TagBridgeport

Bike businesses that keep me pedaling: Lloyd Cycles (2 of 4)

Four part series of Midwest bike-related businesses that keep me and my bike rolling without hassle.

When the two seat stays became disconnected from the seat tube, I brought my bicycle to my local shop and asked for help.

I’m pretty sure at this time I had no idea what anyone could do about it, nor did I know that Owen Lloyd, the co-owner of Blue City Cycles, could fix it himself. He transported the bike to the Lloyd Cycles “shop” at Bubbly Dynamics (actually a shared space with shared equipment, 1048 W 37th Street). It was fixed by cutting off the existing seat stay cap, removing the seat stay cap still attached to the seat lug, inserting a brand new seat stay cap, and brazing this onto the seat lug.

Thank goodness it all worked out. I didn’t have to hunt down a new frame, or transfer my components onto another bike. Three days later and I was rolling on a slightly more durable bicycle.

Here’s what it looked like broken.

Here’s what it looks like fixed. A fixed fixie!

A Lloyd Cycles bike for sale at Boulevard Bikes, 2535 North Kedzie Blvd.

More in this series

  1. UV Metal Arts – Read it here
  2. Lloyd Cycles - You’re reading it!
  3. Kozie Prery – coming soon, and with a contest!
  4. Planet Bike – coming soon

Bike businesses that keep me pedaling: UV Metal Arts (1 of 4)

Four part series of Midwest bike-related businesses that keep me and my bike rolling without hassle.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Well, my rear rack was broken and I wanted someone to fix it. I didn’t want to buy a new rack if it could be fixed – I don’t want to send raw materials to the landfill. I contacted Owen Lloyd for help with welding a piece of my Planet Bike Eco Rack back together. The “deck” had detached from the last rail and was flapping around making noise but also reduced the strength of the rack structure. Thinking about it now, I could probably have asked Planet Bike for a replacement as they have a lifetime warranty on all of their products. But I wanted it fixed here and now.

Owen brought me over to Yuval “UV” Awazu of UV Metal Arts in Bubbly Dynamics at 1048 West 37th Street and his UV Metal Arts workshop in Bridgeport. The rack is made of aluminum and UV was the only craftsperson in the “factory” who can weld it. He can do way more than repairing small parts like these. He also powdercoats bike frames and “bakes” them in a tall, custom oven he built himself.

10 minutes later, I had a rack that was stronger than brand new!

My repaired rack. I highly recommend this rack as it only costs $21 on Amazon, but if you expect it to last longer than two years and carry weight on it daily (and maybe sometimes too much or lopsided), then get something stronger.

UV at the Bike Winter Cycle Swap in February. See more photos from this event.

A bicycle that UV colored. UV says you can choose just about any color (including metallics) for your item (powder coating is for more than just bicycles).

More in this series

  1. UV Metal Arts – You’re reading it!
  2. Lloyd Cycles – coming soon
  3. Kozie Prery – coming soon, and with a contest!
  4. Planet Bike – coming soon

Sox-35th Metra station opened on Sunday

I had been giving construction updates on the new Metra station on 35th Street in Bronzeville/Bridgeport but I missed that the opening day was Sunday! I caught these photos in my Flickr contacts page, by Eric Pancer. Blair Kamin explains why it looks so bad.

It didn’t have to be this way. The Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill came up with a promising design for the station, one that justified the demolition of a Mies-designed brick hut that reportedly served as the entrance to an underground testing facility for explosives during the Cold War.

But then, things went seriously off the rails.

See all of his photos in the set.

Metra will have a different schedule on game days. From their press release:

Metra will increase its service on game days to accommodate White Sox fans. For weekday afternoon games, an extra outbound train will leave the station after the final out. For weekday evening games, Train 531 (departing LaSalle St. at 11:15 p.m.) will have more cars, and an extra outbound all-stop train will operate about 30 minutes after the last out. For weekend games, an inbound extra train will arrive at the station about an hour before the first pitch, and an outbound extra will operate about 30 minutes after the final out.

If you ride the Rock Island District line, you must check out the new schedule (PDF).

