Alderman Dowell with 3rd Ward bike campers.
[This piece also appeared in Checkerboard City, John’s weekly transportation column in Newcity magazine, which hits the streets in print on Thursdays.]
3rd Ward Alderman Pat Dowell wasn’t always a bicycle-friendly politician. But she says a recent visit to bike-crazy northern Europe opened her eyes to the potential benefits of cycling for her South Side constituents.
Dowell’s Near South district includes parts of Bronzeville, Kenwood, Oakland, Douglas, and the South Loop. Last February, as part of Rahm Emanuel’s plan to build one hundred miles of car-protected bike lanes within his first term, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) proposed installing protected lanes along Martin Luther King Drive in her ward. But local church leaders opposed the lanes because they feared they would impact Sunday parking and because they felt the white posts used to delineate the lanes would detract from the aesthetics of the historic boulevard, says CDOT project manager Mike Amsden. As a result, the project stalled.
Continue reading Alderman Dowell goes to Denmark
Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) director Victor Mendez speaks to the audience with Bikes Belong president Tim Blumenthal. Photo by David Schalliol.
A soirée and a press conference in Chicago two weeks ago (May 30-31), bookended the launch of the Green Line Project, an initiative of the Bikes Belong Foundation and its six grant cities. The Green Lane Project is a sharing and technical assistance effort to build “better” bike lanes, to “propagate them faster across the country”, as Martha Roskowski, project manager, put it.
What is a Green Lane? From the project website, “A Green Lane is a statement about how we experience our communities,” but from an infrastructure sense, a green lane is a European-style bike lane “adapted to meet the unique needs of American streets”.
Continue reading Green Lane Project to accelerate better bike lane development across the country
Alderman Solis in Zolle, Netherlands – all photos courtesy of Bikes Belong
[Background info for this post came from a write-up of the trip by Washington D.C. Department of Transportation Bicycle Program Specialist Mike Goodno.]
Earlier this month when I interviewed 25th Ward Alderman Danny Solis about sustainable transportation projects in his ward, he mentioned that he would be taking a trip to the Netherlands from October 1 – 8 to study bike facilities. The bike industry-funded advocacy group Bikes Belong sponsored this fact-finding mission for transportation officials from Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Miami, and Solis says that staffers from Working Bikes Cooperative recommended him to Bikes Belong as a bike-friendly politician. Joining him from Chicago were former Active Transportation Alliance executive director and current SRAM Cycling Fund director Randy Neufeld, as well as Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) bike program staffers David Gleason and Mike Amsden. Continue reading Alderman Solis goes to Amsterdam