Friday, September 15, 2017

Friends of the Major Taylor Trail meeting on Mon. 9/18

Friends of the Major Taylor Trail will meet on Mon. 9/18 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



Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Dan Ryan Woods habitat restoration workday on Sat. 9/9

It's great to get outside. Come out and volunteer at Dan Ryan Woods this Saturday 9/9 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 benjamin@fotfp.org for more information and to let him know if you plan to attend.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Tree ride on Sunday 9/10



Would you like to learn the identity of this grand old tree and more about trees in Beverly and Morgan Park? Come out for an easy-paced 10 mile bike ride. You don't have to be a TreeKeeper to learn more about our trees.

Optional lunch/mead stop afterwards at Wild Blossom Meadery.

It's happening on Sunday 9/10 from 10 am to 1 pm. We'll meet at the Dan Ryan Woods 91st St. parking lot, just east of Beverly Blvd. If you're driving there, the easiest access is from 91st and Ashland - go west on 91st across the Metra tracks and it's on your left after the Major Taylor Trail - just before the cul de sac. We'll see many familiar species and some uncommon ones.

FYI - I've been a volunteer with the Openlands TreeKeepers program for several years, helping with tree planting and tree care here in the neighborhood, along the Major Taylor Trail and in other neighborhoods across the city. It's a great experience and I highly recommend it.

Watch this space for info about future workdays to take care of neighborhood trees. I am partnering with Openlands  in offering this ride.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Whistler Woods habitat restoration workday on Sat. 9/2

It's great to get outdoors. Volunteers are needed this Saturday 9/2 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

what's next?

A month ago, many of you experiencing our big Slow Roll ride in Beverly and Morgan Park, either by riding it or seeing it go by.



It was an amazing day that wouldn't have been possible without the involvement of great community partners like Beverly Area Arts Alliance and BAPA. The assistance of police from the 22nd district made it much easier for a group of 200 (yes, 200!) riders to pass through the neighborhood and cross major streets safely. That was especially important because we had so many families with children on the ride.

So what's next? A lot of good conversations came out of that ride - about the possibility of various types of future bike events, how encouraging bike riding for transportation could boost local business districts, how safer bike conditions could encourage bike riding for transportation, etc. The seeds have been planted. How well they grow depends on all of you.

Do you want to be part of future events and/or advocacy work? Do you just want to ride your bike in the neighborhood - for fun or transportation? Is there a neighborhood business or other location you want to ride to but it lacks bike parking? You can search here to see if someone's requested a bike rack, or make a request if there's none in the system yet.


Do you want to see more events like this? Do you want bike lanes, greenways and other changes to help create safer conditions?  Contact Alderman O'Shea and tell him safer bike conditions matter to you. Tell BAPA too. Seeing such a big crowd at Slow Roll was a good start. We need to keep the momentum going to make a difference.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Friday, August 18, 2017

Monday, August 14, 2017

Chicago Shakespeare at Ridge Park

It's that time of year again. Chicago Shakespeare will be performing Romeo and Juliet at Ridge Park on Fri. 8/18 and Sat. 8/19 starting at 6:30 p.m.



Click here for more info.  If you enjoy what you see and would like to go to one of their regular productions, you can find info on the upcoming season here.


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Are you visible while riding your bike at night?

When I ride my bike at night, sometimes I'm riding for transportation, sometimes for relaxation. I do what I can to make myself more visible with lights and reflectors to minimize the risk of close calls or crashes.

A book on bike laws gives the following caution, which is worth considering. "If you are operating your bike without a light “during darkness,” you may be cited; more importantly, in the event of an accident, riding without lights will be either per se negligence or prima facie evidence of negligence, depending on your jurisdiction."  In plain English, if you're riding at night and you get hit by a car, failure to make yourself visible by using lights and/or reflectors can make it difficult to collect an insurance settlement from the driver who hit you.

Are you familiar with laws regarding visibility? I've included some below.

Illinois law: Sec. 11-1507. Lamps and other equipment on bicycles. (a) Every bicycle when in use at nighttime shall be equipped with a lamp on the front which shall emit a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front and with a red reflector on the rear of a type approved by the Department which shall be visible from all distances from 100 feet to 600 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful lower beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle. A lamp emitting a red light visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear may be used in addition to the red reflector.

Illinois law also requires that new bikes be sold with reflectors "visible from each side of the bicycle from a distance of 500 feet and shall be essentially colorless or red to the rear of the center of the bicycle and essentially colorless or amber to the front of the center of the bicycle provided. The requirements of this paragraph may be met by reflective materials which shall be at least 3/16 of an inch wide on each side of each tire or rim to indicate as clearly as possible the continuous circular shape and size of the tires or rims of such bicycle and which reflective materials may be of the same color on both the front and rear tire or rim."

In other words, if your tires have reflective sidewalk striping, that can meet the requirement for side reflectors. The bike shown below has both.

