Grid Shots: Great public spaces

Public spaces are not necessarily where transportation occurs. But sometimes transportation creates public spaces.


A crowded ‘L’ car. Photo by Mike Travis.


Relaxing on a temporary lawn during this year’s Open Streets on State Street event. Photo by Jane Healy. 


The wide, well-lit sidewalk under the Palmer House Hilton’s overhang. Photo by John Iwanski. 


Taking the scenic route through Lincoln Park in October. Photo by Michelle Stenzel. 


Daley Plaza, surrounded by Clark, Dearborn, Randolph, and Washington Streets, is the location for many a gathering, protest, and market. Here is Critical Mass prior to departure in September 2012. Photo by Dubi Kaufmann. 


Ping Tom Park in Chinatown provides some views of the Orange Line viaduct and this moveable steel bridge across which Amtrak trains travel. Photo by Adam Herstein. 


Enjoy this path on Northerly Island while it lasts. The path will be reconfigured and “shortened” in the next few years as the “island” is transformed. A campground and lagoon are slated to be built. Photo by Michelle Stenzel.

Add your photos to our Flickr group for consideration for future Grid Shots posts. View past Grid Shots post. See what themes are coming soon.

Grid Shots: Summer time


Tour de Fat happens every year in July in Palmer Square Park. This kid rides a funky trike in the bike pit carnival. Photo by Joshua Koonce. 

The Grid Shots schedule lists “summer time” as the next theme. It’s a little weird to post it at a time when it’s 68°F right now.


There’s color in summer. Photo by Clark Maxwell. 


People rode bikes in the Pride Parade. Photo by Drew Baker.


Michigan Avenue bustles a little more in the warmth. Photo by Michelle Stenzel. 


Summer is a great time to bike around Lincoln Park with a parrot on your hand.

Add your photos to our Flickr group for consideration for future Grid Shots posts. View past Grid Shots post. See what themes are coming soon.

Grid Shots: Political and advocacy statements


An anti-dooring sticker is posted on a pole on Wells Street. These were printed by individuals several years ago. The website has been defunct for a long time. Photo by Michelle Stenzel. 

Cyclists being doored is a major issue. It led to one death this year and in 2010, it comprised almost 20% of all reported bicycling-automobile crashes. There’s a political and advocacy cause in this issue: road designs must be changed and people driving and bicycling need to be continually educated and reminded about avoiding a collision.


Hannah’s Bretzel stores have bikes with big baskets out front with the message “low emission vehicle”. Are these used for delivery, or just parked here? Photo by Seth Anderson.


An advertisement spans Elston Avenue on a railroad viaduct that says “Save Health, Save Jobs,”. Photo by Michelle Stenzel.


A ghost bike is prepared in Daley Plaza for Jepson Livingston at the Ride of Silence in May. Photo by Drew Baker.


In July 2011, Grid Chicago asked the United States Postal Service to stop parking its trucks in bike lanes.


A mannequin placed on Wacker Drive by the Chicago Department of Transportation wears a black t-shirt printed with “One of 32 pedestrians killed last year [2010] in Chicago”. 36 pedestrians were killed by automobiles traffic in 2011. Photo by Mike Travis.

Add your photos to our Flickr group for consideration for future Grid Shots posts. View past Grid Shots post. See what themes are coming soon.

Grid Shots: Under the ‘L’


Marisa Novara at the Metropolitan Planning Council suggested today’s Grid Shots theme after seeing this beautiful garden underneath the Pink Line elevated structure at 19th Street just west of Paulina Street in Pilsen.


Every year at a specific date and time, the sunset aligns with the Chicago street grid, allowing for some dramatic shots of the sun. Here’s the sun as it reaches the horizon seen under the ‘L’ tracks on “Chicagohenge”, September 24, 2012. Photo by Dubi Kaufmann.


A car is driven in this dramatic nighttime shot of the Lake Street ‘L’. Photo by Gabriel Michael.


Wells Street is carried under the ‘L’ starting just south of Hubbard Street and continuing to Van Buren Street. Taking a photo northward at Wacker Drive is popular. Here’s the same view by another photographer. Photo by Drew Baker.


The CTA Red Line descends from the elevated structure just south of Armitage Avenue, where it shared a viaduct with the Brown and Purple Lines. Photo by Jeff Zoline.

Add your photos to our Flickr group for consideration for future Grid Shots posts. View past Grid Shots post. See what themes are coming soon.

Grid Shots: Water

Humans, like water, want the path of least resistance. One way we demonstrate that is by creating desire lines. Humans, unlike water, aren’t controlled by gravity on where we can go so when water gets in our way, we want to get our way.


We built bridges. Many still remain. That carry freight, Metra, and Amtrak trains. Lumber Street lift bridge photo by Adam Herstein.


Even though we often get our way with water, it comes at a cost, and a delay. Water main construction photo by Eric Rogers.


We might have to wait a bit until we can use this path. Lakefront Trail storm photo by Michelle Stenzel.


When our desire lines must cross, we can choose to build over or choose to build under, each with its own consequences. Elmhurst flooding photo by Clark Maxwell.

Add your photos to our Flickr group to be considered for next week’s Grid Shots theme, “Advocacy or political statements”. See previous Grid Shots posts or view the directory.

Grid Shots: Wish paths


Walking in Englewood. Photo by David Schalliol. 

The trail of least resistance. The shortest path between two points is a straight line. People’s desire for that easy route is shown in wish paths and desire lines. Sometimes the existence of a “goat trail” is used to define where sidewalks or other routes should be constructed, but other times their creation and use is blocked by fences and shrubs.  Continue reading Grid Shots: Wish paths