Monday, June 19, 2017

96th St. construction update

I previously posted the info below. This morning I got a better look. While this does affect the ability of traffic to cross the Metra tracks, it's actually a utility project - looks like replacement of water and sewer lines. This might take a while.
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Last night I discovered a bit of construction I wasn't expecting.



Hopefully they'll be done within a week or two.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Friends of the Major Taylor Trail workday on Sat. 6/17

This Saturday 6/17 Friends of the Major Taylor Trail will be having a trail clean-up workday to continue the clean-up work we did on Earth Day.  This event is part of It's Your Park Day.

We will meet at 9:00 a.m. by the mural -  where the trail meets 111th St. (approx. 1030W) and work until around noon. 



If you plan to join us, please RSVP at the link below, so that we have an idea how many volunteers to expect. If you have questions or aren't on Chainlink, contact us by email.

http://www.thechainlink.org/events/friends-of-the-major-taylor-trail-workday-3

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Whistler Woods habitat restoration workday on Sat. 6/10 - CANCELLED

Just got a CANCELLATION notice from the workday leader. :(  Workday at Dan Ryan Woods is still on, so you if you want to get a dose of nature, I hope you'll go there instead.

It's great to get outdoors. Volunteers are needed on Saturday 6/10 from 10 am to 1 pm for a habitat restoration workday - invasive species removal.  Light snacks and water will be available. This is rescheduled from 6/3.



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

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Dan Ryan Woods habitat restoration workday on Sat. 6/10

It's great to get outside. Come out and volunteer at Dan Ryan Woods this Saturday 6/10 from 9:00 am-noon for Friends of the Forest Preserves' monthly habitat restoration 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 Larry Unruh at 708-752-2623 or Benjamin Cox at 773-398-1178 or benjamin@fotfp.org for more information.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Friday, May 12, 2017

Friends of the Major Taylor Trail meeting on Mon. 5/15

Friends of the Major Taylor Trail will meet on Mon. 5/15 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.

non sequitur Friday






Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Dan Ryan Woods habitat restoration workday on Sat. 5/13

It's great to get outside. Come out and volunteer at Dan Ryan Woods this Saturday 5/13 from 9:00 am-noon for Friends of the Forest Preserves' monthly habitat restoration 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 Larry Unruh at 708-752-2623 or Benjamin Cox at 773-398-1178 or benjamin@fotfp.org for more information.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Bike the Drive

Have you signed up for Bike the Drive yet? It's not too late.  It's happening on Sunday 5/28 and you can still register. It's an event for all ages, and you can choose the distance you want to ride. Click here for more info.

Lake Shore Drive will be closed to car traffic, so it's just for bikes starting at 5:30 a.m.  It's worth getting up early to see sunrise over the lake. Come on out and ride!

This event is a major fundraiser supporting the work of Active Transportation Alliance, our local advocacy group for better conditions for walking, biking and public transit.

Women Bike Chicago event on Sat. 5/6

Do you know about Women Bike Chicago? It's an organization of women who ride, offering events to encourage women to ride. It's about community, skills, knowledge and fun.



The annual Day of Dialogue and Demonstrations is a key piece of that missions and it's happening this Saturday at Dvorak Park in Pilsen.

Event info here

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

save the date - Beverly/Morgan Park house tour on Sunday 5/21

BAPA's annual house tour is always a treat. This year's event is happening on Sunday 5/21 from noon to 5 p.m. with a new start location - Ridge Park.

The houses on this year's tour will include two designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and a tiny house. More info here.

Have you considered doing the tour by bike? It's an easy way to travel between sites. Having a cable plus U-lock or a chain is a good idea, since most sites don't have bike racks.

Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door, and available online at bapa.org or at the BAPA office, 1987 W. 111th St., Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. To buy tickets in advance, click here.

Friday, April 28, 2017

non sequitur Friday

Variations on a theme... There are so many great interpretations of this classic tune that it's tough to pick only a few.








Friday, April 21, 2017

Earth Day workday on the Major Taylor Trail on Sat. 4/22


Tomorrow (Saturday 4/22) Friends of the Major Taylor Trail will be having a trail clean-up workday to celebrate Earth Day and get the trail ready for the season.  We will meet at 9:00 a.m. by the mural -  where the trail meets 111th St. (approx. 1030W) and work until around noon. 



