Thursday, December 26, 2019

sad news in the neighborhood

I heard a bit of sad news today. Ellie's Cafe on 107th St. will be closing for good. We will lose their delicious food and charming ambiance after Monday.

Being hit by several periods of street construction/closures (mostly water/sewer), which put a real dent in their income over many months during the last few years. Burglaries didn't help either. Those are just the factors I know about. I suspect that there may be more.

We've enjoyed many delicious meals and pleasant conversations there. We will miss Ellie's.

Monday, December 23, 2019

the Water Dept. Grinches who stole Christmas

A few days ago, I discovered this scene - not fun in any season, but especially crappy just before Christmas with daytime "no parking" signs marked "12/17/19 to completion" - whenever that is.

I posted this photo on Twitter with this caption: "Not a happy sight in #Beverly. What a Grinchy thing to start a major ⁦@ChicagoWater⁩ project 1 week before Christmas. Why couldn’t this wait until the week after?"

Here's the response I got: "Nobody is ever happy to see that their street is going to be torn up or out of commission, it is an unfortunate necessity in order for us to make needed infrastructure improvements to our water and sewer systems. Call us for more info on this project 312-744-4420."

If you are affected by this project and want to give them an earful, feel free.

Friday, December 13, 2019

miracles can happen

I reported previously about the lack of bike racks at the newish Whole Foods store at Evergreen Plaza. I hadn't been there in a while, because walking there is so miserable and driving isn't any better.

Of course, it would be better without merchandise partially
blocking the rack. I'm just glad to see the rack.
It was a nice treat finding this rack after requesting one for months.  If you want to ride there, safest bike access is from 99th St. via Campbell, Maplewood or Artesian to 98th, then across the parking lot.

non sequitur Friday

Friday, December 6, 2019

non sequitur Friday

Variations on a theme, starting with the original.

Friday, November 29, 2019

non sequitur Friday

At this point in the season, I know a few people who are already craving summer again. Here's a musical taste - variations on a theme.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Friday, November 15, 2019

non sequitur Friday

Variations on a theme...

The original

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Friends of the Major Taylor Trail meeting on Monday 11/18

Friends of the Major Taylor Trail will meet at Ridge Park fieldhouse, 1817 W 96th St., from 7-8:30 pm on Monday 11/18. This meeting will include our annual election of officers.

Anyone is welcome. We'd love to see more people get involved.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

next week - community conversation about Divvy on 10/30

Could you spend a minute or two taking a survey to give the Divvy folks a bit of info about where you like to ride and how you might use Divvy?  Here's the link.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Divvy survey

The team working on Divvy community outreach has created a survey to get information from people in the neighborhood - how they might use Divvy, what they know about the program so far, where they'd like stations, etc.

Click here to take the survey. It only takes a minute or two.

Thank you for offering information to help Divvy bring us the best experience for our neighborhood.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Major Taylor Trail community ride with Divvy tomorrow (Sat. 10/12)

Have you been curious about where the Major Taylor Trail goes?  Have you tried Divvy? This Saturday morning you can try both.

Friends of the Major Taylor Trail are partnering with Divvy to offer a few short, easy tour options on the trail.

Start location:  119th and Halsted, southeast corner
Hours:  9 am to noon
Routes:  to Whistler Woods, to 105th St. or to Dan Ryan Woods - and back
Pace:   leisurely

All rides with Divvy bikes with be guided. Adults will need to leave a driver's license or state ID as a deposit for a bike. No one under 18 rides a Divvy with out an adult sponsor.

We hope you can join us on Saturday.

Coming soon to a location near you

non sequitur Friday

Variations on a theme.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Morgan Park United Methodist Church will host a collection of household electronics and hazardous waste this Saturday 10/5, 8:30 to 11 a.m. at 11030 S. Longwood Dr.

This event is sponsored by the Green Sanctuary Group of the Unitarian Church. Donations are encouraged to help cover costs. 

