Open Streets director Julia Kim at last year’s Open Streets on State Street. Photo courtesy of Active Trans.
[This piece also appeared in Checkerboard City, John’s weekly transportation column in Newcity magazine, which hits the streets in print on Thursdays.]
Note: I wrote this piece early last week, a few days before Open Streets in the Loop took place on Saturday. As predicted, it was a wonderful event, with even more fun stuff going on than last year. As always, it was thrilling to see a street that’s normally clogged with motor vehicles turned over to positive human interaction. Next Sunday’s Open Streets Wicker Park/Bucktown, on bustling Milwaukee Avenue through bike-crazy neighborhoods, should be even better. It takes place on Milwaukee from Ashland to Western Avenues from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. See Steven’s thoughts on the downtown event below my article.
Last year I wrote a Newcity cover story with the subtitle, “Can Open Streets downtown sell City Hall on future ciclovias?” For this year at least, the answer was no.
Since 2005 I’ve been chronicling the Active Transportation Alliance’s valiant efforts to stage ciclovías, Latin-American-style events that shut down streets to cars traffic, encouraging healthy recreation, community and commerce. It’s hard to believe I still have to report on the relative lack of support from the city, especially since Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) commissioner Gabe Klein have generally been terrific on sustainable transportation issues.
Continue reading Open Streets, closed coffers: City Hall takes a pass on Chicago’s ciclovia.
Active Trans’ Open Streets Manager Julia Kim
Last week bike-friendly 1st Ward Alderman Proco “Joe” Moreno hosted an Active Transportation Alliance member social at the Fifty/50 bar in Ukrainian Village. In addition to presentations by other Active Trans staffers about the city’s Streets for Cycling initiative and bus rapid transit pilot, Julia Kim gave an update on this year’s plans for staging “ciclovia” car-free events.
As Grid Chicago readers know, the ciclovia (Spanish for “bike path”) movement started in Bogotá, Colombia, decades ago, with that city shutting down a network of roads to car traffic to allow citizens to stroll, jog, bike, dance and hang out, encouraging healthy recreation, social interaction and commerce. Nowadays Bogotá holds a ciclovia every weekend on a 70-mile network, drawing millions of participants. Continue reading Active Trans proposes a ciclovía on Milwaukee Ave. Will City Hall help out?
[flickr]photo:6198220998[/flickr]2009 Open Streets: left-to-right, in orange shirts, Lucy Gomez-Feliciano, Adolfo Hernandez, Rob Sadowsky
[This article also runs in Newcity magazine.]
“On State Street, that great street, I just want to say
They do things they don’t do on Broadway”
– “Chicago (That Toddlin’ Town)” by Fred Fisher
The question is, can Chicago do on State Street what New York City already does successfully, not on Broadway but on Park Avenue; what San Francisco does on Grant Avenue; and what Bogotá, Colombia, does on Calle 11?
Born in Bogotá, “ciclovía” (Spanish for “bike path”) events close streets to motorized traffic, creating safe spaces for citizens to bicycle, jog, stroll, play and mingle, encouraging healthy recreation and social interaction. Ciclovías are now popular around the world, and most of America’s bike-friendly major cities are holding successful events, but the model still hasn’t gained a foothold in Chicago.
This could change after Saturday’s Open Streets on State Street ciclovía, when for five hours the sight, sound and smell of hundreds of automobiles, cabs and buses on the famous thoroughfare will be replaced by thousands of people enjoying a giant block party. The free event takes place from 10 am to 3 pm, with State Street closed to traffic between Lake and Van Buren. Vehicles will be permitted to cross the route at Madison and Monroe.
Continue reading Can Saturday’s Open Streets on State Street convince City Hall to fund the next ciclovía?
A car-free Ridge Avenue in Evanston, Illinois. Photo by Esther Chicago.
It’s a busy weekend for bicycling events and the next step in the Bloomingdale Trail design process. The weather forecast on AccuWeather.com shows sunny and 60°F on Saturday and Sunday.
Saturday, October 1, 2011
10 AM to 3 PM
1 N State Street
Enjoy the ultimate urban playground as State Street opens for pedestrians only to play, walk, bike and enjoy healthy recreation in the heart of the Loop on a seven-block stretch of State Street, from Lake Street to Van Buren Street, into an urban playground for all ages, Saturday, October 1, from 10 AM to 3 PM.
Continue reading Weekend events: two ciclovías, two Bloomingdale Trail charrettes, and two bike rides
Alderman Burnett with John
[This piece also runs on the website Gapers Block.]
This is the first of a series of interviews I hope to conduct with all fifty Chicago aldermen about walking, biking and transit issues in their wards. As “mini mayors,” these City Council representatives have a huge influence on the kinds of projects that are built in their districts.
For example, a handful of aldermen have opted to use menu money discretionary funds to stripe additional bicycle lanes in their wards or to bankroll innovative transportation projects, like the Albany Home Zone traffic-calmed block in Logan Square. On the other hand, they can stand in the way of progress, like when former 50th Ward Alderman Berny Stone vetoed a bike bridge on the North Shore Channel Trail in West Rogers Park. Continue reading Talking transportation with 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett Jr.