Bike to Work Week registration exceeds 300!

More than 330 organizations have signed up for Bike to Work Week so far, and the number of businesses registering is still climbing!

Bike to Work Week is taking place from June 12–18 and we are encouraging all Chicagoland businesses to sign up and get a healthy and active start to their day. So if you haven’t yet, sign up and get in on the fun!

We’re also encouraging team leaders to submit guest blogs through me, the Bike to Work Week Coordinator. If you’re interested in challenging other teams, or want to share how your team is spicing up Bike to Work Week at your office, feel free to email me at CynthiaS@activetrans.org.
 

Active Transportation Alliance Board Election

The Active Transportation Alliance will conduct its annual board election at 10:45 a.m., Sunday, May 30, 2010, at Butler Field in Grant Park. Current Active Trans members can vote on a proposed slate of board candidates to govern the organization. Please see bios below

Questions? Contact Membership Director Lee Crandell at lee@activetrans.org or 312.427.3325 x294

Justyna Frank
Justyna is the co-owner of Rapid Transit Cycleshop, an business she and her husband founded in Chicago in 1994. Since the inception of the business, Justyna has been involved in advocating the use of bicycles for transportation, as well as expanding opportunities for alternative styles of cycling through promoting recumbents, trikes and folding bikes. Despite being a bike shop owner, Justyna has stayed firmly committed to her 21 year-old Bridgestone bike, which she uses for errands and transportation. She is also an enthusiastic walker.

Ben Helphand
Ben is the Executive Director of NeighborSpace, a nonprofit urban land trust dedicated to preserving and sustaining community gardens in Chicago. He is a founding board member of the Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail, a community group that advocates for the conversion of an elevated rail viaduct on Chicago’s NW Side into a multi-use linear park. Ben also serves as the Mayor’s Pedestrian Advisory Committee’s representative on the Sidewalk Snow Removal Taskforce and on the Wicker Park Bucktown SSA Pedestrians and Passengers Committee. Prior to working for NeighborSpace Ben worked as the Pedestrian Program Manager and Director of the Civic Footprint at the Center for Neighborhood Technology.

Bob Hoel
Bob retired 6 years ago after 34 years at RR Donnelley. In 2008 his interest turned to bike advocacy, initially heading up the advocacy efforts of the Elmhurst Bike Club, one of the largest bike clubs in th e Chicago area. In 2009 he asked the mayor of Elmhurst to form a Bike Task Force, which Bob chairs. By the end of 2009, Bob was named to the Active Trans Hall of Fame for his work in bike advocacy. He has attended the last two National Bike Summits, sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists, networking and learning about both local and national bike issues. Bob was recently named a Director of the League of Illinois Bicyclists, filling an open position. His business experience, masters in finance from Kellogg and recent bike advocacy will add strength to the Active Trans Board. Bob rides year around with most of his 3,000+ miles for transportation, working in an occasional recreational ride to clear his head. He also has extensive experience biking in such bike utopias as France, Netherlands, Denmark and Germany.

Jaime de Leon
Jaime de Leon is the New Communities Program (NCP) Director for Enlace Chicago, a community-based organization in Little Village, where he has lived most of his life. He is the son of Mexican immigrants from a working-class background. After graduating from Northern Illinois University, he entered the world of non-profit through Public Allies Chicago, a 10-month apprenticeship program. Now in his ninth year at Enlace, his main responsibility is the implementation and management of community development and organizing initiatives to improve the quality of life for the Little Village community. Jaime serves on the board of Mikva Challenge, Chicago Public Art Group, and the Firehouse Arts Center and has also been an adjunct professor at North Park University. He is also the proud father of a 6-year-old daughter who he recently taught to ride a bicycle. As a Chicago Community Trust fellow, Jaime also worked on a documentary about "Ciclovias" in South America.

Cecilia Roth
Cecilia Roth is an attorney at a large private law firm in Chicago. Her practice focuses on employee benefits law. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago and her law degree from the University of Michigan. She commutes to work on the Metra train and then walks across the Loop to her office. She also is a recreational walker, jogger and bicyclist, and her husband is an avid bicyclist. She and her husband raised three children, all of whom walked to school from nursery school through high school. Between college and professional school, she and her husband served in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic. Bridgestone bike, which she uses for errands and transportation. She is also an enthusiastic walker.

