Gerardo Marciales was killed at this intersection. In February, a driver ran a red light from the left turn lane and went straight. Three intersections along Lake Shore Drive are currently under construction: Balbo, Monroe, and Jackson. Pedestrian medians are being widened and work is being done to force the left lane to turn.
It's incredibly painful to see Gerardo's ghost bike in these shots. This location was known by the city to be dangerous for years, however, the city did not act.
I cannot stress this enough: Chicago will be forever indebted to Gerardo & his loved ones for any safety improvements to this location. It took selfless courage for them to fight for safety improvements while grieving. Clearly, it is not over, but this is a start.
Thank you to the construction crew for ensuring Gerardo's ghost bike was kept safe during the construction. It means a great deal to Gerardo's loved ones (and the biking community) that care was taken to keep it safe.
As some of you remember, this ghost bike means a great deal to us. Gerardo's family traveled from near and far to attend the vigil. We were met by no fewer than 15 police who bullied us and threatened to remove the bike if we placed it in the median. So we installed it there anyway.
For nights and months to follow, the biking community watched over Gerardo's ghost bike. We feared the city would remove it as the police had threatened mourners they would. I was receiving emails and text messages at all hours of the night confirming the bike was still there.
We knew Gerardo's ghost bike belonged in the median. When placed there, it became painfully obvious just how narrow the median was. It highlighted that if a ghost bike doesn't fit, then my bike and I also don't -- neither does a stroller or a family of tourists.
We didn't stop at the ghost bike. We kept banging the drum that this spot is UNBELIEVABLY DANGEROUS! Facts kept coming to light that this was a known problem for YEARS & we organized a guerrilla traffic study to force people to see JUST HOW BAD IT WAS. Read up on it from Block Club Chicago here.
When the news was released that Gerardo had passed, the first thing that popped up about him was his wedding website. Seeing the "Countdown clock to his BIG DAY" forced me to immediately close my laptop. He and his fiancé looked so happy together.
Gerardo's family sent me photos to use for his ghost bike vigil graphic. They are shuffled in with my own photos and randomly pop up as reminders of special days they had over the years. I've been made painfully aware (as they are) that his birthday was just a few days ago.
I don't think I've ever been this relieved to see construction in my life.
YES to concrete. YES TO ALL THE BEAUTIFUL CONCRETE!
In full transparency, the construction crew didn't love being recorded. We are, however, MADLY, DEEEEEEPLY IN LOVE WITH THEM.
Here's a timelapse of the intersection where Gerardo was killed. The light cycle has been adjusted a bit, but more work needs to be done. You can also see drivers are still running the red light and covering the crosswalk preventing people from crossing on foot.
Here's what happens when two cyclists try to cross where Gerardo did. Drivers completely blast through the red light. You can also see just how short the crosswalk signal is.
Here's another example showing drivers still running the red light where Gerardo was killed. This time we see what happens when an elderly couple tries to walk across after patiently waiting for the walk signal.
Below is another example of drivers running the red light with pedestrians present. Watch the walk signal. Every driver that goes by the crosswalk when you see the walk signal has run the red light.
Three intersections are being enhanced to widen the medians and, at least at Balbo, a notch is being added to force drivers in the left turn lane to actually turn left to reduce the illegal maneuver that killed Gerardo (instead of using the left turn lane as a traffic skip lane).
The physical landscape of Chicago is now a bit safer for me and for you because three women (who I'm pretty sure do not even bike) decided to fight like hell all while mourning their loved one. Thank you Jaime, Dubraska, and Mayra