Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Greenline Wheels opens in Oak Park

by John Greenfield

[This piece also appears in New City,]

It’s the grand opening for Greenline Wheels, an “eco-happy” bike and electric car rental and tour center in Oak Park, and the land of Wright and Hemingway looks like an active transportation utopia. Just south of the futuristic Harlem CTA stop, Marion Street is closed for the block party.

A dude in a Hawaiian shirt tows kids on a pedicab, a cop rolls a Segway, folks check out a PT Cruiser-like electric buggy and a pair of cheerleaders pedals a tandem. The new venture hopes to lure visitors out to the western ‘burbs to explore architectural and historical gems, while providing locals with green transportation options.

Co-owner Mary Jo Schuler tells the crowd the shop is officially designated as an LC3 “low-profit” business, a new model in Illinois. After local bigwigs cut the green ribbon in front of a phalanx of shiny new rental bikes, dozens of folks parade around the block on various non-noxious vehicles.

Afterwards, Schuler explains why she started this new business, “The village of Oak Park continues to get more congested with cars and instead of whining I wanted to do something about it.”

Green Line Wheels, 105 S. Marion, Oak Park, 708-725-7170,

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