The Des Plaines River Trail has been a part of the north and northwest suburbs for decades, connecting people from northern Lake County into the suburbs of Cook County.
It's a fun place to walk, bike, run, ride a horse or paddle in the river. But portions of the trail in northern Cook County are challenging to get to on foot or bike, and the trail has several harrowing road crossings. Thousands of people who live close by may feel unsafe walking or biking there. Once they arrive, trail users travel a short distance before facing a busy street to cross.
Many, including those with children or a low tolerance for fast moving traffic, may stay away from this beautiful, scenic trail because they don’t have a safe route to it. Those who work at office parks and the community college close to the trail could easily commute by bike -- if the right connections were available.
Active Trans is leading a study to address some of these challenges, in partnership with the Northwest Municipal Conference, and the towns of Wheeling, Northbrook, Prospect Heights, Glenview, Mount Prospect, Des Plaines, Niles, Park Ridge, and the consulting firms Houseal Lavine and Gewalt Hamilton.
The team is looking at ways to make it easier and safer to enjoy the trail between Lake Cook and Higgins Roads. If you use the trail, or wish you could, please share your ideas through this online survey and interactive mapping tool.
On Wednesday, October 9, schools across the country celebrated International Walk to School Day. Many schools in the Chicagoland region participated, and Active Trans was able to support a number of them with resources and guidance.
For some schools, the celebration merged with programming they already had in place. For others, this was a special day that will hopefully kickstart more activities like this in the future.
At Dr. Jorge Prieto Math and Science Academy in Chicago's Cragin neighborhood, hundreds of students, staff and parents met at a corner about four blocks from the school to create a Walking School Bus. Prieto plans to continue the Walking School Bus practice every week for Walking Wednesdays.
At Nobel Elementary in West Humboldt Park, students were encouraged to walk and bike and gain a healthy start to their day. Prieto and Nobel are both schools participating in the Healthy CPS and LearnWELL initiatives.
Other Chicago schools also participated: At Ray Elementary in Hyde Park, students met at two different locations for Walking School Buses. At Skinner North Elementary in Old Town, after school students celebrated transportation week, they learned about why you should walk and bike and how to do so more safely.
Many other schools across the state and region also participated. Students at schools in West Chicago and Des Plaines joined Walking School Buses, and students in Berwyn received walking maps and safety information to encourage participation. See a list of some of the schools participating in Illinois this year.
Active Trans is always excited to help schools celebrate biking and walking events and look forward to supporting future Walk and Bike to School Day events.
Ever felt that your time biking, walking and using transit deserved a haiku? Now’s your chance to write one.
Active Trans is holding a haiku contest. The winner will receive a free membership (or membership renewal) to Active Trans, a free event registration and a $50 REI giftcard.
Next week is the final week to submit your best haikus. Share your insights that come to you while biking, walking and using transit.
Here are a few haikus to get you started:
Bus and train tracker
Have begun to rule my life
Eight minutes more sleep
Here's one contest submission by Josh Grode Wolters
Cars racing by me
Wish State Street had a bike lane
Road work on canal
And a submission by Gin Kilgore
Van Buren green wave--
I did not stop for 15 blocks.
Biking's Holy Grail
For years, we here at Active Trans have been the proverbial rope in a tug of war between both sides of the "great helmet debate."
We've heard it all: "Everyone in helmets, everywhere all the time!" to "Helmets are a scam and detrimental to the movement!" And everything in between.
Well, we finally decided to settle the matter once and for all using SCIENCE, slow motion photography and fruit. (Melon is a fruit right? Or is it a nightshade? Awww man, did we just open up another controversy?!)
Active Trans is pleased to partner with Death's Door Spirits and bicycle-friendly bars across Chicago for Bike for Booze, which runs the entire month of October.
Bike rides are scheduled for this Saturday, Oct. 5 and Saturday, Oct. 19.
Throughout the month, riders can get a Bike for Booze Passport from any participating bar to ride and win prizes like a custom vintage bicycle and a trip to Death's Door Distillery!
