Friday, July 21, 2017

simple ways to prevent crashes - part 3

Yesterday I was walking home from the train and I saw yet another example of a problem I see every day. One driver was eastbound on 96th and approached the intersection of 96th & Longwood. He came to a full stop at the 4-way stop. He was starting to roll when another driver flew past Ridge Park, going at least 30 mph on Longwood and didn't even slow down at the intersection.

I've often had similar experiences as a pedestrian, when a driver slows down somewhat but doesn't stop, or flies through a 4-way stop intersection going at least the speed limit, nearly hitting me or other people in the crosswalk.

While I understand that police manpower is stretched at times, the lack of enforcement is creating a serious safety problem. Drivers do what they think they can get away with - running red lights or stop signs, failing to yield to pedestrians, etc. I see fewer people walking or riding bikes in some locations because they feel threatened by reckless drivers. Even worse, when this happens, many of those people will drive instead, and some of them become part of the problem.

I would be grateful if our 22nd district police would do some random enforcement stings, especially at morning and evening rush hours, and in areas where baseball and other sports events are happening. Watch locations like 96th & Longwood, 96th & Damen, 100th & Longwood and other spots where reckless drivers regularly create hazardous conditions for people walking or biking.

Write LOTS of tickets, regardless of who the drivers are. Do NOT make exceptions for the "do you know who I am" people. Unfortunately off-duty first responders are some of the worst offenders. Unfortunately, we don't have a lot of crash statistics to document how bad the problem can be. We have a lot of scary near misses.

I appeal to the commander of the 22nd district to provide an incentive for safer, more responsible driving so that our neighborhood becomes a safer, more pleasant place for walking and biking again.

non sequitur Friday

Sunday, July 16, 2017

simple ways to help prevent crashes - part 2

I previously shared a few ideas on how to prevent crashes. Here are a few more. These should be obvious, but too many people disregard them.

1. Stop at red lights and stop signs.

2. When preparing to turn right or left, watch for cyclists and pedestrians whose paths may intersect with yours and YIELD. The right hook is a very common type of crash, sometimes with fatal or life changing results. If you have a newer car with a camera under your right side mirror, use this valuable tool to help prevent this type of crash.

3. If you are parallel parking your car, check your side mirror and look over your shoulder for approaching cyclists before opening your door. Getting into the habit of using the "Dutch reach" instead of operating the door lever with your left hand is a good way to make this instinctive.

4. If you are leaving a curbside parking space, watch for cyclists and yield if needed before pulling out into traffic.

5. If someone else is a jerk in traffic, do your best to resist escalating it into a road rage conflict.

Each of us can make a difference in helping transform our traffic culture from a culture of selfishness to a culture of yielding and caring about the common good.

Friday, July 14, 2017

non sequitur Friday

Three from Little Feat.

Here's any early version with Lowell George, and Bonnie Raitt and Emmylou Harris sitting in.

Here's one with Sam Clayton on lead vocals, and Southside Johnny's horn section backing them up.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Friends of the Major Taylor Trail meeting on Mon. 7/17

Friends of the Major Taylor Trail will meet on Mon. 7/17 at Ridge Park fieldhouse (1817 W 96th St.), 7:00 to 8:30 pm.

For those who aren't familiar with our group and what we do, we are a non-profit advocacy group working to improve and maintain the Major Taylor Trail and promote its use. We have an active working relationship with the Chicago Park District, Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Openlands and other non-profits and government agencies. We organize volunteer workdays, bike rides and other events.

We'd love to have your ideas and help with future events and projects. Please join us! Everyone is welcome.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Dan Ryan Woods habitat restoration workday on Sat. 7/8

It's great to get outside. Come out and volunteer at Dan Ryan Woods this Saturday 7/8 from 9:00 am-noon for Friends of the Forest Preserves' monthly habitat restoration workday. This one is a special seed gathering workday.

Tools, gloves, and training provided. If you have work gloves you like, bring those. Wearing hiking boots or work boots is recommended.

Meet at the 91st St. parking lot (just north of the 91st St. Metra station).  Please contact Benjamin Cox at 773-398-1178 or for more information and to let him know if you plan to attend.

Friday, June 30, 2017

96th & Wood construction update

As of yesterday, 96th St. was open to traffic again at Wood/Metra crossing. Yeah! Happy Friday!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Whistler Woods habitat restoration workday on Sat. 7/1

It's great to get outdoors. Volunteers are needed this Saturday 7/1 from 10 am to 1 pm for a habitat restoration workday - invasive species removal.  Light snacks and water will be available.

Hiking boots or other boots or shoes that offer good support and traction are a good idea. When you arrive, look for volunteers along the lefthand side of the main parking lot, near the end of the parking lot. If you have work gloves, bring them, otherwise gloves will be available.  

How to get there:   Whistler Woods is just east of 13400 S Halsted in Riverdale.

By bike: if you're coming from the north, ride the Major Taylor Trail south until it ends in Whistler Woods and continue to the parking lot to find the volunteers.

By car: take Halsted to Forestview (13400S) - parking lot is the first left turn after you turn east onto Forestview.

From I-57, exit at eastbound 127th, then turn right on Halsted, then continue to 13400S and follow the directions above.

From I-94, exit at westbound 130th.  Continue past the viaduct, right (northbound) on Indiana, then continue left on 127th. Follow the directions above.

By transit:  Pace 352 Halsted bus

Monday, June 26, 2017

simple ways to help prevent crashes

Most crashes are not accidents. The word "accident" suggests something that is unavoidable due to circumstances beyond the parties' control. Most of the time, that is not the case. The majority of crashes are preventable, often by very simple measures. I would like to offer a few easy suggestions, based on years of experience in different kinds of traffic situations.

1. Use TURN SIGNALS, whether or not there are other vehicles close by. Even if you don't see another vehicle approaching the intersection, pedestrians and cyclists need to know whether or not your car is turning. Having a clue about a driver's intentions can make a big difference to a pedestrian or cyclist in determining whether or not one can safely cross in the crosswalk or get through the intersection before the light changes.

2. Turn on your car's lights at night or in reduced visibility situations (rain or fog). It's helpful if other people can see where you are.

3. A yield sign calls on the driver to do the following: Slow down, defer to oncoming or intersecting traffic, stop when necessary, proceed when safe, and remain aware of oncoming vehicles.  

At intersections with no stop or yield signs, following the yield procedure should be the default, yet too many drivers in our neighborhood treat this situation as an open invitation to blast through the intersection and expect everyone else to get out of their way, the vehicular equivalent of a raised middle finger.

4. Pay attention to your surroundings and other people nearby, regardless of whether they are walking, biking, driving, etc. That phone call or text message can wait.

If you want a quick reference on Illinois laws regarding bicycles, you'll find it right here. The City of Chicago recently released its Vision Zero plan for reducing traffic fatalities. Each of us can make a difference in making our streets safer, by actions that each of us take as individuals and by exerting peer pressure to help create a culture of yielding and being more aware of other people around us on the street.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Slow Roll coming to Beverly on Sat. 7/29

Slow Roll is coming to Beverly on the afternoon of Sat. 7/29. Save the date.

If you or anyone you know wants to ride but doesn't have a bike, it's possible to have Divvy bikes or kids' bikes available if we get enough response in advance (preferably before 7/4).

To indicate an interest in using a Divvy bike or kid's bike, please email and indicate whether you would need a Divvy bike or kid's bike (and approximate size of the child if it's a kid's bike).

Click on this link to get the most current info on the ride. The ride will go a community event - more details soon.