If you plan to join us, please RSVP at one of the links below, so that we have an idea how many volunteers to expect. If you have questions or aren't on Facebook or Chainlink, contact us by email.

https://www.facebook.com/events/920622848073867/

http://www.thechainlink.org/events/friends-of-the-major-taylor-trail-workday-2



We hope to see you on Saturday. There's plenty of tree trimming and trash pickup to do.


non sequitur Friday

Music for a sunny day






Tuesday, April 18, 2017

stoopid sign placement - update #2

On my way home yesterday evening, I found this problem solved. The stop sign at 98th and Longwood is now on a new pole of appropriate height, so the sign is well above head height for anyone except the tallest of NBA centers. Thank you CDOT!



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I originally posted this on 4/2. This morning on my way to 99th St. station, I encountered a CDOT worker and asked him a few questions. He was looking at signage on the corners, so I guessed (correctly) that he was responding to this issue.

He said that, with the new ornamental light poles used in the streetscape project, the city doesn't attach street signs to those. The normal process for attaching street signs to light poles (tightening a metal band around the pole) could potentially damage the ornamental poles, so they use signposts in these locations instead.

I pointed out the problem with the too-low signs at 99th and Walden (blocked by ped crossing sign for eastbound traffic). I asked if they could install a taller pole. He said they don't have them that tall and would need to add an extension to the existing pole.

I also mentioned the face-height stop sign problem. He said that someone had reported the location as 98th and Walden. He went there and couldn't figure out what the problem was - because there is no problem at that location. I told him that location was incorrect and gave him the right spot. He said he would go to 98th and Longwood and check it out. These fixes may not happen immediately, but at least someone at CDOT has it on their radar now.

----------------------------------------------------
In my travels around the neighborhood in recent months, I've noticed that some signage has been replaced, or remounted on new poles, either due to the removal of old light poles (99th and Walden streetscape) or ADA curb ramp replacement.

At 98th and Longwood, we have this winner. The sidewalk is not exceptionally wide here, as illustrated by the bike and construction horses. The previously pole was closer to the curb. When the ADA curb ramp installation was done, they used a much shorter pole for the stop sign. I'm 6'1" and this sign is now at face height, as illustrated by the selfie below. Large signs like this should be well above head height. For safety, the bottom of this sign should at least 1 foot higher than it is. To make it worse, this too-short pole is set into the new concrete.



At 99th and Walden, where the old light pole at the corner was recently removed after completion of the streetscape project, the one way sign and street signs were placed on a pole short enough that they are mostly obscured by the pedestrian crossing sign and light pole in front of them.




We have another bit of brilliance at 99th and Wood, also related to the streetscape project. The old street signs at this corner were rather faded. They were mounted on an old light pole that has been removed. The new light pole slightly east of the corner. The one way sign and street signs are now mounted on a sign pole, like the ones at 99th and Walden. In addition to being so low that they're easily reachable, the pole is in line with the west side of the building, so that the building obscures the signs until one is right at the stop sign.

Someone has obviously messed with these already, as they are rotated out of position. Is it too much to ask for people to actually use their brains when installing signs, to look at context and place the signs so that they serve their intended purpose effectively?




I wish this was an April Fool's Day joke. Sadly, it's not. How long will it take to get this fixed? Can CDOT stop doing this? Time will tell.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Laine's Bake Shop moving from Morgan Park

I've enjoyed Laine's Bake Shop since this lovely small business opened its doors in Morgan Park last year. Their peach cobbler is a special favorite. This week's news about relocation of the business was a disappointment.

I'm glad that the business is growing, but I will miss my easy bike ride to their soon-to-be-gone location near the post office in Morgan Park. Once they open in their new Pullman location, I guess this will be another good reason to ride over the Pullman.

Friday, April 14, 2017

a plague of noise

I recognize that we have a lot of green space in our community that needs maintenance. However, landscape businesses and individuals need to be aware that Chicago has a noise ordinance. It exists for a reason.

11-4-2900 - Between 8:00 P.M. and 8:00 A.M., no person shall generate any noise on the public way that is louder than average conversational level at a distance of 100 feet or more, vertically or horizontally, from the source.

On our street, Beverly Environmental has been a frequent violator of the noise ordinance. This morning was the worst yet - being blasted with the hellish sound of leaf blowers at 7:15 a.m.

Is it unreasonable to expect landscape businesses to comply with this ordinance and avoid disturbing the peace with extremely loud noise before 8:00 a.m.? I don't think so.

