Grid Shots – photos from our Flickr pool

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.

A run-in with a neo-Nazi on the Lakefront Trail


Many years ago I was riding my bicycle on Chicago’s Lakefront Trail, rolling south past Oak Street Beach, near the Hancock Tower. It was a beautiful summer day and the path was really crowded with people walking, jogging and cycling. I was working as a bike messenger at the time.

As I was riding I saw this guy heading towards me. He was this tall, brawny skinhead on Rollerblades, skating north. He was wearing wraparound sunglasses and a t-shirt that said “WHITE POWER” with a big swastika on it. I myself had a shaved head and I was wearing wraparound shades at the time, but I’m a short, skinny Jew.

Continue reading A run-in with a neo-Nazi on the Lakefront Trail

Using Google Maps bicycle directions to access Chicagoland tiki venues


One of my favorite kinds of bicycling is to just choose a destination, like a library, a restaurant or a beach and then find a pleasant, interesting way to ride there. This summer I’ve been enjoying going out around sunset and doing what I call “dreaming” my way around: I cruise slow and improvise a route on shady side streets while taking in the scenery and letting my mind wander.

Or, if it’s a trip that I often take, sometimes I’ll mix things up by playing a game where every time I come to a red light I have to change directions. Say I’m riding from the Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State, northwest to my home in Logan Square. I might start by pedaling west on Van Buren, then come to a red at Dearborn and turn north, then come to a red at Kinzie and head west, etc.

Some of my favorite suburban destinations are tiki bars and old Chinese restaurants with Polynesian-themed décor. I trace my fascination with “Polynesian Pop” culture to my childhood, when my family used to visit my dad’s cousin Leo’s tiki-themed hotel, the Hawaiian Isle, in North Miami Beach. It’s harder to improvise routes for these kind of suburban safaris, so a little forethought is required.

Continue reading Using Google Maps bicycle directions to access Chicagoland tiki venues

Update on CDOT’s bikeway busyness

Last week Grid told you about some new and refreshed bikeways in Chicago. The Chicago Bicycle Program, part of the Department of Transportation (CDOT), has been more active than the article let on.

CDOT published a custom map on Tuesday and we’ve published a table from CDOT of the locations, distances, and funding sources of these new and refreshed bike lanes.


Photo shows a new marked shared lane on California Avenue from North Avenue to Milwaukee Avenue.  Continue reading Update on CDOT’s bikeway busyness

Advantages of paid area bike parking at transit stations

John and I met on Monday at the Harold Washington Library winter garden to talk about the Grid website design after our live radio interview on Vocalo. You’ll see some design changes in the coming weeks and months.

We then got to discussing bike parking. John and I essentially performed the same work at the Chicago Department of Transportation, arranging for the installation of bike racks, but several years apart.


Photo of bike racks at the Logan Square Blue Line subway station by Brian Vargas. 

I told him that I was never convinced that there existed a conclusive advantage over whether to install bike racks inside the paid area of Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) train stations, or in the unpaid area. He was adamant that the paid area was better, but I disagreed.  Continue reading Advantages of paid area bike parking at transit stations

Transit reform really just transit features


Riders on this bus will have access to new, to the region, features that make taking transit more convenient and pleasurable. Photo by Eric Pancer.

Governor Quinn’s office issued a press release last Thursday calling House Bill 3597 “major transit reform legislation.”

What he signed into law today was not reform, but a package of new, “cool” features that the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra, and Pace – collectively called the service boards – are now required by law to implement.

This post is a summary of the legislation he signed today. Analysis of the universal fare system will be published later on Grid.

Continue reading Transit reform really just transit features