Friday, September 14, 2012

Open Streets again this Sunday - Hooray

Once again Chicago will offer a place to play in the street this Sunday the 16th from 10 to 3 on Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park/Bucktown from the Polish Triangle at Division/Ashland to Western/Milwaukee, with most planned activities near the Blue Line stop at North/Damen/Milwaukee. You should really go. It's fun.

In New York we rode on Summer Streets this year, with a zillion biking, skateboarding, roller skating or walking others - it was a longer route but a similar idea. Being able to walk safely in the middle of a main street in a major city gives you a remarkable view of space and community that you just don't see when you have to be careful of the cars the whole time. When I lived in Bogotá in the 80s, the CiclovĂ­a was the same: bustling loud dangerous downtown avenues turned into places for families to stroll in their jogging suits, and ring roads and highways gave aspiring racing cyclists a long loop to practice.

Now Chicago is expanding Open Streets out of the Loop neighborhood into a part of town with more to see and do. Go early and enjoy yourself, and let the organizers know what you think afterwards.

This map expands so you can read it if you click. Link is here too.

There are a hundred good places to grab a bite or relax a bit nearby. Near the Polish Triangle, the Boring Store is secret agent supply shop with an after school reading program hidden in back, and Podhalanka on the south side of the triangle is a great inexpensive place for a bowl of soup or a schnitzel or pierogis.  Lovely bakery is just south of the triangle on Milwaukee and has yummy baked goods (meh coffee); Bake also does great pastries with better coffee but is not quite on the route, on North near Western. Buzz, north on Damen, has the best coffee near the route. Piece and Big Star have pizza and tacos a step away from the main intersection on North and Damen respectively. The teacher supply store up Milwaukee near Western is good for kid supplies. Margie's Candies is at the north end of the route with old fashioned sundaes. There are many, many other places too.

Wicker Park itself, just down Damen a block from the main intersection, has bathrooms, as does the library up Milwaukee a block toward Western, and Open Streets will have them too.

If you need to buy a bike for the event (or fix one), Copenhagen bikes is on the route, Rapid Transit nearby on North, and The Bike Lane up a block or two north on Milwaukee; Quick Release is never open when I go but near Ashland and North.

By the way, the Travelon Gamelon we mentioned earlier this week is still looking for volunteers...

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