Tuesday, December 27, 2005

FC1 Start: Western and Howard

NOTE: You can click on any of the pictures to enlarge them.

Today's journey begins on the border of Evanston, where Asbury turns into Western Avenue. Today's journey is Western Avenue, the longest street in Chicago. Besides the longest, it is also one of the widest, with the most traffic, and possibly the most annoying drivers in the city. Even though it cuts the entire city neatly in half, Western ...
a. has terrible bus service.
b. has unsynchronized traffic lights.
c. is unfit for cycling.
d. is terrifying to cross as a pedestrian, even at crosswalks.
e. has some stretches where drivers do 60, others where it takes 10 minutes to go one block and get through one intersection.

In other words, with its seven lanes and scores of fast food dumps and CVS pharmacies, more than any other street in Chicago, Western resembles a typical road in a typical gridlocked suburb where the car is king. In fact, the street used to be the western border of the city. As the city built up around it, Western kept its suburban identity.

Now ... you might think I'm about to say you should steer clear of Western. You should, but then again, if you did, you'd miss many places that make this city great. So, screw your courage to the sticking point, put on your cross trainers and get ready to dodge speeding cars as we sprint across the road, and we'll not fail to have a good time.


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