It's Spring! Share Your Carfree Daytrips and Excursions

by crandell | 04/23/2009


With short sleeve weather finally within reach, are you planning any excursions to get outside and enjoy spring? If so, please don't forget to log in and share your trip on Carfree Chicago! We want to know about your carfree trip experiences and ideas, whether you're just visiting a neighborhood outside your normal stomping grounds, taking the Metra to explore a streetcar suburb, or escaping to the beach in Michigan. Carfree Chicago is a community blogging site -- use it to post your ideas for others to read or share tips from your trip. And don't forget to take some pictures for us!

Take a look at Excursions from past years.

Belmont Pedestrian Plaza -- a Placemaking Proposal for Lakeview

by crandell | 04/06/2009


In celebration of the Burnham Centennial, I'm sharing an idea to enhance the public realm in my neighborhood. I've lived in Lakeview for six years, and while I love it, I've always felt that it's missing a quality public gathering space. The various sub-neighborhoods kind of have their own little centers, but you can't really inhabit those places. Most of the sidewalks are too narrow and there aren't places to sit. I grew up near Annapolis, Md., which has a harbor with a plaza where people would hang out to talk, eat ice cream, drink coffee, etc. And Lakeview alone is almost three times the size of Annapolis, so we should be able to support a place like that. Anyone who has lived in a European city also knows what a pleasure a nice centrally located plaza can be. But even some other neighborhoods in Chicago have such places. I'm thinking of Giddings Plaza in Lincoln Square, which is a great, active public place.

How many drivers can say they're turned on by their commute?

by crandell | 03/11/2009


Reading Stephen Markley's piece in the RedEye last week, All aboard—it's the Love Train, I was wondering how many suburban drivers would experience this same phenomenon. As evidence that many other CTA commuters feel the same way as Stephen, I submit the following blog devoted to checking people out on the CTA: R.O.C.K. on the C.T.A.

I have to disagree with Stephen's initial statement that "no one likes the train or bus ride to work in the morning." I enjoy my commute because it lets me read, listen to music, or totally zone out while staring out the window at our city's incredible scenery. But his observations of attraction on the train reminded me of one of the great advantages of an urban environment -- namely the abundance of opportunities for diverse social interaction.

Car-free Gaining Mileage

by jillpress | 03/10/2009

I had a lively phone conversation last night with Christa, a woman in San Diego who'd emailed me last week after reading Lee Crandell's profile: Jill, the Carfree Realtor. Christa is looking to start a car-free consulting biz and wanted my advice.

In fact, last week three people contacted me after reading the profile. I was so inspired by a profound feeling of interconnection--all at my fingertips--that I posted the following entry on my blog: Car-free Gaining Mileage

Illinois House to Drivers: Stop for Pedestrians!

by crandell | 03/01/2009

In another great advancement for livable streets in Illinois, the Active Transportation Alliance has been successfully advocating for a piece of state legislation that would require drivers to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks rather than just "yield." The bill passed the House last week and is currently working its way through the Senate.

Read the full bill and follow its status here: Illinois General Assembly, HB0043 and SB0030.

Website Geared for Finding Transit-Oriented Real Estate in Walkable Neighborhoods

by crandell | 02/24/2009


I recently stumbled upon through the Walk Score blog, and I was really excited by how they use both Walk Score and transit in their real estate search. Founder and CEO Galen Ward dropped me an email explaining what the site can do to help with a carfree home search, and I have to applaud him for promoting this lifestyle through his site and making life a little easier for the pedestrians, bikers and transit-riders of Chicago with such an easy-to-use and powerful search tool. Last week I profiled Jill Press, a realtor who understands carfree living. This week I'm sharing as another tool in the carfree real estate arsenal and further evidence of the mainstreaming of carfree living.

Just a reminder: cars can kill people

by pinkscare_LN | 02/17/2009

According to an article in today's RedEye, there were fifty-six pedestrians killed in traffic accidents in Chicago in 2008. As the article points out, there are a LOT of pedestrians in this city. Chicago was named the 4th most walkable city in America by the organization Walk Score, and I can vouch for the awesome walkability of my own neighborhood.

Thank you, carfree chicago!

by jillpress | 02/17/2009

I want to thank Lee for inviting me to contribute to this community blog! As an avid car-free advocate who is passionate about public transportation, I embrace any opportunity to share my viewpoint.

I look forward to reading the profile Lee is compiling from our recent online interview. If you'd like to learn more about me and my proclivities, feel free to visit I welcome your comments!

Profile: Jill, the Carfree Realtor

by crandell | 02/15/2009


Jill Press is a Chicago Realtor who manages her work and home life without a car. Born in Chicago, she received her BA in Journalism from Temple University in Philadelphia and remained in Pa. before returning to her home city in 1995. Jill has been a Realtor since 1997 and specializes in lakefront properties in the city. She lives in East Lakeview. You can read more about her experience as a carfree Realtor on her new blog, Jill Press Box.

How long have you been carfree and why did you choose that lifestyle?

I've been car-free since 1983.

I'd moved to Philly in August 1982 along with my then four-year-old son, leaving our 200-year-old log cabin-turned-three-bedroom-house on two secluded, wooded acres in rural Berks County, Pa.

"You're Not Gettin' My Bike" -- Mini Video Docudramas!

by crandell | 02/13/2009

I just had to share this link: It's a new site dedicated to sharing stories about bike theft in video form. I really love how this makes biking seem so normal and everyday, as if we lived in a world where there were Bianchi commercials during the Superbowl, and people worrying about their bikes was as commonplace as people worrying about their cars.