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

Complete Streets policy? What Complete Streets policy?

Disappearing sidewalk on Fullerton Parkway over the Lincoln Park Lagoon

This sidewalk will be eliminated to make room for a new right-turn lane onto southbound Lake Shore Drive. Photos and captions by Bike Walk Lincoln Park.

Michelle Stenzel, a co-leader of the Bike Walk Lincoln Park neighborhood advocacy group, hits the nail on the head with her analysis of a construction project to rebuild the Fullerton Parkway bridge over the Lincoln Park Lagoon. The project, from the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), widens the street from four lanes to five, reroutes pedestrians on the south side sidewalk over a long path to cross the lagoon, and doesn’t install bikeways to and from the Lakefront Trail. It also replaces a crumbling bridge and improves upon the existing bridge design. The project will begin construction on Monday, March 19, 2012.

What’re the shortcomings? She outlines three problems on the Bike Walk Lincoln Park after attending a presentation Wednesday night. They are:

1. Elimination of the sidewalk on the south side of the bridge Continue reading Complete Streets policy? What Complete Streets policy?

Tackling the hard stuff


Ever hear the phrase, “low hanging fruit“? It is the most annoying phrase in planning circles, and it abounds in all industries. It means to accomplish the easy stuff first. And I think it presumes that when the easy stuff is accomplished, then the hard stuff will be attempted next. Right?

That. Rarely. Happens.

The City of Chicago settled a lawsuit in 2007 that required it to spend a $50 million over 5 years (2007-2011) in “new money” (not previously budgeted to repair sidewalks) to fix curb ramps at crosswalks to make them compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. It turns out that what’s accessible to people with disabilities really makes things accessible to everyone. In each construction season, Loop workers saw many curb ramps change in a matter of days. And it happened all around the city. Continue reading Tackling the hard stuff

Shovel it: How two ideas plan to impact sidewalk snow removal this winter


A woman walks in the street after snowmageddon 2011. The City administration wants to avoid forcing people to walk in the street. Photo by Jim Watkins.

Mayor Emanuel announced on Tuesday, in a press release, a new website and effort to address snow shoveling and removal problems. The complete effort is packaged nicely on It has many features, and I’ll focus on three (only one of which is available right now):

  • Plow Tracker – When there’s a snow storm, the position of every snow plow will be tracked and published on a map. See Plow Tracker in action.
  • Adopt-A-Sidewalk – Claim a portion of the sidewalk that you’ll shovel, and share your equipment with neighbors (coming soon).
  • Snow Corps – Become a volunteer to shovel the sidewalk and door path to seniors and people who are disabled who call 311 to request a volunteer.

Continue reading Shovel it: How two ideas plan to impact sidewalk snow removal this winter