First Bike Map Update Meeting a Big Success

Thanks to a stellar cast of Active Trans members, staff, and all-around-town bike riders, the kick-off meeting for the Regional Bike Map Update was a big success. About 30 people came and picked which part of the map that they would like to "proof" for us. Proofing involves riding the current recommended routes and checking to make sure they are still good for bikes. We are also looking for new bike routes, new facilities and anything else that will enhance our beautiful map.

Because this group featured smart, savvy bike riders, we also got a lot of great feedback about ways to improve the map Morever, we engaged in helpful discussions about what color (and texture and width) the bike facilities should be; how to put the finished product on the internet; how we designate an "excellent" route vs. a "suitable" route; and if we can print laminated maps as well as the good old paper copies. Lots to think about!

If you are interested in participating in this committee over the next several months, drop me an email ( We need plenty of help and would like to hear from people all over Chicagoland. Thanks!

Good luck, Chicago Bike Messengers!

A group of local messengers are headed to Tokyo today for the Cycle Messenger World Championships...they are also part of a bid to bring the World's to Chicago in 2011.

The 2008 North American Cycle Courier Championships in Chicago was awesome, so all of us at Active Trans are hoping the Chicago crew races well and brings back the World's!

Good luck!

PS: Bike Messenger Appreciation Day is Oct. 9!

Federal Funding of Transit Challenged by Familiar Face

I offer the following without any partisan political commentary:

Quick summary:

The Senate is poised to vote today on 27 amendments proposed by Senators McCain and Coburn about transportation. If they get their way, major transit projects in places as diverse as California, Tennessee, Utah, Michigan, Connecticut, Hawaii, and Texas will all get the axe.

Senator Coburn is even trying to block the Department of Transportation from spending any money at all on clean transportation alternatives.

Don't let them get away with it! Fill out the form below to tell your senators to vote NO on the McCain and Coburn transportation amendments.

Bike to Worship Gets a Boost

Active Transportation Alliance helps Chicagoland communities win bike parking many times by helping submit grant application. . In Chicago, for example, Active Trans has helped the City of Chicago install over 11,700 bike racks by helping to prepare the city’s Congestion Mitigation Air Quality grants to the federal government. Active Trans members Matt Nelson and Dan Cumberland took a more direct action to getting bike parking at Oak Community Church in Hinsdale. They built and installed their own bike rack. Check out the time-lapse video Dan made here.

Let go of your steering wheel!

One more week until Chicagoland Car-Free Day, there's still time to take the pledge and get $1 off a large drink at Caribou Coffee.

Check out this great article in the Sun-Times.

And a very nice mention in the Daily Herald.

Pledge to go (or remain) car-free now!


Glorious Boulevard Lakefront Tour

We had a truly beautiful day for our annual fundraiser, the Boulevard Lakefront Tour.  We experimented with a new start/finish line due to the conflict with the half marathon happening just east of our normal festival area.  We made the switch in consulation with the City of Chicago, and while some participants struggled to find the new location or went to the old location looking for us, it was the right thing to do.  It cut down on traffic and allowed cyclists to not be impeded by marathoners walking to and from their car.  We are examining possible new locations for 2010 that may open up more opportunities.

I want to thank all of our passionate volunteers who spent hours before, during and after the event.  I heard some great stories I'd like to share:

1.  Long time volunteer Anne Alt, who after seeing a particular rough part of the route over the 100th Street Bridge over the Calumet River, emailed her concern into the City.  The City Department of Transportation came through in only one day notice to quickly solve the problem.

2.  One of our participants was following another cyclist along the route and got away from the rest of his family -- only to find out that the person he was following wasn't on the BLT.  Now complete lost, broke and discouraged, a cab driver gave him a free cab ride all the way back to Washington Park.  He then started back on the same route riding fast until he caught back up with his family.

3.  ...and of course, the stories of people who have never ridden a bicycle in the City of Chicago who got the chance to experience new neighborhoods and the joys of the emerald necklace that embodies Daniel Burnham's dream.

