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Archive for the ‘from the news feed’ Category

Lake St. protected bike lane can be success with some TLC

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A recent Tribune story about Chicago bike lanes zeroed in on problems with the advanced bike lane on Lake St., which currently runs from Damen to Central Park and is scheduled for an extension to Austin Blvd.

I ride this corridor a lot to and from Oak Park where I live, and I often avoid the Lake St. lane because the glass and debris problem is so prodigious.

The pavement condition is lousy, too, and you’ll typically encounter a few cars parked in the lane. Liquor bottles are the main source of glass, along with broken car windows and years of glass accumulation.

It’s good the article calls attention to these problems, and CDOT is well aware and working to clean the lane more frequently. Lake is also slated for repaving, which will help a great deal.

I have heard from many suburban commuters and Chicago residents who are excited about the extension. But the story quotes some who oppose extending the lane on the assumption that the glass and debris problem will continue, and they won’t be able to use Lake St.

Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. The city just needs to clean the lane more often. Then it will be a good bike lane that will also narrow Lake St and calm traffic that currently travels fast and recklessly, weaving between El supports and using empty parking spaces for additional travel lanes.

With El tracks overhead and the debris problems, Lake St. isn’t ideal for a bike lane. But then again, every street on the underserved and depressed West Side has issues. Lake is the only continuous corridor on the West Side that CDOT believes they can run an advanced bike lane all the way to the border with Oak Park, serving as a “Spoke Route” for the broader Streets for Cycling Plan.

The West Side deserves good bike facilities, too, and with more TLC and more bikes (which I believe will happen over time), the Lake Street lane can be an important segment in the city’s bike network.

One thing is for sure: it’s pretty cool that we are in a place to debate where to put protected bike lanes, when less than four years ago they weren’t even on the table.

Written by Rburke

June 11th, 2014 at 7:43 pm

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Deep-seated, Anti-Government Mood Remains

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The stunning upset of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a Republican primary election on Tuesday by a Tea Party-linked insurgent Dave Brat is obviously big news at the national level. It's also interesting as a measure of the activity going on at the local level. Here in Louisa County, Va., and in adjoining Hanover County—both in Cantor's district—Tea Party signs are prominent. These signs have a homespun character that surely appeals to many disaffected voters, with a little tea kettle and stenciled lettering. One sign near my house reads, "Congress: Please don't help me anymore—I can't afford it!" Another quotes John Adams warning that once lost, one's freedoms are seldom regained. After Tea Party activists started showing up at county board meetings, local elected officials began taking every opportunity to challenge state and regional nonprofit agencies' budgets. At one point basic transit service for people to reach doctor appointments was cut back.   Not long after Obama introduced health care reform, the Koch Brothers' Americans for Prosperity outfit organized a rally on the Courthouse lawn at which "Socialism Isn't Cool" bumper stickers were handed out. Their message that socialists have taken over the White House has periodically reappeared in letters to the local newspaper ever since. While health care reform has receded somewhat since then as a primary issue, the national debt has been front and center. Cantor evidently lost not only because of his wishy-washy position on immigration reform, but also because Republican voters identified him with the free-spending ways of the federal government.  The breakdown of how votes were cast by precinct shows that escapees from the sprawl of Northern Virginia were willing to vote for Cantor, perhaps because nowadays even he is perceived as a moderate and many Northern Virginians depend on government for their pay. But in the suburbs outside Richmond, voters chose the Tea Party candidate overwhelmingly. Rural voters also went mostly for Brat. The outcome of this primary could be good news for supporters of progressive causes, since it guarantees the Democrat in this fall's race will get much more attention. But this is also a reliably conservative district, so the odds the Democrat could win remain slim.  

Written by Rooflines

June 11th, 2014 at 7:06 pm

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Ask Ald. Moreno to save this building

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Please write or call Ald. Proco Joe Moreno (773-278-0101 or 1stwardmoreno@gmail.com to stop the demolition of the 124-year-old building at 1084 N. Hermitage St.

