As cities respond to growing calls for safer streets and more open space, many have begun holding a series of Open Streets events where streets are closed to cars and opened to everyone else (people, bikes, skates and other non-motorized users). In most cases there is special programming including vendors, music, demonstrations and fun activities, but a few just put up some cones and let people have the street. And of course marathons, road races and charity walks are some examples of active use of streets and highways. For more info and a sampling of what different cities are doing, check out this Momentum Magazine article, the Wikipedia page and the Open Streets Project directory. Read all about the history of ciclovias (open streets) at Ciclovias Recreativas de las Américas. I took to Lyndale Avenue South on a beautiful Sunday in late June for Open Streets Minneapolis. This episode features "in the field" interviews with some of the organizations tabling as well as regular people trying out activities such and the pop-up cycle track and the slow race. Organizations represented are (in order): Metro Transit; Minneapolis Public Works Dept; Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition; Spokes community bike center; Bike Walk Twin Cities (Transit for Livable Communities, Non-motorized Transportation Pilot Program); Nice Ride bike sharing; Minneapolis Sculpture Garden; Hennepin County Medical Center; Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota. The morning event I spoke about is the Brompton US Championship (photos).
I chat with Julie Hochstadter, director of The Chainlink, an online forum which serves as a community and resource hub for bicyclists in Chicago. We hear about how members have used The Chainlink to address a diverse range of issues and discuss bike advocacy, politics, infrastructure and the state of cycling in the city. Julie offers some ride suggestions and tips for both new and seasoned cyclists. This past weekend I attended the Chicago Bike Swap, where I had the chance to test ride cargo bikes (PICS!) and meet many interesting people. Links include the Cargo Bike Roll Call; a mobile bike repair shop called Pedal to the People; and the sustainable streets blog Streetsblog Chicago. Pictures coming soon!
Next week I will be in Milwaukee as I tour cities in Wisconsin, Minnesota and eventually Michigan. Get in touch - firstname.lastname@example.org - if you're in those states area or have suggestions for show topics, places I should go, or people I should meet or interview.
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Here are some pics of the cargo bikes from this weekend's Chicago Bike Swap. Questions? Need a cargo bike? Comment on this post or visit Chicago Cargo Bike Roll Call.