Monday, May 2, 2016

Our input on the Cortland/Chicago River redevelopment

by Michelle Stenzel

Bike Walk Lincoln Park hosted a "Ride and Envision" event last weekend in order to assess the area around Cortland Street and the Chicago River, which is slated to be redeveloped over the next few years. The site lies within the boundaries of the city's 2nd ward, and Alderman Brian Hopkins has begun seeking input from the community.

Citizens in action! (Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
Michael Reynolds and I led a group of citizens on a slow bike ride around the area, stopping to discuss its current state and what needs to be done to make it better for people walking, on bikes, and using public transportation. In general, we noted that the area had been a barrier in the past to people using active transportation, with lack of sufficient pathways through the site and poorly maintained sidewalks and bike lanes. It was a "dead zone" with little human activity at most times, making it uncomfortable to walk or bike through. 

At the same time, the area already has many beneficial transportation assets nearby, and the new development should take full advantage of those. The assets include the #73 Armitage bus line, proximity to the Brown Line L station at Armitage, the Clybourn Metra station, the easternmost access point of the 606/Bloomingdale Trail, buffered bike lanes on Elston and Clybourn, and the northernmost station for future Bus Rapid Transit on Ashland Avenue.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Ride and Envision a new Cortland/Chicago River corridor

by Michelle Stenzel

The Cortland Street corridor in Lincoln Park will be undergoing big changes in the next few years. Finkl Steel and other industrial operations have vacated the area, and the buildings have been razed, clearing the way for 30 acres of new development. 

Outline of the 30-acre site slated for redevelopment after three industrial owners vacated the area. (Image credit: Handout from North Branch Works industry presentation in May 2015.)
This is a hugely important transportation corridor for people living in and visiting Lincoln Park and Bucktown, and to anyone who cares about access to the CTA, Metra, Chicago River, Clybourn and Elston bike lanes, the Bloomingdale Trail, and more.
The Cortland corridor connects the Armitage L Stop and retail, Clybourn bike lanes and retail, Chicago River, Elston bike lanes, Clybourn Metra station, Bloomingdale Trail, and more. (Google maps)
The site lies on the north branch of the Chicago River, and was historically used largely for heavy industry. However, Alderman Brian Hopkins, whose 2nd Ward boundaries encompass the former Finkl site, has taken steps to remove the “Planned Manufacturing District” zoning designation, which will clear the way to a future for the area that is more befitting to a large parcel of land near the center of the city. Read an overview from DNA Info Chicago here.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Review of the new Fullerton shoreline improvements

by Michelle Stenzel

The year-long Fullerton Revetment Project has wrapped up, and officially opened for public use once again. The main purpose of the undertaking was to improve the shoreline, and protect infrastructure and the Theater on the Lake from the lake water.
The view of the Chicago skyline from the edge of the new Fullerton revetment. (Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
The plan for the Fullerton Revetment Project.
A large portion of the lake has been filled in to provide nearly six acres of new park space. There’s new grass, sapling trees, and giant prairie stones that provide seating.  
Six acres of new parkland at Fullerton. (Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
The whole area feels a lot bigger, with more room the just breathe and relax. With the great views of the downtown skyline, I’m predicting this new parkland will become a popular spot for wedding and portrait photographers to bring their clients. Public space along the lakefront is precious and well-used, and this is definitely a valuable addition to the shoreline.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

How to safely ride to the Bloomingdale Trail

by Michelle Stenzel

We’re very excited for the June 6th opening of the Bloomingdale Trail. This new 2.7-mile long elevated trail and the adjacent 606 park system will be a great asset to the neighborhoods it runs through, providing new green space as well as a low-stress transportation route between Bucktown/Wicker Park and Logan Square/Humboldt Park.
Taken from the Bloomingdale Trail website.

Here’s a map of the Bloomingdale Trail's access points:

Taken from the 606 website.

What’s particularly exciting to us is that the easternmost part of the trail is very close to Lincoln Park! For people living in the area of Armitage and Racine, the Walsh Park access point (in yellow on the map above) is less than one mile away. Even for people living in Lincoln Park’s northeast corner, near Diversey and Lake Shore Drive, the distance is less than three miles, a mere 20-minute bike ride. We know many Lincoln Park residents and visitors will want to visit the Bloomingdale Trail regularly, so the question is, which mode of transportation will you use to get there? You’re not going to drive, are you?  (More -->)

Monday, May 25, 2015

Lincoln Park's Kidical Mass family bike ride 2015 schedule announced

by Michelle Stenzel

So you've got kids now, and want to ride with them on Chicago's streets? One way to begin is to join a Kidical Mass family bike ride in your neighborhood. Kidical Mass rides (it's a play on the words "Critical Mass") are volunteer-led, volunteer-organized, free family bike rides held in a number of neighborhoods, including Logan Square, Roscoe Village, South Loop, Lincoln Square and Edison Park. (Chicago Kidical Mass has a website as well as a Facebook page.)

Lincoln Park's rides began two years ago, and have become popular events. Jerry Quandt, former aldermanic candidate and active Bike Walk Lincoln Park participant, is taking over as Lincoln Park Kidical Mass ride coordinator, and he has announced the season's full schedule:

Most of the monthly rides will be held on Sunday afternoons at 4:00 pm, but the first ride on Saturday, May 30th will be at 9:30 am, and then end at the Spring Zing event sponsored by Lincoln Central Association. That event will have pros from Performance Bicycle providing free safety check ups on bikes, and a team from Lurie Children's Hospital giving a demonstration on bike safety for kids.

More -->

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Aldermanic candidates voice opinions on bike, walk + transit issues

by Michelle Stenzel

We're thrilled to share with you that all four candidates who will be on the ballot for the 43rd ward aldermanic election responded to our questionnaire on bicycling, walking and public transportation issues! The questionnaire began with eight citywide questions posed by the Active Transportation Alliance, and then Bike Walk Lincoln Park provided five ward-specific queries as well. 
Crosswalk with in-street Stop For Pedestrians sign on Diversey near the L station. (Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
The citywide questions touch on many topics of interest, including separated trails for biking and walking on the lake front, support for participatory budgeting in the ward, and support for photo enforcement technology of existing traffic laws. 

We encourage you to read the full questionnaire responses of all four candidates: 

Jen Kramer


                               Jerry Quandt

Michele Smith

                         Caroline Vickrey 

For your convenience, we've posted the five 43rd ward Bike Walk Lincoln Park questions below, followed by each candidate's answer.

BWLP's Question #1

What do you believe is working well for people walking, riding bikes or taking public transportation in the 43rd ward, and what do you believe are some of the most important changes that would make it more safe, convenient and pleasant?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Active transport questionnaires for the aldermanic candidates

by Michelle Stenzel

The election for mayor and all 50 aldermanic seats is coming up soon! Four candidates will be on the ballot in the 43rd ward: Jen Kramer (, Jerry Quandt (, Michele Smith (, and Caroline Vickrey ( 

Problems related to biking, walking, and taking public transit in our ward are very important to many Lincoln Park residents, so we are giving the candidates a chance to state their views on those issues in order to help voters make an informed decision.

[Edit: On January 27, 2015, we provided the candidates' complete responses on this blog post.]

Stop for Pedestrians sign on Stockton Drive alongside Green City Market, in July 2012.
We've partnered with Active Transportation Alliance in this effort. Active Trans has sent an eight-item questionnaire to 200+ candidates for all 50 wards (link to that questionnaire here). Bike Walk Lincoln Park provided an additional five ward-specific questions that was attached for the 43rd ward candidates.