Reflective sidewalls and wheel reflectors
Uniform vehicle Code Section 12-702. Headlight and taillight required at night. Every bicycle in use [during darkness] shall be equipped with a headlight on the front emitting a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front, and a taillight on the rear emitting a red light visible from a distance of at least 1,000 feet to the rear.

LED headlight

Tail light
Uniform vehicle Code Section 12-703. Rear reflector required at night. Every bicycle shall be equipped with a red reflector of a type approved by the department which shall be visible for 600 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful lower beams of headlights on a motor vehicle.

Rear reflector and tail light
Uniform vehicle Code Section 12-704. Side reflector or light required at night. Every bicycle when in use [during darkness] shall be equipped with reflective material of sufficient size and reflectivity to be visible from both sides for 600 feet when directly in front of lawful lower beams of head lamps on a motor vehicle, or, in lieu of such reflective material, with a lighted lamp visible from both sides from a distance of at least 500 feet.

Uniform vehicle Code Section 12-705. Additional lights or reflectors authorized. A bicycle or its rider may be equipped with lights or reflectors in addition to those required by the foregoing sections. These lights and/or reflectors may be LED or regular, steady or flashing, as long as they comply with the requirements or limitations of the department.

Helmet mounted tail light

Reflective vest

There are many inexpensive LED light options available. Some can be mounted to your helmet. I've often heard people say "I used to have lights but somebody stole them and I couldn't afford to buy new ones." It's worth looking at lights that are easily removable so you can stash them in your bag and avoid this problem.

Reflective bands that can be worn around the ankles are a great idea for visibility. When you pedal, the movement of the reflective stripes makes you easily recognizable from side or front.

Reflective band for arm or leg

I'm glad to see more runners using lights and/or reflective items at night and in low light condtions. It's safer for them and for cyclists and pedestrians who may be sharing the same space. Please, please, if you're riding at night, get lit, get reflective, and make yourself visible to reduce your risk of getting hit. I'd rather see everyone get where they're going safely without any crashes or scary near misses.


Friday, August 11, 2017

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Dan Ryan Woods habitat restoration workday on Sat. 8/12

It's great to get outside. Come out and volunteer at Dan Ryan Woods this Saturday 8/12 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 benjamin@fotfp.org for more information and to let him know if you plan to attend.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Whistler Woods habitat restoration workday on Sat. 8/5

It's great to get outdoors. Volunteers are needed this Saturday 8/5 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

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

our trees need water

We've seen news stories about serious flooding in parts of our metro area, but that rain has been very unevenly distributed. Many storms that dropped huge amounts of rain in areas north, west or south of us left little or nothing in Beverly or Morgan Park over the last several weeks. In the last week, I've seen a few things that were vivid reminders of how dry our soil really is here in the neighborhood.


In areas that have not been watered, I've seen cracks in the bone dry soil. Recently I saw a gingko tree (a very tough species) that had lost all its leaves and was starting to grow new ones after we had 1/2" of rain. I've also seen a few young, recently planted trees that had dropped all their leaves and looked like they were dead or in very tough shape.



Other signs of drought: oak trees dropping acorns prematurely (before they reach full size and ripeness), tree leaves looking withered or starting to drop. I have seen these signs in various locations around the neighborhood this week.



Ideally, 1 inch of rain per week will keep a tree healthy. We've had a occasional heavy rain since early May, but it's usually been of a brief enough duration that we've only gotten 0.1" or 0.2" of water - nowhere near enough to make up for the long-term lack of soaking rains.

Our trees need water to stay healthy. If you don't regularly water the lawn area around your trees, please consider using a soaker hose around the base of each tree, or using a sprinkler over the root area (at least the area of the tree canopy). In weeks when we don't get at least 1" of rain, letting it soak for at least an hour is a good idea. That will help our trees catch up and stay healthy.

Trees under extreme stress become more vulnerable to health issues from disease, infestation or damage. Drought is a form of stress that we can do something about. As of today, there's no significant chance of rain in the forecast for the next several days, continuing the pattern we've been seeing for weeks.

In the more extreme weather we're seeing now, we get more heavy rains and more extended periods of heat and minimal rain. This is hard on our trees when it happens year after year. Please be kind to our trees and help them live longer, healthier lives. This makes neighborhood and our environment healthier. 

safer crossings

The challenge of safely crossing our major streets continues, with minimal assistance from our alderman. The addition of signs by the crosswalks at 97th and Longwood and the restriping of the crosswalks has helped a little. Now a few drivers are stopping and yielding to pedestrians crossing to/from Ridge Park instead of none at all. Many people need to cross here - folks with young children going to the playground, people walking their dogs, or anyone else using or passing through the park. For some, difficulty in being able to cross safely means that they drive to the park instead of walking. This makes the problem worse.

