Posts tagged Chicago
Mark your calendars for the Illinois Student Environmental Coalition’s first meeting from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 10, 2012 in Chicago. This inaugural event will feature networking opportunities with students and sustainability professionals, a talk by a noted environmental leader and break-out sessions to help you develop, manage, and expand your environmental advocacy efforts.
The Environment Department of Chicago’s government will be disbanded by the end of this year. However, no programs will be cut; they will be integrated into existing programs in other departments. For example, the Energy and Sustainable Business will become part of the Department of General Service. The Permitting and Enforcement Section will now be part of the Department of Public Health, and the Clean Vehicle Initiatives will be integrated into the Transportation Department.
This reorganization is expected to save $3.6 million (partly from the thirteen layoffs involved) to help Chicago meet its fiscal challenges. The new budget that announced this reorganization also had new environment related measures within the city to boost revenue and show the Mayor’s commitment to green priorities. Some of these new measures include a $2-$5 ‘congestion fee’ added to downtown parking lots and garages. This fee will raist $28 million to be used in improving public transportation infrastructure. Water and sewer taxes will also be increased to raise money for replacing 900 miles of city water and sewer systems and create 18,000 jobs. Finally, new energy saving lighting installation may cut energy use up to 90%.
As the city’s chief sustainability officer says, the idea is to “elevate and embed sustainability into everything we do…” Although some are concerned that the innovation generated by a single team will be lost by this distribution, the sustainability officer assures that Chicago’s government wants, “to make sustainability a major part of the way we do things.”
ISEC is asking campuses across Illinois to encourage students to bike to campus April18-22. We’d like this to be friendly competition while having a bit of fun and encouraging a new bicyclists on campus.
Bike to Campus Week goals:
1) Take a picture of fellow bike commuters, as a group or individually.
2) Have students sign a commitment sheet with their email and why they ride, so we have a count for each campus. (e-mail Mark at email@example.com for the form)
3) Have a new bike commuter tell their story.
4) Gather signatures, pictures, and newbie stories and send them to ISEC so we can post them on our website as inspiration for other campuses.
Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago currently has 12 bicyclists signed up and committed to commuting to campus the week of April 18-22. Everyone has a different reason of why they ride. They include; “Biking rocks” and “To reduce carbon emissions.” We have a picture of our group and hope to take pictures of individual riders with their bikes during Bike to Campus Week. We also have two potential first-timers who want to try biking to campus: Michelle and Matt. They will give it a shot and tell us their story when the week is up. What’s your campus’ count?
Saturday, April 2nd
Clarendon Park Community Center, 2nd Floor
4501 N Clarendon, Chicago
Win free bike gear, eat snacks and learn more about bike safety. Drop in to the festival any time, or stay awhile for our expert-led sessions:
* Bike Safety in Chicago – 11:00-11:30am
* Know Your Bike and Your Gear – 11:30am-noon
* Tips and Tricks for Bike Commuters Panel – noon-12:30pm
Enter the FREE raffle to win a helmet, pump, reflective wrist/ankle bands, lights, CTA passes, or a $75 iGO gift certificate.
After the event there’s a 3-mile celebratory ride, starting at Clarendon Park and ending at Bar on Buena (910 W Buena).
Event sponsored by the Chicago Conservation Corps (C3) and the Lesley University Urban Environmental Leadership program.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with comments or questions.
Here’s information at Working Bikes.
Loyola University will be honoring retiring Alderwomen (Virginia Rugai, Vi Daley, Helen Shiller, and Mary Ann Smith) tomorrow evening as part of their The Ann F. Baum Women and Leadership Speaker Series. Students from ISEC and the Chicago Climate Youth Coalition will be in attendance to ask Alderman Rugai about her lack of support for the Chicago Clean Power Ordinance. Join us at this event, beginning at 7pm in the Mundelein Auditorium (1032 W. Sheridan Road).
For more information, visit their website.
The 4th annual Chicago Bike Winter Art Show will take place from March 11 – 25 and is hosted by the new gallery, Chicago Urban Art Society (2229 South Halsted Street). There will also be a closing party on March 25.
Crews have been on the Lake Front Trail this week repairing the winter damage by cleaning up chunks of pavement and adding temporary pavement ramps. Here are some pictures from this morning of two areas where repairs have taken place: south of Fullerton and south of North Ave. So get out there and ride!
The Chainlink is an online forum for Chicagoland bicyclists or anyone who wants to learn more about bicycling, with a side of Chicago. Currently there are 4,942 members, 4,024 topics of discussion (some repeated or related), 169 groups, a calendar of events, revolving pictures uploaded from members, news links and bike-related links, and even a “Craigslist bike-related missed connections.” It’s a daily bicyclist newspaper for and by the bicyclists in the Chicagoland area.