Invigorating Bridgeport

I recently started a blog called Bridgeport. About three weeks ago.

My intent is to use it as a platform on which to promote local businesses. I didn’t know what to write about it until a journalism student at Columbia College asked me some questions about me and the blog for a class assignment.

A chic Chicagoan rides by Bricks Realty, a local Bridgeport business on Morgan Street.

How long have you lived in Bridgeport and how do you like it?

I’ve lived in Bridgeport for 2.5 years in December 2010. I like it less than I liked living Pilsen because I’m a little further away to where I went to school and where I used to work. I also like the obvious Pilsen identity and numerous taquerias (I’ve documented my visits to 24 taquerias to judge their burritos).

When did you start the blog?

I started the blog on October 6th, but the first entry didn’t appear until the next day. I work in the middle of the night often.

Why did you decide to start blogging about Bridgeport?

I started blogging about Bridgeport because I feel that we have a lot of great local businesses that don’t get the same attention that businesses in the Loop, Lincoln Park, or Wicker Park receive. The level of awareness Chicagoans have for businesses and attractions in Bridgeport seems very low. I think people will come to Bridgeport to enjoy one neat place they read about, and then leave. There are diverse products and services available in Bridgeport – there’s more than just a restaurant known for its brunch and organic food.

What do you blog about?

So far I haven’t blogged about much. I’ve posted a couple events, like a store sale at Blue City Cycles, or an open house at Bubbly Dynamics where the public is invited to meet local craftspeople and see their work. I went to that open house and met all the craftspeople to introduce them to the blog. I plan to feature them in a future entry.

Do you run any other blogs?

I write often in another blog about urban planning and Chicago. It has a silly name, Steven can plan, but once you launch, you don’t really have an opportunity to change the name without confusing readers. (I just counted the words, 70,826 of ’em!)

What is your background in (ie major/job)?

I graduated from UIC with a master’s degree in urban planning this past May. I worked at the Chicago Department of Transportation for almost 3 years ending in September this year. I’m looking for new work, but I also just love blogging and taking photos.

Park wins while parking fails neighborhood

This post on the removal of car parking at a park inspired me to write this post about the addition of car parking at a park.

Palmisano (Stearns Quarry) Park was created out of a dolomite limestone quarry and landfill in Bridgeport. The park is well designed and has a variety of landscape features. It’s quite popular, especially with elderly Asian residents.

Now, after a year of it being open, many diagonal parking spaces were installed on 27th Street. Space was removed from the parkway to create additional parking spaces where only parallel spaces existed.

Access to the park is not an issue. There are hundreds of households and thousands of residents within half a mile. There’re bike lanes and bus stops. There is a signalized intersection that makes it safer for people to cross the street to the park. Lastly, there are many unused parallel parking spaces lining two sides of the park.

So why was parking added? Did the neighbors ask for it? Did the Chicago Park District feel new parking was needed?

In a nutshell, my complaints against this are:

  1. It removed parkway – this should be sacred space. Perhaps we can institute a “tit-for-tat” policy (modeled after a parking meter agreement*) where if parkway is removed in one place, parkway has to be expanded or improved in another place.
  2. Potentially increases traffic in area by encouraging more driving by offering free parking. All parking surrounding the park is free.
  3. Parking space for drivers with handicap badges does not have a ramp. This is the most perplexing part – you may have to open the photo to its full size to notice this.
  4. Bumpout is not a bioswale. I highly doubt anyone will maintain the grass and soil. This landscaping will die.
  5. Bumpout’s large radius will not calm traffic (I watch it every day).

I would like to see the bumpout “island” transformed into a proper curb extension at a stop sign where drivers typically pause in the crosswalk and quickly turn right into southbound Halsted without stopping. I would like to see a bioswale collect the water from the street at this curb and divert it to the park’s wetlands.

*As I understand it, if parking meter spaces are removed and converted to another use (like a curb extension or on-street bicycle parking), a non-metered space must be converted to the equivalent metered spaces removed.

