An update on the Chicago Velo Campus from Emanuele Bianchi


Bianchi coaches Robert, a teen who lives near the temporary velodrome – photo courtesy of Chicago Velo Campus

Last winter I wrote about the Chicago Velo Campus proposal for a Newcity cover story. The organizers were originally hoping to build a $45 million multisport complex, featuring a velodrome stadium nearly as large as the United Center, by 2013 on the former site of U. S. Steel’s South Works mill, a hump of land on the lakefront between 79th and 92nd.

Although they recently changed their target for construction to 2014, and even that may be an optimistic deadline for this ambitious project, much has already been accomplished. This summer volunteers installed a 166-meter temporary velodrome, made of marine-grade plywood, and an indoor space called the Lakeside Velo Works, containing a bike workshop, indoor training area, bike storage and office space, on U.S. Steel land at 8615 S. Burley.

Continue reading An update on the Chicago Velo Campus from Emanuele Bianchi

Did you get a response to your comment about the Damen/Elston/Fullerton project?


Showing in red the right of way of the new road and showing in a transparent blue the property that will be affected and where property will have to be acquired.

In my article on Steven Can Plan about the project to recreate the six-way intersection of Damen, Elston, and Fullerton Avenues, I asked readers to submit comments to the project manager. I received a response to my comments on November 10, 2011, and I know of at least one other person who received a response to his comments. (This was back in April 2011.)

If you also received a response, I’d like to read it and share it here. The responses will help us understand the status of the project and how the design process is going. Send me a copy of the response you received: steven @ Next week I’ll be posting a new article and the response I received.


Perhaps if the intersection has room for safe cycling, then people won’t feel the need to cycle on the sidewalks. 

Can you get hit by a train while biking across the Cherry Avenue Bridge?


Photo by John – all others by Steven except where noted

Last month while exploring bits and piece of trails and riverwalks that run alongside the North Branch of the Chicago River, I biked over the Cherry Avenue Bridge, an old railroad bridge connecting Goose Island to North Avenue. The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) recently converted the bridge to serve pedestrians and bicyclists, with rubber between the rails and the decking to make the surface safer to pedal over.

But I was alarmed to see a sign reading “Caution / Active Rail / Yield to Trains.” Was I really in danger of being flattened by a locomotive? I tracked down the project manager, chief bridge engineer Daniel Burke, to get the skinny.

Continue reading Can you get hit by a train while biking across the Cherry Avenue Bridge?

Alderman Solis goes to Amsterdam


Alderman Solis in Zolle, Netherlands – all photos courtesy of Bikes Belong

[Background info for this post came from a write-up of the trip by Washington D.C. Department of Transportation Bicycle Program Specialist Mike Goodno.]

Earlier this month when I interviewed 25th Ward Alderman Danny Solis about sustainable transportation projects in his ward, he mentioned that he would be taking a trip to the Netherlands from October 1 – 8 to study bike facilities. The bike industry-funded advocacy group Bikes Belong sponsored this fact-finding mission for transportation officials from Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Miami, and Solis says that staffers from Working Bikes Cooperative recommended him to Bikes Belong as a bike-friendly politician. Joining him from Chicago were former Active Transportation Alliance executive director and current SRAM Cycling Fund director Randy Neufeld, as well as Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) bike program staffers David Gleason and Mike Amsden. Continue reading Alderman Solis goes to Amsterdam

Portland’s Mia Birk gives Chicago a pep talk on handling the bike lane backlash


Mia Birk – photo by Serge Lubomudrov

Last week Steven and I attended Active Transportation Alliance’s 25th anniversary celebration, where we heard legendary transportation guru Mia Birk deliver an inspiring speech to the crowd of city officials, transportation planners and advocates. Birk helped turn Portland, Oregon, into a cycling Mecca when she served as bike coordinator there in the 1990s and now heads Alta Planning + Design, specializing in biking, walking and trails projects.

Birk gave a warning about the media backlash that is likely to result as Chicago implements Mayor Emanuel’s plan to construct 100 miles of protected bike lanes (and launch a large-scale bike share system and build the Bloomingdale Trail and Navy Pier Flyover). She also offered some words of encouragement about how to deal with this criticism.

Continue reading Portland’s Mia Birk gives Chicago a pep talk on handling the bike lane backlash

Moving words at Active Transportation Alliance’s 25th anniversary gala


Steven, Bike and Roll Chicago’s Josh Squire and John (note that the signs were compulsory, so our journalistic credibility should be intact). Photo by Serge Lubomudrov.

Last week dozens of key players in Chicago’s sustainable transportation scene gathered under one roof at the Illinois Institute of Technology (3241 S Federal St) to help Active Transportation Alliance (formerly Chicagoland Bicycle Federation) celebrate 25 years of advocacy.

Joining them was U.S. Department of Transportation Assistant Secretary Polly Trottenberg, there to accept Active Trans’ Extra Mile Award to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood for his leadership in providing safety initiatives and sustainable transportation to local communities. Also in attendance were two legendary transportation gurus: Mia Birk from Alta Planning + Design in Portland, Oregon, and “Gridlock” Sam Schwartz from Sam Schwartz Engineering in NYC.

It was an inspiring celebration and a terrific opportunity for Steven and me to network and learn more about local initiatives. While the $150-a-plate price tag was understandable for an upscale fundraising dinner for Active Trans, it was a bit steep for a couple of humble bloggers. Fortunately, Ben H. and Suzanne C. generously offered us seats at their tables so we could report on the event for you.

Continue reading Moving words at Active Transportation Alliance’s 25th anniversary gala