Skip to content

Posts from the Streetsblog Chicago Category

Streetsblog USA
View Comments

KC Conspiracy Theorists: Walkable Development Will “Devastate” Auto Giants

Now that Kansas City has its streetcar up and running, the city is taking the logical step of updating its zoning code to allow for walkable development along the transit route. And according to some local Agenda 21 believers, anyone who works for the automotive industry should be very afraid.

Kansas City's new transit-oriented development plan calls for some common sense changes, like supporting multi-story mixed-use buildings. Image: Kansas City

First they build up to the sidewalk, then they smash the entire automotive industry. Image: Kansas City

Up for a vote this Thursday at the City Council is a transit-oriented development policy that, in very general terms, calls for compact, mixed-use growth and better walking and biking conditions. It’s not a detailed zoning plan, more like a statement of principles to encourage development that pairs well with the streetcar, instead of the low-slung buildings, surface parking, and drive-throughs that predominate now. Only areas near the stations would be affected.

You might call it a common sense step to get more out of the city’s new transit line.

Or you could call it a “dangerous” law that will destroy “our freedoms.” At least, that’s the tack that a local group calling itself “Citizens for Responsible Government” has taken. A vocal opponent of the streetcar, CRG posted a paranoid screed on its Facebook page (reprinted for preservation at TransitKC).

It begins:

This ordinance would be devastating to us all but special attention should be paid by anyone involved in the Automobile Industry in any way, this would include FORD MOTORS, GENERAL MOTORS, UAW and all Auto Workers, Auto Dealers, Mechanics, Auto Leasing Companies, Auto Transport Companies, etc., etc., etc.,

Got it. Encouraging walkable development around Kansas City’s two-mile streetcar is the straw that will break the back of General Motors.

Moving on, there’s nothing like caps-lock to hammer home the sinister concepts at work here. Someone has studied Glenn Beck’s “keyword list” well:

Read more…

Streetsblog USA
View Comments

The Tragic History of Highways Demolishing Cities — It’s Not Over Yet

This video from Vox provides an excellent overview of how the Interstate Highway System wiped out whole city neighborhoods in the post-war era.

It’s hard to believe that federal and local officials ever thought it was a good idea to uproot urban residents to clear paths for highways, but what’s even crazier is that we’re still doing the same thing today.

12 Comments

2016 Divvy Expansion Includes More Stations, Bikes Than Previously Planned

2016 Divvy XP 1,077

There Will Be Bikes: New cycles at Divvy’s Pilsen warehouse. Photo: CDOT

Good news: More Divvy stations and bikes will be installed this year than had been announced last winter.

Back in September 2014, former Illinois governor Pat Quinn appoved a $3 million grant to help expand the Divvy system into Oak Park and Evanston, as well new areas on Chicago’s West Side and in the Rogers Park neighborhood. The plan was to install 70 stations and 700 bikes by spring or summer of 2015.

Last summer, Chicago added 175 stations and 1,750 bikes, bankrolled by federal and city money, which expanded the original coverage area in all directions. This brought the total number of stations up to 475, with 4,750 bikes. But the state-funded equipment wasn’t installed.

In January the city announced different numbers for the state-funded expansion. The number of stations grew from 70 to 96 stations, but instead of 700 bikes they said “more than 250” bikes would be added to the system, with the roll-out taking place in summer 2016.

Today the Chicago Department of Transportation announced that the number of stations has risen again from 96 to 108, including 13 in Oak Park and 10 in Evanston. The two suburbs, as well as Chicago have chipped in matching funds for the state grant. The Chicago stations will mostly be going to low-to-moderate-income communities of color on the South and West Sides, as well the economically and ethnically diverse Rogers Park neighborhood on the Far North Side.

Meanwhile the number of new bikes to be added has risen significantly, from “more than 250” to 1,077. CDOT spokesman Mike Claffey says that since the January announcement, the city was able to purchase more stations and bikes by using funds from Divvy’s Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois $12.5 million sponsorship of the system.

Therefore, the total number of stations will grow to 583, while the number of bikes is rising to 5,827. It’s great that so many more bikes are being added to the system, because this will prevent the bikes from being spread too thinly around the system, which might have made it more difficult to check out bikes at popular stations.

Read more…

Streetsblog USA
View Comments

Will Barcelona’s “Superblocks” Proposal Work Well for Transit?

Will "Superblocks" "solve the main problems of urban mobility?" Image: BC Necologica

Within Barcelona’s superblocks, car traffic will be limited. What happens on the streets outside the superblocks? Image: BC Necologica

Barcelona is making waves with plans to test a concept it’s calling “superblocks.” The idea is to create nine-block squares of “citizen spaces” — about 400 meters on each side — where cars would be limited. Unlike the widely derided superblocks of the urban renewal era, Barcelona’s would be explicitly designed to preserve the street grid for walking and biking — only motor vehicle through traffic would be discouraged.

