Open Streets on Milwaukee Avenue steals spotlight from State Street


Brent Norsman, owner of Copenhagen Cyclery, relaxes in front of the store before riding with his daughter on the street.

Call Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park and Bucktown the right blend of commercial and residential density to support a livelier, possibly better attended instance of Open Streets. Not to mention it was 1.5 miles long with only one crossing for cars and buses.

The longer distance allowed the programming (which there seemed to be an equal or lesser amount than on State Street) to be more spread out, providing more room to ride a bicycle with your crew. And unlike the event on State Street, it seemed that most people were intentionally choosing to be here, rather than finding themselves at Open Streets when shopping on State Street.

Continue reading Open Streets on Milwaukee Avenue steals spotlight from State Street

Video captures “Milwaukee morning madness” as cyclists pedal towards Kinzie and Desplaines Streets


Brandon Gobel sent us this video showing dozens – I count 27 – of people bicycling southeast on Milwaukee Avenue towards the five-way intersection with Kinzie Street and Desplaines Street. There were 13 motorized vehicles in the same signal cycle.

You’ll notice about half are changing lanes from the conventional curbside bike lane to the single travel lane so they can merge to the bike left-turn lane ahead.


The view from the opposite direction, looking southeast at the intersection of Kinzie Street, Desplaines Street, and Milwaukee Avenue. 

Unfortunately, because of signal timings at the intersection they just left (Hubbard/Milwaukee) uncoordinated with their destination intersection, the first in the group won’t be rewarded with a green light for their tricky uphill lane change maneuver, and will need to stop at the red light, while those in the back of this group will likely get a slim chance at moving through a green light (the green light is only 12 seconds long).

I’ve heard from several people who cycle here, Gobel included, that changing lanes from the curbside bike lane in a dark viaduct to the travel lane in order to reach the bike left-turn lane ahead can be very stressful.

Another issue with the light, but not related to this video, is that the light cycle for people who want to cycle from Milwaukee to Kinzie (making a slight left to go eastbound) is designed such that if you enter the intersection at the end of the green phase, you will be in the intersection for the entire yellow phase, part of the red phase, and then the beginning of green phase for the cross direction. I explored this – long intersections – on my blog, Steven Can Plan.

Confusing intersection of Milwaukee-Wood-Wolcott to be redesigned and reconstructed in Spring 2013 (was September)

Update September 7, 2012: From the Wicker Park-Bucktown SSA, we get news that this project has been pushed back to spring 2013. It seems IDOT is responsible for this delay. 

The skewed intersection of Milwaukee Avenue, Wood Street, and Wolcott Avenue in Wicker Park will be redesigned and reconstructed this year as part of a project to upgrade the signals. The original project only called for upgrading the traffic signals, which are decades old and very hard to see. Their timing is also awkward, providing no “all red” phase between the red phase of one direction and the following green phase of the cross direction. Construction should begin in September, according to the 1st Ward office.

Confusion is compounded with the addition of a rare slip lane on Wood Street at Milwaukee Avenue, which is created by a small island of concrete that only holds a light signal pole for southbound traffic. More often, islands are used to help protect pedestrians from traffic.

Bird's eye view of Milwaukee Wood Wolcott

View the intersection in a larger map on Bing Maps.

Continue reading Confusing intersection of Milwaukee-Wood-Wolcott to be redesigned and reconstructed in Spring 2013 (was September)

Grid Shots: Sidewalk

The sidewalk. Are there any other names for this? I’m thinking of the Clorox bleach commercial that I’ve seen on Hulu where the announcer speaks at least 10 names for the toilet (commode, john, etc.). It’s where we all find ourselves. And find each other.


Three people wait for the bus on the sidewalk in front of Skewerz at 1560 N Damen Ave. Photo by Sam Dickey. Continue reading Grid Shots: Sidewalk

Grid Shots: Skateboarding in the streets edition

Skateboarding is a very sustainable transportation mode, although probably not as efficient as cycling. We still recommend it. I had already published many of my photos featuring people skateboarding, but I wanted to show pictures from other photographers in Chicago. I searched through my Flickr contacts for “skateboarding” and found over 1,100 photos – awesome. One of the photos was this guy skateboarding in Washington, D.C., holding two bicycle wheels. Perhaps delivering them to a friend, or to a bike shop to be fixed.

Read to the end to see our upcoming Grid Shots photo themes, all suggested by contributor Michelle of Bike Walk Lincoln Park. I’m posting these now so you can get your ready photos ready and onto our Flickr group.


Photo of two people crossing the street, one on his skateboard, the other carrying hers, by Mike Travis. Continue reading Grid Shots: Skateboarding in the streets edition

Let’s get a bike counter in Chicago


A bike counter is a nice way of saying, “Hey, the city values you for riding your bike”. It’s currently 1°C at 9:21 AM on January 10, 2011, in Copenhagen, Denmark. So far today, 2,142 people have biked past this counter (only in this direction, westbound). 43,504 have biked past in 2011 (again, westbound) and it’s only the 10th day of the year.

Marisa Paulson at The Northwest Passage* writes about last week’s public meeting for Park 567 at Milwaukee Avenue and Leavitt Avenue in Wicker Park. “Park 567” is a proposed access point for the Bloomingdale Trail. I really like what one of the project organizers said in response to respecting the history of Milwaukee Avenue (I guess very recent history).
Continue reading Let’s get a bike counter in Chicago