I suppose beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but does anyone believe condo owners David Kolin and Jeannine Cordero when they say their lawsuit to remove a Divvy station is because it’s “hideous?”
They also complain that the station is obstructive and blocks their building’s entrance. Keep in mind the Divvy station, which holds up to 15 bikes, is on the street – not on the sidewalk – where two cars used to park.
Personally, I’ll take the aesthetics of a Divvy station and its bright blue bikes over door slamming, emissions spewing, oil leaking cars any day.
But that’s not the only complaint from our condo curmudgeons. They say it will hurt property values, too, but we know property values are much higher near transit stations, and Divvy is a mini-transit station.
Lots of people like Divvy, as evidenced by the throngs of people using it, including people who want to hop on a Divvy bike in their neighborhood and ride to CTA, restaurants and so forth. This is a selling point for their condo!
No, I suspect our condo friends' real beef is with losing two parking spots.
Here’s our legal analysis of their lawsuit: 15 bikes is a better use of that public space than two cars, and the city has every right to locate the station there.
Stand strong Alderman Cappleman and CDOT, because the law and the public are with you.
Tens of thousands of people have ridden Divvy in less than two months, and the numbers are growing quickly. All those spinning feet are generating massive support for Divvy!
Active Trans member and Bike a Bee founder Jana Kinsman was violently harassed while riding her bike in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. Her story has made headlines and enraged the biking community after it occured on Tuesday, Aug. 20.
Active Trans wishes Jana a quick recovery and hopes that the criminals that committed this terrible crime are brought to justice. There is currently an online campaign to raise funds to assist Jana with her medical bills.
Jana’s story has resonated with many people. Although her case is particularly disturbing, it’s not uncommon for people biking to experience some form of harassment, verbally or otherwise, from people in cars.
Active Trans asked Sgt. Joe Andruzzi, commanding officer of the Chicago Police Department’s Bicycle Patrol Unit, about what to do if you feel you are a victim of harassment while on a bicycle.
Active Trans: What is harassment?
Sgt. Joe Andruzzi: Harassment can be something as minimal as verbal name calling or hand gestures. A more serious form of harassment is assault, when verbal threats occur or when someone is using their car as a deadly weapon.
Essentially, if you felt someone was purposely threatening you with bodily harm, it might be assault. If someone actually makes contact with you, with their body or car, that could be considered a battery.
What should you do if you are a victim of harassment?
If you feel you are being harassed, the most important thing to do is to remove yourself from the situation. If you are riding, pull over, get onto the sidewalk and wait for the car or person to pass. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment, but it is important not to escalate the situation into an assault or battery.
If you think you may report the situation, document as many details as possible (license plate, driver description, where the car was headed, witness info, etc.)
When does it make sense to report it?
Plain and simple, if you are the victim of a crime, you should report it and feel empowered to do so.
It’s important to report instances of assault or battery. While a person not observing a traffic law or calling you a name is frustrating – it is not necessarily a reportable offense. If you are unsure if your experience was harassment, assault or battery, err on the side of caution and report it.
It’s extremely important to report reckless driving to 911 as soon as possible in case police officers can find the vehicle in question. When you do so, be sure to leave your contact information so that officers can follow up for more information.
What are the common mistakes that bicyclists make that weakens their case/report?
Making any contact with the motorist, verbally or otherwise, can weaken your case and potentially make you a part of the crime. Doing anything other than attempting to remove yourself from the situation could threaten the credibility of your report. However, you have the right to defend and protect yourself as needed.
What is the process of reporting harassment?
First, call 911 to report the incident. Based on the circumstances, officers will be dispatched to you or you will be given the option to submit a report over the phone. Please note that if your report is taken over the phone, it does not mean that it is less important.
Once the report is submitted, a detective will be assigned to the case. After interviewing you and any witnesses, the detective will determine if a crime has been committed and if it’s possible to identify the person involved.
Will the offender be arrested?
Once the report is completed, a police officer or detective assigned to the case will contact you to determine if the offender can be identified, located and placed under arrest if the circumstances warrant it. You, as the victim, would need to sign a complaint form.
After a person is arrested, it’s up to the state’s attorney office to decide whether or not charges will be filed. If charges are filed, the office would work with you to build a case. If not, the person would be released, but there would be an arrest on their record.
If a case goes to court, it’s extremely important for the victim or complaining witness to work with the state’s attorney, who acts as their representative. Unfortunately, it’s not a process that is simple and easy for the victim.
