted a public meeting to show residents the final concepts for Chicago’s first proposed Neighborhood Greenway on Berteau from Clark to Lincoln. From the Bike Uptown perspective, it’s useful to learn how the presenters frame issues, and how the public responds to them.

Here was the framework:

  • The Greenway was presented as a way to help achieve the Citywide Complete Streets Policy.
  • In the context of safer streets for the elderly, children, and people with disabilities, CDOT discussed traffic calming measures like curb extensions, continental crosswalks, traffic circles, and chicanes.
  • Berteau was cited as a good candidate for a Neighborhood Greenway because residents had called the Alderman’s office complaining about non-local traffic and speeding on Berteau.
  • The presenters cited bicycle traffic count data to demonstrate the high percentage of cyclists already using the street during morning and evening rush hours (13%-16%!)

And here are the design elements:

  • A contraflow bike lane in the places where Berteau is one-way.
  • A bicycle traffic signal on Berteau at Damen. This would use the same signal phase as motorists.
  • Removing unwarranted stop signs and replacing them with 2-way stops, chicanes, or traffic circles.
  • Curb extensions at Courtenay School
  • Pedestrian refuge island at Clark

Alderman Ameya Pawar (above) and his staff nailed this last piece though: they reassured the mildly agitated crowd that after the Neighborhood Greenway was installed, they would collect data and conduct more public feedback sessions to evaluate the greenway. Smart. Would anyone like to see a Neighborhood Greenway in our ward? If so, where?

posted by Arline Welty

About bikeuptown46

I am currently the Communications Director for the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters which represents 33,000 union men and women in three states who swing a hammer for a living. I publsih a magazine, a couple of email newsletters and two websites. I also do videos, webinars, advertisng and public relations. As an avid cyclist I ride a three-wheeled trike 5 to 6 days per week 52 weeks per year which adds up to between 5,000 and 6,000 miles year-round, including daily commutes along Chicago's lakefront ... polar vortexes included. I have never missed a day of work because of Chicago's weather. I am an activist who serves humanitarian and political causes: To advocate for the Sudanese in Illinois who have fled Southern Sudan and Darfur is one of my most rewarding experiences. I work with my son Sean on Sudan presentations at churches and community groups with my Sudanese friends on the problems facing them in Darfur, South Sudan and the United States. My son Sean and I work together on the Abolition Institute which seeks to end slavery in the west African nation of Mauritania. My photography chronicles Chicago's lakefront through my daily rides. My photo website is I just self-published my first photo-book on the history of my Chicago neighborhood: Sweet Home Buena Park. I live about one-half mile north of Wrigley Field in the Buena Park neighborhood.


  1. Thanks, Arline. Overall, I believe neighborhoods are better served when we make them friendlier for foot traffic and bicycling. It not only enhances the safety of an area, but it also reinforces a sense of community. Feedback from residents will be crucial.

  2. One thing I also got out of the meeting was how the need for a secure east-west route for cyclists through the ward to hook up with the popular bike lanes combined with an existing traffic calming need to pinpoint Berteau as the location. It may be that our needs are different, particularly since our main commercial artery (Broadway) isn’t safe for bikes right now, but the greenway seems like a great idea.

    In the spirit of building community as the alderman suggests above, we might want to look not just as commuting times to establish rider frequency but also other times of the day for purposes other than getting to & from work (though that’s a priority too). For example, we have a lot of riders accessing the Lakefront Trail through the ward via Lawrence for recreational as well as commuter purposes, with lots of stops between Broadway & Sheridan. It could be that money would be well spent improving the Lawrence lanes.

    The obvious place for Berteau-style greenway is Leland, perhaps with a contralane running along Lakeside Place or better access to Clarendon via the park behind Uplift, so that cyclists can safely hook up with the Lakefront trail through the Lawrence underpass.

  3. It can definitely be Leland. At this time it is the best east-west corridor thru Uptown.

    Another option in a couple years would be Sunnyside. The Wilson El rehab should have increased space for lock-up, the buzz is there will be an exit/entrance at Sunnyside for easy transfer and as well a clear path between the Truman campus and Broadway to replace the ad hoc conditions now.

    And being so close to Target and Aldi it would be a very convenient excuse for shoppers coming from points west to leave the car in the garage.

    Part of Sunnyside is a pedestrian mall so that may make it easier not having to mitigate as many lost parking spaces, plus it is closer to Berteau Greenway, perhaps it could be linked up via Ravenswood which already gets a lot of bikers.

    It could be the next link in a future network, and intermodel in the case of Wilson El once rehabbed.

    Thank You Bike Uptown!

  4. I just love that Sunnyside pedestrian mall. It’s a real rarity in Chicago. It feels special every time I go through there. Couldn’t help but think of it today when I read Bike Uptown’s RSS feed “The Dreamy Infrastructure of NY”!

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