Eyes on the Street: Chicago, Bike Grid Now’s Jamapalooza takes over the Loop
There was a wild event in downtown Chicago this evening, with lots of fired-up enthusiasts obstructing traffic: Chicagohenge photography.
There was also a very large bicycle protest. Chicago, Bike Grid Now led Jamapalooza, a massive group ride to demonstrate for a citywide network of bike-priority streets. To make the event accessible to people from all over the city, six Bike Bus group rides headed downtown from Hyde Park, Bridgeport, Pilsen, the West Loop, Wicker Park, and Lincoln Park, meeting up with a seventh group at Daley Plaza for a convergence with hundreds of riders.
I caught up with the Lincoln Park contingent, which met at Jonquil Park, 1001 W. Wrightwood, and pedaled downtown on Lincoln Avenue and Wells Street, escorted by a handful of hoverboard riders.
In the Loop we met up with the Logan Square crew, and then headed to Daley Plaza, for several laps around the block with still more riders.
After departing the plaza and climbing the hill by the Aon Center, where there were about a hundred people photographing the autumn equinox sunset, we descended Randolph with the blazing orb in our eyes.
As we headed down Michigan, I spotted a couple taking a very romantic engagement photo in one of the Chicago Department of Transportation’s paint-and-post sidewalk extensions. Hopefully marriage will cement their love, and CDOT will upgrade this into permanent safety infrastructure with concrete.
From there the ride headed to Buckingham Fountain, and then crossed eight-lane DuSable Lake Shore Drive, ostensibly to take a group photo. But the real reason for the move was a “die-in” protest for safer streets in the crossing, two blocks north of where a reckless driver fatally struck technical consulting engineer Gerardo Marciales, 41 on a Divvy bike last February. It was an unforgettable moment, as motorists were held up for a couple of minutes. But unlike the last time there was a similar event on DSLD, the police officers accompanying the ride wisely chose not to interfere with the action.
Overall it was a very well organized and powerful event, so Kudos to Chicago, Bike Grid Now for making this happen.