The following items will NOT be accepted: freon, incandescent bulbs, appliances, alkaline batteries, bio-hazardous products, needles, latex/acrylic/water-based paints, caulk or cleaning products, or other water soluble products.

Accepted items include: computers, monitors, printers, laptops, small electronics, small TVs, cell phones and pagers, mercury fluorescent bulbs, rechargeable batteries, mercury thermometers, anti-freeze, used motor oil, oil based-paints, paint thinner, aerosol paints, batteries, lawn chemicals, hobby and photographic chemicals, pool chemicals and solvents.  Hazardous items must be properly sealed.

They will also accept clean styrofoam items (except packing peanuts). Textbooks and eyeglasses will be accepted for reuse or recycling. 

For more information, click here or call 773-708-5111.

Friday, September 27, 2019

non sequitur Friday

Fare thee well, Robert Hunter. What a long strange trip it's been...

Friday, September 20, 2019

Friday, September 13, 2019

non sequitur Friday

I wanted to do a Linda Ronstadt tribute to celebrate the release of a new documentary about her life and music.

In this last concert video, Linda Ronstadt celebrates her Mexican heritage with a selection of mariachi music - beautiful songs.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Friends of the Major Taylor Trail meeting on Monday 9/16

Friends of the Major Taylor Trail will meet at Ridge Park fieldhouse, 1817 W 96th St., from 7-8:30 pm on Monday 9/16. Topics will include recent events, trail improvements, proposal for new bike parking and Divvy expansion.

Anyone is welcome. Bring your ideas. We'd love to see more people get involved.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Metra schedule changes starting 9/3

Metra schedule changes starting 9/3. The weekend schedule will change, but not for trains stopping in Beverly and Morgan Park. The extra weekend trains that allowed for separation of main line and sub line trains will be gone. This means that trains will be more crowded and more likely to be late.

The one good thing I saw was that they've added a 10 pm outbound train on Saturday nights, eliminating the previous 3+ hour gap between trains.

Click here for more info.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

suggesting station locations for Divvy expansion

Are you interested in suggesting Divvy station locations for the system expansion? Do you know how to do it?

Click here to make your own suggestions. If you see existing suggestions that you like, click on each suggested location, then click Support in the top right corner, and add comments about why you think it would be useful.

Friday, August 23, 2019

non sequitur Friday

Interesting combination of voices.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Monday, August 12, 2019

disturbing the peace

A couple of weeks ago, a big Dept. of Water Management excavation project started near my house. The intersection of 97th and Seeley is now a huge crater. In the big picture, modernization of  our water and sewer systems is a good thing, but it should not penalize the health of people who live near the project area.

Our noise ordinance exists for a reason. People need to get rest, and get relief from all the noise they face during the day. Some of us deal with a LOT of noise. That takes a toll on our health. Facing 1.5 hours more of stressful noise each day is NOT what most of us need.

One day last week the crew started the noisy work shortly after 6:30 a.m., well before the 8 a.m. allowed start under the noise ordinance. Today they fired up the engine on the big excavator at 6:15 a.m. The backup beeps, yelling conversations and clank of steel plates being moved started a few minutes later.

I called in a noise complaint to police. About 10 minutes later, there was a 5 minute pause when I didn't hear anything except engines idling, then they went back to their loud work. It's now 6:45 and they're getting louder. At 7:00 am they started with the concrete saw. I'll be calling the alderman's office again today, and again tomorrow and the next day and the next if they continue to start this early. Starting that kind of work so early in the day is disturbing the peace, plain and simple.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

fundraiser for Major Taylor Trail on 8/10

Friends of the Major Taylor Trail, with help from Community Neighborhood Improvement Project, will be having a fundraising event on Sat. 8/10. The date of the event marks the 120th anniversary of Marshall "Major "Taylor winning the world 1-mile championship in Montreal, defeating Boston rival Tom Butler.

