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
Open Streets director Julia Kim at last year’s Open Streets on State Street. Photo courtesy of Active Trans.
[This piece also appeared in Checkerboard City, John’s weekly transportation column in Newcity magazine, which hits the streets in print on Thursdays.]
Note: I wrote this piece early last week, a few days before Open Streets in the Loop took place on Saturday. As predicted, it was a wonderful event, with even more fun stuff going on than last year. As always, it was thrilling to see a street that’s normally clogged with motor vehicles turned over to positive human interaction. Next Sunday’s Open Streets Wicker Park/Bucktown, on bustling Milwaukee Avenue through bike-crazy neighborhoods, should be even better. It takes place on Milwaukee from Ashland to Western Avenues from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. See Steven’s thoughts on the downtown event below my article.
Last year I wrote a Newcity cover story with the subtitle, “Can Open Streets downtown sell City Hall on future ciclovias?” For this year at least, the answer was no.
Since 2005 I’ve been chronicling the Active Transportation Alliance’s valiant efforts to stage ciclovías, Latin-American-style events that shut down streets to cars traffic, encouraging healthy recreation, community and commerce. It’s hard to believe I still have to report on the relative lack of support from the city, especially since Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) commissioner Gabe Klein have generally been terrific on sustainable transportation issues.
Continue reading Open Streets, closed coffers: City Hall takes a pass on Chicago’s ciclovia.