The old sidewalk on the south side of Fullerton, now replaced by a car lane/Photo: Michelle Stenzel
By John Greenfield
Last week I attended events related to two different Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) bridge projects. One of these spans will be a terrific addition to the city’s sustainable transportation infrastructure. The other one, not so much.
First the good news. CDOT’s Addison Underbridge Connector project will link up existing snippets of bike path along the Chicago River to create a nearly two-mile, car-free route from Belmont Street to Montrose Avenue. This new path segment will be suspended some sixteen feet above the river on piers.
Starting from the north end of an existing trail in Clark Park, just west of Lane Tech High School, the elevated path will continue north under the Addison Street Bridge, hug the east riverbank and then cross to the west bank to meet up with an existing trail in California Park. Eventually the path will continue under the Irving Park Road Bridge to Horner Park, where trails lead north to Montrose. Read the rest of this entry »
Andersonville, Architecture, Avondale, Bicycling, Bronzeville, Checkerboard City, City Life, Green, Lakeview, News etc., Wicker Park
People Spot and bike corral in Andersonville/Photo: Andersonville Development Corporation
By John Greenfield
Local pundits like ex-Sun-Times columnist Mark Konkol and the Tribune’s John McCarron and John Kass have trashed the city’s new protected bike lanes as a waste of space on the streets. But Chicagoans tend to overlook the massive amount of room on the public way given over to moving and parking private automobiles.
A new Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) initiative called Make Way for People is dreaming up more imaginative uses of the city’s asphalt and concrete, creating new public spaces that are energizing business strips. In partnership with local community leaders, the program is taking parking spots, roadways, alleys and under-used plazas and transforming them into People Spots, People Streets, People Alleys and People Plazas, respectively, lively neighborhood hangouts.
“It’s not a top-down program where we come in and say, ‘We think you need a People Spot or a People Street,’” says Janet Attarian, head of the department’s Streetscape and Sustainable Design section. “Instead we say, ‘We want to help you build community and culture and place and, look, we just created a whole set of tools that wasn’t available before.’” Read the rest of this entry »
Bill Savage/Photo: John Greenfield
By John Greenfield
“Nelson Algren wrote, ‘It isn’t hard to love a town for its greater and its lesser towers, its pleasant parks or its flashing ballet,’” says Algren scholar Bill Savage, strapping on his bicycle helmet. “‘But you never truly love it until you can love its alleys too.’ So there’s this dynamic in the city between the boulevard and the alley, between the beautiful urban spaces and the place where the garbage and the rats are, and if you really love Chicago you’ve got to love both.”
An English lecturer at Northwestern University, Bill grew up in Rogers Park with his brother, sex advice columnist Dan Savage, and still lives in the neighborhood. “I tell my students, it’s very easy to experience the city secondhand, in books and movies and online,” Bill says. “But if you’re not out there on the pavement, whether on foot or on a bicycle or in a car or on public transportation, you’re missing something.” Read the rest of this entry »
“A lot of churches don’t recognize animals as souls,” says Linda, the proud owner of an adorable barrel-shaped mutt named Buddy that they found in an alley a few years back. Along with her husband Jim, the family ventures out on a brisk Saturday afternoon to The Irving Park United Methodist Church in Avondale to join their fellow dog lovers in a seasonal event called “Dog Bless America.”
Standing outside the church are a gaggle of furry barking friends and their owners waiting to walk up to the steps and receive a little holy good fortune. Virginia, a member of the community, says this is her first time getting her dog blessed, but has seen other churches participate every year around early October. Read the rest of this entry »