CHICAGO — Rob Reid said he finds Chicago an "incredibly walkable city," and the group he created — "Walking Across Chicago" — shows that every month.
Once over each of the last 2 years and 2 months, the group has walked the length of an entire Chicago street. Their longest journey was a 24-mile, 10½-hour south-to-north walk on Western Avenue from 119th Street to Howard Street. They've also gone 20 miles on Halsted Street.
Their last scheduled walk was Jan. 30 on Archer Avenue. The 10-mile walk will start at Archer and Harlem and venture northeast to the street's end at State and 19th streets.
"The best part of the group is we have a reason to go through places we otherwise wouldn't travel through," said Reid, of Avondale. "And what you hear about certain neighborhoods doesn't match up to what you see on the group. There's a lot of commonality in every part of the city."
Reid, 41, moved to Chicago when he was 24. The Massachusetts native said Chicago didn't have the walking culture he found out East, despite the city having ample sidewalks and room to roam.
When he made the group on Meetup.com in late 2013, Reid didn't expect to have much feedback. But through word of mouth, "Walking Across Chicago" grew to almost 300 members. Each walk usually has about 10 participants ranging in age from their mid 20s to early 60s, Reid said.
Many of the walks are timed around birthdays of the streets' namesakes. William Beatty Archer was born Jan. 30, 1793. Another walk — of Pulaski Road — is set for March 6, which would have been Casimir Pulaski's 271st birthday.
"This has become something that's about discovering the city," Reid said. "It's about the social experience and exploring the city."
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