Grid Shots: Shopping without a car

A large portion of Chicagoans not only take the bus, train, walk, or bike to work, but they also take these sustainable transportation modes to go shopping, for groceries and everything else.


Two people attempt to cross Western Avenue, with one of them pushing his purchases in a shopping cart. Photo by Joshua Koonce.


Walking through the DePaul University campus after shopping at Dominick’s. Photo by Ryan Wilson. 


A tired shopper waits for a Red Line train at the Chicago CTA station. Photo by Erin Nekervis. 


A shopper takes the Brown Line train to her next destination. Photo by Erin Nekervis. 


The theme of the Chicago Bicycle Program’s entry in the 2009 Pride Parade was “shop by bike”. See the full set of photos from this event

photo of Dottie at Costco on a bakfiets

Dottie Brackett borrowed a bakfiets to go shopping at Costco. Read about her experience

7 thoughts on “Grid Shots: Shopping without a car”

  1. Going shopping in a mode other than car can be so relaxing and feel so free.  Just think about it, why should anyone have to pay money (in the form of petroleum) just to GET ACCESS to buy food, or other necessities?  I feel that many people, in the US especially, have lost sight of how much real freedom they have lost in the last few decades, in terms of mobility.  Of course public transit and bikes cost some money, but compared to the cost of buying a car (more if you finance it through loans), the insurance, maintenance and gas requirements, you are saving loads of money.  And if you walk or bike, it’s also great exercise.  And if more people didn’t drive, our air would also be cleaner.  

    I shop only by bicycle because it’s the best alternative for me.  Walking is too far for my grocery trips (> 2 miles, one way) and the public transit in Tallahassee is next to useless for my purposes.  I really enjoy cycling.  It’s very fast, cheap, fun, flexible and enjoyable-I wish more people would do it to experience the freedom of having the wind blow in your hair, etc.  The only problem is that the culture and infrastructure (or lack of) here makes it not always very pleasant.  But even despite these shortfalls, I will still always choose the bicycle over driving.  

    1. Thank you for your comment. 

      I don’t think bicycling to shopping is an alternative to anything. It’s just one of many modes that a person should be able to choose to get to their destination. 

      I purposely chose the picture of two older citizens trying to cross Western Avenue as the first photo because I think people should be ashamed that we’ve created an environment that causes danger. 

      1. From the looks of it, there is a traffic light at that intersection? Maybe the elderly couple is just waiting for the crosswalk sign to turn green? Not sure why that “causes danger”?

        1. I didn’t notice that there was a signal here. I asked the photographer about this and he couldn’t guess as to why the person didn’t wait for the signal to cross the street. In this second photo, you can see the man in the crosswalk in the middle of the street. 

          Second photo. Both taken by Joshua Koonce at Western and LeMoyne. 

  2. Why aren’t all CTA train stations fully handicap accessible? I know I appreciate not having to struggle up endless staircases with a heavy load when I’m traveling home, and I think that people with disabilities would appreciate being able to choose between the bus or train freely as well!

    1. Many stations were built before federal legislation required transit stations to be accessible to people with disabilities (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, ADA). That’s the short answer – a longer answer would probably involve the intricacies and priorities of society and business that were manifested in the eras when the stations were built. 

      When stations are rebuilt, they are required to become compliant with ADA. It’s one of the best laws this nation has ever enacted – when you make something accessible to persons with disabilities, you make it accessible and easier to use for everyone. 

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