Check out the cornucopia of Chainlink discussions: how to wash one’s bike, movies, lesser-known routes, winter-biking, pets, what to do if one’s bike is stolen…and much more. Search for a question you may have, or scan the topics until one piques your interest. I’ve learned much from this website over the past few years and gained valuable insights into bicycling and beyond.
Don’t forget to bring your funny bone and wear your thinking cap. These folks are smart and funny.
A cycle track pilot project for Chicago is planned to be constructed along Stony Island Avenue, between 69th and 77th streets. A cycle track is a bicycle lane separated from motorized vehicles by a physical barrier, which is important in creating a safe environment for bicyclists of all ages. By creating a separate safe zone for bicycling, more people may take to the streets, or in this case, the cycle track. And of course, more people riding bikes means less automobile traffic.
Unfortunately, we will have to wait until 2014 for Chicago’s first cycle track.
The Chicago Tribune recently ran the story “Power company holds off on cleaning up Chicago-area coal plants,” reporting that Midwest Generation has held off on upgrading pollution controls at the Little Village and Pilsen neighborhood coal-burning power plants. These are just two of six coal plants owned by the company.
The Fisk plant was built in 1903 and the Crawford plant in 1924. These coal-fire plants emit harmful pollutants into the air, including sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. They are the source of toxic mercury that contaminates fish in the Great Lakes and other waterways, making coal-burning power plants harmful for both nearby residents as well as farther-reaching areas. Their effect can be found not only in humans, but in animals, land and water.
The Chicago Fisk and Crawford power plants sell their power to Pennsylvania, providing only a little power for Chicago during spikes in demand but putting vulnerable populations at risk for health problems such as asthma.
The Chicago Clean Power Coalition provides information about the plants and the Chicago Clean Power Ordinance, which seeks to address carbon and particulate emission.
Over 35 students from five different Chicago-area schools joined 200 other Chicago residents Valentine’s Day morning at an ad-hoc hearing in City Hall for the Chicago Clean Power Ordinance. The Chicago Clean Power Ordinance would effectively shut down the Fisk and Crawford coal fired power plants in Pilsen and Little Village, whose soot emissions cause over 40 premature deaths per-year, and whose yearly carbon out-put equates to the emissions of 875,000 automobiles.
After 8 months of road-blocks to an official hearing before the Health and Energy Committees, the Chicago Clean Power Coalition resolved not to let Mayor’s Daley’s efforts to stall the Ordinance prevent the people’s voices from being heard. Alderman Moore, the Ordinance’s sponsor, heard over three hours of testimony from parents, doctors, citizens, scientists, lawyers, researchers, activists, and students. Before the hearing, students handed out Valentine’s Day candy and information about the Ordinance to people outside of City Hall.
The Bicycle Film Festival is having its 10th Annual celebration this weekend, February 24-26. The BFF began in New York City and now stops at 40 cities around the world. Bicycle films are one way of providing a view into the world of bicycling. “In the last ten years the BFF has given the bicycle movement a venue to make, show and celebrate their movies and art.”
There’s a film festival pass, or five separate programs to choose from. Each program contains several films, ranging in time and type, from 1 to 49 minutes and racing to reckless, with 30 films in all. There are also trailers to view online, like Riding the Long White Cloud.
In addition to the films there are several parties throughout the weekend, including a Thursday Kick Off Party at Beauty Bar, a Friday After Party at the Viaduct Theatre, and a Saturday After Party at Darkroom.
Contact Terry for more information or volunteer to distribute promotional materials or help with ”day-of” activities such as the bike valet.
Climate Cycle is bicycling for a greater good, and that good is the installation of solar panels at public schools. “In the first two rides, a combined 900 Climate Cyclists raised $175,000. Thanks to their efforts, Climate Cycle has awarded 10 schools with solar panel installations and seeded 15 additional environmental school projects to date.”
May 22, 2011 will be the 3rd annual Ride to Recharge, where bicyclists of all ages take to the Chicago lakefront path. There are different rides to choose from: 4, 10, 20, or 62 miles, and even a 125 mile 2-day ride, spending a night at the Indiana Dunes. Both the 62 and 125 mile rides are supported with SAG vehicles, rest stops along the way, and ride marshals to provide basic bike maintenance.