Choose from ride options of 5, 26, 30, 44, 50, 64, or 89 miles -- mix and match your choice of five segments to customize your experience.  

If you enjoy the trail, please sign up to help support our efforts to improve it.

Registration link for the event:

Registration and check in is from 7-7:30. A tribute to Major Taylor and special presentation is from 7:30-7:55am. All rides start at 8:00 a.m. at 115th St. just west of Halsted. All riders follow the Major Taylor Trail south and cross the Little Calumet River Bridge -- featuring the largest Major Taylor mural ever created -- into Whistler Woods.

At the start/finish location, there will be a bike rodeo for the children, a health awareness expo with free screenings and information, and a back-to-school festival.

Starting at 10 am at 115th and Halsted, you can test ride one of the new style Divvy bikes, talk to Divvy reps about where you'd like to see stations, and talk to CDOT reps about where you'd like to see bike routes in your neighborhood.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Shakespeare in the Parks comes to Ridge Park on 8/10

Save the date! Chicago Shakespeare is bringing The Comedy of Errors to Ridge Park on Sat. 8/10 at 6:30 p.m.

Bring your blankets or lawn chairs. Bring a picnic. Have fun!

For any weather-related performance delays or cancellations, check @chicagoshakes on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Ridge Park is at 1817 W. 96th St. in Beverly.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Major Taylor Trail workday on Saturday 8/3

Please join Friends of the Major Taylor Trail for a trail cleanup workday in preparation for our 8/10 fundraising event.

Registration link:

We'll be working from 9 am to noon on the section of trail between 128th Place and the Little Calumet River. We're meeting near where 128th Pl meets the trail.
Map link here

If you're riding your bike, go south on the Major Taylor Trail until you cross 127th St., then look for us just beyond the yard with all the fruit trees next to the trail.

If you're driving, the easiest parking is on Eggleston. If you're coming from Halsted, go east on 128th Pl until it ends and turn right. If you're coming from 127th St., go south on Parnell, then turn right (east) on 128th Pl., continue until it ends and turn right.

If you're coming by bus, take the 8A from 79th St. red line or 352 from 95th St. red line; or 348 if you're coming from Blue Island or Riverdale. Get off at 128th Pl and go east a few blocks. Look for us where the street ends.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

new business on 95th St.

We have a new small business getting started on 95th St. A Peace of Pizza is opening this week at 95th and Wood, opposite the 95th St. Metra station. Their start was delayed by the unfortunate timing of having a major construction project right outside their door when they were ready to open.

There was a positive piece in the Sun-Times recently about the mission of this new business. A non-profit violence prevention group wants to use it to help teens gain job skills, those specific to working in a restaurant and working in a professional environment. A portion of restaurant revenue will fund programs aimed at combating food insecurity, housing issues and violence in Englewood.

Their grand opening is this Wednesday 7/31. Let's show them some love and help support this excellent organization.

Friday, July 19, 2019

non sequitur Friday

This one is a bit more eclectic than usual.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Intelligentsia Cup bike race in Beverly on Friday 7/19

Hard to believe it's July already and time for the Intelligentsia Cup bike races in Beverly.

The first race starts at 4:15 pm and the last one at 7:25 pm. Like last year, the festival (with food and drink vendors and live music) will be in the St. Barnabas parking lot - east side of Longwood at 101st Pl.

Click here for more info (full schedule, etc.).

Monday, July 15, 2019

Major Taylor Trail clean-up workday on Sat. 8/3

Please join Friends of the Major Taylor Trail for a trail cleanup workday in preparation for our 8/10 fundraising event.

Registration link:

We'll be working from 9 am to noon on the section of trail between 128th Place and the Little Calumet River. We're meeting near where 128th Pl meets the trail.
Map link here

If you're riding your bike, go south on the Major Taylor Trail until you cross 127th St., then look for us just beyond the yard with all the fruit trees next to the trail.

