Kidical Mass tours the 35th Ward to see student transportation plan recommendations

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The Kidical Mass ride starts at 11 AM every second Saturday at Palmer Square Park. This ride was different in that it incorporated stops at places recommended to receive improvements in the 35th Ward Student Active Transportation Plan. 

I joined 40 parents, children, and neighbors, on Saturday, July 14, to ride with Kidical Mass on a special tour of the 35th Ward in conjunction with the planning team of the 35th Ward Student Active Transportation Plan. The team comprised members of Active Transportation Alliance and Sam Schwartz Engineering, both of whom were part of the Streets for Cycling 2020 Plan.

The following description of the plan is from a handout given at the tour:

The Plan is a set of infrastructure recommendations in the 35th Ward to improve pedestrian and bicycling safety, with a focus on the Ward’s schools. The ultimate goal of the Plan is to give students in the Ward the healthy and saw choice to walk or bike to school. By focusing on children, safety will be improved for all the Ward’s residents. The infrastructure recommendations are a result of observing existing transportation conditions and school dismissals, two public meetings, and a pedestrian and bicycle crash analysis. This tour features a small selection of the many recommendations contained in the Plan.

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Alderman Colón stops traffic on Humboldt Boulevard. 

Alderman Rey Colón joined the ride and served to “cork” the intersections, preventing drivers from bypassing the ride. Drivers on Humboldt Boulevard were especially adamant about communicating to our tour group, by honking, that they didn’t like it when we crossed the street at the Bloomingdale Trail viaduct.

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Riding down Albany Avenue. Cars are absent because a block party was going to occur this day. 

The traffic calmed Albany Avenue (between Kedzie Avenue and Fullerton Avenue) was the final stop on the tour, to showcase the features that are designed to slow traffic and discourage it as a cut through street from Kedzie to Fullerton. To our knowledge, it hasn’t been evaluated to empirically show if that was the result.

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Kevin Womac, owner of Boulevard Bikes, rides with his two daughters. 

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Dan Miodonski, a planner at Sam Schwartz Engineering, tells that the plan includes recommendations for safer crossings at specific locations, like here at Bloomingdale Avenue and Humboldt Boulevard. Traffic here is very fast and half the crossings are invisible to one direction of traffic.

The plan wasn’t available for viewing at the time of this publication. Other stops are the tour were Yates Elementary School at Francisco Avenue and Cortland Avenue, and Palmer Square Park (again, but this time at the corner of westbound Palmer Street and Kedzie Avenue).

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Samantha Arnold and her family cycle along Sacramento Avenue. See the full photoset

7 thoughts on “Kidical Mass tours the 35th Ward to see student transportation plan recommendations”

  1. Awesome! Glad to see the rides happening in Chicago!

    Interesting that you “cork”. We find that corking isn’t needed and can lead to negative feelings towards the rides. We teach people to cross intersections legally and safely and wait to regroup rides when needed.

    1. I worry too much about some car cutting off a 4 year old. And while it shouldn’t happen, I want to make sure parents feel comfortable, and don’t feel like they need to worry about that. I do not want any cars bisecting the ride, unless we’re such a big group that we need to cross a red light in two parts, or something like that. Chicago drivers can be pushy.

  2. We love Kidical Mass! I remember when it started on The Chainlink. And now it has grown so much. Ride on, shorties!

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