Archive for January, 2009

3 New I-GO Car Locations

January 30, 2009

I’m happy to announce that we’re adding 3 new I-GO locations early next week!

411 E. Ontario (Blue Honda Civic)

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300 N Canal (Gray Toyota Matrix)

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3941 N Ashland (Blue Honda Element)

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Pat Quinn supports I-GO Car Sharing

January 29, 2009

Above: Quinn, second from right, with I-GO CEO Sharon Feigon (far left) and DePaul University representatives during an I-GO/DePaul partnership ceremony in spring 2008.

As Rod Blagojevich’s governorship implodes, and Illinois Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn prepares to take the reins of the unwieldy contraption known as the State of Illinois government, we at I-GO Car Sharing would like to acknowledge that Pat’s an old supporter of our organization and an avid supporter of car sharing and green, sustainable public transit.

Chicagoist just reposted an archived interview they conducted with Quinn in April 2007. When asked for his opinion on transit, Quinn gives I-GO a huge plug as part of the solution for a more efficient public transit system. He’s quite the fortune teller: Just a few weeks ago, the CTA and I-GO joined forces to create a new Chicago Card Plus/I-GO smart card that can be used to ride CTA trains and buses and also access I-GO’s fleet of cars across Chicago, Evanston and Oak Park.

Here’s that part of the interview:

Chicagoist: When you talk about tax relief and budgets in the State of Illinois, those three things – education, health care and tax relief always seem to come up. On a more local level, what would you propose to solve the transit crisis in the region?

Pat Quinn: Well, I take the CTA, and have all my adult life. And I think it really is a crisis. I think the poor service, the trains not always clean as they should be, management leaving a lot to be desired, this should really be addressed. We need the so-called [Regional Transit Authority] to really truly be regional. Too many turf wars between Pace, Metra, CTA, RTA. Given the crisis we have, and the sustainability challenge we have, to have a green way of thinking, where you need to have an excellent public transit system, I think you just can’t hand out money in Springfield to agencies that have been acting in a dysfunctional manner. So I think you have to put some strings on that to get better performance. An example would be a universal pass, which you could use for all transit services, including there’s something we know about called I-GO, which is car-sharing. So you have your transit pass, if you wanted to use a car, and use it for an hour, you know you have this not-for-profit entity, and you can get an I-GO car, and use your pass to drive for an hour to shop, and then bring it back to where the space is. To me those are the creative solutions we need to have right now.

Blagojevich’s carbon footprint

January 28, 2009

Many Illinoisans have long suspected the under-siege guv of being a gasbag. But while Hot Rod is providing fuel for columnists, political blogs, talk show hosts and SNL, has anyone thought about the gas he guzzled, and the CO2 he emitted, during his recent trip to NYC for that whirlwind PR blitz?

Look, sometime pols have to travel on the public dime. But jetting off across the country (and I doubt he traveled coach) just to brandish your shining helmet of hair for Larry King (look for the moment when he thinks he’s off-camera and tries to sneak in a quick hair fix) not only cost Illinois taxpayers for his travel expense reimbursement, it also unnecessarily contributed to carbon dioxide emissions — something Gov. Nim-Rod presumably is against, since he’s backed legislation to compel state agencies to buy flexible fuel vehicles that partly use ethanol and biodiesel. (Though the scientific jury is still out on ethanol’s big-picture advantages.) Then again, the Guv did cut public transit funding and subsidies last year, while still expecting the CTA to let seniors ride for free, so his promotion of sustainable transportation for all seems about as schizo as his attempted media makeover.

Someone correct me if I’m wrong. But judging from my own whirlwind Google search today, travel expenses for employees of the State of Illinois are administered by the Illinois Travel Regulation Council, which in turn falls under the purview of the Illinois Dept. of Central Management Services. (Ah, bureaucracy. So lovably Orwellian.) I may be misinterpreting the legalese here, but the council’s rules on “official travel” do include this no-brainer stipulation: “It is the policy of the State to reimburse employees for reasonable authorized expenses incurred by them in the performance of their duties.”

Obviously they aren’t going to authorize hair spray or teeth whitening dental procedures, but who out there among the electorate would consider Blago’s pandering on The View (“Come on, Governor, do your Nixon impersonation! Say ‘I am not a crook’!”) a “reasonable authorized expense”?