The soon-to-leave mayor, Richard M. Daley is an avid bicyclist, and during his 22 year reign promoted various bicycle infrastructure projects in Chicago. But how does his replacement feel about bicycling issues? Feel free to research the candidates at their websites. The following is a list of the Chicago mayoral candidates and their bicycle or bicycle-related plans:
o Could not locate bicycle-specific information on the website.
o Could not locate bicycle-specific information on the website.
o “We can improve on the way we use energy, our access to sustainable transportation alternatives, how we maintain water and air quality, and how we manage the waste from our homes and businesses.”
o “Expanding access to transit options to lessen reliance on automobiles. We must aggressively advocate for local, regional, state, and federal plans and funding to increase public transportation and make Chicago a more bicycle and pedestrian friendly city.”
o From A GREEN GROWTH PLATFORM FOR CHICAGO’S NEXT MAYOR: “More Chicagoans are biking and walking to work and in their neighborhoods for better health and enjoyment, as well as a low-cost means of transportation. The City’s policies and plans can improve these opportunities and increase mobility for many people. Short of specifically responding to every suggestion in the Chicago’s Sustainable Transportation Platform developed by the Active Transportation Alliance, I support aggressively advocating for local, regional, state, and federal plans and funding to increase public transportation and make Chicago friendlier to bicycles and pedestrians.”
o Multi-modal transportation network: ”…network of streets, rail, buses, bicycle lanes, and sidewalks links people to jobs, school and recreation and provides affordable transportation options for Chicagoans.”
o Chicago’s Bike Plan: “…supports full implementation… and will initiate a review of its goals and timelines to identify opportunities to expand the plan and accelerate the pace of implementation”
o Increase the number of [bike lane] miles: “…from 8 to 25 – and prioritize the creation of protected bike lanes”
o Bike lane network: “…that allows every Chicagoan – from kids on their first ride to senior citizens on their way to the grocery store”
o Protected bike lanes: “Chicago would be a pioneer in the creation and expansion of protected bike lanes”
o Prioritize the lanes: “on major thoroughfares that link communities to downtown and each other”
o Complete the Bloomingdale Trail: ”…a 2.65-mile multi-use recreational trail built along an elevated rail line along Bloomingdale Avenue on Chicago’s northwest side…converted into a safe greenway that accommodates both pedestrian and bike travel”
o A spot for every bicycle: “…protected bike storage facilities at the rate of one spot for every 20 employees in the building…change in the building code that would require secure bike parking based on the square-footage of the development…offer incentives for increased bike parking…tax incentives for any company that offers shower and locker facilities on-site for bicycle commuters”
o Bike Parking: ”…replace the bike parking that was lost in neighborhoods when 40,000 parking meters were removed and replaced with the current pay boxes…adding racks and sheltered bike parking in the neighborhoods and downtown to increase convenience and security for bikers who do not have parking at their buildings…expanded at transit facilities”
o Could not locate bicycle-specific information on the website.
o “working to grow our city into one of the most bike- and pedestrian-friendly cities in the nation”
o “more safe biking and pedestrian routes; is convenient and comfortable for all residents whether they are traveling home, to work or to enjoy the many cultural and recreational activities that the city has to offer”
o “Promote A More Sustainable Transit System: Increasing Ridership, Car Sharing & Biking Incentives”
o “Making Chicago the Most Bike-Friendly City in the Nation: As Mayor, Dr. Watkins will support full implementation of the ‘Bike 2015 Plan’ to increase the use of bicycles for trips less than five miles, and to reduce bicycle injuries by 50 percent. She will not only work to ensure the city expands access to a network of safe bike lanes and trails, but to also implement a public/private partnership that operates a bike-share program that allows for short-term bike rentals.”
From the Environmental Law & Policy Center: An ad hoc City Council hearing on the Chicago Clean Power Ordinance drew hundreds of supporters on February 14th as physicians, economists, attorneys and community members made the case for the ordinance, which would clean up pollution from two coal plants in Chicago. Alderman Joe Moore, chief sponsor of the Clean Power Ordinance, convened the hearing after Daley Administration allies in the City Council postponed a planned City Council hearing for that date.
The Clean Power Ordinance is co-sponsored by 16 Aldermen and backed by the Chicago Clean Power Coalition, an alliance of over 50 health, community, labor, environmental and business groups. The ordinance was introduced in April 2010 and was referred jointly to the City Council’s Committee on Health and the Committee on Energy, Environmental Protection and Public Utilities. After months of delay, a Health Committee hearing was set for Feb 14th. However, Moore was informed that the hearing would be delayed indefinitely.
A 2010 report released by the Clean Air Task Force stated that the Fisk plant in Pilsen and the Crawford plant in Little Village are responsible for over 40 deaths and 720 asthma attacks annually. According to a 2010 research from the National Research Council and the Environmental Law & Policy Center, the coal plants are also responsible for over $127 million in public health costs every year.
“Chicago is still the asthma epicenter of the country. Our asthma hospitalization rate is nearly double the national average and as many as 44% of children have asthma in some Chicago neighborhoods,” said Brian Urbaszewski, Director of Environmental Health Programs at Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago.