The Long March


Additional reporting and bridge photo by Michael Burton
All other photos by Travis Taylor

Revolution Brewing owner Josh Deth passes out black military-style caps with red six-pointed Chicago stars to the forty people who’ve showed up at his brewpub on this gorgeous June morning for the Communist-themed Long March. This eight-mile hike from Logan Square to Comiskey Park is named after the 8,000-mile retreat of the Chinese Red Army’s led by Mao Zedong in 1934 from Chiang Kai-Shek’s nationalist forces.

After brunch and glasses of pink, hibiscus-infused Rosa beer our parade steps off southeast on Milwaukee Avenue, led by march organizer and pedestrian activist Michael Burton. I’m walking near the front of the pack holding aloft a Chicago flag, wearing a t-shirt with the image of a walk signal and the words, “Walking is NOT a crime.” The shirt is a souvenir from a 2004 Pedestrian Critical Mass demonstration that Burton organized in response to a proposed crackdown by the city’s Traffic Management Authority on downtown jaywalkers. I soon hand off the flag to a more photogenic woman with pink hair wearing knee boots and hot pants.

Continue reading The Long March

Car-free camping in the Indiana Dunes


The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore might be the most beautiful place in the Hoosier State—which, to some, might not sound like much of a ringing endorsement, especially since it’s flanked by steel mills and power plants. But this nearby national park features 25 miles of natural beach, hiking trails through forests, prairies and marshes. And, of course, there are the dunes themselves: massive mountains of fine sand, perfect for a sliding barefoot sprint and leap.

Bring your tent, sleeping bag and camping gear and head to Millennium Station at Randolph Street and Michigan Avenue to catch the South Shore Line train (round-trip ticket, $13.60). The South Shore does not allow conventional bikes onboard; however, folding bikes are permitted and would be useful for exploring the greater Dunes area. It’s a relaxing, scenic, 90-minute train ride to the Beverly Shores stop and the national lakeshore’s Dunewood Campground.

Continue reading Car-free camping in the Indiana Dunes

Bloomingdale Trail: A first time exploration plus development update

I ventured onto the Bloomingdale Trail this Independence Day weekend, an abandoned elevated railroad viaduct owned by Canadian Pacific. I encountered at least six other “trail” users in 30 minutes, including people on a stroll, a runner, and a person walking two dogs. I can’t wait for the day when I can ride my bike on a smooth asphalt path between neighborhoods without encountering noisy and polluting automobile traffic. Read on for updates on the contract and design process.


A Blue Line train passes over the (future) Bloomingdale Trail. Continue reading Bloomingdale Trail: A first time exploration plus development update

App contest for Chicago transportation and community in progress

The Apps for Metro Chicago competition started on Friday, June 24, 2011. It aims to gather free and useful web and mobile applications (created in any programming language). It’s sponsored by the City of Chicago, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), Cook County, and the State of Illinois. You can enter as many apps as you want in two categories, Transportation and Community, and the “Grand Challenge.” You don’t have to be a Chicago resident!


The Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA) train tracker website was developed with web standards so that it could work on all browsers, no matter how “dumb” the phone. By developing with standards and for many platforms, your app will get a higher score. You can create a duplicative app for the competition, but you must add unique features or create an innovative design! “Creativity” (uniqueness) will help your app score higher. Continue reading App contest for Chicago transportation and community in progress

Recap on the Kinzie Street protected bike lane


Cyclists ride eastbound in the Kinzie Street protected bike lane. Photo by Joshua Koonce.

It’s been two weeks since the Bike To Work Week Rally symbolically marked the opening of the Kinzie Street protected bike lane. Construction continued into this week.

I contacted Brian Steele, public information officer at the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), to answer some outstanding questions. Continue reading Recap on the Kinzie Street protected bike lane