City officials have identified five neighborhoods where the superblock concept will be tested. The streets inside each superblock would be close to car-free. Local motor vehicle traffic will be allowed at very low speeds (under 10 KPH) and so would emergency vehicles. Surface parking would be prohibited.

Officials believe this arrangement of streets can help Barcelona achieve its goal of reducing traffic by 21 percent. It’s part of a broader plan that also calls for 300 kilometers of new bike infrastructure.

Relieved of the obligation to move motor vehicle through traffic and store cars, the streets would be freed up for public space, walking, and biking. One question the plan raises, however, is how it would affect transit.

Read more…

No Comments

Donate to Streetsblog Chicago and You Could Win a $100 Po Campo Gift Card

5766635903_8e0020d2cd_o

Wouldn’t this Po Campo Loop Pannier look great hanging on your bike? Photo: Lovely Bike

It was a bit of a nail-biter, but I’m happy to say that we met yesterday’s goal to break $30K out of the $50K needed to win a $25K donation from The Chicago Community Trust. Thanks a bunch to all the generous readers who put their money where their mouth is to support Streetsblog Chicago’s transportation journalism and advocacy. As I write this, our tally is $30,235.

We’re also grateful to the good people at Ancien Cycles for donating Kali bike helmets, which we will raffle off on June 1 to two different donors. That surely helped spur some donations yesterday. Next time you’re in need of a bike repair or a good cup of coffee, I recommend stopping by the Ancien locations in Hyde Park and River North.

One of the the great things about running a sustainable transportation news website in Chicago is how supportive the local bike industry has been of Steve Vance’s and my work. Now our friends at Po Campo, makers of stylish and practical bike bags, have graciously agreed to provide a $100 gift card for us to raffle off to readers who donate by our June 1 deadline.

You could use the card to buy a sharp-looking Loop Pannier — a laptop bag that easily clips on to your rear rack. Or you could buy a colorful Kinga Handlebar Bag, a bike purse that hangs from your handlebars, with enough credit left over to buy a second one for a gift. There’s a ton of great gear to choose from on their website.

While we have some more ad revenue and smaller grants on the horizon, we’re going to need more help from readers to raise the additional $19,765 we need within the next 13 days. If you’ve already contributed, thanks again. If not, I hope these sweet prizes inspire you to get involved with our effort to win the challenge grant.

As always, we appreciate your support!

— John

donate button

13 Comments

Today’s Headlines for Thursday, May 19

  • An Update on the Chicago Riverwalk Project & Cleanup of the River (Chicago Reader)
  • Metra Restarts Work on Extending Service to Kendall County (Tribune)
  • Police: Gold Coast Road Rage Shooting Leaves 2 People Injured (DNA)
  • Chainlink Members Discuss Last Night’s Ride of Silence Memorial to Fallen Cyclists
  • Active Trans Wraps Up 2-Week Bike Ed Class for High School Students
  • Multiple Incidents on CTA Tracks Caused Delays on Yesterday’s Evening Commute (NBC)
  • Noise Wall Proposed for the Stevenson Expressway in the 11th Ward (DNA)
  • Summer by Rail Train & Biker Blogger Praises Chicago Cycling Infrastructure
  • Summer by Rail Also Checked Out the Transit Center and Bikeways in Normal, Illinois
  • Chicago’s Becoming More Like Amsterdam: People Are Throwing Bikes in Our Waterways (DNA)
  • Active Trans’ Clare McDermott Discusses Their Upcoming Bike the Drive Ride (WGN)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA

13 more days left to help us win a $25K challenge grant.

donate button

thermometer (29)

The Donate-O-Meter

Streetsblog Chicago is currently in the thick of raising funds for our next year of publication. Once again, The Chicago Community Trust, a charitable foundation that was one of the early funders of SBC, has very generously offered us a challenge grant. If Streetsblog reaches $50K in donations and sponsorships by the end of May, the Trust will provide the last $25K needed to keep the site running into 2017 and beyond.

If you haven’t already done so, please consider donating to Streetsblog Chicago today today. SBC is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, so donations are tax deductible.

If you’ve already contributed, thanks so much for helping us win the challenge grant. As an added incentive to first-time donors, as well as those who’d like to make an additional contribution, anyone who donates $100 or more from this point on will get a copy of John’s book “Bars Across America.

Donate $200 or more and we’ll also throw in a copy of the anthology “On Bicycles,” to which John contributed a chapter about Chicago’s West Town Bikes, while supplies last.

