Indiana Complete Streets Bill Passes Road & Transportation Committee 10-2

Hoosiers - this is your game winning shot from the corner to make Indiana streets safer, your towns healthier, and living more fun. Take it - follow this Hoosier (Goshen/Shipshewana area) and join the Indiana Complete Streets Campaign.

Just ask a Slime Mold

Slime molds are decent predictors of where to build the stops and arteries of your transit system. Computer modeling is so outdated.

I'm Sorry

I spend a lot of my time advocating for policies that restrict drivers from doing dangerous things.

But sometimes it is us, active transportation users, who need to look at our own actions. I have a confession to make. I cannot walk and talk on the cell phone at the same time (but can walk and chew gum). I walk to and from work every day. And I love my smartphone. The temptation is there to always pull out the phone and check the latest game score, text message a friend or check my calendar. But I know it is dangerous to walk and text at the same time. Trust me - I've walked into a lamppost while texting (luckily no injuries).

The New York Times recently published an article documenting that more than 1,000 pedestrians went to an emergency room in 2008 for injuries incurred while walking and texting. Please stop walking and texting.

To find out more about how Active Transportation Alliance is making the roads safer for everyone, visit

Ray LaHood Fan Club

Today, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood continued his campaign against distracted driving. He announced new rules that will prohibit commercial vehicle drivers from text messaging or using hand-held cell phones while driving.

On Jan 1, 2010 two new laws went into effect in Illinois. All Illinois drivers were prohibited from text messaging while driving, and drivers were also prohibited from using hand-held cell phones while driving in highway construction or school zones.

Secretary LaHood's action will take our campaign that passed the IL laws to the next level. With the new federal rules, commercial vehicle drivers in Illinois must also refrain from using hand-held cell phones outside of highway construction or school zones.

More than 1,000 crashes occur each year on Illinois roads because of distracted driving. Please support Active Transportation Alliance's efforts to end distracted driving and reduce crashes by 50% within twenty years. We will announce our 2010 legislative agenda soon and will need your support.



Lakefront Trail Conditions 1/25

The recent warm weather was still not enough to melt all of the ice from the Trail south of Fullerton or all the way around the Oak Street Bend. From the Oak St. Bend to Ohio Street, the Trail is now clear of ice. You can easily ride this section but there is still ice around the Bend itself.

The soft-surface Trail is still the best option south of Fullerton. There was some mud and standing water in this section of the Trail this morning but most of this had turned to ice as the temperatures dropped this evening.

Ardmore south to Foster remains dotted with ice and snow. Use caution in this area as the temperatures stay below freezing for the rest of the week.

Lakefront Trail Conditions 1/20

We have not had warm enough weather yet to melt the significant ice just south of Fullerton or around the Oak Street Bend. The dirt path to the west of the Trail, just south of Fullerton, is firm and in good condition for a brief detour in that area.

The Oak Street Bend to Ohio Street alternative is typically Inner Lake Shore Drive via the Oak St. and Ohio St. underpasses. Both underpasses are in good shape.

The only other ice between Ardmore and Museum Campus is north of Foster. That ice, however, is patchy and if you are careful and ride in a straight line over the brief icy sections, it is passable.

Northbrook Zoning Ordinance

The Northbrook Bike Task Force has been working to update the zoning code in Northbrook to include more facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians.  In part, they were working on linking bicycle parking requirements to land use. The proposed ordinance would require bicycle rack facilities to be planned and installed as part of certain new business developments or change in zoning of a business within Village borders.

This ordinance mirrors others that are already in place regionally and throughout the country, including Wheeling and Schaumburg.

Regrettably, the Northbrook ordinance failed to pass.

If you are a resident of Northbrook, now is the time to please contact the Village Manager Richard Nahrstadt at 1225 Cedar Lane, Northbrook, IL 60062 or 847-272-5050 and express your desire to see this ordinance become part of the Village Code. Your local advocacy can help see this improvement to fruition!

Making Life Better for Peds in Oak Park

Oak Park understands snow-clear sidewalks make it easier for pedestrians to get around. But they also knnow that not everyone can get out there and shovel. The village is urging anyone who would like to volunteer to help others in the Oak Park community clear their sidewalks is urged to call 708.358.5700 or e-mail

Oprah is on our side!

I'll be honest. My relationship with Oprah has been rocky ever since she awarded everyone in the audience with a new car.

But ever since she announced a new anti-texting campaign this week I am rethinking my position.

Oh, O.



Your kid won't hate you for your R-11 wall insulation

 Treehugger blogged yesterday on new LEED homes in communities with failing Walk Scores.

Some developers in the southwest suburbs are pursuing LEED certification for their new subdivisions that are built on empty land, miles from jobs, stores and schools. So, that means you can exchange 20% of your utilities bill for doubling or tripling the time you and your kids spend in the car.

I live in an old bungalow that can't keep the upstairs - Active Trans' southland office - warmer than 58 when the temperature drops below 20 outside, and this with zoned heating. But, I don't use my mini-van for much of anything. (Except my job, it seems: covering a territory from Portage, Ind. to Plainfield, I claim the vast majority of Active Trans's carbon footprint, which is how I justify not doing it. It's for the planet!) We picked a south suburban town and a location within it that made car use an option for most of our travel , not a requirement, and we don't choose that option much. Dairy Queen is three blocks away.

But my town (and its weather) is just short of perfect, so I have to drive and sometimes I have to make my daughter go with me. My kid HATES being in cars, feels car rides are a COLOSSAL waste of her precious, super-important 10-year old prima donna time, and hates me for it when it happens.

Weird mole fur or whatever (really, it's like hairy paper) as insulation in my roof? A COLOSSAL waste of time for her to even TRY to hate me for that. Especially when making her get in the damn car does such a good job.

Overall, the kid likes me; we walk and bike most of the places important to us both, and sometimes I have to walk behind her, but that's not hate, just love percolating through pre-teen hormones. LED lighting and radiant flooring bring no benefit to me here.

How my family gets around, our self-powered mobility, has enormous impact on our lives. As for my radiating house,  I wear a stocking hat when I'm at work, make the little dog lie down on my feet, and keep the stair doors closed.

I've got a LEED certified lifestyle, and a LEED certified kid ("Whatever....," cue eye roll). I should get that tatooed somewhere visible, bask in the glow. Wish the home scored better. But I'll choose the lifestyle and my daughter every time. 

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