Thank you to our event staff for another great day:  Christinie (Event Director), Daaron (Event Registration manager), Cynthia (BLT Volunteer Manager), Ethan (Marketing Director), Chris (Web design), Mitch (graphic design), and all of our regular non-event staff who made the say so wonderful.  Thanks also to the Webstirs, our band, who contributed the music and sound system.  Thanks to Howard for a day of announcements and south side history/trivia.  Thanks to all the sag drivers and Jim Kreps (Sag Manager) for driving around the City picking up riders who for whatever reason had trouble finishing the route.  Thanks to the unheralded route markers who go out early in the morning in the dark on bicycles and marked all 77 miles of routes so people could find their way.  To the sign putter-uppers and the sign-taker-downers (by the way, if you happen to see one we missed, feel free to cut it down for us and drop it off in the office some day). 

Finally, thank you to all the participants.  Your registration fees go to support our work to improve biking, walking and transit throughout Chicagoland.

Lakefront Trail Activities September 11-13

Activities that may affect your use of the Lakefront Trail September 11-13

Friday, September 11

It looks as though they are doing some filming for a Chicago 2016 project on Solidarity Drive (which shouldn't affect the Trail much now that the underpass is open) from 6:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.

The filming will also take place at North Avenue Beach during this same time.

Saturday, September 12

Mexican Independence Day Parade - Columbus Ave. in Grant Park - starts at 11:00 a.m.

Celtic Fest - Grant Park

Filming for the 2016 project continues on Solidarity Drive and North Ave. Beach - 6am-9pm

Filming for another project at 31st Street Beach - 6:30-8:00 a.m.

Eved 5k Run - Jackson Park - 6-8:00 a.m.

Oakwood Sunrise Service - 63rd Street Beach - 5:45-7:00 a.m.

Chicago Masters' Big Shoulders Open Swim Classic - Ohio St. Beach - 6:00 a.m.-Noon

Chicago Lung Run - Diversey Harbor - 7:30-11:30 a.m.

Milestones Walk to Conquer Childhood Cancer - Lincoln Park, Grove 13 - 8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

ALS Walk for Life - Lincoln Park, Grove 16 - 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Sunday, September 13

NAMI Walks Chicago - Grant Park - 7:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Chicago Half Marathon - Jackson Park - 7:00 a.m. - Noon

Stride Against Violence 2009 - Lincoln Park, Grove 13 - 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Sea Blue Prostate Cancer Walk - Lincon Park, Grove 2 - 6:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Alzheimer's Memory Walk - Lincoln Park, Gove 16 - 6:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.


Wicker Park Bucktown CTA Bus Tracking Innovations

The CTA just posted a press release on their website regarding the official launch of their API, which allows people to use Bus Tracker information more freely. Wicker Park Bucktown SSA is using this new capability in an innovative way.

From CTA's press release: "In recent months, the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce Special Service Area #33 (WPB) has been using Bus Tracker data in an effort to expand its use beyond PDAs, computers and other mobile devices. As a result, select neighborhood businesses will install monitors that will continuously display next bus arrival times along the bottom portion of the screen, while neighborhood alerts and news items rotate above. The program is expected to officially launch next week."

This is particularly exciting because it makes CTA's bus tracker information accessible to people who do not have this option on their cell phones or PDA's.

Wicker Park Bucktown has installed these displays at Red Hen Bakery, Gallery Cafe, Caffe de Luca, Feast, Goddess & Grocer and W Grocer.

To see more photos, click here.

Metra starts accepting credit cards

Metra passengers can now buy 10-ride and monthly passes online with credit cards.

"A key feature of the new Web site will enable riders to set up "My Metra" accounts to personalize their commutes. Users will get customized information on their train lines and schedules and automated service alerts either online or via e-mail."

Car hits, kills girl in West Rogers Park

The young girl was riding her bike when a car came out of an alley and hit her. The driver was ticketed, but no criminal charges were filed. We are looking into the details of this crash.

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