If you're driving, the easiest parking is on Eggleston. If you're coming from Halsted, go east on 128th Pl until it ends and turn right. If you're coming from 127th St., go south on Parnell, then turn right (east) on 128th Pl., continue until it ends and turn right.

If you're coming by bus, take the 8A from 79th St. red line or 352 from 95th St. red line; or 348 if you're coming from Blue Island or Riverdale. Get off at 128th Pl and go east a few blocks. Look for us where the street ends.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Friends of the Major Taylor Trail meeting on Mon. 7/15

Friends of the Major Taylor Trail will meet at Ridge Park fieldhouse, 1817 W 96th St., from 7-8:30 pm on Monday 7/15. Topics will include upcoming events, trail improvements, proposal for new bike parking and Divvy expansion.

Anyone is welcome. We'd love to see more people get involved.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Friday, June 28, 2019

non sequitur Friday

I was in San Francisco recently and had a fun experience while riding a bus. A Cuban percussionist was sitting at the front of the bus and having a very animated conversation with the bus driver. He was drumming a little, she was singing a little, and they were sharing their love for Celia Cruz - la Reina de musica Cubana.  It was the kind of spontaneous fun that sometimes happens on public transit.

Friday, June 7, 2019

non sequitur Friday

Songs from a long ago summer in a far away place...

Sunday, June 2, 2019

CANCELLED - Major Taylor Trail workday on Sat. 6/8

This event is cancelled due to muddy conditions in the work area. Stay tuned for future workdays. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- There's another trail clean-up workday happening. This one is on Sat. 6/8 from 9 am to noon where the trail meets 115th St. (just west of Halsted). We'll be picking up trash, cutting brush, and stacking piles of brush for pickup. 

Dressing for yard work is appropriate, including boots or shoes that you don't mind getting mud on, and work gloves or gardening gloves.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

19th ward town hall meeting 6/5

There will be a town hall meeting on Wednesday 6/5 at the 22nd district police station, 1900 W. Monterey Ave.

weekend schedule change on the Rock Island

Metra announced that they're adding a few trains to the summer weekend schedule. Unfortunately, this isn't helpful to most of us, because they're added to JOLIET trains, not ours. We still have a 3 hour gap between Saturday night trains (8:10 pm to 11:15 pm), while the new schedule gives Joliet folks THREE trains in a comparable time window (7:40 pm to 10 pm), in addition to the 11:15 train that services all of us. Metra - you suck! Click here to see the schedule on Metra's web site.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Friends of the Major Taylor Trail meeting on Mon. 5/20

Friends of the Major Taylor Trail will meet at Ridge Park fieldhouse, 1817 W 96th St., from 7-8:30 pm on Monday 5/20. Topics will include upcoming rides and workdays, trail improvements, proposal for new bike parking and Divvy expansion.

Anyone is welcome. We'd love to see more people get involved.

Major Taylor Trail Roll to the River ride Sat. 5/18

The ride happens this Saturday 5/18.

8:30 am meetup, 9 am start at the Dan Ryan Woods parking lot on the north side of 83rd St. just east of Western.  Map link here.

There are 2 distances: 18 miles and 40 miles.  Please do wear your helmet and get ready to roll.  Everyone will ride the Major Taylor Trail together, then split into 2 groups by ride distance. 

You'll get a chance to see a new piece of public art along the way, as well as the huge mural on the bridge over the Little Calumet River.

More information and ride registration at this link.

Monday, May 13, 2019

taking better care of the trees in our yards

I see many people in the neighborhood hire landscapers or do mulching around trees themselves. Without knowing it, this well intentioned act is often done incorrectly, which can be unhealthy for our neighborhood trees.  Having the right amount of mulch is beneficial, while piling it too deep, can cause problems.  Here's more information on how to do mulching correctly and keep trees healthier.

“Volcano Mulching,” a practice used by many landscape companies and some homeowners, is when a mulch ring 2-3 feet wide and over 4 inches deep is placed around trees. This practice is extremely harmful to the health of trees.

