Today’s Headlines

  • College Students Get Their Ventra Cards This Week (Sun-Times, NBC)
  • CTA Rolls Out White-Painted Ventra Outreach Buses (DNA)
  • Rough Week for Metra, Now Missing 4 Board Members (Tribune, Active Trans, Chicagoist)
  • Top Orland Park Cop Refused O’Halloran’s Offer To Overhaul Metra Police (Sun-Times)
  • Homeless Man found Dead in Ravenswood From Possible Hit-and-Run (DNA)
  • Pedestrian Struck by Pickup Truck Driver Last Week in Dearborn Homes Dies (Tribune)
  • False Alarm About Person on Tracks Delays Blue Line at Jackson (RedEye)
  • Tone-Deaf Gazette Editorial Lumps Together BRT With Circle Exchange as Abuses of Power
  • Surprise, Surprise: Divvy Stations Are Attracting Customers to Businesses (DNA)
  • Washed-Out Fox River Trail Bridge Scheduled for Reconstruction (Sun-Times)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Anonymous

    On the topic of BRT, the Gazette makes a good point about the lack of public outreach. There has been no serious outreach (yet). A project that potentially has a lot of impact on a lot of people requires significant outreach.

  • My husband, a gung-ho bicycle commuter who was dubious about Divvy, has ridden one this morning (because there was suddenly a dock right outside our daughter’s school). Herewith is his capsule review in bullet points, emailed to me right after he returned it to a station near his work and got to his desk, quoted with permission because I thought it might amuse:

    – There’s a new dock at [redacted]. :)
    – It wouldn’t read any of my credit cards. Refused to admit I’d inserted them. :(
    – Dock at Clark & Congress working, had a few bikes. :)
    – Bikes lighter than they look, drum brakes surprisingly unobtrusive. :)
    – Bikes well balanced, can be riden “hands free”. :)
    – Bike has three speeds: completely useless, mostly useless, and almost useless.
    – 2 mile ride from Clark & Congress to Loomis & Taylor took 20 minutes. :(
    – If I want to go nowhere while pedalling against almost no resistance, I’ll join a spinning class at the Y.

  • Thanks for sharing. Gearing does seem to be a minor issue with some of the bikes – some of them seem to be easier to pedal than others. Either that or you’re to Lance Armstrong, in which case you have my condolences. FWIW, I’m no speed demon, and my 3.4-mile trip, on a reasonably geared Divvy, from the Daley Center to Penny’s Noodles in Wicker Park, took only 25 minutes.

  • I, too, have a problem with the gearing!

  • There have been public meetings, lectures, and presentations, and outreach between CTA and specific businesses and business groups.

  • I like ATA’s Ron Burke’s editorial (that’s what it is, right?) saying that the Illinois Mass Transit committee needs to review how Metra board members are put on the board.

  • Anonymous

    I may have missed it, but has there really been any good outreach since the decision was made for center lane BRT on Ashland? This kind of project is of a different magnitude that a bike lane on Milwaukee and requires repeated outreach with consistent messaging.

  • CTA held area design meetings with local groups as part of the block-by-block analysis in June and July. Public meetings are scheduled for late summer, early fall.

    Here’s the list of participants in the June/July meetings, which included several of the businesses and orgs. that were griping in the Gazette article:

    Kinzie Industrial Corridor :
    Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago (ICNC)
    North Branch Works

    Wicker Park / West Town:
    West Central Association
    Wicker Park-Bucktown Chamber of Commerce:
    West Town Chamber of Commerce
    Wicker Park Committee
    East Village Association

    Kinzie Industrial Corridor / West Loop:
    Rickard Bindery
    Randolph/Fulton Market Association

    Pilsen:
    Eighteenth Street Development Corporation
    Resurrection Project
    Pilsen Neighbors Community Council

    Illinois Medical District:
    Illinois Medical District Commission
    University Village Association

    University Village / Back of the Yards:
    University Village Association
    Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council

  • CTA held area design meetings with local groups as part of the block-by-block analysis in June and July. Public meetings are scheduled for late summer, early fall.

    Here’s the list of participants in the June/July meetings, which included several of the businesses and orgs. that were griping in the Gazette article:

    Kinzie Industrial Corridor:
    Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago (ICNC)
    North Branch Works

    Wicker Park / West Town:
    West Central Association
    Wicker Park-Bucktown Chamber of Commerce
    West Town Chamber of Commerce
    Wicker Park Committee
    East Village Association

    Kinzie Industrial Corridor / West Loop:
    Rickard Bindery
    Randolph/Fulton Market Association

    Pilsen:
    Eighteenth Street Development Corporation
    Resurrection Project
    Pilsen Neighbors Community Council

    Illinois Medical District:
    Illinois Medical District Commission
    University Village Association

    University Village / Back of the Yards:
    University Village Association
    Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council

  • Anonymous

    If so much outreach has been done, then why is the narrative still negative? Is it because it really is (perceived as) a bad idea,no matter what CTAs PR machine says? Is the outreach effort just not comprehensive enough? Or is this a case of prejudiced reporting on behalf of Gazette and DNAInfo? I am not that familiar with Gazette, but DNA’s level of reporting varies a lot in quality and comprehensiveness.

  • People fear change, and the BRT concept takes some time to wrap your head around. For example, most Streetsblog readers understand why removing car lane capacity is often a good thing, but to the average Chicagoan, this is counter-intuitive. From my interactions with the anti-BRT folks, they seem largely uninterested in improving transit for other people if it means changing the way they currently do things. For example, business owners are freaking out about the left-turn prohibition. In reality, it’s pretty simple to alter your delivery routing to eliminate left turns. UPS does this to save time and gas: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-20/ups-makes-no-left-turns-in-quest-to-deliver-sustainability-q-a.html

    As the two clueless editorials from the Gazette show, the paper has an ill-informed anti-BRT agenda. Like you said, DNA reporting tends to be mixed, but they did publish an article about the NIMBY’s meeting last winter that contained several errors.

    I think the CTA is wise to go over the designs with local organizations and businesses for for presenting them to the general public. I do think they will need to put some more effort into getting the word out about the benefits of BRT. On the other hand, as UIC’s Steve Schlickman recently said, the best way to convince people that BRT on Ashland is a good idea is simply “doing it.”