[These pieces also run in Time Out Chicago magazine.]
I recently fielded a couple different questions from Time Out Chicago readers about current and future Chicago greenways. I felt a little funny about giving people instructions on how to get up on the Bloomingdale Line, which is still Canadian Pacific Railroad property and has “No Trespassing” signs posted. But until the railroad does a better job of securing the line or the City of Chicago steps up and takes ownership of the right-of-way (which should be any day now) and erects more effective fencing, people are going to continue to go up there to stroll, jog and hang out anyway.
Continue reading Lakefront Trail lighting and (illegal) Bloomingdale Line access points
What bike sharing might look like on the streets of Chicago. Photo of Capital BikeShare, in Washington, D.C., by M.V. Jantzen.
Updated 11:11 AM: I should have mentioned originally that I believe this is a good idea for Chicago, and the RFP presents a solid plan on how the City expects it to be implemented and operated. 22:46: Added more information about potential bidders, Alta Bicycle Share and B-Cycle.
I just finished reading the request for proposals (RFP) for Chicago’s first (er, second) bike sharing program. For the uninitiated, most bike sharing programs allow members unlimited free trips per day up to 30 minutes with a low fee for each 30 minute period after that. Locks are not provided so users are expected to secure the bikes by docking them at stations rather than locking them to bike racks or sign poles.
Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein and his managing deputy commissioner Scott Kubly together launched a 1,100 bikes and 100+ stations bike sharing system in September 2010. It had its one year birthday on Tuesday, September 20, 2011. Now the pair have come to Chicago to do it again. Continue reading Bike sharing will come to Chicago in 2012
Alderman Laurino, 39th Ward, talks about her proposed ordinance that would ban texting and other tasks while bicycling. See “More topics” below.
These are the highlights from the Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Council (MBAC) meeting last Wednesday, September 13, 2011. The next meeting is Wednesday, December 14, 2011, at City Hall, 121 N LaSalle Street.
New protected bike lanes
These two protected bike lanes (PBL) will be installed in 2011. These were announced by Chicago Bicycle Program Bikeways Engineer David Gleason and Bikeways Planner Mike Amsden. Continue reading Highlights from MBAC, and room for improvement
The westbound lane is inside the construction zone and westbound travelers must drive in a narrowed part of the eastbound lanes – this makes the concrete-filled side, which are the safest place for bicycling on the bridge, inaccessible. Eastbound drivers block the concrete-filled side.
The City of Chicago and its contractors show again that they can’t be responsible for providing appropriate and safe detours for bicyclists in or around construction projects.
I was downtown this morning for a meeting and had another meeting in Pilsen. It was raining, which is easy to deal with if you have fenders, lights, and a jacket. But it makes open metal grate bridges very slippery! From State and Adams south towards UIC or Pilsen, there’s only one bridge that’s treated, and that’s Harrison. Concrete was added to each side of the bridge during a rehabilitation project in 2009. I headed that way. Continue reading Harrison Street bridge: bike friendly but not during construction
Monday’s Cargo Bike Roll Call at West Town Bikes, organized by my Grid Chicago co-blogger Steven Vance, went as well as could possibly been have hoped for. The event was a chance for proud cargo bike owners to show off their vehicles, for newbies to learn what cargo biking is all about and for everyone to get a chance to take these unique rides for a spin.
With a long line of parked cargo cycles occupying almost half the width of Campbell Street next to West Town, the roll call was a de facto block party (at least until a police officer asked us to move the bikes to the parkway halfway through the evening). And it was a terrific party, with booming dance music playing from West Town Bikes director Alex Wilson’s sound bike as folks hung out swapping advice on transporting children and other ungainly objects by bicycle. It’s been a while since I’ve hung out at this nonprofit bike shop and education center, and I was reminded what a great vibe this place has.
Speaking of kids, there was a great turnout of youngsters, totally appropriate at an event that was largely about how to use a bike in place of a car for household errands. The children loved riding on the vehicles, or even piloting them, and the party was much enlivened by the little ones running around and shrieking, hopped up on multiple slices of watermelon.
Continue reading Chicago’s first Cargo Bike Roll Call
On September 1st, 2011, at the St. Sylvester fieldhouse across from Palmer Square Park, residents of the 35th Ward, encompassing Logan Square, gathered to hear an introduction to the 35th Ward Student Active Transportation Plan. The 35th Ward office has hired Sam Schwartz Engineering (SSE) to conduct public meetings, gather residents’ input, and craft a plan to make biking and walking easier and safer around schools and parks in the ward. Continue reading Residents choose what they like for a 35th Ward student active transportation plan