If your tree has been volcano mulched, use gloved hands to remove mulch from the base of the tree, exposing the root flare (the area where the roots turn out and away from the tree). Do not use a rake or shovel, as this can damage delicate roots. If removing years of layered mulch by hand is too difficult, hire a tree care company that will use an air spade to do the job.

Mulching is one of the most beneficial things that you can do to keep your trees healthy. If done incorrectly, however, it can also lead to the death of your tree. Mulching increases soil organic matter, water-holding capacity and nutrient availability. It also acts as an insulator, buffering the soil from rapid temperature changes. It helps control weeds and protects the trees’ trunk from being hit by the lawn equipment.

Here's some helpful about mulching trees:

Make sure that mulch is pulled a few inches away from the base of the tree to expose the root flare, usually 4-6 inches. Mulch should be applied approximately 4 inches deep in a donut-shaped ring. This will settle to a desirable two inches after a few rains, and is shallow enough to allow rain to reach the roots.

Mulch out away from the tree in a 4-5 foot diameter. Ideally, trees should be mulched to the drip line (below the farthest reaching branches). Consider mixing hardwood mulch with grass clippings, sawdust, pine needles, compost, and shredded leaves to increase porosity. Using a groundcover plant instead of mulch or grass is also a good choice. Check mulch levels annually. Trees often do not need to be mulched every year.

Piling mulch high around the base of the tree should be avoided. This causes damage to the bark due to constant moisture, diseases, termites, rodents, and fungus. It also causes rainwater to run off before it has a chance to soak into the root area.

Here's an example of volcano mulching where the roots are buried way too deep.

Mulch is about 1 foot deep against the trunk of the tree.

Another issue - the tree has outgrown the protective collar put
on when it was planted. These are intended to protect against
lawn mower wounds. If the tree has outgrown the collar to the
point where the collar has an open gap, please remove it.
Mulch should not be piled higher than 4 inches from the ground. Doing so causes roots to migrate to the surface to “breathe” and access water exposing them to a variety of health risks. Cypress mulch should be avoided. It is very water absorbent, reducing the amount of water that reaches the tree roots. The logging of cypress trees destroys cypress forests in the swamps of Florida and Georgia - a significant ecosystem in the region.

On a related note, please don't build raised planter areas around the base of your trees. Similar to the deep mulch example in the paragraph above, burying tree roots under a planter bed causes them to migrate to the surface in search of oxygen. These roots will circle around inside the bed - a problem known as root girdling. This can shorten the life of the tree.

Here's an example of what happens to your tree when you build a raised planter area around it. This is a medium sized maple tree that had a foot-high planter bed around it for years. After that was removed, this extreme example of root girdling was revealed. Much of the canopy is already dying. This tree could have had a much longer life, and it's likely to be dead within a few years.

Dyed mulch is less desirable. It is usually made from chemically-treated scrap lumber that can leach chemicals into the soil. The dye itself is also often made from synthetic chemicals. It's worth discussing this issue with your landscaper, or carefully considering your choices at the garden center if you're doing you're own mulching, to help your trees be as healthy as possible.

More information on volcano mulching and proper mulching techniques:

Mulch Volcanoes - University of Illinois Extension

The Pros and Cons of Mulch - University of Illinois Extension

Mulching Trees and Shrubs - The Morton Arboretum

Remember - donut shaped mulch rings with breathing room around tree trunks are healthier. Most landscapers don't know anything about tree health. If your landscaper is making mulch volcanoes, instruct them about the donut method. Tell them that the info comes from Morton Arboretum and University of Illinois and that it's available online if they have questions. You'll be doing your trees a favor, and it will be better for the trees they work around in other people's yards.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Ride of SIlence on Wed. 5/15

Ride of Silence is an international event that commemorates the loss of bicyclists' lives from traffic violence. There are rides at several locations in the Chicago area on Wednesday evening.