The building should be saved because of the quality of the construction, the nature of the masonry work and the energy embodied in the structure. It's not in the East Village Landmark District or the city's Historic Resources Survey, but it represents a style rapidly disappearing in our community.

Building permits require securing a demolition permit within 30 days. A delay offers a chance to mediate, or propose an alternative.

Preserving buildings that are valuable but not landmarked has been a longstanding position of the East Village Association. The character and history of the 1st Ward community should be preserved.

Written by Webmaster

June 11th, 2014 at 3:55 pm

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The Effects of NIMBY and How to Overcome Them

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This is Part 4 in a series on NIMBY and affordable housing. To catch up on the rest of the series, read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. --- This analysis continues our discussion of the results of our survey of affordable housing developers in New York State on their experiences of community opposition to their development projects. Out of 75 developers—nonprofit and for-profit—responding to our survey (a response rate of 50 percent), 70 percent have experienced at least one incident of community opposition. Most developers (88 percent) believe that opposition has negative effects on their projects. These developers pointed to delays as the most common problem they encounter: almost two-thirds (62 percent) noted overall construction delays, and 10 percent indicated delays in leasing or selling units. Almost one out of every three developers (29 percent) were denied the building permits or zoning changes needed to develop their proposed project. In terms of the physical characteristics of the development, one out of every three developers had to make aesthetic improvements at additional cost. Twenty-five percent had to reduce the number of units in the project, 19 percent had to change the unit composition (e.g. number of units of different sizes), and 4 percent had to reduce the size of their units. Developers were split on whether or not they perceived any positive outcomes from the community opposition they faced. Exactly half of the developers who have experienced community opposition said there have been no perceived positive effects (just mostly negative ones). However, 37 percent believed that local public opinion of affordable housing had improved as a result of their engagement with the community. A very small proportion of developers (4 percent, each) actually were able to increase the number of units in their development or receive funding increases to pay for negotiated project changes. Finally, a few developers mentioned enhanced community engagement and positive media attention as good outcomes emerging from contentious siting disputes.

Written by Rooflines

June 10th, 2014 at 6:42 pm

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Thank you Parent Mentors. 2014 Graduation Video.

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Written by Logan Square Neighborhood Association - Latest news

June 10th, 2014 at 6:00 pm

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Let’s restore equity to commuter benefit

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Six members of Congress from the Chicago region recently urged Congressional leadership to restore equity to the widely popular commuter benefit that currently favors drivers over those who ride public transit to work in Chicago and across the country.

The commuter benefit is an employer-provided federal tax benefit that allows commuters to purchase transit passes, carpooling rides or parking tax free. Citing the many benefits of riding transit, the members called attention to the gap between the monthly limit for the parking benefit – $250 per month – and the transit benefit, only $130 per month.

The benefits were the same until Congress failed to act last year, allowing the transit benefit to drop from $245 to $130 per month, while the parking benefit rose $5 a month.

In their joint letter to the chairman and ranking minority member of the House Ways and Means Committee, the members said this drop costs transit riders as much as $100 per month.

All six members who signed the letter are currently co-sponsoring a bipartisan bill in the House (Commuter Parity Act – H.R. 2288) to restore parity to the benefit, including Representatives Dan Lipinski, Mike Quigley, Brad Schneider, Bill Foster, Tammy Duckworth and Jan Schakowsky.

Riding transit helps reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality and save energy throughout the region.

Join our local members of congress and transit supporters across the country in urging congress to take immediate action to restore parity between the parking and transit benefits. The commuter benefit should apply equitably, regardless of how one gets to work.

Sign on to a letter to your local member of Congress here.

