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.
Recent additions to our one-week old Flickr group, where Grid Chicago readers add their photos about sustainable transportation in Chicagoland. This is the first post of an occasional series. Add your photos!
Photo of cyclists crossing the Kinzie Street protected bike lane, which will have a bike-friendly metal decking come August or September of this year. By Nicholas Norman.
Busking at the Clark/Lake Blue Line station. If you’re a musician and want to play in the (four) approved areas of the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) system, you must obtain a permit from the CTA. It doesn’t seem this is one of the approved areas. By Joshua Koonce.
Elderly Chicagoans attempt to cross Western Avenue. Must I say more? By Joshua Koonce.
Additional reporting and bridge photo by Michael Burton
All other photos by Travis Taylor
Revolution Brewing owner Josh Deth passes out black military-style caps with red six-pointed Chicago stars to the forty people who’ve showed up at his brewpub on this gorgeous June morning for the Communist-themed Long March. This eight-mile hike from Logan Square to Comiskey Park is named after the 8,000-mile retreat of the Chinese Red Army’s led by Mao Zedong in 1934 from Chiang Kai-Shek’s nationalist forces.
After brunch and glasses of pink, hibiscus-infused Rosa beer our parade steps off southeast on Milwaukee Avenue, led by march organizer and pedestrian activist Michael Burton. I’m walking near the front of the pack holding aloft a Chicago flag, wearing a t-shirt with the image of a walk signal and the words, “Walking is NOT a crime.” The shirt is a souvenir from a 2004 Pedestrian Critical Mass demonstration that Burton organized in response to a proposed crackdown by the city’s Traffic Management Authority on downtown jaywalkers. I soon hand off the flag to a more photogenic woman with pink hair wearing knee boots and hot pants.
Continue reading The Long March
[This piece also appears in Newcity.]
This June evening is too pretty for the subway, so I bicycle south to the Pink Line’s California station to meet up with the Active Transportation Alliance’s Tony Giron (in the photo above, far right). He’s leading a march across the largely Mexican-American neighborhood of Little Village to Farragut High School for the first of seven public input meetings on the Chicago Pedestrian Plan.
Similar to the Bike 2015 Plan, this Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) document will be a roadmap for making the city a safer and easier place to walk. The goal is to reduce pedestrian injuries by half and fatalities by one hundred percent. “Chicago is a great city for walking,” says Giron. “But along with park paths and tree-lined streets, we still have roads that are difficult to cross, dangerous intersections and places that are inaccessible to people walking.”
Continue reading Making strides: can the Chicago Pedestrian Plan create safer streets?
Last week in his interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, new commissioner of the Department of Transportation (CDOT), Gabe Klein, indicated he wanted to explore installing a pedestrian scramble at some intersections in the city. This would mean that vehicle traffic is stopped in all directions (an “all red” phase) and people walking can cross in any direction from any corner to any other corner.
“It’s something we would be interested in piloting at the busiest intersections,” Klein said.
Continue reading Building Chicago’s first pedestrian scramble