Grid Chicago is parked. Come join us at Streetsblog Chicago!


We’ve come to the end of our journey with Grid Chicago, but we’ve embarked on a new one with Streetsblog Chicago. Since June 2011 we’ve had a great time covering Chicago’s burgeoning sustainable transportation scene on this website, and we hope you’ve enjoyed reading about it. Grid Chicago is going dormant but the site will remain online as an archive. Feel free to browse our older articles about walking, biking and transit issues under the first two years of the Emanuel administration. Hopefully these posts will serve as a useful record of this exciting period in our city’s history.

As of January 22, 2013, Steven Vance and John Greenfield are writing Streetsblog Chicago, the latest addition to the Streetsblog family of transportation news websites. We’ll be publishing more frequently about a wider range of transportation and public space topics, with more of a focus on late-breaking news. We’re also adding new features like Today’s Headlines, a round-up of transportation stories from a wide variety of local publications. We’ll also be posting articles from the Streetsblog network about U.S. transportation policy and issues happening in other parts of the country. We’re confident that the new format will help keep you better informed about local and national topics. It will also bring more attention to the movement to turn Chicago into a safer, more convenient and more fun place to walk, bike and take transit.

We hope to hear from you soon on the new website. Thanks again for joining us on this excursion. It’s been a great ride so far, and the road ahead looks promising.

Over a Barrel: Why is City Hall barring Pedal Pub from operating?


The Emanuel administration has been doing a terrific job of promoting biking, so it’s bizarre that the city seems to be stonewalling a bicycle-powered business that supports local retail districts and helps prevent drunk driving. Pedal Pub leads bar crawls on sixteen-person vehicles, operating legally in 27 other cities. In a few cities they are even permitted to serve beer from a keg onboard, although they’re not proposing to do that in Chicago.

The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) has twice denied them a license and hasn’t acted on their most recent application for a year, and Pedal Pub says they haven’t been told why. Last summer the business ran trips in Chicago, expecting to eventually get a license. The city wound up fining them $15,000 for operating without a license and for deceptive practices, because they ran a Groupon that failed to mention their status as an unlicensed business. The former charge was eventually dropped and the penalty lowered to $2,000. I called Pedal Pub’s Chicago manager Matt Graham for his perspective on the issue.

Continue reading Over a Barrel: Why is City Hall barring Pedal Pub from operating?

Today’s Headlines


37-year-old Oak Forest woman dies after January 12 car crash in Alsip (Southtown)

Drivers illegally use I-190 shoulder to wait for O’Hare passengers, creating a hazard (Tribune)

Fire on Green Line near Laramie station in Austin causes delays (Tribune, RedEye)

Certified LAB instructors meet in Loop to launch online bike safety curriculum (Kevenides)

$250K settlement for family of Dekalb girl injured by car while biking to school (Keating Law)

Strategies for getting compensation after a hit-and-run (Lawyer Jim)

Construction sawhorses and beacon in Uptown act as de facto traffic circle (Transitized)

Dismal underpass at Addison and Avondale transformed by colorful mural (MPC)

Video: bike commuting from the Loop to Lincoln Park (BWLP)

Video illustrates how to cycle in a long(ish) skirt (LGRAB)

More from Marge: Alderman Laurino talks trails, bike sharing


Margaret Laurino with constituent and Grid Chicago commenter Bob Kastigar.

Since Checkerboard City, my weekly column that runs in print in Newcity magazine, is limited to about 1,000 words, some good material from my recent interview with bike-friendly 39th Ward Alderman Margaret Laurino wound up on the cutting room floor. She had interesting things to say about bringing bike sharing to her district, as well as plans for extending the North Branch trail 4.2 miles south south to Foster Avenue. The latter will make it possible to bike roughly 25 miles from Belmont and the Chicago River in Lakeview to the Chicago Botanic Gardens in north suburban Glencoe on an almost entirely car-free route. We’ll get you more details on that exciting project in the near future.

Are there any transit improvement projects going on in your ward?

I think that any improvements that have happened have actually already happened. One of them that I happen to be interested in because of the current ward re-map – you know we’re picking up new areas that we hadn’t had before. The one that I’m going to focus on is that Forest Glenn Metra stop where once again I want it to be a little bit more bike-friendly. I want people to once again be able to bring their bicycles to that stop and then hop on the train and go downtown. I don’t know how many people in my community are actually hopping on a bike, getting on Elston Avenue and actually going all the way downtown. I don’t think that’s happening too much. But getting to the train station on your bicycle… what do we call it, the last mile?

Exactly, yeah.

The last mile, that’s something that I want to really concentrate on. So I’m going to hopefully do that with Metra in cooperation with the city of Chicago there. And then I’d very much like to see a bike share [rental kiosks] at our universities in our ward. The one that I’m really going to push is going to be at Northeastern Illinois University because it’s a commuter college. I’d like to see a bike share [kiosk] on, say, Bryn Mawr. Then they can just rent their bikes, hop on Kimball, which isn’t a bad street for biking and get to the Brown Line at Lawrence and Kimball.

Continue reading More from Marge: Alderman Laurino talks trails, bike sharing

Today’s Headlines


Woman wounded by gunfire while riding a CTA bus in Englewood (Tribune, Sun-Times, RedEye)

Metra hopes to boost stagnant ridership with ad campaign targeting drivers stuck in traffic (Tribune)

Metra board OKs $1.4 million in salary hikes for almost 300 non-union workers (Sun-Times)

More than 100 CTA bus shelters to get arrival time signs (Sun-Times)

Executive director of RTA target of sexual harassment complaint (Crain’s)

Bloomingdale fundraising party held at private club for well-heeled potential donors (Crain’s)

Local author Greg Borzo releases book on Chicago cable car history (Time Out)

Open Government hackers work to turn municipal data into useful apps (Time Out)

CTA puts finishing touches on Morse station 5 months after reopening (CTA Tattler)

Bike-themed calendar released benefitting Chicago Ride of Silence (Bike Commuters)

Today’s Headlines


RTA approves budget measure allowing CTA to borrow up to $1 billion for bus and rail improvements (Tribune, RedEye)

Report looks at benefits of Red Line extension (CMAP)

RTA accuses United, American of dodging Chicago taxes with dummy offices in Sycamore, IL (Sun-Times)

O’Hare to offer “Minute Suites” for short-term naps (Sun-Times)

DuPage County gets $3.65 million in state funding for four road projects (Daily Herald)

CTA to start construction of a new electrical substation south of the Morse stop (CTA Tattler)

Taking a virtual bike ride to the lakefront on the new Fullerton bridge (BWLP)

Logan Square’s Kidical Mass gets the little ones out on bikes (DDLR)