We are lucky to have a beautiful and convenient bike route winding through the quiet streets of Sauganash & Edgebrook, with easy access to miles and miles of riding along the North Branch Trail. Many local residents take advantage of this route for fitness, commuting and leisure rides with family. Cyclists from all over the city use it to get from the city center to the more bucolic suburban trails; or to get from outlying areas to work or school in the city. Additionally, several city-wide events are routed along this path.
There is one unfortunate snag in this otherwise pleasant route. If you happen to be cycling during the morning or evening rush hour (as many commuting cyclists do), or mid-day Saturday (as many others do), you are likely have to take a lengthy stop at the corner of Leader and Caldwell.
Caldwell is a MAJOR thoroughfare, with heavy traffic, fed by an exit
ramp off the Edens expressway. There is no stop sign, light, or even
words of caution for drivers proceeding in either direction on
Caldwell. Furthermore, cars coming Westbound on Caldwell travel over
the bridge above the I94, and do not become visible to cyclists waiting
at the intersection until the last minute.
Two blocks west of this intersection, there is a stop light
(visible in the picture below), at the entrance to the golf course.
This would be a logical place for the cyclists to cross, except there
is no way to get there. The smaller streets south of Caldwell do
not offer an alternative, as they all end at the fenced golf course,
and don't continue to the light. Proceeding on the sidewalk along the
south edge of Caldwell is also impractical, as the sidewalk ends
half-way down the next block, and riders would have to continue along
people's front lawns.
There are a few possible solutions to this problem, and with enough incentive & pressure from the community and the cycling public, something could surely be done. Probably the most expensive solution would be to install button-activated crossing lights at Leader and Caldwell. I am not holding my breath. A stop sign would be another alternative, but might not be ideal given the volume of traffic on Caldwell.
It seems to me that some effort should be made to utilize the existing stop lights at Caldwell and Lenox. One option would be do coordinate with the homeowners on the south side of Caldwell and create a continuous sidewalk with a narrow bike lane alongside of it for the two-block stretch. The other solution (and this would be my favorite) would be to create a bike route spur along the outer edge of the golf course, that would allow cyclists safe and pleasant passage to the existing stop light. The only danger there might be dodging flying golf balls. I'll take a golf ball over a Mack truck any day...