Please feel free to spread the word about the challenge grant to potential donors, or contact me at 312-560-3966 or greenfieldjohn[at]hotmail.com with leads on other possible funding sources. To keep you apprised on our progress, we’ll be updating the above Donate-O-Meter along with Today’s Headlines each morning.

Thanks again for your continuing support.

No Comments

Donate to Streetsblog by June 1 and You Could Win a Kali Bike Helmet

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 3.04.15 PM

A Kali SAHA helmet.

Big thanks to the 150-plus loyal Streetsblog Chicago readers who have generously donated to help us raise the $50,000 dollars we need to win another $25,000 challenge grant from The Chicago Community Trust. This funding will allow Steven and me to continue delivering hard-hitting sustainable transportation and livable streets reporting into 2017 and beyond.

However, we need to make a final push to win the CCT grant by the June 1. Although we’ve raised over $28K so far, we need to raise an additional $22K within the next two weeks. While we have leads on additional grants and advertising revenue that will likely come through soon, we’re going to need some more help from readers to cross the finish line.

Many of you attended the fantastic fundraising party we cohosted at Ancien Cycles in River North (they recently opened a second location in Hyde Park) last November to benefit Slow Roll Chicago.

download

Now the good people at Ancien have kindly offered to help us with our own funding effort by donating two comfortable and stylish Kali helmets for us to raffle off to those of you who donate to Streetsblog between now and the end of the month.

The helmets will go to two different winners, who will be able to stop by the Ancien’s River North location and pick out the style, color, and size that suits them, subject to availability.

Thanks again to all of you who’ve come out of the woodwork once more to support better conditions for biking, walking, and transit. While we’re going to need more help to hit the $50K mark, don’t worry, we’re going to do this — failure is not an option.

— John

donate button

14 Comments

Today’s Headlines for Thursday, May 12

  • Emanuel Names Zopp Deputy Mayor, Expands South Side Bus Routes (Tribune)
  • Relaunched Lincoln Bus Will Have Limited Hours — Can It Meet Ridership Goal? (Sun-Times)
  • 31st Street Bus Will Relaunch on June 20 as Well (Tribune)
  • Park District Approves $3.5 Million to Begin Big Marsh Bike Park Construction (DNA)
  • 36th Ward Residents Vote for Sidewalks, Crosswalk in PB Election (DNA)
  • Sorry Mountain Bikers, That Green Space by the River at Harrison Is Being Developed (Crain’s)
  • Plans for the Ike Could Include Wider Blue Line Platforms, New Ped Bridges (Tribune)
  • DNA Looks at the Milwaukee Avenue Bike Counter Project
  • Two Cafés to Open at Damen Pink and Wellington Brown Line Stations (CTA)
  • Join Al Scorch as He Does a 6-Venue Music Tour by Bike This Saturday (Reader)
  • Bike 2 Sox With Active Trans on Saturday 5/22

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA

donate button

thermometer (22)

The Donate-O-Meter

20 more days left to help us win a $25K challenge grant.

Streetsblog Chicago is currently in the thick of raising funds for our next year of publication. Once again, The Chicago Community Trust, a charitable foundation that was one of the early funders of SBC, has very generously offered us a challenge grant. If Streetsblog reaches $50K in donations and sponsorships by the end of May, the Trust will provide the last $25K needed to keep the site running into 2017 and beyond.

If you haven’t already done so, please consider donating to Streetsblog Chicago today today. SBC is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, so donations are tax deductible.

If you’ve already contributed, thanks so much for helping us win the challenge grant. As an added incentive to first-time donors, as well as those who’d like to make an additional contribution, anyone who donates $100 or more from this point on will get a copy of my book “Bars Across America.

Donate $200 or more and we’ll also throw in a copy of the anthology “On Bicycles,” to which I contributed a chapter about Chicago’s West Town Bikes, while supplies last.

Contribute $1,000 or more and I’ll come to your home or block party and perform a half-hour musical tribute to the pop, rock, or R & B artist of your choice on guitar — only $750 if that artist is Prince or Bowie.

Please feel free to spread the word about the challenge grant to potential donors, or contact me at 312-560-3966 or greenfieldjohn[at]hotmail.com with leads on other possible funding sources. To keep you apprised on our progress, I’ll be updating the above Donate-O-Meter along with Today’s Headlines each morning.

Thanks again for your continuing support.

– John

No Comments

Give to SBC and John Will Perform a Tribute Concert to Your Favorite Artist

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 10.55.23 AM

Prince enjoyed riding a bicycle around his Paisley Park recording studio outside of Minneapolis. Photo: Instagram.

It’s crunch time at Streetsblog Chicago.