Once a person is arrested, you’ll be given a court date and location to appear. At court you’ll discuss the matter with the state's attorney, who acts as your representative in court. While it may require several court appearances before the matter is adjudicated, it’s important you attend each court date.
If you are involved in a criminal court case, it could potentially be time consuming and frustrating. Please know that your vigilance will be rewarded with safer streets.
Disclaimer: Nothing contained in this blog should be construed as legal advice. The Supreme Court of Illinois does not recognize certifications of specialties in the practice of law, nor does it recognize certifications of expertise in any phase of the practice of law by any agency, governmental or private, or by any group, organization or association.
The 2014 Bike Winter sticker and mascot contest is underway, offering one winning designer the chance to have his or her work displayed around Chicago.
Bike Winter, a group that works to spread information and educate riders about biking during colder months, hosts the contest. The group will distribute the winning sticker design at events and workshops, and will take special orders.
The forum will offer suggestions and revisions, and then submissions are posted for a public vote. The deadline for entries is Sunday, September 1.
View past years winners here at bikewinter.org/stickergallery.
In 2008 Lee Diamond, owner of Big Shoulders Realty, decided to combine his passions for bike riding and Chicago architecture by scheduling bike tours of different areas of Chicago. Since then Diamond has scheduled tours twice each month in the spring, summer and fall and once each month in the winter.
During the tours, Diamond leads people biking on a 12- to 18-mile route through a different Chicago neighborhood, making frequent stops to point out and elaborate on landmark homes, churches, schools, parks and businesses — each with its own place and time in architectural history. The tour registration fee is usually $10, but he frequently offers research, pre-event and photo tour rides that are free.
Diamond (pictured above) has many goals for the rides. “I would like to get people on their bikes,” he says. “I would like to get people to learn about their city and their past and develop an appreciation for what we have here. I would like to see people turn appreciation into preserving their properties, caring about old properties, advocating for historic preservation.”
Diamond has established a repeating series of tours and often refreshes the list by adding new areas. Neighborhoods covered include Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Austin, East and West Garfield Park, West Town, Bridgeport, Hyde Park, and Lincoln Square to name a few. The tours are well-organized and full of nuggets of historical information on a variety of buildings one might not notice whiling driving past in a car.
Rolling through history
Our springtime tour of Norwood Park began at the park itself, located at 5801 N. Natoma Ave. Diamond gave each of us a map outlining our route through the neighborhood. On the other side of the map was a cue sheet for the route with turn-by-turn directions. Being a terrible map-reader, I appreciated this route sheet. Diamond also gave us a comprehensive list of the neighborhood’s architectural highlights and their street addresses.
After a visit to Taft High School, we pedaled through a few peaceful residential streets to the Noble-Seymour-Crippen House at 5624 N. Newark Ave. (pictured below). The south wing of the house, built in 1833, is believed to be the city’s oldest surviving building. Today this impressive mansion is the home of the Norwood Park Historical Society. It’s a registered Chicago Landmark and is listed with the National Register of Historic places.
The Norwood Park tour took about 3 hours and contained many other points of architectural interest. Among them was the Wingert House at 6231 N. Canfield Ave. — one of the oldest surviving farmhouses in the city and also a Chicago Landmark. Diamond also led us to several area churches, parks and schools, as well as the Danish Old People’s Home at 5656 N. Newcastle Ave., a large stately brick edifice that is still in operation today.
By the end of the tour we were back where we had begun, at the park adjacent to Taft High School. The tour was enjoyable. I liked the combination of easy bike riding and the casual absorption of historical facts.
Some of the Norwood Park tour participants were repeat customers and have ridden in many of Diamond’s tours over the years. Eve Jennings has been a loyal tour participant since 2011. When asked what keeps bringing her back, Eve said, “My mom was the one who first heard about the bike tours and we have done them together as a way to spend time together that is interesting and active. My sisters have also joined in on a few rides.”
Finding the hidden riches
Through Chicago Neighborhood Bicycle Tours, Diamond has created a unique legacy for the city he loves. He has researched, documented and photographed the architectural history of many of Chicago’s key neighborhoods. It’s his ongoing quest to learn more of its forgotten history and hidden riches. He shares this information on his website, chicagovelo.com. The site features photographs of many little-known historical buildings, neighborhood site maps and tour registration information. The site also contains spectacular posters, a unique design for each different tour created by Diamond’s longtime friend, artist Ross Felton.
Owning and operating his own realty company has to keep Diamond busy enough. So what does he get out of the additional time and energy spent on planning and conducting weekend bicycle tours throughout the year?
