The Logan Square Lane Puzzle
Last weekend, Liz and I were driving around Logan Square and came upon a realization. There’s this particularly tricky spot at the intersection of Logan and Milwaukee, when you’re headed East on Logan. Liz and I both had very different ideas of what lane was supposed to go where.
First, here’s a quick peek at what the view looks like:
From this viewpoint, you’re on Logan Boulevard facing East, about to cross over Milwaukee. We’re doing this a bit backwards, and talking about destinations first. There are four different options here: hard left, soft left, soft right, hard right.
Hard Left: A hard left turn takes you onto Milwaukee Avenue (you would be parallel to the crosswalk). There are two lanes here.
Soft Left: A soft left turn takes you onto a curve, which brings you almost 180 degrees onto Logan, facing the other direction. This is the stretch of road where the blue truck is parked. There are three lanes here.
Soft Right: A soft right continues you East, down Logan Boulevard. This is the stretch of road directly behind the pedestrian. There are two lanes here.
Hard Right: A hard right takes you onto the outer lane of Logan Boulevard. This is the stretch of road with the cars parked along them. There is one lane here.
Right! Now that we’ve got the destinations and the options down, let’s have a look at those lanes!
Here’s the big question: Where is each lane allowed to go?
To help talk about the lanes, I’ve named them on this map as: Lane 1, Lane 2, Lane 3, and Lane 4. I’ve also marked down the possible options for each lane, using a naming convention of Option 1, Option 2, etc.
Here is my theory:
Lane 1 can only turn left (there is a left-turn arrow printed on the lane). So it can only turn onto Milwaukee. That’s it.
Lane 2can turn onto the three-lane road. It can also go straight ahead, onto Logan Boulevard.
Lane 3 is locked into the two-lane road, and specifically locked in to the right lane.
Lane 4 is supposed to be for the single lane, the outer Boulvard with the parked cars.
Here’s Liz’s theory:
Lane 1 can only turn left onto Milwaukee (we agree on this).
Lane 2 can only turn onto the three-lane road.
Lane 3 has two options. Turn hard left onto the three-lane road and take the far right lane. Or, continue down Logan Boulevard in the left lane.
Lane 4 has the option of continuing on Logan Boulevard (the two-lane road), in the right Lane. Or, it can turn onto the outer Boulevard (with the parked cars).
When we’re driving around this route, we’re typically sitting in Lane 3. In my model, I usually continue down Logan Boulevard (the two-lane road) and stay in the right lane. This causes problems if the guy in Lane 4 also wants to do the same.
In Liz’s model, she would normally continue down Logan Boulevard (the two-lane road) and stay in the left lane. The only problems that arise would be if the car in Lane 2 competed for the same lane: three-lane road, far right or two-lane road, far left (which is pretty unlikely).
In looking at the top-down Google view, Liz convinced me over to her point of view. But I have to say – on the ground, sitting in a car in Lane 3… I feel like my approach is the right way.
If you’ve made it this far, consider me amazed. I imagine this would only be of interest for Chicago folks (and Logan Square folks in particular).
I love the fact that Google Maps allows me to indulge in this level of geekery. It’s fantastic.
So… which lanes get to go where?
I secretly hope that someone who’s got a background in city planning, or knows way more about traffic rules will see this and answer my question. In the meanwhile, I’m curious to hear anyone else’s theory. Do you like Liz’s approach? Mine? Or are we both completely wrong?