Friday, March 30, 2012

Chicago bicycling exhibit opening at the Nature Museum this weekend!

The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Lincoln Park is opening an exhibit about bicycling in Chicago that will be of interest to fans of this blog. "Bikes! The Green Revolution" is a tribute to the history of bicycling in our city, as well as a reflection of the importance of bicycling today. 

Notice how we didn't use the word "sport" in the prior sentences: This exhibit is about how riding bikes is a fun, sustainable mode of transportation.

We promise to check out the exhibit and write a full review soon, but wanted to give you a heads up now. 

It opens March 31 and runs through September 9.

To plan your visit, the website for the Notebaert museum is found here.

An article about the exhibit in Time Out Kids Chicago can be read here.

Monday, March 26, 2012

$5/gallon gas in Chicago: Reason #17 to walk, bike or take public transit

Five dollars for a gallon of premium gasoline in Chicago, at Dearborn and Congress. (Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
We're working on our full list of reasons, but this one will only become more acute as oil prices continue to rise.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Share your ideas and visions for the Lake Front Trail!

by Michelle Stenzel

The Lake Front Trail is an important recreation and transportation route for all of us in Lincoln Park, and "our" little segment from North Avenue to Diversey is among the busiest of the entire 17-mile length of the trail. It's a great way to get close to Lake Michigan and enjoy our shoreline. But with thousands of users squeezed onto its narrow width, it often feels overcrowded, and sometimes dangerous, with faster-moving bicyclists and in-line skaters whizzing by too close to strolling pedestrians or runners.
Chicago's well-loved Lake Front Trail, between North Avenue and Oak Street. (Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
Did you know there's an advocacy group for the trail? Friends of the Lakefront Trail is an initiative of the Active Transportation Alliance, and they work with the Park District to ensure maintenance of the trail, monitor its conditions, and help secure funding for important trail-related projects like the new Diversey bridge installed a few years ago. 

But there's a lot more work to be done, and now's your chance to participate in shaping its future. Friends of the Lake Front Trail is holding two public meetings next month to gather community input on how to make the trail better, safer and easier to access for all users, details here. They're calling them "Visioning Workshops," so bring your visions and ideas!

Mark the April 9 meeting on your calendar and plan to attend with us! E-mail Michelle and Michael and to let us know we should look for you there, or if it's a nice evening, maybe we can organize a (slow) group bike ride there and back.

Friends of the Lake Front Trail Visioning Workshops
North Side
April 9, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Margate Park Fieldhouse (4921 N. Marine Drive)

South Side
April 18, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Jackson Park Fieldhouse (6401 S. Stony Island Ave.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Aldermanic menu walks in the 43rd ward!

By Michelle Stenzel

Alderman Michele Smith is hosting "walkabouts" open to all residents of the 43rd ward. During the walks, she and her staff will be taking suggestions for ways to allocate our ward's annual $1.2 million in menu funds. The menu funds are provided so that an alderman can pay for infrastructure improvements for things like street resurfacing or sidewalk replacement. Ald. Smith says these walks will help in developing the submission to the city for this year's funds as well as inform a multi-year plan for future improvements. See the details on Alderman Smith's newsletter here.

Pedestrian countdown timers like this one at Clark and Armitage help people decide if there's enough time to cross.
(Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
We're very excited because many of the menu items are upgrades that we could sorely use to help make our neighborhood even better for walking and riding bicycles. 

For example, if a resident or block of residents feels that car drivers speed down their street, they could request that a speed hump (formerly known as speed bump) be installed, for $3,700. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fullerton Parkway bridge project disappointing for walking and biking

By Michelle Stenzel

Construction crews will be breaking ground next week on the much-needed reconstruction of the Fullerton Parkway bridge over the lagoon, near Lake Shore Drive. Apparently the planning, design and approval process occurred years ago, prior to the reign of our current mayor, CDOT commissioner, and alderman. 
Satellite view of the Fullerton Parkway bridge project, with south sidewalk eliminated to add a lane for eastbound car traffic. (Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
Many elements of the redesign will be great improvements, like replacing the crumbling bridge structure while replicating its Art Deco facade, improving the north-south underpass for people using the gravel path to eliminate standing water and make full use of its width, and eliminating the center pier of the bridge to better accommodate rowing activities on the lagoon.

Unfortunately, the plans also have elements that are detrimental for people walking and riding bikes on Fullerton to and from the lake front trail. I attended the meeting Wednesday night at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in which CDOT staff members presented the plans and answered questions.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Pedestrians first! and other news

by Michelle Stenzel

We've been slacking off lately on the blog, and don't even have a cold winter as an excuse. Hopefully the warm weather and longer evening daylight hours will provide us all with inspiration to get out there to enjoy Lincoln Park on foot and on bike. 


If you've been stopped at a red light in Lake View or the Loop recently, you may have noticed a new traffic signal configuration: While the light remains red for car traffic, the pedestrians waiting to cross in the same direction are exclusively given the "Walk" signal for a few seconds. This is called "Leading Pedestrian Intervals" or "Pedestrian Head Start" because it allows the people walking time to enter the crosswalk first to improve their visibility, and to discourage turning car drivers from cutting them off. 
A busy crosswalk at Michigan and Randolph. (Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
We love these for many reasons, not the least of which is that it sends the message that people who walk are valued, and given a little extra time to get where they need to go. It's a small gesture, but it encourages walking. You can read a little more about them and see a Streets Film on the subject at this link.