Both John and I attended the Streets for Cycling Plan 2020 meeting at the Garfield Park Conservatory on Wednesday. The project leaders (Mike Amsden from the Chicago Department of Transportation, and Mark de la Vergne from Sam Schwartz Engineering, pictured) announced 4.3 new miles of protected bike lanes for the west side boulevard system to be installed this year in the main lanes to slow traffic in the Lawndale and East Garfield Park neighborhoods. Continue reading Recaps from Wednesday’s Streets for Cycling Plan meeting at Garfield Park
There were two whacky events on Saturday: the Afterglow post-season cyclocross race in muddy and snowy Humboldt Park, and the Dreidel & Santa Rampage!, an event with seemingly no other purpose than to have a fun bike ride and perpetuate the tradition (you must be dressed as Santa, an elf, or a dreidel to join).
A cyclocross race is like riding a souped-up road bike on a track people would normally ride mountain bikes on. And there’s always jeering and costumes.
Audrey can often be found at races with a megaphone “encouraging” riders to stop going so slow. Continue reading Grid Shots: Weekend cycling events
Accessing Union Station is done by many modes, but each has its own challenges and annoyances.
Over 50 people attended the 4:30 PM presentation of the Union Station master plan in the Union Gallery on Thursday. The Chicago Department of Transportation is the lead agency on this project even though it may have less at stake in the plan. It’s more likely to lead a fair planning process than if Amtrak, the station’s owner, or Metra, the station’s busiest user, led the master plan. After the presentation, visitors were able to speak directly with staff from the stakeholders and partners (see full list at end).
The plan divides goals and objectives into short, medium, and long term ideas.
Two short term projects are already in the works and each has received funding. They are the “Central Area East-West Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project” and “Union Station Transportation Center”, which I’ll also call an intermodal center, as it gets people from buses onto trains and vice versa. The BRT project includes bus priority lanes and intersection priority (buses can go before other traffic) on Canal, Clinton, Madison, and Washington (see embedded map). The BRT application also indicates a Madison Street bike lane will be installed (which already happened) and an eastbound bike lane will be “considered”. The intermodal center will include stair, elevator, and escalator access to an existing underground walkway into Union Station. Continue reading The plan for Union Station
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood swung through Chicago this afternoon as part of a national tour to publicize federal stimulus funding for transportation projects. Joining Governor Pat Quinn and Mayor Rahm Emanuel for a press conference outside at the CTA’s Logan Square stop in frigid, blustery weather, LaHood heralded a $20 million TIGER III (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant for Chicago.
According to the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), $16 million will go towards fixing slow zones on the Blue Line between Belmont and Damen, in combination with money for the project from a CTA operating surplus. This work will allow trains to travel more than twice as fast in some locations, cutting the travel time from the Loop to O’Hare by several minutes.
The remaining $4 million of the grant will go towards Chicago’s new bike sharing system, slated to launch next summer. Added to the project’s existing $18 million Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) funding that will pay for the first 3,000 bikes and 300 docking stations, the TIGER money will allow the city to eventually add 1,000 additional bikes and 100 more stations.
Chicago originally applied for a total of $50 million in TIGER III funds, $40 million for the Blue Line and $10 million for the bike share system, according to CDOT. Here’s a transcript of LaHood’s remarks at the press conference.
Continue reading Ray LaHood stops in Logan Square, announces $20 million in stimulus funds for Blue Line repairs, bike share
This post is a little different than all of our past event reviews: here we display a bunch of photos and beneath them captions from Anne Alt, who volunteered as a map docent and conversed with many visitors. At any time, you can just browse our respective photo galleries: Steven’s photos or John’s photos. Visitors added a few thousand data points on maps for nine planning districts; we’ll talk about some of them.
As Calvin explained in Monday morning’s post, the event was partly about sharing knowledge. Mike Amsden at the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) explains the next steps for this project:
We were extremely excited to see the level of turnout at our first meeting. Now we will start to go through all of this feedback and incorporate it into our existing conditions analysis. We will be working on this analysis through January and February as we continue the initial public outreach phase of the project. All of this feedback will be used to help us develop the eventual network.
Continue reading Chicagoans shared much information at the Streets for Cycling Plan open house on Saturday
Ed. note: This post was written by guest contributor Calvin Brown. -Steven
If you were too busy to come downtown for the Streets for Cycling Open House yesterday at 23 E Madison Street, you missed a great opportunity to share your own ideas for the development and rethinking of Chicago’s precious street space.
Here’s what made the open house an important event: The city bicycle staff were at the event with open ears, and the event took place in the dead center of the Loop making it as convenient as possible for all Chicagoans to attend. Giant maps on the walls covered every section of the city and were open to revision and graffiti. The maps quickly filled up with ideas for future bikeways and changes to existing problems. Continue reading Everybody is planning: a report from Saturday’s bikeways open house