if it's not one it's another on the South Loop streets

12/03/2012 10:30 AM

By Bonnie McGrath

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Yellow line is for two-way biking on Printers Row and the white lines in the foreground make up the "new" parking lane

Clark and Congress on Saturday

It's always fun to guess what the massive construction projects are along the streets of the South Loop. When I looked out a friend's 14th floor window on Clark Street Sunday night--it was obvious that all the construction equipment collected just below at 9th and Clark was part of the ComEd Smart Grid project--the one that's taking up block after block on South State, too.

On Saturday I noticed a huge crane on Clark at Congress and all kinds of other equipment and I assumed it was also part of the Smart Grid project--but it wasn't. I asked a construction worker--just to be sure--and he said "we're putting a generator on top of this building." He pointed to the top of the AT&T building. A good new generator makes sense to me atop that structure, lest the neighborhood be out of high-speed internet during a power outage.

But the most interesting street construction news of late was the little project we'd heard about Friday morning at the South Loop Referral Group meeting that they're doing on the west side of Dearborn on Printers Row. A two-way bike lane, painted with yellow lines--and just east of it, a new parking lane, lest the neighborhood run out of parking. The bikers will be tucked between the parked cars and the curb.

I ran into my friend Mary Saturday morning in front of her building at 600 S. Dearborn--and she was worried that the construction workers wouldn't re-identify with white diagonal lines the loading zone in front of her building. "I'm going to go down and remind them right now," she said.

Later, when I had a chance to ask them myself if they were going to do those markings for the loading zone, one of the workers said the crew follows street signs. "If it says 'loading zone' on the signs, we'll put it back between them."

Although it's now going to be in what used to be called the middle of the street.

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By Mary from south loop
Posted: 12/14/2012 1:49 AM

I am begining to like the bike lanes on Dearborn and I am surprised! I haven't seen a bike rider on it yet, but it does slow traffic down and so it feels a bit safer to cross the street... I doubt the bike lanes will get much traffic in the next few months but I hope it works out!