If you hire one of these businesses, please be considerate of your neighbors and instruct them NOT to show up before 8:00 a.m.

non sequitur Friday






Tuesday, March 21, 2017

19th ward town hall meeting on Wed. 3/22

Representatives from government agencies will be part of a discussion of community events and answer questions and concerns, Wed., Mar. 22, 7 p.m., Graver Park, 1518 W. 102nd Pl.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Friends of the Major Taylor Trail meeting on Mon. 3/20

Friends of the Major Taylor Trail will meet on Mon. 3/20 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.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

CTA red line changes starting this week

If you depend on the red line, check out this article about service changes to accommodate construction at 95th St. station. This will affect red line service between 63rd and 95th.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

habitat restoration workday at Dan Ryan Woods on Sat. 3/11

It's great to get outside. Come out and volunteer at Dan Ryan Woods this Saturday 3/11 from 9:00 am-noon for Friends of the Forest Preserves' monthly habitat restoration workday. Tools, gloves, and training provided. If you have work gloves you like, bring those. Wearing hiking boots or work boots is recommended, as conditions may be muddy.

Meet at the 91st St. parking lot (just north of the 91st St. Metra station).  Please contact Larry Unruh (708-752-2623) or Benjamin Cox at 773-398-1178 or benjamin@fotfp.org for more information.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Metra rider survey

Have you taken Metra's survey about rider habits, preferences and fares?

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MetraFareStudy

Did you witness a crash in Blue Island on Friday 2/24?

On Friday 2/24, there was a crash on 123rd St. in Blue Island, just west of the railroad tracks near Fairway Dr. and Meadows Ln. (map link) This happened around 7:30 in the morning. A bicyclist was injured.

If you were there and can provide any information, please email me.  Thank you for any help you can offer.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Whistler Woods workday Sat. 3/4

It's great to get outdoors. Volunteers are needed this Saturday 3/4 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 RiverdaleNote that the Halsted bridge is currently closed for construction.

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: from the north - take Ashland south past Broadway in Blue Island. Make the first left after Broadway, then left onto Jackson St. (13400S). Continue east past the light at Halsted. Whistler Woods parking lot is the first left turn after Halsted.

From I-57, exit at eastbound 127th, then turn right on Ashland, 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

Friday, February 17, 2017

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Dan Ryan Woods workday Sat. 2/11

Join Friends of the Forest Preserves at Dan Ryan Woods this Saturday 2/11 from 9:00 am-noon for their monthly volunteer workday. Tools, gloves, and training provided. Wearing hiking boots or work boots is recommended, as conditions may be muddy.

Meet at the 91st St. parking lot (just north of the 91st St. Metra station).  Please contact Benjamin Cox at 773-398-1178 or benjamin@fotfp.org for more information.

Friday, February 3, 2017

non sequitur Friday

Variations on a theme





And the original....

Friday, January 27, 2017

Saturday, January 14, 2017

a few thoughts for the new year

The new year inspired me to revisit a neighborhood blog that I've missed recently. I know that life can get in the way of writing and other pursuits. I've missed Jeff's thoughtful posts on his Main Street Beverly blog.

The auto parts store mentioned in his most recent blog post opened a while back. Barraco's new banquet and catering location a few blocks west is under construction. We've seen a few changes on 95th St., but not a lot that's worth noting.

A recent conversation with a friend on related issues inspired me to revisit Jane Jacobs' The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Though it was originally published in the 1960s, many of the observations she made about urban life and urban planning are as relevant today as they were 50+ years ago.

The long-term trend of car-centric planning, widening streets and highways and segregating residential and retail has been disastrous for the vitality of many neighborhood business districts.  Loss of old commercial buildings, as we've seen on 95th St. recently, creates additional barriers to the creation of new small businesses. The following passage from Jane Jacobs' book is as true now as it was in the 1960s.

"If a city area has only new buildings, the enterprises that can exist there are automatically limited to those that can support the high costs of new construction. These high costs of occupying new buildings may be levied in the form of rent, or they may be levied in the form of an owner’s interest and amortization payments on the capital costs of the construction. However the costs are paid off, they have to be paid off. And for this reason, enterprises that support the cost of new construction must be capable of paying a relatively high overhead.

Chain stores, chain restaurants and banks go into new construction. But neighborhood bars, foreign restaurants and pawn go into older buildings. Supermarkets and shoe stores often go into new buildings; good bookstores and antique dealers seldom do. Well-subsidized opera and art museums often go into new buildings. But the unformalized feeders of the arts – studios, galleries, stores for musical instruments and art supplies, backrooms where the low earning power of a seat and a table can absorb uneconomic discussions – these go into old buildings. Perhaps more significant, hundreds of ordinary enterprises, necessary to the safety and public life of streets and neighborhoods, and appreciate for the convenience and personal quality, can make out successfully in old buildings, but are inexorably slain by the high overhead of new construction."