And let’s not forget that Rod apparently detests Springfield so much he’s long chosen to govern from his lovely Ravenswood Manor home. So when he’s compelled to head downstate, hasn’t that also been a completely avoidable travel expense (not to mention, environmentally obnoxious) for which taxpayers have to pick up the tab?

Emissions accomplished, Governor.

USB lunchwarmer warms lunch & my heart

January 24, 2009

Treehugger has a post about this excellent USB lunchwarmer from Japan, which could not only help you save money and cut down on waste, but could also be a warm hat for those in hyper-air conditioned offices.

The manufacturer sums it up (through a Google translation):

Fun fun time for your lunch, dinner is cold but we do not. Lunch not only beloved wife, can heat up your lunch bought at convenience stores.

Indeed. I want so bad. Wonder if it works on pop tarts…

Eat green and good with I-GO

January 23, 2009

In the dead of winter, how does Bacon Wrapped Midwestern Meatloaf sound? How about Prairie Pure Macaroni & Cheese with cheddar and Gruyere. Is your mouth watering yet?

This weekend, head over to Uncommon Ground on Devon. It’s open for brunch, lunch and dinner, and in the evenings they have some hot music to get your feet tapping. Even cooler, they’ve embraced environmentalism like nobody’s business and installed Chicago’s 1st certified organic rooftop farm. The building itself is green and they are committed to serving seasonal, locally produced food as much as possible. You can read all about it here.

AND, I-GO members can get 10% off their check if they show their card.

Bon appetit!

Follow Change and whatnot on the White House website and blog

January 21, 2009

Hey everybody, did you see the new White House website? Very cool – so much change. For you sustainability wonks, there are a lot of good bits on the energy & environment section – let’s hope President Obama can see these goals through. You can keep up with all the Change on the White House blog.

Are you confident in our new President’s commitment to green energy and sustainability, or do you think it will be forgotten as foreign policy and economic crises pile up?

Car sharing in Japan grows as vehicle sales continue to fall

January 19, 2009

According to a recent article in Japan Today, car sharing is catching on in Japan as well as here in the U.S.. The article claims that, “car sharing is shifting into a higher gear in Japan as people try to save on car maintenance costs and be more environmentally friendly at the same time,”.

While car sharing is growing, car sales are down. Vehicle sales in Japan hit a 28-year low in 2008, according to the figures released by the Japan Automobile Dealers Association (JADA). Annual sales are expected to fall again in 2009. “We never imagined sales would fall this badly,” said JADA Director, Takeshi Fushimi. “This is a bleak situation.”

What is a bleak situation for auto dealers is great news for Japanese car sharing organizations. According to a survey done by the Eco-Mo Foundation, there were 19 car sharing organizations in Japan, with a total of 522 cars being shared by 3,875 members, as of August 2008. The numbers of cars and car stations more than doubled and the number of registered car sharing members increased by half since the same survey was done in January of 2007. Below is a photo of a car sharing site at a condominium in Japan.

Take a bike lane with you

January 16, 2009

This is pretty sweet – this gadget lets you take a bike lane with you.

The lasers help drivers see you and give them a clear boundary to avoid you, making biking safer at night.

Do you have any tips for safe biking, running, or walking at night?

(via GOOD)

One BILLION cars

January 16, 2009

That’s the world population of cars now, and it could double in the next 20 years. This is according to Daniel Sperling, author of the book Two Billion Cars: Driving Toward Sustainability. Sperling was interviewed yesterday on one of my favorite radio shows, Fresh Air.

It’s a really interesting conversation about the history of technology advancements and market forces that have influenced the makeup of the car population now, and how we might slow its growth and make electric, hybrid, and hydrogren vehicles take up a larger share in the future.

Car sharing gets a lot of love, of course, but some of his other answers are surprising. He points out the shortcoming of mass transit and promotes bike sharing, paratransit, and other ways to change what he terms “the transportation monoculture.”

You should take a listen, even if you’re not a policy wonk – these Big Picture questions address important facets of all our lives.

(AP photo via

Forget your Hummer – I need the Aeolus Airship

January 16, 2009

Oh man. Want.

Some images like this leaked of the Aeolus Airship – a sleek, people-powered blimp that can fly up to two weeks. It was designed by someone named Christopher Ottersbach. I can’t find much of anything about him or where to find out more about this vehicle, so it might be some hoaxy thing or a movie promo. I don’t care if it is imaginary – I want to pedal through the sky:

So when is Chicago finally gonna get a blimp-sharing service?

(via Treehugger)