The Chicago ride starts at Daley Plaza in the Loop. Click here for info.

The Oak Lawn ride starts at the Metra station on 95th St.  Click here for info.

You can find other locations and information here.

No one deserves to die in a crash. Let's remember those who were lost in crashes. With more awareness and safer street designs, I hope that we have fewer deaths in future years.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Ridge Park workday 5/18 - help us take care of our trees

On Saturday 5/18 from 10 am to 1 pm, your neighborhood Treekeepers are hosting a workday to give the trees in Ridge Park (1817 W 96th St.) a bit of TLC. They could really use some mulch. This is a team effort, so we could use your help.  We will meet at the south end of the parking lot.

No special skills are needed. We'll teach you what you need to know.  If you have work gloves that you like, you're welcome to bring them, otherwise we'll have some available for use during the workday. Please wear shoes, hiking boots or work boots that provide good support, as well as comfortable clothing suitable for yard work.

Student volunteers are welcome.

If you plan to come, it would be great if you could send an email so that we know how many volunteers to expect.  If you are a Treekeeper, please register here.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Major Taylor Trail workday on 5/4 (tomorrow)

Please join Friends of the Major Taylor Trail for a trail clean-up workday this Saturday morning from 9 am to noon.

This event will focus on the trail near 111th St. We will pick up trash, trim trees, and do other clean-up as needed.  It's helpful if you register in advance so we have an idea of how many volunteers to expect.

Eventbrite link here:

If you are coming by transit, the nearest routes are the 111 bus on 111th, or the 108 or 352 bus on Halsted.

non sequitur Friday

No video, just audio here - local Cuban-style band.

Al Vaiven de my Carreta - and several more tunes at that link...

Friday, April 26, 2019

non sequitur Friday

Someday it will be summer. *sigh*

Friday, April 19, 2019

non sequitur Friday

Energetic New Orleans band

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

it's spring, so lots of bad things will be done to trees

This week I've seen a lot of landscaping crews out and one of the biggest sins against the health of trees is being committed in many yards - volcano mulching. This is when mulch is piled up deep around the trunk of a tree in a volcano shape.

Why is volcano mulching bad? It promotes the growth of rot and disease by retaining moisture against the trunk of the tree. It also promotes unhealthy growth patterns by roots, which can shorten the life of the tree.  This page shows some examples.

It only takes a few minutes to fix this problem, and your trees will be much better off.  Put on your work gloves and pull the mulch away from the trunk of the tree. The profile of the mulch ring should look like a donut, not a volcano. Right at the trunk, you should be able to see a narrow ring of soil. Mulch should be no more than 4" deep in a ring surrounding, but not touching, the trunk.

If mulch is too deep, this is bad for the roots. Most of a tree's roots are in the top 12-18" of soil, because they need oxygen. Spreading out the mulch ring wider is fine. Having a mulch ring helps to retain some moisture in the soil during drier weather. It also adds nutrients as the mulch decomposes and encourages whoever mows the lawn to stay clear of the tree trunk.  Lawn mower wounds to a tree trunk can significantly shorten the life of a tree.

This Facebook page is a good source for tree care tips.  Morton Arboretum also has a good page on the subject.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Major Taylor Trail workday on Sat. 4/20

Please join Friends of the Major Taylor Trail for a trail clean-up workday. This Earth Day event will focus on the section of trail from 105th St. to 107th St.. We will pick up trash, trim trees, and do other clean-up as needed. If you have work gloves you like, please bring those, otherwise gloves will be available for use at the event.

If you use the Eventbrite link below to register, it's helpful to us so we know how many volunteers to expect

Register here.

If you are coming by car, the nearest parking is on street along 105th St. east of Vincennes or Racine north of 107th.  map link

We hope to see you there.