Written by kwhitehead

June 10th, 2014 at 4:08 pm

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Homeowners Empowered To Fight Eviction With This New Tool

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The following is a story from Occupy Our Homes, a partner with Homes for All in fighting displacement. The campaign below is part of a new project born of this partnership, Start2.OccupyOurHomes, where anyone fighting to stay in their home can launch their own petition. The mission is to empower homeowners standing up to the banks. --- By Beatrice Hardy We want MidFirst Bank to call off the eviction and provide an opportunity for my family to stay in our home. My children and I have been in our home over fourteen years. We made a lot of sacrifices to get this far. Together, we survived abuse and neglect from my now deceased husband. For the past twenty seven years because of the “systems” rules a lot was taken from us. No more.  It has been me and my children, as the head of the family I am tired of working hard “the American” and the power at be continues to take from me. We had a long journey.  Despite obstacles we never gave up.  Our journey has push me to the point of no return. This means we will not let anyone evict us from our home. You declined my modification. We want to continue to fight for a modification so that we can stay in our home.

Written by Rooflines

June 9th, 2014 at 7:18 pm

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West Town and Lakeview launch Bike-Friendly Business Districts

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By Marianna Foral, Active Trans Campaign Intern

This week, Active Trans is partnering with the West Town and Lakeview Chambers of Commerce to launch Bike-Friendly Business Districts in their communities. The districts are the first of their kind in Chicago and intend to encourage cycling as part of their neighborhood identities through new discount programs for customers who arrive by bike and a number of bike-focused events.

Bike Friendly Business Districts are commercial zones where local business owners, community groups and residents actively promote biking in their neighborhood through special promotions, public events, and improving conditions for cycling. The Bike Friendly Business District model has flourished in cities like Long Beach, CA and New York, and it makes sense.

“Slower speeds increase the visibility of storefronts, helping to convert passers-by into loyal customers,” notes Kace Wakem, program manager at the West Town Chamber of Commerce. Studies also show that although customers who arrive by bike spend less per trip, they will visit more frequently and spend more per month than customers in cars.

West Town and Lakeview already have a thriving bicycle culture. The Milwaukee Avenue protected “Spoke Route” through West Town and the Lakefront Trail through Lakeview are two of the heaviest bike-trafficked roads of their kind in the country. With the city investing in safer bikeways and the Divvy bikeshare initiative, more and more people are using bicycles in their daily lives and local businesses recognize an opportunity to benefit.

Fittingly, West Town and Lakeview Bike Friendly Business Districts are kicking off during Chicago’s Bike Week, which starts June 13 and runs through June 20. In addition to the commitment of over 60 businesses participating in the neighborhood discount program, there will also be a number of events s in each neighborhood.

Saturday June 14
Lakeview: Schubas Bike Bash, at 3159 N Southport, 12-4PM: Kick off Bike Week with bike tune-ups, demos, raffle prizes and workshops, as well as BBQ and music. https://www.facebook.com/events/766557963388350/

Monday, June 16
Lakeview: On the Route Bicycles Commuter Pit Stop, at Lincoln and Barry, 6:30-9AM, with support from Whole Foods: Stop for free coffee, giveaways and bike mechanic. www.bikefriendlylakeview.com

Tuesday, June 17
Lakeview: Heritage Bicycles Commuter Pit Stop at Lincoln and Wellington, 6:30-9AM, with support from Whole Foods: Stop for free coffee, giveaways and bike mechanic. www.bikefriendlylakeview.com

West Town: Paramount Room, After Work Happy Hour and Pit Stop at 415 N. Milwaukee, 4-8PM, featuring: 20% Off Food and a $4 Craft Beer Pints all night, cyclist networking, presentations from a bike advocacy group, bike maintenance demos, and complimentary passed hors d'ouevres

Wednesday, June 18
West Town: Frontier, “Bikes Stunts and Oysters” at 1072 N. Milwaukee 4-9PM, Patio Happy Hour Oyster Boil featuring: $12 Boiled Dozens and $1 Raw Oysters, $5 Half Acre Family Tall Boys, and BMX Demos from Let's Roast Bike Shop starting at 6pm

Thursday, June 19
West Town: Duran European Sandwiches, “Brake for Breakfast” at 516 N. Milwaukee, 7-10AM, $3 for choice of bagel and smear and La Colombe coffee, or a made-to-order bagel sandwich with coffee for $5

Friday, June 20
West Town: Ancien Cycles, 6-9PM Live Music, Beer, Free Burgers & Pho-Style Soup

Find participating businesses in both neighborhoods and links to each community's webpage at our Bike Friendly Business District homepage.

