Checking out information about the “Four Star Bike Routes” concept at the meeting. All photos in this post courtesy of the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT).
Last Thursday’s Streets for Cycling public meeting was the second of several opportunities for input on the recently revealed draft of the Citywide 2020 Network. The meeting alternated open sessions for reviewing various aspects of the network plan and talking to planners with presentation/Q&A sessions.
It was my first time inside the Gary Comer Youth Center, a very distinctive piece of modern architecture. The meeting was held in a third floor meeting room, adjacent to a beautiful roof garden surrounded by glass-walled interior space. We had a great view of the enormous community garden across the street.
Continue reading South Siders check out the draft Streets for Cycling Plan
Jane Healy, Mike Healy and Jason Berry.
[This piece also appeared in Checkerboard City, John’s weekly transportation column in Newcity magazine, which hits the streets in print on Wednesday evenings.]
Jane Healy is a diehard booster of the blue-collar south suburb of Blue Island, and she’s the ultimate biker mama. [I borrowed this phrase from J. Harry Wray’s book Pedal Power, which also profiles Jane, since I couldn’t think of a better term to describe her.] Along with her husband Mike and kids Will, Katie and Genevieve, she usually pedals to get around this scruffy railroad town of some 22,500 people, located just south of Chicago and straddling the Calumet-Sag Channel. Jane is board president of the Active Transportation Alliance advocacy group, and she’s been spearheading Blue Island’s current bike boom, helping get hundreds of local kids jazzed about cycling.
Continue reading Island delights: a bike tour of Blue Island with Active Trans’ Jane Healy
[This piece also appeared in Checkerboard City, John’s weekly transportation column in Newcity magazine, which hits the streets on Wednesday evenings.]
As a sustainable transportation devotee, sometimes I have to remind myself that not everyone in this country is as fanatical about biking as I am. But “Pedal America,” a new travel series on PBS created and produced by Chicagoan Ira David Levy, aims to spread the gospel of cycling to the unconverted. “I think that with a lot of bike advocacy, we tend to talk to each other, people who are already enthused,” he says over drinks at a Gold Coast café. “But if you’re going to reach the masses you need to find a way that does not come across as overly political. So I work in a little bit of advocacy in each episode but I try not to be too preachy.” Continue reading Ira David Levy’s “Pedal America” show pushes pedaling to a broader audience
View from the hill located in the Brownlands.
[This piece also appeared in “Checkerboard City”, John’s weekly transportation column in Newcity magazine, which hits the streets on Wednesday evenings.]
A local ordinance requires that all new developments along the Chicago River include public access to the waterfront, so eventually there could be a network of riverwalks to rival the Lakefront Trail. But for now it takes a little detective work to navigate the waterway by bicycle. I’ve researched a few “stealth routes” along the North Branch, connecting bits and pieces of riverfront path with quiet side streets — you can read about them here. Last week I scouted out a fascinating route along the South Branch from the Loop to Bridgeport, but I should warn you that it isn’t completely legal. Here’s a Google map of the route.
Continue reading A stealth route along the South Branch of the Chicago River
Traffic diverter on University Avenue bikeway at Stone Avenue. Motorists must turn right from University Avenue onto Stone Avenue. This setup is also known as TOUCAN. Find more information and photos here.
Earlier this month my buddy Jonathan and I spent a week visiting our friend Lauren in Tucson, Arizona, and I was a little surprised by just how bicycle-friendly a town it is. This college town of 520,000 people (roughly one million metro) was recently rated the 9th best city for biking by Bicycling magazine, one notch above Chicago, so I knew it was a good place to pedal. But this city in the Sonoran desert, surrounded by saguaro cactus-covered mountains has more going for it than just cloudless skies and inspiring nearby destinations for road and mountain bike excursions. Central Tucson has a blossoming bike culture and some excellent infrastructure, including a great network of bicycle boulevards, which our city would do well to emulate.
Continue reading Cool Tucson bike stuff I’d love to see in Chicago: bike boulevards and more
Photo of this year’s Frozen Snot Century trip by Adam Wonak
Back in 2005 when Illinois Governor Pat Quinn was second-in-command under Blago, he did cyclists a huge favor by bullying Metra into allowing bikes on board. This opened up a whole new world of options for affordable, car-free road trips because, even after the commuter rail system hiked its fares last year, a weekend pass is a mere seven bucks.
You can hop the Union Pacific North Line all the way up to Kenosha, Wisconsin, then pedal 35 miles to downtown Milwaukee – it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than Amtrak, whose Hiawatha service to Cream City costs $46 roundtrip and doesn’t allow unboxed bicycles. Or bike 30 miles south from the Loop via trails to Munster, Indiana, for gourmet burgers and craft beers at Three Floyds, a heavy metal-loving brewpub, then spin ten miles west to Flossmoor Station Brewery, where you can catch a lift home at the adjacent Metra stop.
Continue reading The Frozen (Molten?) Snot Century: Mission to Madison