Monday, April 8, 2019

time for a better recycling plan

Tonight I was out for a bike ride and had plenty of reminders of a problem that's gotten out of hand: using Waste Management to pick up our recycling. I never saw a significant problem with broken glass on the pavement until they started handling our recycling. Now the areas around where recycling cans were picked up have a LOT of broken glass - on streets and in alleys.

To make matters worse, their recycling operation is a major conflict of interest, as they handle both recycling and dumps. Their rejection rate for allegedly contaminated recycling bins is much higher than that of other haulers. As owners of dumps, where they make money on loads taken there, they have a strong incentive to reject recycling as contaminated. If you want more detail, click here and read on.

The broken glass problem is a hazard to children, dogs and people riding bikes. It's also the proverbial last straw for me, on top of their ridiculous conflict of interest.

I hope that our new mayor will give them the sack. This is just one bad piece of a recycling program that's overdue for a major overhaul.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Ridge Park workday on Sat. 3/30 - POSTPONED

Due to a dismal weather forecast from Thursday thru Saturday, this workday is postponed.

Stay tuned for an update about a new date.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Friday, March 15, 2019

Whistler Woods habitat restoration workday Sat. 3/16

It's great to get outdoors. Volunteers are needed this Saturday 3/16 from 10 am to 1 pm for a habitat restoration workday - brush cutting and bonfires.  Snacks and water will be available. (3rd Saturday of the month is the regular day.)

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

non sequitur Friday

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Freinds of the Major Taylor Trail meeting on 3/18

If you're interested learning more about future events and helping to work for better conditions on the Major Taylor Trail, please join us on Monday night (3/18, 7 to 8:30 pm) at Ridge Park fieldhouse.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

new Whole Foods store needs bike racks

I checked out the new Whole Foods store at Evergreen Plaza over the weekend - nice addition. For me, it's the highlight of an otherwise lame and totally car-centric makeover of the plaza.

In spite of letters to the developer, they maxed out the parking and made no real accommodations for anyone accessing the Plaza on foot or bike. If crossing Western between stoplights is too daunting, accessing from 99th (to Campbell, Artesian or Maplewood) by bike is very doable.

Once you get there, you'll find that there are no bike racks anywhere - except right next to Starbucks. Want to help change this? Please send a message to Whole Foods and ask them to add bike racks in front of the store. Thousands of people live within easy walking and biking distance of this store, and making non-car options easier could mean less traffic and less stress in getting around.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Friday, March 1, 2019

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Givins Irish Castle fundraiser

I'm sure that most or all of you are familiar with Beverly's most famous landmark, the Beverly Unitarian Church, commonly known as the Irish castle. It's one of our most distinctive buildings, and 130+ years of weather haven't been kind to it.  The turrets are in tough shape, and expensive restoration work is needed to keep this special place around. Read more here.

BAPA has a good piece about the restoration campaign and why it's needed.

Here's a link for the online fundraiser page. Let's all make a difference to help save it. Every little bit counts.

There's a storytelling performance tonight at 7 pm featuring David Boyle.
$20 donation befits the restoration of the Castle

Here's a link for info on tonight's performance and other upcoming fundraising events.

Beverly Unitarian Church, also known as Givins Beverly Castle, 10244 S. Longwood Dr.

Friday, February 22, 2019

non sequitur Friday

Tal Wilkenfeld is an impressive talent on bass. I've heard some great stuff from her in both jazz and rock. Here's a slice of each.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

99th St. from Longwood to Damen will be closed to traffic 2/22- 2/24

99th St. will be closed to traffic from Friday 2/22 to Sunday 2/24 for a utility project. Click here for more info.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Rock Island Metra service to the Auto Show

If you're planning to attend the Chicago Auto Show, do you know that Metra has extra service going to McCormick Plaza this weekend and next?

Click here for schedule info.

non sequitur Friday

Variations on a theme...

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Metra alternate schedules for extreme weather

From the Metra web site:

(January 28, 2019) -
Due to the extreme cold weather forecast for the Chicago region this week, Metra will operate a modified schedule on Wednesday, Jan. 30.

