Does aldermanic prerogative undermine Chicago’s Pedestrian Street ordinance?


Ed. note: This post was written by Steven Vance and Christopher Gagnon, a Logan Square resident.

“So who is the amazing architect who designed the new McDonalds…with a utility door facing Milwaukee Ave.?  Is there some sort of safety reason for an ugly utility door being placed at that spot, in the front of the restaurant??”

Good question. This message, posted December 6 to the Logan Square Yahoo! Group, a neighborhood online discussion board, can be read as more than a criticism of the architecture of the newly rebuilt McDonald’s at 2707 N Milwaukee Avenue, as it recalls a controversial decision – and some unfinished business – for Logan Square pedestrians.

For those unfamiliar with the issue, a quick primer:

Chicago’s City Council established the “Pedestrian Streets” (“P-Streets”) ordinance to “preserve and enhance the character of…pedestrian oriented shopping districts…[and] to promote transit, economic vitality and pedestrian safety and comfort,” and this designation was applied, among other locations citywide, to Milwaukee Avenue between Kedzie and Sawyer.

When the owners of the McDonald’s located within this area decided to build a new store at their existing location, they turned to Alderman Colón for relief from restrictions imposed by the P-Street designation that would have prohibited their drive-thru operation.  In November 2011, Alderman Colón introduced a controversial ordinance (adopted June 2012) removing the area from the list of P-Streets so McDonald’s owners could obtain the necessary permits for the curb cuts and drive-thru.

Continue reading Does aldermanic prerogative undermine Chicago’s Pedestrian Street ordinance?

Bicycle Film Festival starts off with a bang on Friday with free viewing


Watch the video interview on Vimeo, it’s 2 minutes long. 

We interviewed Terry Bloom the other day at his gym about the Bicycle Film Festival that starts tomorrow, a locally-produced event with international cachet that celebrates films about bikes but also the bicycles and the people who ride them. We wanted to know what will be different in 2012’s festival over 2011′.

First off, there are three new and different venues, starting with a free showing at the Claudia Cassidy Theater in the Chicago Cultural Center downtown. Donations will be accepted and seats are first come, first served, but if you join one of the three rides departing at 17:30h, “you will get a seat”, Terry guaranteed. Saturday’s screenings move to the Viaduct Theater, at the Belmont and Western Avenue viaduct in Roscoe Village, while Sunday’s films will be projected at the renovated Logan Theater in Logan Square.

See the full screening schedule, venue details, and ticket information (event page on Facebook). All other events are free. Continue reading Bicycle Film Festival starts off with a bang on Friday with free viewing

Eyes on the street: No pedestrian access at intersections


At the southeast corner of Madison and Green Streets. Fortunately, only 1 corner was impassable. The same isn’t true for some of the other intersections under construction. 

Does your neighborhood look like this?

Across the northwest side, including Logan Square, Avondale and West Loop, many intersections and alleys are having their curb cuts rebuilt to be compliant with transportation standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). At all of the construction sites I’ve passed by, none have alternate access or signage for pedestrians, forcing people’s paths to divert into the street and into traffic.


At the southeast corner of Diversey and Kedzie Avenues. This corner was completely non-barricaded at the time of the photo. 

Continue reading Eyes on the street: No pedestrian access at intersections

Fatality Tracker: Man electrocutes himself crossing Blue Line tracks


California Blue Line station photo by Clint. 

2012 Chicago fatality stats*:

Pedestrian: 7 (6 have been from hit-and-run crashes)
Pedalcyclist: 3
Transit: 6

A man was killed by electrocution after apparently attempting to cross the CTA Blue Line tracks at the California Blue Line station early morning on Wednesday, August 1. From the Chicago Sun-Times:

“It looked like he wanted to get to the other side (of the platform),” and tried to do so by crossing the tracks, a Shakespeare District police sergeant said. As he did so, “he grabbed on to the third rail and that was it.”

A CTA spokeswoman said the man touched the third rail on the southbound tracks.

Electrocution was the preliminary cause of death for the victim, who remained unidentified but was believed to be in his 30s, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office said Wednesday morning. An autopsy is scheduled for later performed Wednesday, but the sergeant said it did not appear to be a suicide or criminal incident.

* The information is only accurate as of this post’s publishing time and includes only people who died in the Chicago city limits. View previous Fatality Tracker posts.

Kidical Mass tours the 35th Ward to see student transportation plan recommendations


The Kidical Mass ride starts at 11 AM every second Saturday at Palmer Square Park. This ride was different in that it incorporated stops at places recommended to receive improvements in the 35th Ward Student Active Transportation Plan. 

I joined 40 parents, children, and neighbors, on Saturday, July 14, to ride with Kidical Mass on a special tour of the 35th Ward in conjunction with the planning team of the 35th Ward Student Active Transportation Plan. The team comprised members of Active Transportation Alliance and Sam Schwartz Engineering, both of whom were part of the Streets for Cycling 2020 Plan. Continue reading Kidical Mass tours the 35th Ward to see student transportation plan recommendations

Why do all these people love the CTA?


Why I love the CTA: It’s a backup plan for (bike) flats. I calculated how often I’ve ridden the CTA using my Chicago Card Plus’s transaction history: 5 rides in a 98 day period

I met all of the people whose name tags are shown here at a launch party in the Logan Square Design Building for a Kickstarter project. I’ve never been to a Kickstarter launch party before. Greater Good Studio is raising money to design a mobile app on how to ride the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). The app’s development will have “crowd sourced” its design and direction with that funding mechanism.

Stay tuned today for an interview with project co-creator and designer George Aye, but enjoy these responses.


Tall Todd (Todd Jones): I don’t have a car and sometimes I don’t want to bike. Continue reading Why do all these people love the CTA?