Waiting on the platform? Find out when your train is coming!

It’s the same internal debate every time I wait for transit: When is the train/bus coming? Is it faster to wait or walk?

Making a decision may be easier now that Clever Commute has come to Chicago. As the Chicago Tribune reports, Clever Commute lets people sign up to receive e-mails or texts from other transit riders on the status of their train or bus.

It looks like parts of the website are still in progress for bus routes, but it does have options for the El and Metra. You can also check out the CTA Tattler blog, run by local transit advocates.


Biking to the 'Bolts a huge success!

Don't miss this opportunity for a car-free night of bicycling to baseball. Cheer on the hometeam, and reduce your carbon footprint. I calculate an air pollution savings of 15.65 pounds for this 2.5 mile round trip sans-car for every cyclist who would have driven alone this distance. That's quite a savings!

From our Footprints Coach Mike Erickson

Hello Cyclists in Blog-land!
Footprints (you may have heard of us) and the Active Transportation Alliance (you know them) are hosting a family-style bicycle ride to a family-style event, small town baseball...and you're invited! The ride leaves from and returns to Food4Less, 5556 159th St., in Oak Forest at 6pm., July 23, 2009. RSVP by July 21 at 5 pm. to footprints@activetrans.org, or 312/427-3325ext.266. Bring $6 for a ticket to the ride start; the baseball game's first pitch is at 7:05 pm.

The Windy City ThunderBolts, located in Crestwood at the Standard Bank Stadium, are the only Minor League Independent Professional baseball team in the Southland, and they are playing the River City Rascals of O'Fallon, Missouri. The ThunderBolts are 2007, and 2008, back to back Frontier League Champions, and the Rascals are leading the league this year, trying to rascal the crown away from the 'Bolts.

Family or no, your family to us (cyclist travel in packs), and we are going the cycle for the 'Bolts. We will lead a 2.5-mile bike ride along the pleasant back streets of Oak Forest and Midlothian to the stadium in Crestwood. We will provide free and secure valet bike parking. You must bring the helmet, the bike, the front white light and rear reflector, $6 bucks to get into the ballpark (1/3rd off), and maybe a few singles for $1 hotdogs, chips, popcorn, and drinks.

Don't miss this opportunity for a car-free night of bicycling to baseball. Cheer on the hometeam, and reduce your carbon footprint. I calculate an air pollution savings of 15.65 pounds for this 2.5 mile round trip sans-car for every cyclist who would have driven alone this distance. That's quite a savings!

Thanks for blogging.
Coach Mike
Footprints / Active Trans

Goroo.com is fine, but it ain't going to ride the bus with you

Paul Eisenburg in the SouthtownStar points out a nice feature of Footprints, the south suburban program to help people travel smarter: someone will actually talk with you. And ride bike - or the bus, or the train - with you. And prod you a little to make smart travel choices, because they're coaches after all and we all need a little prodding. Whatever it takes - Footprints coaches are committed to helping you reduce your carbon footprint and still get around.

Here's Paul's article.

And here's where you sign up to contact a Footprints coach

And if you're on Facebook...

Superweek begins tonight!

Superweek - one of the biggest events on the Midwest racing calendar - starts tonight, with the Beverly Pro-Am Criterium on the Southside.

Open events (all categories) begin tomorrow, July 11th, with the Blue Island Criterium in Blue Island, IL.  The racing will continue every day through July 26 with the Whitefish Bay Classic.  However, (wink wink) we all know you'll really be in downtown Chicago that day for the 2nd annual Chicago Criterium, which conflicts again with Superweek's final race.

Pre-registration is still open for the later events.

I will begin posting races in the events calendar today.  Stay tuned.

Bike to Homewood Days - Park it with Footprints

Homewood Days polls as a premier Southland community festival - you'll want to come. But you sure as shizzle will be sorry you drove - navigating a car through town and finding parking is like a poke in the eye, all the while dumping loads of carbon dioxide into the air.

Take your bike! The Footprints coaches of Active Transportation Alliance will valet park your and your family's bikes - in a supervised corral at Olive Rd. and Dixie Hwy, no lock required! - on Saturday from 10 AM to 8 PM. Look for the Footprints bike parking tent next to the SouthtownStar Stage at the south end of the event on Dixie.

Need a good route to get there? Our coaches hand them out like candy - start with the Footprints survey at http://activetrans.org/footprints, or write to footprints@activetrans.org.

Lead Footprints coach Mary-Lynn Wilson shopping by bike

Chicagoland ranks second-worst for congestion, second best for transit

The Chicago area and northwest Indiana is the second-worst area in the U.S. for congestion, according to a Texas Transportation Institute study and reported in the Chicago Tribune article, “Chicago traffic delays: A tiny break in the traffic logjam.”

Chicagoland’s ranking hurts more than our pride – congestion costs us $4.2 billion a year and wastes more than 129 million gallons of excess fuel a year.

Transit, on the other hand, saves us time and money:

“The expansive mass-transit network in the Chicago region contributes to about $1.1 billion worth of delay savings annually, ranking No. 2 in savings behind the New York City region, the study found. Put another way, it means public transit reduces delays by almost 49 million hours annually in the Chicago region.”

But we can’t just sit back in our bus seats. The study recommends investing in transit now to prepare for when the economy improves and congestion will likely increase:

“With congestion expected to come roaring back as the economy improves, the fallout will be the worst in regions of the country that have failed to invest in mass transit and roadway improvements, the study concluded.”