Modified schedules for each Metra line can be found here. The schedules are designed to provide adequate service for the predicted ridership. The schedules will also reduce the use of mechanical equipment and the number of moves through switch points on the railroad, thereby minimizing opportunities for service disruptions.

Riders are also advised that travel times will increase due to speed restrictions that reduce maximum speeds for Metra trains to 60 mph when the temperatures drop lower than 10 below zero. Additional schedule changes may be made on Wednesday as conditions dictate and customers should monitor platform announcements and follow service advisories posted on You can sign up to receive service advisories here.

Thursday’s schedule is yet to be determined, but riders will be notified as soon as the decision is made.

Metra’s intent with this modified schedule is to preserve the safety of our passengers during this extreme weather event. Extra personnel will be deployed throughout the event to address mechanical and track issues.
Here's the alternate schedule for extreme weather. It eliminates a bunch of rush hour trips.

Friday, January 25, 2019

non sequitur Friday

Just because I need something that feels like summer...

Thursday, January 24, 2019

new Metra Rock Island schedule in effect as of Monday 1/28/19

Thanks to the implementation of Positive Train Control (PTC), we have a new Metra schedule effective next Monday 1/28.  The changes affect both morning and evening rush hour.  I'm sure we'll feel the pain on days when a mechanical issue or other problem causes the train we're waiting for to be delayed getting downtown and then be held a while for PTC system checks before we can head home. For more information about PTC and how it affects the schedule, click here.

One example: at evening rush hour, there's still a 5:05 train leaving LaSalle St. The next train serving Beverly and Morgan Park is now at 5:25, followed by 5:40 and 5:55.

You might want to check out the schedule in advance to figure out what changes you need to make to your daily routine. You may need to leave home a little earlier.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

a forgotten issue

As I've watched interviews and forums and read news articles and web sites featuring candidates for mayor as Election Day approaches, I've found it disturbing and frustrating that many of the candidates have little or nothing about issues other than education and public safety.  Those are important topics, but there are many others they can't afford to ignore. We need to know their ideas (and whether they have any ideas) regarding other topics such as transportation.

If our transportation systems don't function well, our city doesn't function. Transit and other non-car ways of getting around are critically important. There isn't enough space for everyone to drive and park. Many people can't afford the cost of owning, driving, maintaining and parking a car for daily transportation. The city works much better if fewer people drive.

This week, Active Transportation Now held a mayoral candidate forum on the topic of transit, focusing on CTA. If you'd like to watch a video of this forum and hear ideas from those candidates who chose to attend, here's a link.

It's worth doing some homework on the candidates. We can't afford to end up with a mayor who doesn't think that transportation is important and can't be bothered to answer questions about it.

Friday, January 11, 2019

non sequitur Friday

A few lesser known tracks from Chicago's earlier years....

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

lost cat near 96th and Winchester

I went out for a walk this afternoon and saw this sad flyer on a pole. I hope that this cat is able to get home safely, and that if any of you spot him you'll help in the process.

unkind acts

In recent weeks, I've noticed a series of malicious acts around the neighborhood. Someone is damaging or destroyed garden fences, plants and trees. The damage I've observed has been in locations from 97th and Damen to 99th and Vanderpoel, including Ridge Park. It's possible that there may be more locations. These are just the ones I've seen. Some of this can be repaired. Some will cost money to fix or replace.

I've seen branches ripped off of trees, a young tree snapped off at the base and killed, plants torn out of the ground and vines pulled from fences. The most heartbreaking was a beautiful young tree destroyed in a yard at 99th and Vanderpoel. An unhealthy tree in Ridge Park was also snapped off at ground level. Some locations have been hit more than once. I have a theory about who might be responsible, but no proof.

Has anyone seen this type of vandalism in additional locations? Has anyone witnessed any of these acts of vandalism? If it's happened to you, please file a police report