Diamond said part of the reason he keeps doing the tours is that he loves the historic research and the photography. “I get to learn in much greater depth than I otherwise would, details of our amazing city,” he said. “Basically I get to learn lots of great information and geek out on architecture and bicycling, which are two of my passions.”
Saturday, Aug. 17, is a tour of Jefferson Park. Check out other upcoming tours here.
Lynda Barckert, an Active Trans vounteer writer, contributed this blog post and the photos.
Distracted driving is a serious problem in the United States. When drivers take their attention away from the road, it puts everyone at risk: themselves, other drivers and the most vulnerable people on the road — people walking and people on bikes.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 3,331 people were killed and an estimated 387,000 people were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2011 alone.
Texting while driving makes the risk of a crash 23 times more likely than driving while not distracted.
Active Trans member and supporter, Nathan Monteith, hopes to raise awareness about the risks associated with distracted driving. To remind people about the risks specifically to cyclists, he came up with this idea for a distracted driving awareness campaign for Active Trans.
This visual campaign illustrates these dangers in a format all too familiar to distracted drivers.
For more information on distracted driving statistics, legislation and more, visit distraction.gov.
What do you think? Did you get the message?
You might’ve heard the exciting news that Open Streets is once again returning to Chicago.
On Sept. 15 a 3-mile stretch of Milwaukee Ave. will be transformed into a pedestrian playground that is closed to car traffic and opened as a community space.
This creates an environment where communities can connect, families and friends can exercise and play and businesses can engage with the public.
Come to Milwaukee Ave. from Ashland Ave. to Logan Blvd. in Wicker Park/Bucktown and Logan Square on Sept. 15, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Open Streets events give center stage to healthy recreational activities, including biking, walking, running, yoga and rollerblading. The event is modeled after similar car-free events held in cities around the world from New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, to Bogota, Colombia.
The event on Milwaukee is free, and will include games and activities like a dunk tank, yoga classes, health screenings, an interactive playground and more.
Enjoy these great photos from last year’s Open Streets event on Milwaukee Ave.
Photos courtesy of John Lankford.
Does this ever happen to you?
You and your bike leave home ready and excited for the day, but when you get to work, you find yourself scrambling all over the block looking for a decent parking spot.
The closest racks have two or more bikes already locked to them, and all the signposts are taken.
If this sounds familiar, look no further.
The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) is taking bike rack requests. Just enter an address at the this link and CDOT bike program staff will survey the site for a bike rack. Happy locking!
In addition to the fun camraderie of riding with many hundreds of cyclists on some great biking routes, this year, the Four Star Bike & Chow is offering an exciting new element — delicious snacks at rest stops along the way.
The ride, which is the longest running bike ride in Chicagoland, will be held on Sunday, August 25.
A few of the treats offered at this year’s rest stops will be samosas from Arya Bhavan, an Indian restaurant on Devon Avenue known for its healthy fare; pierogies from the Red Apple Buffet, a landmark for Polish home cooking on Chicago’s Northwest Side; and pulled pork sliders from The Smoke Daddy, an award-winning home for Chicago style barbeque.
With four different routes ranging in length from 12 to 62 miles, there is something for everyone on the ride. Pierogies will be available for riders on the 22, 35 and 62 mile routes; riders on the 12, 35 and 62 mile routes will get samosas; and sliders will be available for 12 and 22 mile riders.
Get your appetite ready for the ride and find out more about a few of the restaurants providing the food.
Arya Bhavan sets itself apart on Devon thanks to its vegetarian, vegan and raw Indian options. Chef Kirti Sheth opened the restaurant in 1998, and focuses heavily on using healthy, organic ingredients for her cuisine.
The restaurant’s name means “welcome to our home,” which is fitting since Sheth (pictured below) considers her customers part of her family.
“When I feed people, the joy I experience is something that makes me truly believe that I am at the right place … we are not only serving food, but [helping make] healthy, happier people”
Sheth considers samosas one of her signature dishes, and is experienced in serving them up to hungry crowds on the go. The restaurant, located at 2508 West Devon Avenue, has been selling them at Taste of Chicago for a decade.
“I have probably sold a million samosas in ten years,” Sheth said.
Arya Bhavan’s samosas are unique because they are baked, rather than fried, and the dough is made using organic unbleached flour. The samosas (pictured right) are filled with potatoes, green peas and Indian spices.
Red Apple Buffet
The Red Apple Buffet has been serving homemade comfort food with a Polish focus for nearly 25 years.
