Scott Baermann cleans windows at Ipsento on a sunny September afternoon.
Scott Baermann has been in the window cleaning business for 10 years, mostly in northern Indiana. He operated that business from afar when he moved to Chicago in 2006. Earlier this year he took on his friend Ryan Hoban as a partner. But the future didn’t lie in northern Indiana, it was here in Chicago.
I interviewed the Urban Street Window Works guys in August at their “office” in Ipsento Coffee House in Bucktown. This was the same office at which Scott and Ryan decided to try storefronts as a way to break into business in the city, an industry they said was dominated by “one bucket wonders”.
Most people already have a guy, and they don’t know who it is. He just comes around a few times and you pay him $7, $8 bucks. We want to develop a relationship, in how we want to separate ourselves. We want them to know our names.
Our first storefront was Ipsento, I know Tim, I asked, “Who does your windows?” Shoot me a quote and we’ll talk. Tim bought the equipment himself, “but as you can see I don’t do a good job”.
Ipsento became their first customer. A walk around the neighborhood netted them a few more customers. The pair got bikes on their radar after the threat of parking tickets raised its ugly head (fortunately they didn’t get one on an early work call). They looked at trailers on Craigslist and bought a single wheel trailer in Evanston. Ryan mentioned the benefits of using a bike for work, saying, “We can be a lot more efficient. I love riding my bikes. So this is like a dream come true, riding my bike every day.” Continue reading New cargo bike business wants to protect your windows
Photo of the northern entrance to Holstein Park by YoChicago1.
The stop sign has become obsolete, at least in the place where I’d expect most people want it, in front of a popular neighborhood park bustling with children.
No, those who are driving past Holstein Park aren’t stopping on their own, without the presence of a stop sign. The reverse is true: they are not stopping in the presence of a stop sign. The device is no longer used. Watch this video uploaded by “mea2214” of people driving east on Lyndale Street at Oakley Avenue (in the 32nd Ward). Here’s the Street View location.
Watch the video on YouTube.
Continue reading Chicagoans make stop signs obsolete at Holstein Park
Participants at Tuesday evening’s access parks charrette. Most photos by John.
In 2015, when the Bloomingdale Trail and parks are complete, no one should be able to say that a feature or two isn’t supposed to be there. In a public planning process that continues to impress, with unprecedented, widespread community involvement, a new step was completed on Monday and Tuesday with the release of the framework plan and a trail access and park charrette, respectively. The residents of Chicago have designed this trail and its accompanying access parks by providing feedback probably totaling several million words. This is a process where votes are cast by showing up and participating; homeowners concerned about privacy met directly with members of the design team, and meeting participants stressing their concerns over people bicycling too fast were among the voters.
The design team, which consists of the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), Trust for Public Land (TPL), the Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail, and TPL and the Park District’s many contractors, held an access park charrette on Tuesday, May 15, 2012, at the Humboldt Park Fieldhouse. Continue reading Design and features of six Bloomingdale Trail access parks are formulated in a single night
(Please pardon the primitive quality of these photos, taken with a borrowed camera-phone.)
As I’ve written before, I have a two-pronged strategy for enjoying Chicago winters. One aspect is indoor coziness and/or winter denial: Fireplaces, tiki bars, Jacuzzis, endless cups of Sleepytime tea, the Lincoln Park Conservatory and the 9th floor winter garden at the Washington Library. The other is getting plenty of outside time through bike commuting, long walks in the snow, ice skating, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
Last Friday night in the midst of a blizzard that dropped six or eight inches on Chicago, some old Critical Mass buddies and I had a night of car-free fun that combined both approaches. It also involved another key to winter happiness: choosing the right travel mode for the weather.
Continue reading A Bloomingdale Line pub crawl by snowshoes and skis
The Wicker Park-Bucktown (WPB) Special Service Area (SSA), a business improvement district, has purchased 20 specially-designed and orange-colored bike racks from Dero to be installed within the district (see a map on their website).
A beautiful work in progress. The u-rack is nearly identical to the latest model CDOT has used with the addition of a center piece showing the sustainable transportation modes residents and shoppers in Wicker Park and Bucktown use to get around. Photo courtesy of Dero.
Continue reading Wicker Park-Bucktown SSA moving ahead with bike rack installations