The old pedestrian-centric practice of integrating small retail spaces into residential blocks makes a neighborhood more vibrant. Having small businesses adjacent to homes can make a block much more lively than nearby residential areas that are isolated from small businesses.



The Pullman Cafe in Pullman, Ellie's Cafe in Morgan Park, Kusanya Cafe in Englewood and Ain't She Sweet and Sip and Savor in Bronzeville are good examples of these kinds of spaces.

Conversations about expanding the Divvy Bikes service area further south inspire questions about where we might be able to put stations in between our major business streets and Metra stations in order to effectively service each new neighborhood. Neighborhood small businesses are natural destination for bike share, as well as being more suitable locations than in front of single family homes.



Independent neighborhood businesses can add a special vitality that isn't usually created by chain businesses. Well maintained vintage buildings add to the character of a neighborhood in ways that new construction rarely does. Let's not waste the resources we've got.

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For more info on the businesses above, click here:
Pullman Cafe
Ellie's Cafe
Kusanya Cafe
Ain't She Sweet
Sip and Savor

Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday, January 6, 2017

non sequitur Friday

An homage to Elvis Presley.


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Whistler Woods workday Sat. 1/7

It's great to get outdoors. Volunteers are needed this Saturday 1/7 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 RiverdaleNote that the Halsted bridge is currently closed for construction.

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: from the north - take Ashland south past Broadway in Blue Island. Make the first left after Broadway, then left onto Jackson St. (13400S). Continue east past the light at Halsted. Whistler Woods parking lot is the first left turn after Halsted.

From I-57, exit at eastbound 127th, then turn right on Ashland, 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, January 2, 2017

Christmas tree recycling at Kennedy Park and Mt. Greenwood starting Tuesday 1/3

Don't throw your tree in the trash! You can recycle it by dropping it off at Kennedy Park, Mt. Greenwood Park, the city forestry dept. at 900 E 103rd St and other locations starting tomorrow (1/3 thru 1/21).  This helps to keep trees out of landfills and generates mulch for use by residents and the city forestry department.

If you want free mulch from recycled trees, you can get it at Mt. Greenwood Park or 900 E 103rd St starting on 1/3.

Click here for more info.

changes in our neighborhood business districts

We're seeing changes in our neighborhood business districts - losses and gains of both independent and chain businesses.

Blossom Boys is gone from 99th and Walden. I've appreciated their mix of merchandise and the love that Steve and Ryan brought to the business. I will miss seeing them on Walden.

Potbelly sandwich shop is leaving the corner it has occupied at 95th and Western for a few years to move across Western to a new space at the revamped Evergreen Plaza. That will leave the recently constructed retail building at 95th and Western without tenants. It has always been an awkward fit on that corner. The location is very car centric, but has a parking lot that is awkward to access due to traffic volume there, with solid backups from the intersection more often than not. It's also a location close enough to home that I don't really want to drive there, while traffic around it doesn't make it very pleasant as a walking or biking destination.

Wild Blossom Meadery will be opening a new tasting room on the eastern edge of Beverly soon.

Ain't She Sweet is opening soon at 99th and Western. I've been enjoying the food at their Bronzeville location on 43rd St. for a few years now and I'm looking forward to their new location in Beverly.

Open Outcry Brewing will open on Western south of County Fair, giving us a second brewpub in the neighborhood.

A few neighborhood businesses have been affected by tax woes. Friends and neighbors saved Cullinan's Stadium Club with a GoFundMe campaign to pay past due taxes. Mt. Greenwood Hardware, a longtime favorite for old house needs, has reopened briefly for a liquidation sale before it's gone forever. Kiddie Kouture is closed. It's unknown whether it will reopen.

Barraco's new catering/event space is under construction on 95th St.  Down the street, the former Borders location was given a new life as an Advocate Health clinic for seniors.

Laine's Bake Shop's new storefront in Morgan Park has gotten off to a good start. I love their peach cobbler and other delicious treats.

I'm curious to see what other changes come to our neighborhood business districts in 2017.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

How do you get a sidewalk fixed?

Do you want to get on the City of Chicago's shared cost sidewalk replacement program?  Your chance is coming up soon - 1/10, to be exact. Read here for more info.