East Village Association members will vote Monday on whether to support zoning and licensing changes for the Forbidden Root brewery to operate at 1742-50 W. Chicago Ave. Rootmaster Robert Finkel and brewer Robert (BJ) Pichman describe their proposal.
Forbidden Root will be the first botanical brewery in the country, crafting its brew around all natural herbs, roots and spices. It would like to open its headquarters, brewery and tap room in the long vacant former Hub Theater at 1746 W. Chicago Ave. As a “Benefit” corporation, it intends to donate all of its profits from non-consumable merchandise to worthy not-for-profit causes, initially the Green City Market.
Forbidden Root proposes locating its brewery and R&D operations in the rear of the building. The capacity of the on-site brewery will be limited and larger-scale brewing and bottling will occur at a remote location. The front portion of the building will be refurbished to provide an inviting tap room where customers can experience the company’s products. Seating capacity in the tap room would be limited to 150 persons. A small area for the sale of Forbidden Root products also will be located in the front portion of the building. The on-site retail sale of packaged alcohol will be limited to Forbidden Root brand products or products created in collaboration with Forbidden Root.
The production portion of the Forbidden Root proposal requires the rezoning of the property from B1 to C1. Forbidden Root has agreed to pursue such rezoning under a Type 1 rezoning, which keys the rezoning to specific plans and also to specific operations parameters. The on-site sale at retail of alcohol will require lifting the tavern moratorium in effect along Chicago Avenue from Ashland to Wood. The entire area covered by the moratorium is zoned B1. As taverns are not permitted in B1 zoning, lifting the tavern moratorium will not open the door to additional taverns in the area. The package liquor moratorium in effect for the same area is not currently proposed to be modified.
Forbidden Root will bring a unique, responsible and exciting new business to Chicago Avenue. A long-vacant building will be refurbished and returned to productive use. Forbidden Root is pursuing the needed approvals in a fashion that addresses all concerns raised about its proposal. It has agreed to make the conditions and limitations on its operations part of its approvals. As a community and environmentally conscious company, Forbidden Root will be positive addition to the area and revitalization of the long vacant Hub Theatre will further enliven Chicago Avenue.
Bus lanes along Ashland Avenue will be up for a vote at Monday's East Village Association meeting.
Members will vote on the CTA's Ashland Bus Rapid Transit as currently proposed: "Based on information EVA now has, is EVA for or against the Ashland BRT?"
Reflecting concerns about the design, the EVA board last month left open the possibility of revisiting the issue if the plan changes.
And changes are likely. The $160 million Ashland BRT proposal would restrict inner lanes to buses and emergency vehicles. Medians would stay in place. Bus stops would replace the left-turn lanes.
The city's new transportation commissioner, Rebekah Scheinfeld, now wants to keep left turns on some intersections. As the CTA's planning officer, Scheinfeld was responsible for the original design.
EVA's board identified several issues with the CTA's current design:
- The design slows car traffic on Ashland by 10%.
- Congestion and reduced parking would harm local businesses.
- Traffic is likely to rise on streets adjacent to Ashland.
A 2016 completion was planned for the first phase between Cortland Avenue and 31st Street. But funds for engineering studies, construction and operation would first have to be lined up.
The Wicker Park Committee last week discussed working with the CTA on a better design.
That's essentially been the EVA position in nearly a year of debate: Great if it works, but can it work?
Meetings and blog posts coached members on how to be heard in the environmental assessment required for federal funding. (I filed my own comments.) EVA encouraged members to attend last year's Ashland BRT open houses.
Members also discussed an alternative express-bus plan from the Randolph/ Fulton Market Association, without committing to either proposal.
Monday's meeting starts at 7pm in the Happy Village, 1059 N. Woloctt Ave.
For the last 23 years, the Active Transportation Alliance has created thousands of new bike commuters each year through the Bike Commuter Challenge. The Challenge promotes bike commuting as an activity that is easy, fun and environmentally-friendly.
Throughout the Challenge’s long history, it has been under the enthusiastic guidance of the Team Leader – our bike commuting evangelists – to create and recruit teams that have set new records for participation nearly every year.
Tuesday night Active Trans honored this year’s team leaders and winning teams as part of the 2014 Bike Commuter Challenge Awards Party at DIRTT Environmental Solutions. Jerome McDonnell, host of WBEZ’s Worldview, emceed the event and entertained attendees with his Bike Commuter Challenge dioramas and sharp wit. Attendees shared their Challenge stories over Revolution Brewing beer and Chipotle.
A big thank you to all the more than 6,000 Bike Commuter Challenge participants that made this the best Challenge yet. We rank winners in the Bike Commuter Challenge based on the percentage of employees who biked to work during the Challenge, the new website also tracked other valuable data:
• Total teams: 946 (more than twice last year’s number!)
