Steve Buchtel, who did a brilliant job of editing the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation’s (CBF) newsletter in the late ’90s and early 2000s, recently left his job as Southland Coordinator with Active Transportation Alliance to take the helm of Trails for Illinois, advocating for new greenways. Cleaning out his files recently he came upon a few cartoons I submitted for the newsletter back in 1998-99. Yes, I was a 28-year-old adult when I drew these doodles of cyclists as mice and drivers as cats, inspired by Art Spiegelman’s Maus comics.
The above cartoon was a reaction to 44th Ward Alderman Bernie Hansen sending a crew out to paint out the bike lanes that the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) had installed on Halsted Street in Boystown. Hansen felt there hadn’t been enough input from the local business owners. Why is it that Chicago aldermen named Bernie tend to be anti-bike? Not long afterwards Hansen retired and was replaced by bike-friendly alderman Tom Tunney, and CDOT re-striped the lanes. This cartoon was a bit too edgy for the CBF News – they didn’t run it.
One of the buses Pace uses on the Stevenson Expressway shoulders during rush hours. The two routes have seen a lot of demand and Pace is responding by adding more runs. Photo by Ann Fisher.
On Wednesday, people will gather at the Chicago Transit Authority headquarters (567 W Lake Street) to protest “inadequate funding and policies”, according to the Red Eye. Members from at least two groups (LVEJO and Citizens Taking Action) will join to protest public-private partnerships and to support laid off bus drivers. This is part of a larger National Day of Action for Public Transportation called by Occupy Boston.
They are protesting in the wrong location. They should be rallying at locations where there are people who can do something about underfunded transit: the offices of elected officials, like at City Hall and those of state and federal Congresspersons scattered around town. Continue reading »
Continue reading »
Alyson Fletcher counts cyclists on 18th Street.
The need for knowing how many people are cycling in Chicago should be obvious: to plan a good bikeway network that considers where people are already cycling; and to track the progress of the Bike 2015 Plan and other related plans. There are multiple needs to count cyclists in Chicago, for civic planning, academic research, and business promotion. On Tuesday morning and afternoon last week, volunteers at several downtown Chicago intersections were armed with pencil and paper to count people cycling (towards downtown in the morning, away from in the afternoon).
The City’s bike count program is now getting into a groove of consistent and periodic tabulating after a time of sporadic counts in different locations (mostly for single facility analysis). A good bike count program is permanent, counting people at the same times on a regular basis at the same location. The new program, which started in 2011, will count cyclists at the same places in downtown Chicago, at the same time each month. Not only can the City use this information to plan a network (and hopefully more bikeways in the Loop), but it can be used to track the impact of bikeways and cyclists on ridership and traffic, respectively. Continue reading »
Continue reading »
It’s a mix of cold and warm views of Chicago and Evanston skylines in this edition of Grid Shots.
The Evanston skyline is seen in the background from this view over the Chicago Transit Authority’s Howard yard for Red, Yellow, and Purple Line trains. Photo by Alton Park.
A foggy (or is that haze?) vista of the CTA Green Line taken from Kedzie Avenue. Photo by Ann Fisher.
Another view of the CTA Green Line along Lake Street, but this time from Ashland Avenue. Photo by Eric Pancer.
People swim and sunbathe on the concrete beach along the Lakefront Trail, a view of good times that are just around the corner. Photo by Michelle Stenzel.
The State Line Energy coal-fired plant in Hammond, Indiana, visible in the background, is scheduled to be shut down this spring.
I’m very glad I made the trip last Monday to Calumet Park, 95th and the lakefront, for the Gapers Block Criterium Series, sponsored by one of my favorite local blogs, Gapers Block, and one of my favorite my favorite local brews, Half Acre Beer. Back in February we interviewed race organizer Vanessa Buccella about the female-friendly aspects of this race series.
Running late, I rode my city bike downtown from Logan Square and caught the #26 South Shore Express bus at Columbus Avenue and 11th Street, its last stop before it heading south on Lake Shore Drive, since I bike about the same speed as a bus making stops in normal traffic. The bus zoomed south on the Drive, where traffic was flowing freely, and I got off at the next stop at 71st and South Shore Drive, cutting a significant chunk out of my travel time. From there I pedaled the remaining few miles to the race. I was planning to catch the Red Line home at 95th and State but instead got a lift with a friend who’d rented an I-GO car to get down to the race.
Brandon Gobel from Chicago Cargo is one of many local cyclists you might recognize in the exhibit. The photo of Brandon is by Steven.
I’m used to seeing Chicago bicycle culture portrayed in the mainstream media in ways that seem a little off, so it’s refreshing when someone gets it right. Bikes! The Green Revolution, a new exhibition opening Saturday at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum does a great job of celebrating the many facets of the local bike scene. I got to check out the exhibit at a media preview yesterday. They managed to capture most of my favorite aspects of Chicago biking: history, planning, advocacy, youth education, bike shops, messengers and style.
Steven tells me that the museum got plenty of input from West Town Bikes’ Alex Wilson, who’s been a central figure in promoting cycling here for more than a decade, so that may have something to do with why the exhibit hits all the right notes. The Lycra crowd may find it a bit light on bike racing content, and I noticed a few minor errors on the exhibit signs, like a statement that the Lakefront Trail runs from Rogers Park to 75th Street when it actually runs from Edgewater to 71st. But otherwise I think it’s an excellent show that all local bike enthusiasts will want to check out, especially if they have kids.
- A game of cat & mouse: revisiting John’s old CBF cartoons
- Protest against low transit funding on Wednesday is directed at the wrong audience
- Bike counts are important to businesses and in evaluating our progress
- Grid Shots: Skyline edition
- Pix from the Gapers Block crits
- A sneak peek at the exhibition “Bikes! The Green Revolution”
- Bike count projects in Chicago: two short video interviews
- An outsider’s Chicago bike itineraries
- Importance of hit-and-run crash deaths in the news media
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- Events on April 9, 2012
Friends of the Lakefront Trail visioning workshop (north side)
From 6:30 PM
To 8:30 PM
Where Margate Park Fieldhouse (4921 N. Marine Drive)
- Events on April 18, 2012
Friends of the Lakefront Trail visioning workshop (south side)
From 6:30 PM
To 8:30 PM
Where Jackson Park Fieldhouse (6401 S. Stony Island Ave.)
- Events on June 30, 2012
9th Annual Bike the Boulevard event with 12th Ward Alderman George Cardenas
From 9:00 AM
To 2:00 PM
Info Grant permission to Alderman George A. Cardenas, 2458 West 38th Street, to close traffic on South Western Boulevard, beginning at 4555 South Western Boulevard (Home Depot), proceeding North-bound on Western Boulevard, continuing onto the boulevard system, crossing California Avenue, untilWest 24th Street, stopping at the parking lot of Spry School,2400 South Marshall.Boulevard, and ending at 4555 South Western Boulevard (Home Depot), for the 9th Annual Bike the Boulevard Event on Saturday, June 30,2012, from 9:00 am to 2:00pm.
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