Top 5 lists: essential parks, walking, biking and transit stories of 2012


The Dearborn Street two-way protected bike lane.

In 2012 the Emanuel administration kept the momentum going for walking, biking, transit and public space improvements, with a number of big projects announced and/or completed. For Newcity magazine’s annual “Top 5 of Everything” issue, I submitted the following lists of the most important or interesting sustainable transportation and parks stories of the year. Did I miss anything?

Top 5 Wheelie Exciting Chicago Bicycling Stories

Hundreds of cyclists provide input for 645-mile Streets for Cycling Plan 2020 network

Comrade Cycles, Chicago’s first worker-owned bike shop, opens in Ukrainian Village

Couriers from around the globe gather here for Cycle Messenger World Championships

Final plans for Bloomingdale trail and “linear park” released; construction slated for 2013

CDOT builds Chicago’s first two-way protected bike lane downtown on Dearborn Street


Bollywood dancing at Open Streets on Milwaukee Avenue.

Top 5 Not-So-Pedestrian Local Walking Stories

Chicago’s speed camera ordinance passes, paving the way for safer walking conditions

Make Way for People plan to turn alleys, cul-de-sacs and parking spots into mini parks

City releases first-ever comprehensive Pedestrian Plan

Open Streets ciclovia expands to include Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park / Bucktown

Mayor Emanuel announces $100 million plan to complete the Chicago Riverwalk


The CTA Yellow Line’s new Oakton-Skokie station. Photo by Jeff Zoline.

Top 5 Rapidly Developing Transit Stories

CTA announces 5-month closure of south Red Line, $240 million 95th St. station rehab

Both CTA and Metra hike farecard prices

Sparkling new CTA stations open at Green/Pink Morgan and Yellow Oakton-Skokie

Amtrak train hits 111 MPH downstate, paving the way for high-speed service to St. Louis

Jeffery Jump debuts; plans for bus rapid transit downtown, and on Western, Ashland


Park district rendering of Northerly Island redesign.

Top 5 Blossoming Chicago Park District Stories

Rahm announces $290 million plan for 800 parks & rec projects citywide in next 5 years

Construction starts on four new boathouses along the Chicago River

$5 million Northerly Island rehab will add topography, native habitats and campsites

Take the Field plan earmarks $12 million for sports fields in underserved communities

North Grant Park, now Maggie Daley Park, will get climbing sculptures & skating ribbon

Pedaling revolution: Comrade Cycles seizes the means of production


This is the first article published in “Checkerboard City,” John’s new column about sustainable transportation that will run in print in every issue of Newcity magazine, which hits the streets on Wednesday evenings.

“Bikers of Chicago unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains.”
—Suggested manifesto for Comrade Cycles

First there was Atomix Café, with its giant mural of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, then Revolution Brewing, with a red star logo and tap handles shaped like upraised fists. By opening Chicago’s newest communist-themed enterprise, the three worker-owners behind Comrade Cycles hope to make their Marx on the local bike scene.

Continue reading Pedaling revolution: Comrade Cycles seizes the means of production

Bingo fundraiser for messenger championships is tonight


Flyer for tonight’s event. 

The soon-to-be opened Comrade Cycles at 1908 W Chicago Ave is hosting a Bingo Night fundraiser tonight, Saturday, February 25, 2012, at 7 PM.

This event will feature bingo calling, prizes of all kinds, good music, Old Style beer, Upton’s tamales and a rousing good time. Additionally, all the money will benefit throwing the 20th annual CMWC. This year, Chicago will host the 20th cycle messenger world championship, a celebration of messengers and urban cyclists, coming to you August 3 – 5 at Soldier Field for both racing and spectating. Check out for more information. Continue reading Bingo fundraiser for messenger championships is tonight