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Chicago, Bike Grid Now Newsletter - Issue #1

Chicago, Bike Grid Now Newsletter - Issue #1
By The CBGN Team • Issue #1 • View online
  • Impact, Impact, Impact!
  • Recent and Upcoming Jams
  • All Aboard the Bike Bus!
  • Looking Ahead

Impact, Impact, Impact!
It’s only been two and half months since we started weekly bike jams and we’re already having an impact. We’ve had 15 bike jams in dozens of neighborhoods and two at City Hall; hundreds of people have jammed; the number of people showing up to each jam is growing; and politicians (alders, mayoral candidates, and state legislators) are noticing and reaching out. And we’re growing as an organization. More than 20 people have joined our Slack group to help with bike jam planning, website, graphic design, political outreach, and more. (To get involved contact [email protected]) And, we’ve been getting enough donations to print flyers, flags, and stickers. (Thank you, supporters!) It’s been a good warm up, but now it’s time to ramp up. The mayoral election is barreling toward us and we need to turn up the heat to have enough political capital to get commitments for a city-wide bike grid.
Recent and Upcoming Jams
Nearly a hundred people jammed in Lincoln Square, along the Lincoln Avenue’s proposed (and unprotected) streetscape, past the recently car-smashed Ainslie Arts Plaza, ending in the new plaza at Lincoln and Belle Plaine. Two mayoral candidates, Ja’Mal Green and State Representative Kam Buckner, were present and mingled with the crowd (Kam rode with us). 
At the conclusion of the jam, we held a listening session, where we were able to share questions and concerns with candidate Buckner about biking in Chicago. There was lots of good discussion but perhaps the most notable moment was when we were joined later by a guy who wandered over from his car in the CVS parking lot. He started his comments by saying how just that day he had almost hit (with his vehicle) one person on a bike and and one on a scooter; then proceeded to complain about the chaos of having so many different types of street users, and eventually he came around to proposing that we need a network of streets just for bikes! At which point the crowd cheered and someone handed him a Chicago, Bike Grid Now flyer.
The week before, 60+ people met up at BFF Bikes in Bucktown and jammed all the way down Damen to Ogden Avenue, trailed by a CPD vehicle.
So What's Next?
We’re looking to empower more people to lead more bike jams in more neighborhoods. Bike jams are a force multiplier. A few people on bikes can jam up many more cars and make those drivers a captive audience. If they understand that everyone benefits when biking is a safe and pleasant way to get around, then they can become advocates for a bike grid too. In the words of one participant, “I’ll never forget  being so impressed at my first bike jam with how kind everyone was with the honking drivers. I saw jammers calmly go to their window to have a little chat and give them a card.” When we have thousands of these interactions, our campaign will be harder to ignore.
All Aboard the Bike Bus!
If it only takes a small number of people to jam, then we can have more people organizing more jams throughout the city. That’s why we’re excited to be trying something new this Wednesday; the Halsted “bike bus” will stage at Elevate Coffee at 7:30a.m., departing from Halsted & Clark at 7:47a.m., and arriving at Halsted & Washington at 8:27a.m. If successful, we hope to expand it to other routes, perhaps converging for a jam at City Hall. Could be fun, right?!
Looking Ahead
The Chicago municipal election (Mayor and City Council) is Feb 28 and the runoff is April 4. Daylight will be getting shorter and the weather will be getting colder. Keeping these things in mind, we will continue thinking of and trying new ways to increase our impact. It will take more people to do higher profile jams, more political outreach, and more community engagement. So reach out to [email protected] to get involved.
Thank you for believing in what we can do together. Let’s keep on jammin’ and make the city-wide bike grid a reality! 
Did you enjoy this issue?
The CBGN Team

Chicago, Bike Grid Now Newsletter

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