Anna Hebal, president of the Red Apple Buffet, describes its offerings as “Polish cuisine mixed with everything else.”
Polish specialties such as blintzes, stuffed cabbage, pierogies and sausages play a starring role in an expansive buffet, alongside other favorites including numerous desserts, carved meats and seafood.
Hebal found a passion for the food business by working in restaurants after immigrating to the US in the 1980s, and decided to start the Red Apple Buffet, or Czerwone Jabluszko in Polish (pictured right).
Having now expanded to two locations, 3121 and 6474 North Milwaukee Avenue, Hebal says Red Apple is unique because everything is handmade and made fresh all day.
During the Four Star Bike & Chow, riders can try three different kinds of pierogies from the Red Apple: sauerkraut and mushroom, potato and cheese, and meat. The pierogies (pictured left) are lightly fried so they are slightly crisp on the outside and easy to eat on the go.
“We are still doing it the old fashioned way like mama does it,” said Hebal. “We are proud that ours are handmade … just like you make at home.”
The Smoke Daddy
During the Four Star Bike & Chow, riders will also enjoy pulled pork sliders from The Smoke Daddy. The sliders will be smothered in Smoke Daddy’s original vinegar based sauce and served on an egg roll bun.
Known for its own brand of Chicago barbeque, The Smoke Daddy has been offering smoked chicken, beef and pork with all the necessary fixings for almost two decades.
The restaurant has been featured by Bobby Flay, Rachel Ray and within countless other programs and publications. Attendees at the Taste of Chicago and Lollapalooza are also familiar with their food, since the restaurant has been offering food to festival-goers for years.
Fans rave about the sauces Smoke Daddy uses on its meat, offering a mix of traditional and original flavors.
Smoke Daddy, located at 1804 West Division Street, uses its own large smoker to cook beef, pork and chicken daily, and according to Pett, the smoking techniques take anywhere from four to nine hours, as the meat smokes over apple wood, hickory and cherry wood.
“The meat gets infused with smoke flavor and it makes the meat very tender and delicious,” said Pett.
In addition to the food listed here, Four Star riders will also enjoy Thai food from the Star of Siam restaurant.
Along with the great food, riders will enjoy fantastic biking routes featuring the sights in numerous neighborhoods in Chicago and the nearby suburbs. Learn more about the Four Star Bike & Chow.
Images courtesy of Arya Bhavan, Red Apple Buffet and The Smoke Daddy.
UPDATE: Deadline for submitting comments and task force applications is Friday, Aug. 30, 2013.
Since we announced a bold vision for the future of the lakefront shared by a coalition of 15 organizations, the idea of better meeting the needs of everyone who uses the lakefront has really been gaining traction with the public and the press (Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, WBEZ, Streetsblog, Next City, WTTW Chicago Tonight).
Most exciting though has been seeing Active Trans members showing up at the public meetings and making your voices heard! Your input is critical to shaping projects like this.
You can still get involved to help ensure that the reconstruction of North Lake Shore Drive will make our lakefront more people-friendly!
The first round of public meetings for the project will wrap up tonight, but even if you couldn't make it to a meeting, there are opportunties to participate.
Public meeting tonight:
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
2430 North Cannon Drive, South Gallery
Thursday, August 8, 2013
Open house: 6 – 8 p.m.
Three other ways to participate:
(The photo above features an Active Trans member marking up a map of the lakefront at one of the earlier public meetings on the North Lake Shore Drive reconstruction project.)
Active Trans has developed a new tool for assessing train stations in the Chicago region that takes a look at all aspects of the station and determines what’s needed to improve it.
The Chicagoland Complete Station Evaluation form easily walks participants through a station while taking a close look at safety and accessibility as well as passenger amenities.
The goal is to identify what might be missing — whether that’s a well-marked crosswalk, bike parking near the station or a functional ticket vending machine.
The assessment helps identify the changes transit riders wish to see at their stop and prioritize them into manageable short-term and long-term goals.
Similar to the Better Blocks assessments we’ve conducted for years in Chicago neighborhoods, this is a hands-on tool that community organizations and small neighborhood groups can use as a first step to improving local stations.
The evaluation is designed to be easy to use by anyone with or without direct help from Active Trans staff. Motivated residents and neighborhood groups can conduct these station evaluations on their own knowing Active Trans is always here to help move forward on fixing problems the assessment identifies.
Have a station you think could use some love and attention? We’re looking for community and neighborhood groups in the city and suburbs interested in working with us to set up the first round of evaluations.
Contact Brenna Conway (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more details on how to get your station on the list!