Heather Smith's blog

CNU London Transportation Summit Gets Off to Fast Start

Today's 2007 Transportation Summit hosted by the Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment opened with a s

CNU London Transportation Summit Gets Off to Fast Start

Today's 2007 Transportation Summit hosted by the Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment opened with a

What to do at 2am on a Saturday? Bike all over Chicago of course!

Summer is all about long days and balmy nights, so why not enjoy it on the bike? Saturday I took part in one of my favorite events of the summer. The Chicago Friends of the Park LATE (long after twilight ends) ride. This is a 25 mile ride through the streets from 2-6am beginning downtown and ending with sunrise and breakfast on the lake. We met up at the Art Institute at 1:00am along with a growing batch of cyclists. It reminded me a bit of a zombie movie--only everywhere pedestrians were turning into cyclists. First I just saw a few cyclists, then several others biking all over downtown meeting up with friends, and adjusting their headlights and helmets and gathering near Grant Park, then more and more gathered. Two friends and I plus 9,000 other riders took to start line about 1:30am. There was a band and they were giving out McDonald's ice coffee and snacks to keep us awake.

Congestion Charge for Downtown Chicago?

For those of us who want to promote public transportation and put more money into public transit I wouldn't have picked this headline but it did make the front page and seems to be sparking a great debate. The Sun Times front headline in huge letters proclaims

Driving is taking its toll in the Chicago region

Ironically at the start of Bike to Work Week here in Chicago, the Chicago Tribune leads it's front page with a story

"The pay's fine, but how's the drive?" showing how people are reconsidering their quality of life in favor of shorter commutes, and choosing less costly commutes close to home.

Imprint anything but Light at New Initiatives Forum

Tom Low kicked off the New Initiatives Forum today with a newly emerging idea that is quickly gaining traction within the movement--Light Imprint New Urbanism or LINU.

Say Hello to New Urbanism and Goodbye to Commuting

Here is an excerpt from the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette featuring Andres Duany discussing how broadband can complement New Urbanist communities. The article quoted Andres saying Telecommuting can be a lonely lifestyle, but a well-designed neighborhood should provide enough social interaction. Telecommuters can take a break at a local coffee shop or work from there on a laptop.

Virginia seeking comment on revamping Street Standards

This just in from Jeff Tumlin. Here is your chance to comment on ALL of Virginia's streets.

As many of you know, all streets in Virginia, from the narrowest lane to the biggest Interstate, are under control of the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth street standards are currently being updated, and both the governor and the transportation department are interested in adopting some of the most thoughtful standards in the nation, addressing connectivity, pedestrian accommodation, stormwater and other issues. They're inviting comment via the attached notice.

Don Shoup "Gone Parkin" in the New York Times

Don Shoup's speech at CNUXIII in Pasadena kicked off a wave of interest here in Chicago, and today he's in the NY Times opinion column. If this interests you, don't miss the parking session at CNU XV in Philadelphia with Neal Payton of Torti Gallas, Roamy Valera of Timothy Haahs Associates and Patrick Siegman of Nelson/Nygaard. Click here here for the latest information.

Hard Hat tour of HOPE VI site in Chicago

This past Friday Kevin Hardman, CNU member and former developer’s task force chair gave us a tour of his latest project Parkside at Old Town on Chicago’s near North Side. Located at Division and Clybourn in Chicago this development is part of the Cabrini Green Hope VI public housing transformation in Chicago. Under HOPE VI public housing units are being transformed across the country into mixed income communities comprised of 30% returning residents, 30% subsidized housing, and 30% market rate. The development is a mix of mid rise apartments with first floor retail lining an interior network of townhomes. Kevin explained the complications and some of the frustrations of the project beginning with the street widening. Pictured to the left is Division Street, where thanks to Division street being an IDOT state route, they forced a road widening on the city DOT. Despite CDOT and developer protests, IDOT took out a lane of parallel parking and added an additional travel lane. We did not take kindly to this turning radius and fast moving traffic including a two land right hand turn lane that turns right into a one lane side street. (pictured here). One of the streets also has a cul-de-sac which Kevin explained was not good urban design, but is attractive to parents with children. The development is adjacent to a large park and fieldhouse.