Rallying the community around the Bloomingdale Trail, a project for open space, art, and active transportation


Meet Maggie Martinez. She was the final commenter at last night’s final public meeting for the development of the Bloomingdale Trail framework plan*. And what a final comment she made. If I had known it was going to be a rousing call to action for supporting youth in arts and cycling, and the benefits of the project for the Humboldt Park and nearby communities, I would have filmed it. Instead you get this (pretty good) photo, the audio of her speech, and a transcript.


I put the audio of Maggie speaking to a basic slideshow of photos from the meeting. Watch it on Vimeo. Continue reading Rallying the community around the Bloomingdale Trail, a project for open space, art, and active transportation

Mayor’s comments to Chicago Tribune about speed cameras


Crossing the street shouldn’t be so daunting that you see a cross on the other side. Photo by Gabriel Michael. 

I posted Saturday a link to the Chicago Tribune’s article about their interview with Mayor Emanuel. They also published the transcript of that 90 minute talk, which I didn’t see until after publishing the post. I’m not going to stop following the speed camera issue. It’s directly related to street safety and active transportation and I’ve not found good research that shows that speed cameras don’t reduce speeding.

Notice in the third paragraph of the first excerpt that Mayor Emanuel is committing all resources (which I interpret as revenues from speeding tickets issued by the automated speed camera enforcement system) to “increasing public safety for children near schools and parks”. The act, now an Illinois law since last Monday, includes specific directives on how the money can be spent although one of them is extremely broad.

Here are some excerpts from that interview I think are relevant to the discussion of speed camera placement in Chicago. They are not the most key in whether or not we should have cameras, but comment on how the City administration is handling the public information campaign.  Continue reading Mayor’s comments to Chicago Tribune about speed cameras

Transcript from high-speed rail portion of Vocalo interview

Listen to the high-speed rail segment (MP3) of mine and John’s radio interview with Vocalo, recorded Monday, July 11, 2011. Listen to the full interview. Interviewers are Molly Adams and Brian Babylon.

Molly: With what you know about urban planning, and changes happening, how realistic is a possible high-speed rail, in the region. Maybe, we’ve heard talk of a St. Louis to Chicago, Chicago – Minneapolis, Chicago – Madison, what’s the future on that?

Steven: The Midwest has been planning HSR for decades. It is finally starting to happen. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), with the railroads that own tracks from Chicago to St. Louis, have been working to replace the tracks to allow for trains to operate at 110 MPH. Before, the top speed was like 75-90 MPH, but we don’t yet have trains capable of going 110 MPH. And the plan is for IDOT to purchase trains that can go that fast. So St. Louis would be the first segment. That’s the only one that really has funding right now. There is funding to upgrade tracks between Chicago and Milwaukee, on the Hiawatha Line, also to increase speeds to 110 MPH.

Brian: What will that do? Tell me the benefits – what will that do? In your two cents.

Steven: The first thing it will do is lower the travel time between the two cities. Then, that has an affect of more customers who didn’t ride the train before, because now they see the attractiveness of a slightly faster ride. Because maybe 5 hours was too long for them to St. Louis, but 4.5 hours makes a little more sense and once we have two tracks to go between Chicago and St. Louis, so trains can bypass each other, they can increase the speed even more, and go down to 4 hours.

Brian: Hmm.

Molly: That sounds like something I’d sign up for. I don’t have a car and I’ve never had a car, so all alternative transportation stuff is very interesting to me but I think when you have a car and you rely on your car for transportation it’s very easy to check out of this. Brian, can you speak to that?

Brian: Yeah, I only like to drive. This whole bike thing to the picnic was cute but I only like to drive.

Molly: Let’s say if it was easier for you to get into town on a train?

Brian: Yeah, but to get where I need to go. Once I get to town, that’s the problem.

Steven: Where’re you coming from?

Molly: Yeah, you guys should make an alternative transportation plan for Brian.

Brian: From the south side. If I can get a bike on the train, comfortably

Molly: He’s right by the 47th Street Green Line stop.

Brian: It’s really bad for me. I’m working on it.

John: You drive downtown to Navy Pier?

Brian: Every day!

Molly: Pay for parking?

Brian: Every day! I could save hundreds.

John: How much does parking cost for employees here?

Brian: Too much. $8. That’s about 40 bucks a week. Gas…He’s laughing!

Molly: Steve’s like shocked and appalled.

Steven: No, $8 is very cheap. I can understand that you would want to drive every day. Because parking pricing policy is one way to discourage driving. And parking seems plentiful here at Navy Pier.

Brian: If it was $20 I would be biking. I would have the nicest legs. In Chicago.