Metropolitan Planning Council
Spring and summer are a time for getting out of the car and enjoying the warm weather.
With spring finally upon us, now is the time for many transportation-related events and activities. From Bike to Work Week to World Environment Day, it's a great time of year for those who choose to get out of their cars and instead use bikes, public transportation and their feet to get around. Especially after such a brutal winter, we at the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) are looking forward to getting out in the open air!
Here is a (non-exhaustive, I'm sure) summary of events in May and June to make the most of the summer season. Please leave a comment if you know of and want to promote others:
Bike to Work Day + Week, Part I
The League of American Bicyclists designates May as National Bike Month, to encourage more people to consider biking as a commute mode. Activities include Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 16, and Bike to Work Week, which is May 12 to 16.
Bike the Drive
Locally, the Active Transportation Alliance holds its MB Financial Bike the Drive event on Sunday, May 25. This is an opportunity to bike on Lake Shore Drive car-free!
National Motorcycle Safety Month
Shifting gears, May is also National Motorcycle Safety Month, sponsored by the Itasca-based National Safety Council. As the weather gets warmer, and more motorcyclists take to the roads, it’s vital that drivers are aware of them.
World Environment Day
In the Northern Hemisphere, World Environment Day is celebrated on Thursday, June 5; Friday, June 6; or Saturday, June 7, depending on location. World Environment Day was established by the United Nations in 1972 to promote worldwide awareness of environmental issues, climate change and actions to protect the environment. The Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, a short train ride (or long, leisurely bike ride) north of the city, will celebrate World Environment Day on Saturday, June 7, with speakers including WGN-TV Chief Meteorologist, Tom Skilling. For more information about World Environment Day, visit the website at www.unep.org.
Bike Commuter Challenge + Bike to Work Week, Part II
Local area transportation authorities and advocacy groups will celebrate the Bike Commuter Challenge and Bike to Work Week from June 13 to 20, and Dump the Pump on Thursday, June 19. Sponsored by Active Transportation Alliance, the Bike Commuter Challenge pits Chicago-area businesses against each other as their employees compete for most miles biked to and from work, and a host of other prizes. In 2013, MPC won the challenge for highest percentage of employees biking (by the skin of our teeth), and we’re all tuning up our bikes for another great competition this year.
RTA, CTA, Metra, Pace, I-GO (now Enterprise Car Share), Active Transportation Alliance and Chicago Water Taxi participated in the 2013 Dump the Pump Campaign. Visit RTA’s website in the upcoming weeks at www.rtachicago.org for more information about the 2014 campaign.
National Safety Month
The National Safety Council designates June as National Safety Month, which brings attention to key safety issues. One highlight is “Put an End to Distracted Driving," June 23 to 29. Even though it has been a violation of state law to drive while talking on a hand held cell phone since Jan. 1, 2013, many people continue to flout the rule. Everyone has had a frustrating or harrowing experience with other drivers who couldn’t put their phones down—let’s make “Put an End to Distracted Driving” an all-year event.
These are some of our favorite events, to get you started. If you’re craving the outdoors after a long winter in Chiberia, be sure to check out these opportunities and others!