Photo of Amtrak and Metra trains at Union Station by Eric Pancer.
Read the event review for this meeting.
Come to the Great Hall at Union Station on Thursday, December 15, 2011, from 4 to 7 PM, for a presentation and open house on the Union Station Master Plan. The Great Hall is in the original Union Station building, at 210 S Canal Street – the meeting will be in the southwest corner. Continue reading Union Station master plan public meeting is Thursday
Photo by John – all others by Steven except where noted
Last month while exploring bits and piece of trails and riverwalks that run alongside the North Branch of the Chicago River, I biked over the Cherry Avenue Bridge, an old railroad bridge connecting Goose Island to North Avenue. The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) recently converted the bridge to serve pedestrians and bicyclists, with rubber between the rails and the decking to make the surface safer to pedal over.
But I was alarmed to see a sign reading “Caution / Active Rail / Yield to Trains.” Was I really in danger of being flattened by a locomotive? I tracked down the project manager, chief bridge engineer Daniel Burke, to get the skinny.
Continue reading Can you get hit by a train while biking across the Cherry Avenue Bridge?
John Norquist – photo courtesy of the Congress for the New Urbanism
Whenever I visit Milwaukee I’m impressed by some of the more progressive aspects of its urban planning, like the many well-preserved old buildings, bike-and-ped-friendly bridges, the Milwaukee Public Market and the vibrant riverfront. Much of the credit goes to John Norquist, who served as mayor from 1988 to 2004, when he left to take his currrent post as president and CEO of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU). Continue reading Talking transportation with former Milwaukee mayor John Norquist
Roadside Halloween display in Colchester, IL
On Halloween weekend I took a train-bike-train excursion to western Illinois and northeast Missouri and, fittingly, death was a recurring theme on this fun little trip. My childhood pal Greg recently took a gig teaching political science at Western Illinois University in Macomb, IL. Judy, another old friend from the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin, moved to Kirksville, MO, last summer to study osteopathic medicine. Since both towns are near Amtrak lines, I decided to link the two visits with a grueling 120-mile day of bicycling. Here’s a map of my bike route.
Friday morning I caught the Carl Sandburg line from Chicago’s Union Station. Like most Amtrak lines that run entirely within Illinois, it allows “roll-on” bicycle service for an additional fee, so I’m able to hoist my unboxed bicycle onboard and simply lean it against the wall of the train car. It’s a relaxing 3.5-hour cruise southwest across the prairie to Macomb, where Greg meets me at the combined train and bus station for this quaint college town of 19,748. In high school we played in a psychedelic rockabilly band called the Glorious Disciples of Freedom, so we greet each other with the band’s secret handshake, grasping each other’s bicep and saying in unison, “Disciples of Freedom.”
Continue reading Western Illinois Death March
I was surprised when Vocalo radio host, Molly Adams, asked me about high-speed rail. I imagined we would only talk about local transit and bicycling projects and issues; as a railfan, I was prepared to answer her question. She said, “How realistic is a possible high-speed rail, in the region?”
I confidently replied, “It is finally starting to happen” (read and listen to the full interview). Work finished in September 2010 to replace tracks between Alton, Illinois (north of St. Louis), and Lincoln, Illinois (north of Springfield).
An Amtrak and Metra train wait in the south part of Union Station in Chicago. Photo by Eric Pancer. Continue reading Getting Midwesterners on board with high-speed rail