As they did last year, The Chicago Community Trust, a charitable foundation that was one of the early funders of SBC, has very generously offered us a challenge grant. If we can raise $50K in donations and sponsorships by the end of May, the Trust will provide the last $25K needed to keep the site running into 2017 and beyond.

Dozens and dozens of loyal readers have come out of the woodwork to show that they value Streetsblog’s hard-hitting sustainable transportation and livable streets reporting by contributing to the cause. We’ve also got several ad sponsorship deals in the works this week that should push us well over the halfway mark to reaching our goal. Corporate donations and smaller foundation grants are also likely to come through in the near future.

tumblr_nz42o3b9le1u59pweo1_1280 2

I’d also be glad to perform a tribute to noted straphanger David Bowie at your house for a $750 donation.

However, we now have 23 days left to reach to $50K mark. As with our winter 2015 reboot efforts, we’re going to need some larger donations from individuals from readers in order to make it to the finish line.

To this end, we’d like to make a special offer to individuals who are considering making a major investment in SBC’s transportation journalism and advocacy. Donate $1,000 to Streetsblog Chicago before June 1 and I will perform a half-hour tribute concert to *any* pop, rock, or R & B artist you choose on acoustic guitar at your home or block party this spring or summer.

If your favorite artist happens to be Prince, a man who liked to bike, I’ll be happy to perform a set of his tunes like “Let’s Go Crazy,” “Raspberry Beret,” “When Doves Cry,” and “Purple Rain” at your abode in exchange for a mere $750 contribution to the website. I’d also be glad to do a David Bowie tribute at that bargain rate.

As always, anyone who donates $100 or more gets a free copy of my book “Bars Across America.” Donate $200 or more and we’ll also throw in a copy of the anthology “On Bicycles,” to which I contributed a chapter about Chicago’s West Town Bikes, while supplies last.

As always, thanks for making it possible for Steven Vance and myself to do the important work of promoting better conditions for walking, biking, and transit in the region. When it comes to supporting Streetsblog Chicago, “Nothing Compares 2 U.”

donate button

21 Comments

Today’s Headlines for Monday, May 9

  • After Times’ Alarmist “Nervous Biker’s Guide,” Chicago Mag Has Good Advice for Newbies
  • The Tribune Looks at Why The Major Taylor Trail Gets Less Ridership Than The 606
  • Woman Seriously Injured After Van Driver Crashes Into Humboldt Park Cafe (CBS)
  • Woman Charged After Allegedly Pulling a Gun on CTA Bus, Pepper Spraying Driver (Tribune)
  • What Does the Redevelopment of Goose Island Mean for the City (Curbed)
  • Chicago Uber Drivers Are Organizing for Better Pay (Crain’s)
  • Active Trans Looks at the Planned Improvements to Cottage Grove
  • 47th Street Near Green Line Getting New Street Trees, Decorative Pavers (DNA)
  • Design Firm Picked for Rehab of Metra Station in NW Suburban Cary (NW Herald)
  • Sorry, Illinois Jones — No Precious Artifacts Found During Riverwalk Work (DNA)
  • Events This Month on the Lakefront Trail (Active Trans)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA

donate button

thermometer (19)

The Donate-O-Meter

23 more days left to help us win a $25K challenge grant.

Streetsblog Chicago is currently in the thick of raising funds for our next year of publication. Once again, the Chicago Community Trust, a charitable foundation that was one of the early funders of SBC, has very generously offered us a challenge grant. If Streetsblog reaches $50K in donations and sponsorships by the end of May, the Trust will provide the last $25K needed to keep the site running into 2017 and beyond.

Thanks to the generosity of readers like you, we’ve made good progress since we announced the challenge grant. We expect a significant chunk of revenue to come in during the next few weeks in the form of ad renewals and corporate sponsorships.

However, we still have a lot of work to do in order to win the grant from the Trust, so it’s time to shift our fundraising effort into high gear. If you haven’t already done so, please consider donating to Streetsblog Chicago today today. SBC is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, so donations are tax deductible.

If you’ve already contributed, thanks so much for helping us win the challenge grant. As an added incentive to first-time donors, as well as those who’d like to make an additional contribution, anyone who donates $100 or more from this point on will get a copy of my book “Bars Across America.

Donate $200 or more and we’ll also throw in a copy of the anthology “On Bicycles,” to which I contributed a chapter about Chicago’s West Town Bikes, while supplies last.

Please feel free to spread the word about the challenge grant to potential donors, or contact me at 312-560-3966 or greenfieldjohn[at]hotmail.com with leads on other possible funding sources. To keep you apprised on our progress, I’ll be updating the above Donate-O-Meter along with Today’s Headlines each morning.

Thanks again for your continuing support.

– John