Logan Square designers are attempting to figure out if a crowd can fund a new CTA map


This is the second story of two about the “Designing Chicago” launch party. See “Why do these people love the CTA?

Greater Good Studio of Logan Square intends to build a mobile app that will showcase a new map of the CTA. It will have some other features as well, but determining what those are will be left up to backers who help contribute to the app’s fundraising on Kickstarter. The studio is led by George Aye and his wife Sara Cantor Aye, two Chicago designers.

According to George, the CTA prints out 750,000 copies of its system map every year. “I want to make it smaller, easier, more usable on the go, for someone that’s not very familiar with it. I’ve talked to Dennis McClendon [the original designer of the current CTA map], and others who agree, that the map is more useful for people who’re somewhat experts on the system.”

The Ayes want to raise $125,000 via Kickstarter to create this app. And those who “back it” at a certain level are invited to become developers of the app. It’s crowd sourced funding, and crowd sourced design. Continue reading Logan Square designers are attempting to figure out if a crowd can fund a new CTA map

Why do all these people love the CTA?


Why I love the CTA: It’s a backup plan for (bike) flats. I calculated how often I’ve ridden the CTA using my Chicago Card Plus’s transaction history: 5 rides in a 98 day period

I met all of the people whose name tags are shown here at a launch party in the Logan Square Design Building for a Kickstarter project. I’ve never been to a Kickstarter launch party before. Greater Good Studio is raising money to design a mobile app on how to ride the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). The app’s development will have “crowd sourced” its design and direction with that funding mechanism.

Stay tuned today for an interview with project co-creator and designer George Aye, but enjoy these responses.


Tall Todd (Todd Jones): I don’t have a car and sometimes I don’t want to bike. Continue reading Why do all these people love the CTA?

Marie Ullrich wants to deliver a feature-length movie about bike messengers


Marie Ullrich on Milwaukee Avenue.

It’s annoying to see your job or your city portrayed inaccurately in the media, but as someone who spent years as a Chicago courier I was pleasantly surprised by Faster!, a short by filmmaker Marie (“MAH-ree”) Ullrich, which has played several international festivals. Although it’s a work of fiction, the writer/director/producer did a solid job of realistically depicting the nuts and bolts of Chicago’s bike delivery business. You can view the trailer for Faster! here (embedded below). Other locally filmed, bike-related projects she’s completed include an award-winning ad for Chrome messenger bags and an experimental short about ghost bike memorials.


Now Ullrich is trying to raise $35,000 via a Kickstarter campaign to shoot The Alley Cat, a full-length movie starring Jasper, the female messenger who is the main character from Faster!, played by Jenny Strubin. While the short follows Jasper on a rough day of courier work, the action in the feature film would revolve around a late-night alleycat (underground courier race) gone awry. Ullrich hopes to shoot the movie this summer before she leaves town for a full-time gig teaching in Michigan. I recently sat down with her at Café Mustache in Logan Square to get some background on her work and the deets about her future plans.

Continue reading Marie Ullrich wants to deliver a feature-length movie about bike messengers

The Bike-a-Bee project is generating quite a buzz


Jana Kinsman models a beekeeper’s veil by her hives at Eden Place nature center

Chicago cyclist Jana Kinsman has a honey of a plan. As a freelance graphic designer and illustrator, she did design, illustration and modeling for the 2011 and 2012 Thought You Knew pin-up calendars, featuring glamorous photos of local bicyclists. But last summer while apprenticing at an apiary (a place where bees, not apes, are kept) in Oregon, she got bitten by the bug. She decided to start Bike-a-Bee, a car-free beekeeping project back home in the Windy City.

Kinsman recently created a Kickstarter page to raise $7,000 for hive equipment and packages of bees, plus a bike trailer to transport the gear to apiaries she’ll maintain at urban farms and community gardens all over town. I’m never one to mind my own beeswax when it comes to innovative cycling ideas, so I caught up with her yesterday morning at Café Mustache in Logan Square, where she filled me in on the history and details of her plan, still in its larval phase.

Continue reading The Bike-a-Bee project is generating quite a buzz