Metra 35th St. station surely won’t win any design awards

UPDATE 04-07-11: The station opened on April 3, 2011. Blair Kamin explains why it doesn’t look as good as originally designed:

It didn’t have to be this way. The Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill came up with a promising design for the station, one that justified the demolition of a Mies-designed brick hut that reportedly served as the entrance to an underground testing facility for explosives during the Cold War.

But then, things went seriously off the rails.

This new Metra commuter/regional rail station at 35th Street and Wentworth/Federal won’t win any design awards. Neither will the Lovana S. “Lou” Jones/Bronzeville Station stand out for having such a generic design.

The station under construction as of October 3, 2010.

Artist’s renderings of the station and street-level plaza, looking northwest. Left photo from Metra’s website and right photo from Singh & Associates’s website.

The amount of visible concrete used in the stairs and ramps construction (one complete set on either side of the tracks) is fitting if you consider the station’s surroundings: a 12-lane highway (the Dan Ryan, I90/94), thousands of surface auto parking spaces to the west (for the White Sox stadium), and an empty lot.

But what if we looked for design inspiration from the east?

Imagine a station shelter modeled after the sound mitigation “tube” over the Illinois Institute of Technology McCormick-Tribune Campus Center a few blocks away at State Street designed by Rem Koolhaas.

Photos above taken by Steven Crane.

Throw in some curves like the Canary Wharf stations on the Jubilee and Docklands Light Railway lines.

Photo of the Canary Wharf Docklands Light Railway (DLR) station by stephenk1977.

Photo of the Canary Wharf Jubilee Underground Line station by Payton Chung.

Companies involved:

Open letter to Blair Kamin about Safeway and Dominick’s

Blair Kamin, the Chicago Tribune’s architecture critic wrote about the new LEED-certified Dominick’s* (Safeway) grocery store in Lincoln Square at Lincoln and Berwyn. This store features copious bike parking of a decent quality and design (see photo below).

In February 2009, I wrote a letter to the General Manager at their 3145 S Ashland store (read my letter). Someone at the company promptly made a request to the City of Chicago in March 2009 for a bike rack. The request was denied because the store is too far away from the nearest public right-of-way.

The following is my letter to Blair Kamin, John Hilkevitch (Tribune transportation writer), and the CEO of Safeway, Steve Burd.

Dear Blair,

I would like your help in getting better accommodations for bike riders at a local Dominick’s.

I read your article about the new, LEED-certified Dominick’s in Lincoln Square with copious bike parking available. (This should help with the potential auto parking issues you identified by encouraging people to bike to the store.)

The Dominick’s nearest me, at 3145 S Ashland, underwent major renovation in 2008 and 2009. People who ride their bicycles to the store (myself included) locked them to the shopping cart guard rails that were removed during renovation.

Bike parking was not included in this renovation.

LEED certification shouldn’t be the only impetus for installing bike parking. Currently it only gains the development 1 point and more than 40 are needed (more for Bronze, Gold, Silver, or Platinum). Installing bike parking should be an economic decision.

A single bike rack (holding two bikes) will cost less than $300 and require no maintenance for at least 5 years (some bike racks installed by the City are over 10 years old and look/work fine). A car parking space costs $1,000 per year to maintain.

We currently lock to garbage bins in a sheltered area near the store entrance. I ask that Dominick’s install real bike parking here in 2010. If they do, I’ll then ask them to work on the bike parking situations at their other stores (like the store at 1340 S Canal).

Thank you for your attention to bicycle infrastructure matters in Chicago.

Steven Vance
http://www.stevevance.net

P.S. The Dominick’s at 3145 S Ashland also has the unfortunate situation of being in a strip mall far away from any public roads. This precludes the City from installing bike racks; the nearest public space is more than 50 feet away.

Jewel…you’re up next!

The bike parking area at the new Dominick’s grocery store in Lincoln Square. Sure beats locking to a garbage bin at the Dominick’s at 3145 S Ashland in Bridgeport. That store underwent renovation in 2008 and 2009.

What bike parking at 3145 S Ashland looks like.

*The store is not yet LEED certified. Blair reports it’s expected to receive a Silver rating.

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