Southside kids race to Sherman Park for Bike Day

Active Trans, Blackstone Bicycles, The Bicycling Ambassadors, and xXx Racing - AthletiCo were all present yesterday afternoon to make Back of the Yards Bike Day a huge success.

At 4pm amid warm temperatures and bright sunshine, scores of area children began trickling into Sherman Park to find the main roadway in front of the field house blocked off, and received warm greetings from all of the volunteers. They were treated to free helmets and bike maintenance, a cycling and pedestrian safety game, and two bike races, officiated by XXX Racing team members.

As well, park district staff were on hand to set up the event and serve hot dogs, popcorn, and soda.  District 9 bicycle officers attended to provide safety for all in attendence.

Kids meandered from table to table, or rode back and forth through the party, getting their bikes repairs and flat tires fixed, and played the safety game offered by The Bicycling Amabassadors for a chance to win one of 25 free helmets.  At 5pm, the races were announced and two large groups of 6 to 10 and 10 to 14 year old raced their bike approximately 200 yards. They received medals and free Clif product.

All of the kids were told they could come back on June 12, 2010 and participate in the childrens races at XXX Racing's Sherman Park Criterium.  

NW Indiana Passes Regional Complete Streets Policy

Hoosier jokes can now officially be designated sour grapes. Not only does Northwest Indiana build more trails, advocate more strongly for a regional trail system, fund their bicycle projects more dependably, and has never had to return bike and ped money back to Uncle Sam. Now, Northwest Indiana communities have passed a regional Complete Streets policy. The municipalities that make up the Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) voted unanimously for its adoption about two hours ago.

The regional context makes so...much...sense for what is essentially - I'm going to say it - a Chicago suburban region. In the suburban environment, connections between communities and regional assets like trails significantly reduce the benefits local Complete Streets policies and bike/ped plans provide to their towns. It's often those between-communities, between-trails connections that really influence residents' travel choice, their safety, where they choose to eat, go to school, buy groceries. Ideally, you want a town that passes Complete Streets to be surrounded by towns with Complete Streets policies. NIRPC's regional clout, outstanding coalition building and direct involvement in transportation decisions makes for superior policies and more benefits for individual communities.

Active Trans, Calumet Citizens Connecting Communities, National Park Service, INDOT, and NW Indiana public agencies and communities all contributed hours of commentary, meetings, beer drinking, and conference calling to craft NW Indiana's Complete Streets policy. I've attached the final drafts of the policy and guidelines (required by the municipalities before they'd sign on).

The Complete Streets policy goes into effect immediately. I'd call NIRPC and congratulate them, but I don't know if they use phones in Indiana, and I don't speak Hoosier anyway.

AttachmentSize
Complete Streets Guidelines REV2.pdf53.67 KB
NIRPC Complete Streets Resolution 2010 REV2.pdf46.69 KB

Volunteers Needed for Outreach Tent During Bike the Drive, May 30

We are seeking volunteers to help staff an Active Trans tent at the post-ride festival at Bike the Drive on May 30. Opportunities include helping to sign up new members and sell merchandise and assisting with a bicycle-powered smoothie machine. It’ll be a fun place to be during the festival!

The cut-off time for entering Lake Shore Drive on your bike is 9 AM if you plan on riding. The festival is officially open 8 – noon. Below are the volunteer shifts for the outreach tent.

6:30 - 8:30 AM (set-up)
8:30 - 10:30 AM (festival) - most in need for this shift!
10:30 AM - 12:30 PM (festival)
12:30 – 2:00 PM (break-down)

Please contact Lee Crandell at lee@activetrans.org or 312-427-3325 x294 if you’d like to volunteer.

"Euphoric!"

That was Barbara's response to my question, "Besides tired, how do you feel?" Barbara, who is in her 70s, and I were returning to Turtle Head parking lot today in the Palos Forest Preserve after a seven-mile tour of the Tinley Creek Trail and Orland's new-ish spur down the Com-Ed easement south of 135th Street. Having ridden her bike everywhere as a kid, Barbara was returning to cycling after decades.

I was leading a ride for Trinity Christian College's Senior Academy of Learning at Trinity (SALT) program, which offers a catalog of activities for seniors like Barbara.  Five seniors had signed up for three cycling classes - one instructional, two riding - taught/led by me and fellow League of American Bicyclist  (LAB) instructor Larry Mysz. Save for breaking the elbow of Trinity's librarian (who's also a friend of mine - it wasn't my fault!), the classes were just gobs of fun. At the first class, I gave students $5 coupons for new helmets from Richard's Cycles (119th Street and Harlem Avenue). Barbara and her friend Jean, also in the class, were both sporting sleek new Giro lids today, well-fitted by the Richard's staff.