Among the study’s recommendations are transit improvements and transit-oriented development, where town centers and biking and walking facilities connect to transit.

Meet a racer - Matthew Stevenson

He may be a first year racer with XXX Racing - AthletiCo, but riding - and living with - bikes is nothing new to Matthew Stevenson, 23, of Evergreen Park, IL ("Southside, born and raised!").

He began riding at three years old, after receiving a hand-me-down sans training wheels from the neighbor two doors down.  A few hours later the seed was planted and the obsession was growing.

Matt StevensonBuilding dirt jumps with friends in random abandoned lots led to sanction BMX racing bmx at the Elgin and Rockford tracks, during the hiockey offseason. At age 13 while watching a bmx show, Matthew saw a racer he admired using a road bike for training. He dove into turns "like a Superbike pilot." With that he pulled his dad's yellow 1972 Schwinn Le Tour out of the garage and - that needed to stand on the front porch's first stair to get on notwithstanding - a roadie was born. 

Bikes have been central to his life ever since.

Later that year, in the winter 2000, his now-boss knocked on his door and asked if he wanted a job. About a month later he  showed up at Park Schwinn and asked if the position was still available. It was. 

Oddly, Matthew never really used bicycles as a means of transportation until his junior year of college, when he began volunteering his time with Hand in Hand Ministries, a Catholic charity. Until then cycling was always recreational only, until he had a true movement of conscience.

Matt StevensonWhile completing undergrad degrees in Theology and Political Science, he dedicated most of his spare time to social justice. The realization suddenly struck him then that his means of transportation did not reflect the deep commitment he'd made to those less fortunate than him. The red 4x4 was "ditched" and now Matthew only drives when needed for work or circumstances warrent.

He continues his work with Hand in Hand today, just recently returning from a trip to Belize.  As well, Matt was inspired while attending St. Xavier University to help start a bike share program, utilizing shaft driven bicycles that can be checked out and returned at various locations across campus. He also currently volunteers with World Bicycle Relief,  a non-profit partner with XXX Racing, and his other contributions to the team have been numerous.

Matthew has been enjoying his first season on XXX Racing immensely, "catting up" to a 4 even before the demanding schedule of summer racing starts.  He is looking forward to even more success on and off the bike.

Take a Traffic Cycling class - become a bike planner (almost)

Footprints coach and fellow League of American Bicyclists cycling instructor Gina Kenny taught the League's Traffic Skills 101 program to the Urbana-Champaign Metropolitan Transportation District - U-C's version of the Regional Transportation Authority [Pace, CTA, Metra] -  on July 1. Already an outstanding transportation planner, Cynthia Hoyle at the MTD organized the class. She wanted to be more grounded in good bicycling behavior for her own enjoyment and safety, but also to be a better bicycle planner.

Okay, so what? I'll tell you what:

Every bad bicycle facility or, much more common, decision to not accommodate bicyclists is at least partly rooted in ignorance of how cyclists can and do safely share the roadway. Taking the full Traffic Cycling 101 course, with its emphasis on behaving in traffic like a vehicle, brings anyone about 85% of the way toward making better decisions about bicycle accommodation than 95% of the planners, engineers, and public officials currently making those decisions.

You become the authority. And expose lots of people building streets and/or fighting bike facilities as simply being afraid of biking.

If you're one of those planners/engineers/public officials, there's pay off for you too: a bicycling constituency educated on how to share almost any street with car traffic will most appreciate the compromises you undoubtedly have to make to accommodate all traffic, even if you're 100% committed to being a bike-friendly community.

And put your own people through Traffic Skills 101, and watch the possibilities for cost-efficient, effective bicycle accommodation - and interaction with a public increasingly asking for bike friendliness - open up.

Active Transportation Alliance has five League certified Traffic Cycling instructors on staff [and yes, THAT'S why our bicycle planning staff is so good], and there are dozens more like Larry Mysz who are teaching classes right now. Drop us a line.

Match Making

Senator Richard Durbin has thrown down the gauntlet for the Calumet-Sag Trail Coalition [representing the towns and public agencies who are building the Calumet-Sag Trail]:

He'll match every dollar the Coalition can raise with four dollars in federal grant money, up to $335,000, to design the trail heads, interpretive features and amenities that will define the trail access and interaction for the communities along the trail.

A tremendous offer for the Coalition - if this were 2006. In 2009, the communities and agencies along our corridor are stretched thin.

Thank goodness the Coalition has Friends. And we've got a really, really cool bike.

Picture of a Trek Soho, 8-speed, belt-driven, totally ShamWow!

Lakefront Trail activity update for July 10-12

Activities that may affect your use of the Lakefront Trail for the weekend of July 10-12.

Friday, July 10

No permitted events reported

Saturday, July 11

C H Robinson's 6th Annual Kickball Tournament, Grant Park - Upper and Lower Hutchinson Fields, 6am-9pm

McDonald's L.A.T.E. Ride, Grant Park, 11pm-6am

Volleywood Beach Bash, North Avenue Beach, 7am-8pm

29th Annual Chicago Sprints Regatta, Lincoln Park - Rowing Lagoon, 7am-6pm

Sunday, July 12

The North Ave. Beach Ball, North Avenue Beach, 9:30am-7pm

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