How far does your expressway avoidance take you?

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Showing undesirable pedestrian and sidewalk conditions under the Kennedy Expressway on Belmont Avenue at Kedzie Avenue. There is a bus stop here, on a portion of the sidewalk that narrows to about 2 feet. It wasn’t until I wrote this post that I realized that there is no bus route on Kedzie Avenue making this bus stop’s location quite ridiculous. There are bus stops in both directions on Belmont Avenue that are actually near businesses and residences. Explore on Google Street View.

I shop for groceries mostly at Aldi. The one nearest my house is 3,725 feet by walking (about 0.71 miles), the Avondale Aldi. The next closest store is 11,102 feet away (about 2.1 miles), the Lincoln Square Aldi, and the third closest is 11,599 feet away (about 2.2 miles), the Wicker Park Aldi. I live at Belmont and California, in Avondale.

I shop at the third closest one the most often. The Wicker Park Aldi is at Milwaukee Avenue and Leavitt Street. The reasons I shop here instead of the other two, considering that it’s two-thirds closer to home, are based on two travel factors: trip chaining (the practice of attaching multiple trips into the same one so one leaves the house less often), and trip quality (the characteristics that make the trip interesting, not interesting, safe, and unsafe). A trip, as counted by transportation planners like myself, is movement from one address to another.

For example, the Chicago Transit Authority counts trips taken on its buses and trains as “boardings”, each time a passenger pays for the bus or passes an ‘L’ station turnstile. When people change routes on the same platform or station, this additional trip isn’t counted because there’s no mechanism to do so. A person who takes a bus to an ‘L’ station is counted twice in CTA’s reports (note 1).

Continue reading How far does your expressway avoidance take you?

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Grid Shots: Food

Here’s an interesting study: people who typically arrive by bicycle to bars visit them more often, spend less per visit, but spend more overall in a month than people who typically arrive there by automobile. We might call that “barbikenomics”.

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A man sells mieles from a cart. Photo as seen from the Bloomingdale Trail by Joshua Koonce.

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The Tamale Spaceship food truck parked on Clinton Street while investigating police park their SUV in the bike lane. Photo by Seth Anderson.

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“Meat snack trailer” on the California Avenue sidewalk in Humboldt Park. Photo by Joshua Koonce.

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If you ever shop at the Trader Joe’s in the South Loop (Roosevelt Road and Wabash Avenue), take note that their bicycle parking is hidden in the back. It’s probably more convenient to lock to a fence on the sidewalk. Does the store have an entrance that’s not oriented to the car parking lot? Photo by Dubi Kaufmann.

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There are sometimes bikes like this parked outside the Hannah’s Bretzel locations in the Loop, but I’ve not heard of them being used for deliveries. Photo by Seth Anderson.

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West Loop gains new transit option with today’s opening of CTA Morgan station

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The fully enclosed glass and metal stairways and transfer bridge make an architectural and industrial statement in the growing West Loop neighborhood. 

The CTA has opened two new stations within three weeks of each other. The first was Oakton-Skokie on the Yellow Line in Skokie, Illinois, on April 30, and today the Morgan Green/Pink Line station opened (without fanfare). A grand opening will likely happen June 1.

Continue reading West Loop gains new transit option with today’s opening of CTA Morgan station

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Cool Tucson bike stuff I’d love to see in Chicago: bike boulevards and more

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Traffic diverter on University Avenue bikeway at Stone Avenue. Motorists must turn right from University Avenue onto Stone Avenue. This setup is also known as TOUCAN. Find more information and photos here.

Earlier this month my buddy Jonathan and I spent a week visiting our friend Lauren in Tucson, Arizona, and I was a little surprised by just how bicycle-friendly a town it is. This college town of 520,000 people (roughly one million metro) was recently rated the 9th best city for biking by Bicycling magazine, one notch above Chicago, so I knew it was a good place to pedal. But this city in the Sonoran desert, surrounded by saguaro cactus-covered mountains has more going for it than just cloudless skies and inspiring nearby destinations for road and mountain bike excursions. Central Tucson has a blossoming bike culture and some excellent infrastructure, including a great network of bicycle boulevards, which our city would do well to emulate.

Continue reading Cool Tucson bike stuff I’d love to see in Chicago: bike boulevards and more

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The bike parking award winners are in

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The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s classroom building at Columbus Drive and Jackson Boulevard provides people with a tool stand and air pump. 

Samantha, the author of Ding Ding Let’s Ride, and I have finished our deliberations on the winners of the 2012 Grid Chicago/Ding Ding Let’s Ride Best Bike Parking Awards.

We had 5 categories (3 bests, 2 for “needs improvement”). Jewel, the supermarket, won in three categories for three locations, winning both “needs improvement” categories. There were 20 nominations; Samantha and I submitted about half of them.

Best Civic or Institutional

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) won for its sheltered bike racks at the Columbus and Jackson building, near the classroom entrance and for providing a Dero Fixit stand that includes tools and an air pump. I was especially excited about this nomination because the nominee submitted a message that said it was sheltered and had the repair stand. The competition was 30 N LaSalle, a Loop office building that houses several City departments. Continue reading The bike parking award winners are in

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Don’t forget those bike parking awards nominations

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There are six categories for Ding Ding Let’s Ride-Grid Chicago bike parking awards: four “bests” and two “most in need of”. Nominate a location now!

  • Best Civic
    Government building, library, community center, etc.
  • Best Grocery Store
    National chain, local chain or store or corner bodega/deli
  • Best Non-Grocery Store business
    Retail store, restaurant, tavern, gym, medical office, etc
  • Best Multi-Unit Housing
    Either public or private housing
  • Most in need of Bike Parking
    A location from one of the above categories that has NO bike parking at all, and desparately needs it
  • Most in need of Improvement
    A location from one of the categories above that desparately needs it’s existing bike parking repaired or improved

Continue reading Don’t forget those bike parking awards nominations

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