Biker alert: Watch out for the amateurs

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By Dan Haley

Editor and Publisher

Odds and ends with some a bit odder than others:

Bike riders wake up: We've got a problem. More and more people, all ages and levels of intensity, are riding their bikes around town. Good for them. I'm one of them. But the more bikes there are, the goofier, the more amplified are the mistakes.

Teenagers should not ride their bikes on sidewalks. Going to kill a pedestrian. And kids, when you fly off the sidewalk into a street at an intersection, the driver turning at that corner has no reason to anticipate your spectacular arrival.

Old men on bikes are cute. But not cute enough to ride against traffic.

High school girl riding up Ridgeland yesterday. In the proper lane. Wearing a helmet. But as I pass her I notice she is intently looking at the iPhone screen in her right hand. Yikes.

It can be frustrating when the guy in spandex with the thousand dollar bike hurtles through an intersection just as the light goes red. But it is the amateurs among those of us on bikes that are going to get a cyclist killed.

Closing shop: With Borders about to be liquidated, two thoughts. Its Oak Park location at Harlem and Lake is likely to be left vacant for a long while unless the building's owner is willing to lop off the basement level and just lease the first floor. The two-level store was perfect for a Borders but enormously unattractive to most any other retailer. And, it is a great location until you think about parking. Then it has problems.

Second, no one in Oak Park or River Forest is entitled to shed a tear for Borders if you buy most of your books from Amazon. I know about their algorithms and their creepily prescient recommendations. But you could get a real recommendation from a real bookseller at The Book Table on Lake Street. It is really time to shop local, people.

Long gone: The old Lake Street book corridor is no more. Barbara's, gone. Borders, going. Remember Crown Books in the River Forest Town Center? A lot of books, but not much of a bookstore. Kroch's & Brentano's was a legend, though when you think back, it really prided itself on being an efficient book supermarket, complete with checkout lanes. And, my bookselling alma mater, Cannon's Book Store. We weren't efficient, but we were homey.

The good news? Out of all those stores, the best bookstore is The Book Table. And it is still there.

A roof over your head: Talk about a quiet departure. Tuscher Roofing is gone. Here's a business that had been around for 102 years. They put the roof on my old house. Maybe yours, too. Was walking down Lake Street the other day and noticed a small sign taped to their door: "After 102 years it was just time. Thanks."

Bluestone cleaning supplies: As the bluestone sidewalks migrate south on Marion Street, I'm hoping there is a way to clean them. The fancy and forever sidewalks at Marion and North Boulevard look pretty tough between the gum and the stains.

Mr. Soderdahl's neighbors: We ran a lovely letter two weeks ago about Paul Soderdahl and his upcoming 105th birthday. I was following the comments on and two things were clear. A lot of people love this man and his gentle ways. And, if you live in the same house for 104 years, that it is possible that nearly half of the commenters were actually your next door neighbors for multiple decades.

Email: Twitter: @OPEditor

Reader Comments

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Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: July 22nd, 2011 12:24 PM

Dan, I don't think you can blame those who shop at for Borders' demise. Borders brought it on themselves considering that, rather than create their own online brand, Borders chose to send their own customers *through* "Here Amazon. Here is our customer base that we worked so hard to develop for more than 35 years. You can service our gold mine until this Internet shopping fad blows over." So sadly foolish.

Gail Moran from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 21st, 2011 11:42 PM

Dan, thank you for voicing the concern about cyclists not obeying cycling rules. I have noticed that the added bike lanes have increased cyclists using them - that is a good thing - but cyclists must use them properly. I suggest that beat cops attend block parties and do education.

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: July 21st, 2011 11:20 PM

Watch our Dan. I have found that Ray uses Mr. as a derisive term. Mr Haley means he is not happy with you at all!


Posted: July 21st, 2011 7:40 AM

Jim, If you or any one else for that matter cant afford the $1 for 2 Hrs of parking, what can you afford to buy in any stores?


Posted: July 21st, 2011 7:37 AM

I really wouldn't mind paying to park if it was convenient. I am not a leisurely shopper--I know what I want and try to find it and get out. If it takes me 15-20 minutes to park, I am not likely to shop in that place.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: July 21st, 2011 2:59 AM

Ray Johnson is right. There is parking. You just have to pay for it. And what that will cost is the rub.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: July 20th, 2011 4:22 PM

As I read this editorial for free via, would appreciate some insight from Dan Haley on Borders demise relative to that of newspapers. Trustee Johnson, there is a critical difference between quantity of parking and quality. DTOP has high quantity (parking garages), but low quality (curbside parking located at retail frontage). As with any successful main street (LaGrange, Elmhurst, Forest Park, etc.), Lake St. once had end-to-end curbside parking, but now offers only a few spaces

Ray Johnson from Oak Park  

Posted: July 20th, 2011 3:09 PM

Mr. Haley: It is a misnomer that there are parking supply issues for the Border's site, with ample supply in the Holley Court parking facility. At peak times - weekday lunch hours - the highest utilization is 75% which means that within the 1,213 space facility, there are 300 open parking spaces. In addition, the Southwest elevator addition, (near Bar Louie and Chipotle), provides easy pedestrian or vehicular access from the garage to Lake St. Agree the Blue Stone needs greater care.

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