Active Trans proposes a ciclovía on Milwaukee Ave. Will City Hall help out?


Active Trans’ Open Streets Manager Julia Kim

Last week bike-friendly 1st Ward Alderman Proco “Joe” Moreno hosted an Active Transportation Alliance member social at the Fifty/50 bar in Ukrainian Village. In addition to presentations by other Active Trans staffers about the city’s Streets for Cycling initiative and bus rapid transit pilot, Julia Kim gave an update on this year’s plans for staging “ciclovia” car-free events.

As Grid Chicago readers know, the ciclovia (Spanish for “bike path”) movement started in Bogotá, Colombia, decades ago, with that city shutting down a network of roads to car traffic to allow citizens to stroll, jog, bike, dance and hang out, encouraging healthy recreation, social interaction and commerce. Nowadays Bogotá holds a ciclovia every weekend on a 70-mile network, drawing millions of participants. Continue reading Active Trans proposes a ciclovía on Milwaukee Ave. Will City Hall help out?

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

New Open Streets on State Street video

A different perspective than the one I created from the front of Brandon’s Bullitt, but more interesting and diverse. Check out the video captured by videographer Nick Kazinsky, hired by Active Transportation Alliance to showcase the event.


It may just convince your friends to help you advocate for another one next year, and perhaps expanding it to other neighborhoods. Read our coverage on Open Streets.

How to call Open Streets on State Street a success


Quality over quantity.

To know if you were successful in doing something, you’d have to evaluate the outcome against your goals. Several of my friends who attended Open Streets on State Street (from here on called Open Streets) called it a success. But the simplest definition of the word says that an aim or purpose has been accomplished.

I talked to Julia Kim, the Open Streets manager at Active Transportation Alliance (Active Trans), Adolfo Hernandez, director of advocacy and outreach at Active Trans, and Ty Tabing, the executive director of the Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA) to understand what their goals for Open Streets were.

But co-writer John Greenfield and I will tell and show you what happened in the seven, car-free blocks on State Street between Lake Street and Van Buren Street. Continue reading How to call Open Streets on State Street a success

Media gallery from Open Streets on State Street

Photos and one video of Open Streets on State Street by John Greenfield (JG) and Steven Vance (SV).


A north to south video tour of Open Streets filmed by Brandon Gobel and Steven Vance from the cargo deck of a Bullitt bike. SV


Families playing in the imagination playground. Adolfo Hernandez at the Active Transportation Alliance described his experience, saying, “I saw people, moms with kids, were instinctively picking up the blocks and putting them together”. JG


The only time this artist could sit in the middle of State Street to paint the northern view. JG


Even the kids were breakdancing. JG


Hula hoops were everywhere. And in use. JG


People practicing capoeira. SV


Playing real-life four square. SV


Mike Garcia of Brickheadz breakdancing for the Illinois Center for Broadcasting camera crew. SV


This drawing was creating one square at a time by multiple people. SV


Winners of the three-legged race. SV

More photos


Grid Shots: No cars on State Street edition

Yesterday, Open Streets on State Street happened in downtown Chicago. And thousands were there to enjoy the breakdancing performances, open skate park, and dance for fitness lessons.


A skateboarder jumps off the ramp in the skate park at State Street and Van Buren Street open to anyone. There were even skateboards to borrow.  Continue reading Grid Shots: No cars on State Street edition