 

Written by jmerrell

June 9th, 2014 at 5:02 pm

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Mark your calendar: More Bike Commuter Challenge (June 13-20) events announced!

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Between the City of Chicago’s Bike Week Events and our Bike Commuter Challenge events, there are plenty of opportunities for you to have fun on two wheels.

Looking for something to do on your bike commute to or from work?

We’ve got some morning celebrations for you to stop by and fuel up with a free Clif Bar and a cup of Dark Matter coffee, get your bike checked out and open or renew your Active Transportation Alliance membership.

Whether you’re a Chicagoan or a suburbanite, we’ve also got some great evening celebrations that will allow you to meet with fellow bike commuters over some discounted food and Revolution Brewery beer. Check out our morning and evening celebrations here.

Are you going to be anywhere near downtown?

The city of Chicago has some great bike-centered events lined up including a showing of Rushmore in Millenium Park, a two-hour bike tour of the Near North side, an instructor-led and DJ-accompanied evening outdoor spin class under Cloud Gate and more! Click here for further details.

Not registered for the Bike Commuter Challenge yet?

Go to http://www.bikecommuterchallenge.org/ to join the challenge and get all the info you need to get going on two wheels. Biking one part of your commute to or from work for one day counts! Just be sure to log all your bike trips before June 30.

Did you know we’re throwing a party?

We’ll be celebrating with team leaders and winning teams on Tuesday July 22 at DIRTT. Save the date!
Stay tuned for upcoming announcements here, at www.bikecommuterchallenge.org, as well as on our Twitter and Facebook feeds.

Written by LHugel

June 9th, 2014 at 2:16 pm

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Neighborhood groups unite on festival transparency

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The Bucktown Community Organization, the Wicker Park Committee, the Ukrainian Village Neighborhood Association and the East Village Association recognize that festivals can bring a vibrancy to an area, introduce new people to our neighborhoods, and provide financial benefits to certain community organizations. The Bucktown, Wicker Park, Ukrainian Village & East Village communities support a limited number of such events, provided such events are properly managed and work with the community to ensure that these potentially positive results can be realized.

As such, the neighbors of Bucktown, Wicker Park, Ukrainian Village & East Village request the following from all festivals in our neighborhood, including Wicker Park Fest, Do Division, Green Fest, West Fest, Fashion Fest:

  • Complete transparency of festival financial statements. Including a detailed breakout of sponsorship, vendors, beer sales, grants, expenses & donations (at minimum, for the prior two years).
  • Inclusion of neighborhood groups in each festival’s logistics, safety & police plans in a timely fashion so they can have input and inform residents of what to expect.
  • Understanding that profits vary by fest, we would like more consistency between fests in our neighborhoods regarding the portion of proceeds that go to community organizations.
  • If the festival decides to take donations, they must post signage explaining how the donation will be used. (Chicago law states that you can’t charge admission to the public way) This should include an established percentage of the gate to be donated to the identified non-profit, excluding festival organizers.
  • Each festival takes the responsibility to make sure any community organizations or non-profits receiving are legitimate and are using proceeds as stated to go back into the neighborhood on a timely basis.

Together we feel strongly that more transparency and consistency among fests in our neighborhoods will result in safer festivals, reduce aggravation among community members, and provide more tangible benefits to the community and community organizations.

Written by Webmaster

June 8th, 2014 at 3:48 am

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