97th and Longwood, adjacent to Ridge Park
Meanwhile, we still have trouble crossing at locations like 95th and Hoyne (Southtown Health Foods, Top Notch, the new Barraco's location, and other businesses), 95th and Longwood (Jimmy Jamm, farmers markets, etc.), 95th and Oakley (Chipotle, Chase Bank and others) 104th and Western (Horse Thief Hollow, Boot Camp Fitness, Dunkin Donuts, etc.) and others. These businesses have limited parking. Traffic and demand for parking often drive away potential customers. 

If more people feel comfortable crossing the street in these locations, we could see a lot of benefits: more customers served at businesses without parking being an issue, reduction in speeding, reduction in crashes, people getting more exercise, more interaction between people in the neighborhood, etc.

Under current conditions, when a class is in session at Boot Camp Fitness, Horse Thief Hollow often loses potential business because nearby parking is maxed out. This happens every single week. We could create a safer crossing at 105th and Western to make it easier for people to walk or bike from the east side of Western.

105th and Western - with visualization
of concrete median
Southtown Health Foods' parking is often maxed out, and overflow ends up conflicting with customers for Top Notch, with the result of people parking across the crosswalk and in other illegal spots. Improving crossing conditions isn't a complete solution here, but any reduction in parking demand can make a positive difference.

95th at Hoyne

The strip mall on 95th between Oakley and Claremont (Chipotle, Chase Bank, formerly Panera Bread and Athletico Physical Therapy) has always had a problem with parking and traffic. That's not a fun place to cross 95th. It's been losing businesses in the last few years. Parking is only one factor, but it makes a difference. Without a fair number of people walking or biking there, the amount of parking available isn't enough to support those businesses. I almost always walk or bike there, but I don't have much company in my choice of non-motorized transportation.

When I stopped to take the photo below, the parking lot was nearly full, and there was a line of several cars waiting for someone to back out of a space. The backup extended a few cars into the righthand westbound lane of 95th. There was enough traffic that a bus was trapped behind the line of waiting cars, and all the people on that bus ended up having to sit and wait for the parking lot jam to clear up. I had to wait several minutes for a break in traffic to be able to cross to the middle of the street to take the photo, and a few more minutes to get back to the curb. No one would even slow down.

95th St. fits the definition of a stroad - a wide street with higher travel speeds designed to funnel traffic. Stroads kill - not just pedestrians and cyclists, but people in cars, as mentioned in the linked article.

95th at Oakley

95th at Longwood

I've written previously about problems at 99th and Walden, adjacent to All Day Montessori, the 99th St. Metra station, Beverly Montessori and several nearby businesses. The lack of significant pedestrian improvements was a big missed opportunity when the streetscape project was finished last year. I've seen some improvement in driver behavior at that location since the project was completed, but I attribute that mostly to pedestrians insisting on their legal right of way and forcing drivers to stop.




Of course, all the infrastructure tweaks in the world won't make a significant dent in the problem unless we get some enforcement on the speeding that is such a major problem on 95th, Western, 99th, 111th and other streets in the ward. We need ticket writing blitzes - in random places at random times - with no exceptions for off-duty first responders and special people. I appreciate those few drivers who do stop. The rest need an incentive.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Slow Roll thank you

I'd like to send out a big THANK YOU to everyone who helped make Saturday's Slow Roll ride such a great time, especially the Slow Roll volunteer squad and the police from the 22nd district who were so helpful in giving us an escort.  Ridge Historical Society deserves their own special thank you for hosting us at the start of the ride.



If you enjoyed the ride and you'd like to check out future Slow Roll rides in other neighborhoods, I'd encourage you to follow Slow Roll Chicago on Facebook. There's another ride next Saturday.  Until next time....


Friday, July 28, 2017

Monday, July 24, 2017

perpetual light

Update: I happened to notice a truck working on some lights on yet another block where all lights were on in daytime. Hopefully the ones I reported got fixed as well.

In my travels around the ward, I've noticed a significant increase in recent months in the number of locations where street lights are on all the time. Unfortunately, I'm also noticing that 311 requests to address this problem are often taking a very long time to get responses.

Lights have been on around Prospect Sq. and 91st St. near the Metra station for weeks now, with no response to a 311 report made a while ago. How much money is the city wasting on electricity for hundreds (or perhaps thousands) of streets that are on 24/7 for weeks or months on end?

Here's a link to report Street Lights On Days. It only takes a minute to do this online, and if you have 2 locations around the corner from each other, you can enter that in the description.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

a bit of summer sweetness

I've been enjoying Wild Blossom Meadery's expanded Friday and Saturday hours (now until 9 p.m.) and new Sunday hours  (1-6 p.m.). Today they had mead-lemon slushie, a refreshing for a hot summer day. Now they have cheese plates, too. If you haven't been there yet, I hope you'll treat yourself soon.

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 benjamin@fotfp.org 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 s4c.south@gmail.com 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.

Friday, June 23, 2017

non sequitur Friday

Variations on a theme...

By the guy who wrote it.


By the singer who made it famous.


A tribute.


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.
-----------------------------------------
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.

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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.