Death's Door Spirits will donate $1 to Active Trans for every Bike for Booze Cocktail sold in October.
The first Bike For Booze Ride is this Saturday, Oct. 5, from 1 to 4 p.m. The ride begins at Three Aces where bikers will enjoy a 12-mile ride around the city that ends with an after-party at Boiler Room.
Participants in the scheduled rides will earn an extra entry in the grand prize drawing, a Bike for Booze T-shirt, and food and libations at the after-party.
The second Bike for Booze Ride is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 19 from 1 to 4 p.m. with locations TBA.
Please sign up for the rides and learn more at www.Bike4Booze.com.
Bars participating in Bike for Booze:
Hopleaf, Handlebar, Simone's, Revolution Brewery, Hideout, Maria's Package Goods, Jerry's Sandwiches, Five Star, Three Aces, Boiler Room, Four Moon Tavern, The Grafton, Red Door, Fountainhead, Feast
Active Trans is seeking the pro bono assistance of a qualified web development firm or developers to help redesign and rebuild the back end of our current website, www.activetrans.org.
We’ll be moving from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7, and hope to build some great new features and functions for the website. The generous people at the user-interface firm Fuzzy Math are working pro bono with Active Trans to provide all front-facing design aspects for this project.
Active Trans is also in the process of putting in place a new constituent relationship management (CRM) database called Raiser’s Edge. We hope to integrate Raiser’s Edge with our new website to allow our members and supporters easier ways to join, renew, and donate.
Writing a haiku is easy: five syllables in the first line, seven syllables in the second, and five syllables in the third. Like this:
While walking to work
A cat watches from window
Here's a submission for the Active Trans Haiku Contest (the author preferred not to be identified).
Bike in silhouette
Red sun rising on water
Here's an entry submitted by Carolyn Martineau.
As commute routes sprout
Emerald protected lanes
Our bikes dance with glee
Here's an entry by Cheryl Zalenski.
Chilly fall bike ride
Wakes me up in the morning
Sunshine on my face
Get involved by submitting haikus for the contest. The winner will receive a free membership (or a membership renewal) to Active Trans, a free event registration and a $50 REI giftcard.
DuPage County is known for its great bike trails. The county puts a huge amount of effort into maintaining its existing trails and continually building new ones. Here are a couple trail construction projects underway that you may not have heard about.
In other local trail news, Active Trans is embarking on a project that will analyze the safety and convenience of the Illinois Prairie Path street crossings. We will keep you up to date as this project moves ahead.
There's clearly a need for better street crossings along the Illinois Prairie Path. Some friends of Active Trans are currently circulating a petition to improve the Illinois Prairie Path street crossings in Cook County at 1st Avenue and at Mannheim Road.
Got ideas for haikus that focus on biking, walking and transit use? For the next several weeks, Active Trans is holding a haiku contest.
The winner will receive a free membership (or membership renewal) to the Active Transportation Alliance, a free registration for one of Active Trans’ fantastic events and a $50 gift card to REI.
And here’s one active transportation haiku to get you started:
Running to the bus
Driver waits for me to board
Renewing my faith
Don’t miss two free events on Sept. 26 & 27 that will bring Dutch cycling to Chicago!
A delegation of Dutch transportation experts is coming to town, bringing lessons learned from the most bike-friendly nation in the world to help develop innovative design concepts for better Chicago bikeways.
It’s part of a two-day workshop and idea exchange with Chicago officials and stakeholders called ThinkBike. The ThinkBike workshop will begin with a public kick-off presentation showcasing cycling in the Netherlands and Chicago, and will end with a report-out presentation sharing design solutions for two Chicago streets developed in the workshop.
The presentations are free and open to the public, but space is limited and registration is required. Learn more and register.
The ThinkBike workshop is sponsored by the Royal Netherlands Embassy in cooperation with the Dutch Cycling Embassy, and with support from the Chicago Department of Transportation and the Active Transportation Alliance.