Chicago’s Parking Meters Will Charge $6.50/Hour In 2013. Chicagoans Should ‘Stick It To The Man’ By Using Mass Transit Instead.

Parking meter in Chicago.I know I’m not the only one who hates driving into the big city only to be tethered to a parking meter. Parking meters remind us each time that we should’ve taken the bus, subway or train. If the parking rates are reasonable, we look past the inconvenience and continue to drive into the city.

Chicago is different. Currently, their downtown parking meter rates are the highest in the country at $5.75/hour and they’re going up in 2013 to $6.50/hour. The city is not benefiting by the increased rates but Jubbling will. Hopefully the new higher rates will discourage more people from driving into downtown Chicago and encourage them to travel by bus or train. [CBS Chicago]


Chicago’s Greenway Self-Park: Should A Parking Garage Ever Be Considered Earth Friendly?

Greenway Self-Park ChicagoGrid Chicago has an interesting article on the Greenway Self-Park which has been self-labeled as “Chicago’s first earth friendly parking garage.” What the … earth friendly parking garage? Its developer, Friedman Properties, did build some eco features into the parking garage that include lighting that auto-dims in sunlight, electricity-generating wind turbines (that may or may not work), it’s built with locally sourced materials and it has a green roof to mitigate runoff. They even incorporated a VW Bug with green leaves spewing from its exhaust in their logo. All good but should a parking garage ever be considered earth friendly?

I don’t want to hate on Friedman Properties too much because they tried to build a more eco / environmentally / sustainable parking garage but judging by the article’s comments, most people aren’t buying it and they’re seeing right through the thin green label.

That’s why we think FP needs to strip away the green from their logo and in the future, refer to their garage as earth friendlier versus earth friendly. Self-applying the earth friendly label is always risky – trying to apply it to a 715 space parking garage is just plain foolish. [Grid Chicago}


The City Of Chicago’s Efforts To Counter The Heat Island Effect.

Heat islands are best described as urban areas that experience higher temperatures than their nearby rural neighbors. It occurs when natural vegetation is replaced with buildings and infrastructure. The heat island effect can raise urban air temperatures by 1.8–5.4°F (1–3°C) during the day and up to 22°F (12°C) at night. PBS NewsHour reported on how Chicago, which has seen its average summer temperature rise by 2° since 1945, is attacking the problem with green rooftops and water permeable pavement (green alleys).

In 2010, we wrote about Solterra Systems and their green rooftop retrofits. Be sure to contact them if you have any questions about green roofs or need a quote. [CDCW]


New Protected Bike Lane In Chicago Brings Out Bicycle Commuters

Protected bicycle lane Chicago

We de-industrialize, and start riding bicycles, and China gets all the new factories and starts driving cars.
Comment on FastCoExist posted an article about the increased number of bicycle commuters in Downtown Chicago thanks to the addition of protected bike lanes. Not just painted bike lanes but ones that are separated from car traffic by pylons, planters or parking spaces. It’s all part of a plan put forth by new Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his Department of Transportation staff. The department studied the positive effect of a half-mile protected lane on Chicago’s Kinzie Street and found that bike ridership was up 55% along that section.

Mr. Emmanuel is also noted for requiring all car commuting city employees to get to work via mass transit starting in 2012.