Tuesday, January 31, 2012

See you at the Streets for Cycling meeting Wednesday evening!

Don't forget to take the survey about potential north side neighborhood greenways! We'll be closing the survey on Friday, February 3, so don't delay: take it now.

See you Wednesday evening at the Streets for Cycling Plan 2020 meeting at Sulzer Library!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Take the community survey about potential north side neighborhood greenways!

By Michelle Stenzel

The Streets for Cycling Plan 2020 Community Area Group co-leaders (including yours truly) invite your input on potential north side streets to be transformed into neighborhood greenways!

Please read about neighborhood greenways (sometimes called bike boulevards) first and watch the video link, so that you have a clear idea about what makes a good candidate, and what kind of treatments can be implemented to make the street optimal for bicyclists, pedestrians and residents of the street.

Wouldn't it be nice if bicycling were always this peaceful? Olive Park near Ohio Street Beach.
(Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)

Thanks to the maps produced at last month’s open house downtown, our December community group meeting, and all of your e-mailed comments, we have already collected significant feedback about routes suggested for potential neighborhood greenways. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

"Neighborhood greenways" and other news

Today will be a round up of news and reminders.

Name change to “neighborhood greenways”

First, it was recently announced that the bikeways formerly called “bike boulevards” will be called “neighborhood greenways” in Chicago. Hopefully by now you’re familiar with the features of these bikeways, perhaps from our prior post on the subject, which we have edited to make note of the name change. These are side streets that are given design features that calm motorized traffic. 

A neighborhood greenway in Portland, Oregon provides features that benefit bicyclists, pedestrians, and street residents.
(Photo Credit: Flickr user Neighborhood Greenways)
The name is being used already in Portland and Seattle, which are a few steps ahead of Chicago in implementing them. The name change make a lot of sense because even though the result of fewer and slower-moving cars makes the street welcoming to bicyclists, the benefits go beyond that, in that the street becomes quieter and much more walkable for pedestrians, and much more livable for residents along the street.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Cool wayfinding site in Chicago, and one from across the pond

A northbound Brown Line train crosses Division Street.
(Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)

You’ve probably used MapQuest or Google Maps to find your way around Chicago. After you provide your starting and destination addresses, you can choose either to get directions via driving a car (the default setting), public transportation, or walking. Google Maps also has a “bicycling” choice for mode of transport. The search results provide you with a map of the suggested route, and the estimated time it will take, given the date and time you’ll be departing on your trip.

There’s another wayfinding website you might not know about, even though it’s been around for four years: HopStop. Unlike the others, HopStop doesn’t assume that you’re going to be driving a car: In fact, it doesn’t provide driving directions. Instead, it asks you to choose from walking, bus only, train only, combo of bus and train, bicycling, or taxi. For those of us living car free or car light in Chicago, it’s a great resource.

The coolest part about HopStop is that it not only gives you the usual map with the route, and estimated travel time, but it also tells you the calories burned and carbon dioxide savings over driving in your own car. This is a nice way to remind everyone of the health and environmental benefits that result from choosing active transportation. HopStop provides you with a grid so you can easily compare all the methods. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Are Chicago's pedestrian safety posters too depressing? Cross post from Grid Chicago

This Could Be Your Daughter: One of many pedestrian safety campaign posters displayed currently in the Loop.
(Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
I was invited to contribute a guest post to the transportation issues website Grid Chicago, and chose to write about the city's pedestrian safety campaign.
The posters bring a visual and psychological ick factor to our streets. It’s simply not aesthetically optimal to have graphic photos like that everywhere:  They’re not beautiful, uplifting, or inspiring, but are instead fear-inducing. After seeing them once, you don’t want to look at them again to absorb the negativity being broadcast. They send the message that Chicago is a dangerous place if, instead of driving, you dare to walk around – look what could happen to you!
Read the full post on Grid Chicago here.                     
-- Michelle Stenzel

Monday, January 2, 2012

Community input sampling from the December North Side Streets for Cycling meeting

"I think I did pretty well, considering I started out with nothing but a bunch of blank paper."             ---- Steve Martin   
There was a great turnout of nearly 25 people the North Side Community Advisory Group meeting at Gill Park on December 17. The assignment of the day was to provide information on existing conditions for bicycling on the north side to the CDOT team who will put together Chicago’s new Streets For Cycling Plan 2020. We were asked to map and list specific destinations, barriers and assets.
Barriers are pink, gaps are purple, destinations are blue and assets are green.
There were eight community area maps for each of Lincoln Park, Lake View, North Center, Lincoln Square, Edgewater, Uptown, West Ridge and Rogers Park. Each one resulted in a map and a few pages of input. We’ve provided pictures of a few of the maps as examples.