I just rode the Lakefront Trial from Ardmore to Grand at 8:00 p.m. this Monday (2/8) night and the Trail is in much better condition than it was on Sunday morning. The only remaining stretch of ice completely covering the Trail is next to the Revetment construction between Belmont and Diversey.
There is a stretch of dry dirt on the soft surface part of the Trail south of Fullerton.
The Oak Street Bend is too icy to ride safely but only for a short stretch. I was easily able to walk the icy section and then there is at least some dry pavement between the Bend and Ohio St.
It is, of course, supposed to snow 2-4" tonight, so conditions may change by Tuesday morning.
It was a great event on Saturday, if you missed it, watch for another next year!
More than 450 attendees, volunteers and vendors had a enjoyable winter bike-friendly day at Jak's Tap in the West Loop. Lots of funds were raised for Chicago's Bike Winter, many local vendors and individuals sold bikes, bike parts and cool gear. At the Active Trans table, our volunteers signed up or renewed 18 memberships!
Here are links to some my personal favorite organizations and vendors that attended:
The Chainlink - Chicago online bicycle community (Facebook for Chicago bicyclists)
Crank the Earth - cool, community-designed jerseys
PoCampo - stylish bags that are locally designed and produced
Faction Cycling Co. - local design, made in the U.S. jerseys, caps and more
Kozie Prery - locally made bike caps from recycled materials
Active Trans is excited about doing it again next year!
I rode the Lakefront Trail this Sunday morning (2/7) from Ardmore to 51st St.
The Trail conditions range from dry pavement in many places to a sheet of ice in others. Please use caution when riding the Trail at this time. Hopefully the sun will melt some of the snow and ice that is on the Trail and the Park District will plow and salt these areas as well.
Areas of particular concern include ice completely covering the Trail north of Fullerton around the Theater on the Lake. I took a spill in this area today.
Snow and ice are also covering both the hard surface and soft surface Trail south of Fullerton.
The Oak Street Bend is actually in not too bad of shape. I walked a short bit of the Bend where the ice was at its worst but was able to ride on the walkway next to LSD from the Bend to Ohio Street. The walkway was completely free of snow and ice.
Snow and ice cover the Trail at a number of other locations as well, including a really bad spot around 33rd Street (where the trail bends to the west as you travel south) as well as:
Where the Trail was completely covered with snow and/or ice, I was able to ride on the grass around these areas.
My polling place in Lakeview is in one of the worst places to walk in the neighborhood, so I was very interested to overhear two regular poll workers this morning discussing how the location impacts the turnout. I vote on a hospital campus where the street grid is interrupted, so you can't walk where you'd expect you could walk, and until this year parts of the street had no sidewalks. It's just not a pleasant walk -- it's out of the way, hard to find, and it's essentially on a utility street for the hospital. But several years back, our polling place was in a hotel right next to the train station, on an very pedestrian-friendly street with lots of foot-traffic. So, this morning one of the poll workers was saying she wondered if it would get busy today. And the other one replied, "Do you remember the last time it was really busy?" I was expecting him to say November 2008, but instead he continued, "It was when we were in the hotel by the train station!" He even said it with passion. "There was a line around the block. It was such a convenient location. People could stop in while walking on their way to the train station."
I would attribute that great voter turnout at the hotel to "transit-oriented development," which means concentrating activity around transit stops in an environment that encourages walking, since transit riders are usually pedestrians while on their way to and from the train. But the poll workers' conversation this morning was one of those little reminders that you don't have to be a transportation advocate or know the jargon to understand the benefits of walkable places with great transit connections. It's just a simple matter of every-day convenience that's apparently powerful enough even to impact our elections.
As I walked to my local Chicago Park District fieldhouse to vote today, I noticed that for the first time this winter, the park had shoveled all the sidewalks surrounding the park and in the park. My vote does count, it seems.
As I left with my "thank you for voting" card, I stopped by the park office and handed them a "thank you for shoveling" card. I also left a "please shovel" card and mentioned it would be great for them to shovel anytime it snows, not just on election days.
Help spread the word, print-your-own Active Trans "thank you for shoveling" and "please shovel" cards.
Also, in Chicago, you can nominate businesses that do a good job of clearing snow, thanks to the Dept. of Transportation's Pedestrian program efforts.
DuPage County Division of Transportation will begin construction on a new bicycle/pedestrian bridge in Wayne in February. The 330-foot bridge will replace a steep embankment and steps that lead over a crossing of the EJ&E/Canadian National railroad. It will be a major safety improvement for the pedestrians, bicyclists and equestrians which are prevalent along this section of trail.
Between February and May, the path will be closed. Bicyclists who wish to continue along the path will have to utilize the local street network for connections.
This $1.2 million project is coordinated and funded by DuPage County with a majority of construction funding provided under a $960,000 federal High Priority Project grant sponsored by former Congressman Hastert.