Barbara drove to Palos from near Crown Point, Ind. to take the classes with Jean. She knew of no other opportunities for her to get back into biking. That's a clarion call: Her generation is the advance force of what will be divisions of seniors moving into or maintaining physically active lives over the next 20 years. The communities where trails, programs like Trinity's SALT, and experts like Active Trans & LAB intersect are where senior cycling will flourish. Looking at our region and that towering demographic wave, I can tell you we do not have enough of them.

But ask me how I feel about today.

 

Good News on Pedestrian Safety

The Chicago Department of Transportation and the Chicago Police Department announced that for the third year in a row they are conducing a pedestrian safety crackdown.  It starts out in Lakeview/Wrigleyville.  We applaud these efforts and encourage other municipalities to get on the safety bandwagon.  Thank you!

Read and see more.

For more info from CDOT on the campaign, go here.

Community Rally and Team effort in Pilsen

I am so excited about the weekend. I am preparing to present at the community rally and team effort that the Martha Gonzalez Memorial Committee has put together for this Saturday, May 15th at 11am at Kristoffer's Cafe at the corner of 18th and Halsted.

Martha Gonzalez, as you may remember from our previous blog entries was a resident of Pilsen who was killed by a hit-and-run driver on Tuesday October 13, 2009. This tragic event has galvanized her family and the wider community to work towards making the intersection of the incident, 18th and Halsted, a safer place for pedestrians and all residents.

This Saturday is a multi-layered community Team Effort that will:

  • Further publicize the reward for information that leads to the conviction of the hit and run driver.
  • Directly involve concerned members of the community in giving feedback to make the intersection a safer place where everyone can be active and enjoy their neighborhood. This will be done through a walkability assessment led by our Better Blocks program here at Active Transportation in collaboration with Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC)
  • Include a drive to collect signatures on the petition to designat 17th Place after “Martha Gonzalez.”

There’s lots of good work to do. All volunteers are welcome and the media has been invited to attend.

Coffee and pastries will be provided at Kristoffer’s Café at 11:00am.

If you have any further questions please contact me at migdalia@activetrans.org or Andrew Kudelka at mnemonicist@hotmail.com

I hope to see you there!

-Migdalia
 

2nd Annual Back of the Yards Community BIke Day

This year’s community bike day is just around the corner. I'm excited and sad at the same time about this event, why? Last year we had over 250 families show up to this event in which 150 of them had broken bikes (this is the sad part).This event shows how important it is to have these types of resource available in the community. That’s when my work come in to place, as we help advocate for these issues.

Please join us on May 19, 2010 from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm at Sherman Park, 1301 W. 52nd St.. There will be:

  • Age group racing
  • Activity station for kids and adults
  • Free bike fixing
  • Raffle, bike giveaways, helmets, light, locks etc.
  • Bike Education

 

Free Lunchtime Event Thursday for Those Who Enjoy Exploring the Region by Bike, Foot and Transit

Ever wanted to escape for a walk in the woods, but couldn’t figure out where to go or how to get there without a car? In a city with a million carless residents, you’re probably not alone. The Chicago region is filled with exciting places that you can explore by bike, by foot and by public transit. As warmer weather approaches, learn what the region has to offer and how you can get there before you strike out on your summer day trips. You won’t need a car to reach these treasured places, from calming parks and forest preserves to historic neighborhoods.

Creative Living in the City Lecture: Treasured Chicago Destinations by Foot, Bike and Public Transit
Where: Claudia Cassidy Theater, 2nd Floor, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington Blvd., Chicago, IL
When: Thursday, May 13, 2010, 12:15 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.
Cost: Free and open to the public

Erma Tranter, President of Friends of the Parks, will offer a visual tour of great parks you can escape to by public transportation.

Jason Rothstein, author of the new book Carless in Chicago, will offer tips for your carless explorations and suggestions for some other easy-to-reach destinations. Jason currently works full time at the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where the pro-pedestrian messages come fast and furious. He holds a BA in psychology from Antioch College and an MPH in heath policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Presented by the Active Transportation Alliance and Friends of the Parks as part of the Chicago Cultural Center’s Creative Living in the City lecture series.

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