Friday, November 30, 2018

Thursday, November 29, 2018

thoughts on Safe Routes to School and life skills

I've referred to Safe Routes to School programs a few times in previous blog posts. A successful program that encourages more families to let their kids walk or bike to school means less traffic, less stress for kids and school neighbors, healthy transportation and exercise for kids.

I have friends who have been involved in organizing these programs at schools in various neighborhoods over the years. Talking with them about their efforts made me think of my own experiences walking to school as a kid.

Compared to riding in a car, it increased my awareness of surroundings, helped me learn street smarts and navigation, and develop decision making skills. Walking or biking or using public transit is about much more than transportation. These are building blocks for many important life skills.

If kids are driven everywhere in the name of "safety" and they never have this kind of learning opportunity, are they as well prepared as they could be for high school, college and life after school?  How safe are they later on when they are trying to function independently, beyond the cocoon their parents have created for them?

Several years ago, I met students who were juniors and seniors in high school who were attempting for the first time to navigate independently outside their neighborhoods and figure out how to get where they were going on public transit. They got lost and were an hour late for the workshop they were attending. Examples like this are all too common now.

Investing in ways to make our streets safer for pedestrians and bikes is an investment in quality of life in our community - for the present and the future.

Friday, November 23, 2018

non sequitur Friday

I'm looking forward to a mellow day, not going anywhere near the Black Friday madness.

A Thanksgiving classic to finish up the set...

Consider a different option on Black Friday - a gift to yourself. #OptOutside. This morning there is a a volunteer trail building workday at Big Marsh. If you'd like to help improve this unique park and spend some time experiencing the place for yourself, event info is on the Friends of Big Marsh Facebook page.  Whether you go to Big Marsh or not, treat yourself to some outdoor time. It's good for the soul.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

a 1% day

When my husband and I first started going out, he was a rookie Chicago Police officer. One of the hardest things in the first year was adjusting to the reality that he might not get home if something went seriously wrong during his shift. It was a reality I'd never experienced before and gave me some sleepless nights until I got used to it. He was working the midnight shift in a busy west side district, so I never what might happen on any given night.

We've had a running joke over the years - that the job is 99% routine, unexciting stuff and 1% sheer terror. Most of the time the possibility of that 1% is a bogeyman that stays in the closet.

Yesterday was a 1% day for so many CPD officers. The bogeyman was out in full force.

As I saw and heard dozens of police cars speeding south past my office yesterday afternoon, I had a bad feeling that something was very wrong. The last time I'd seen that kind of police response was the afternoon when Commander Paul Bauer was shot and killed.

Later we were watching news coverage of the tragedy on TV, and my husband recognized officers from his district at the scene. I was grateful that he wasn't scheduled to work yesterday.

The family and friends of hundreds of on-duty first responders went through anxious, stressful hours, living the reality of that 1%.

My sympathy goes out to family, friends and co-workers of Officer Sam Jimenez, Dr. Tamara O'Neal and pharmacy resident Dayna Less who died yesterday.   Gun violence is a cancer on our city and our society. Too many lives have been ended or forever scarred by this sickness. There might have been a lot more people killed or wounded if not for Officer Jimenez and others who responded to the scene at Mercy.

Doctors and other health care professionals shouldn't stay in their lane regarding gun violence. This is one more big reason for them to speak out. Can we all say ENOUGH now and do something to enact meaningful national gun reforms?

Saturday, November 17, 2018

95th St. detour this weekend

From 11:30 pm tonight to 11:30 pm Sunday night, 95th St. will be closed to traffic over the Dan Ryan. All types of traffic (pedestrian, car, bus, etc.) will be detoured. This is for a major step in the construction of the new 95th St. red line station.  Bus stops will be temporarily reconfigured.

At some point on Sunday, 2 large cranes will be used to lift the new skybridge into place to connect the north and south halves of the new station.

If you need to get to the Dan Ryan or points east, I'd recommend going another way unless you want to watch the construction. Traffic is likely to be a bit hairy in that area.

For more info, click here to read the Streetsblog article about the project.

new book store by 99th St. Metra station

This week I was on the platform waiting for the train and noticed a cute addition to our 99th/Walden/Wood business district - Bookish, a new book store. I stopped in last night after getting off the train. They have an eclectic mix of books and other items. The hours may vary somewhat from week to week.

If you have little ones, you may be interested in story time.

I picked up this sweet little book.

Check it out. It's a fun place.

Friday, November 16, 2018

non sequitur Friday

Variations on a theme...

The original...