• Total participants: 6,190 (5,277 last year)
• Total female participants: 42% (43% last year)
• Total new participants: 936 (15% of total)
• Total number of bike commutes: 151,895 (20,000 last year)
• Total miles biked: 151,960 (110,000 last year)
• Total pounds of C02 saved: 148,920
• Total calories burned: 7,446,042
• Most miles biked by a single commuter: 347 – Fred Stanton @ Allstate Insurance Northbrook Campus (329 last year)
• Biggest team: 300 - Groupon (204 last year)
• Most team commutes: 906 – Northwestern University (1,223 last year)
• Most team miles: 9,794 – Northwestern University (5,500 last year)
Everyone who participated in the Challenge is a winner, but here is the official list of this year’s winning teams. Congratulations to the 2014 Bike Commuter Challenge winners!
Bike Related Business
<5 employees: Warren Cycling & Scott Padiak & Associates
5-24 employees: REI – Northbrook
25-99 employees: REI – Lincoln Park
100-499 employees: SRAM
<5 employees: Northwestern Medicine – Hospital Campus & Hive Chicago Learning Network
5-24 employees: University of Chicago Flow Lab
25-99 employees eSpark Learning
100-499 employees: Old Town School of Folk Music
500+ employees: The Museum and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
<5 employees: Nancy Veloo Photography, Wargaski Violins, Tzer0, Data Everywhere, Nolan Collaborative, GrandBox & Pines of Edgewater
5-24 employees: moss::, Sam Schwartz Engineering & Cyclone Energy Group
25-99 employees: Studio Gang Architects
100-499 employees: Upshot Marketing
500+ employees: Orbitz
<5 employees: AEA
5-24 employees: Plant Chicago
25-99 employees: Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance
100-499 employees: Center for Neighborhood Technology + Elevate Energy
500+ employees: Field Museum
<5 employees: State Rep. Elaine Nekritz District Office
5-24 employees: Alderman Deb Mell, 33rd Ward Office
25-99 employees: CTA Planning
100-499 employees: Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
500+ employees: US Environmental Protection Agency
The Bike Commuter Challenge is sponsored by WXRT, Revolution Brewing, Portland Design Works, Clif Bar, Dark Matter Coffee, SRAM, Village Cycle Center, The Chainlink and the City of Chicago.
Last week, Wayne Township residents and elected officials came together to brainstorm ideas for making the six-community area in Chicago's Northwest Suburbs safer and more accessible for cyclists.
The enthusiastic crowd identified opportunities for new side paths, trail connections, on-street bicycle lanes and signage pointing the way to shops and downtowns.
Residents enjoy riding the trails in the area – such as the Illinois Prairie Path – but expressed frustration about “not being able to get to them.”
They also mentioned barriers at crossings such as Schick Road and Rt. 59. DuPage County recently finished a path on Schick Road starting west from Bartlett High School, but it stops short of Rt. 59.
As one resident said, she wants kids to be able to bike from the neighborhood across Rt. 59 to the Bartlett Library, less than a mile away.
Attendees also debated the pros and cons of various policies and programs that could be implemented in the future. Their input will be used to inform plan recommendations.
Through this plan, the township hopes to build stronger connections between the portions of communities it encompasses – Wayne, West Chicago, Bartlett, Hanover Park, Carol Stream and St. Charles – and ensure that all residents are able to bike as a mode of transportation.
Did you miss the meeting but still want to weigh in? You’re in luck – we are running an online survey now through the end of August.
Photo Credit: Laurie Nowak
Enjoy the charm, beauty and architectural character of the near western suburbs at the 8th Annual Wright Ride on Sunday, August 17, 2014.
The Oak Park Cycle Club, The Oak Park Regional Housing Center, and Visit Oak Park invite you to sponsor the Wright Ride 2014. One of the best ways to discover the delights of Chicago’s near western suburbs is on two wheels. A family-friendly event, the Wright Ride is not a race, but a leisurely jaunt through some of Chicagoland’s most beautiful tree-lined and architecturally rich communities. Cyclists of all abilities are welcome: whether you’re a novice, casual cyclist, or experienced long-distance rider, there’s something here for everyone. A plus is that cycling is an eco-friendly way to tour the wealth of historically significant homes and structures through the area.
With a choice of 10, 30, 50 and 62-mile routes, riders will be able to take in the scenery and charm of as many as 10 communities, including Oak Park, River Forest, Riverside, and Western Springs, with more than 25 intriguing landmarks – including a dozen designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. All routes begin and end on the newly renovated Marion Street in Downtown Oak Park – giving participants the opportunity to take advantage of the wide-range of dining experiences and specialty shops that set Oak Park apart.
Adults – $25 ($30 day of ride)
Children under age 12 – $5
Get your tickets online here!