Some trips are strictly by bike, some by bike/public transportation. And for those who see their commute as too long or too difficult, we continue to encourage everyone to think before they get in their car for that 1, 2 or 3 mile trip. This is where Footprints makes its biggest impact.
From one of our Footprints coaches, Mary Lynn Wilson:
Steve Buchtel asked me how long it takes to plan a route for our Footprints participants. I thought about it; it takes a long time! For most of the people we sign up, using a bike for transportation is a novel experience. Using the recommended streets on the Chicagoland bike maps and having the fledgling go at it would bring their noble experiment to a quick halt. So, we coaches poke through maps, Google and Bing only to be faced with a myriad of cul-de-sacs, canals, railroad tracks and streets where a speed limit is merely a suggestion. Persevere we do and manage to come up with a decent route with minimal fast moving cars, sometimes connecting the rider with a train or bus. We sweeten the pot by offering to make the ride with them. Never give someone a route you wouldn’t ride yourself.
But, I have finally been stumped. I met a gentleman at Matteson Fest who worked for the United States Postal Service at O’Hare. He wanted to use his bike to get from the facility on the southeast end of the airport to the Blue Line. Here’s the catch: he didn’t want to ride on Irving Park and he gets off work at 11:30 p.m. He said there was a shuttle to the Blue Line but it didn’t run that late. I wonder if he meant the Pace 332. It leaves the USPS at 11:36 and gets him to the Blue Line at 11:50. I enlisted the help of Rich Evans, the O’Hare bike ambassador (did you know O’Hare had a bike ambassador?) He threw out some suggestions that might work but in the end there still was one very large problem. Even if we geo our South Suburban cyclist to the Blue Line, once he got downtown there was not public transportation to Matteson. The midnight Blue Line train gets downtown at 12:40 and the last train to Matteson is at 12:50; a tight connection dependent upon everything going smoothly. The suggestion to our rider is to continue driving to work but use his bike for his local transportation.
Losing this one doesn’t sting as much knowing we have gotten people from the South Suburbs to downtown Chicago, someone from Oak Forest to Roselle, a teacher from Harlem and Northwest Highway to his school in Orland Park, and an intrepid rider from Tinley down to Kankakee State Park. Some trips are strictly by bike, some by bike/public transportation. And for those who see their commute as too long or too difficult, we continue to encourage everyone to think before they get in their car for that 1, 2 or 3 mile trip. This is where Footprints makes its biggest impact.