Today’s Headlines

  • More Coverage of Active TransCar-Free Streets Proposal (Sun-Times, ABC, NBC, DNA)
  • Build Good Public Spaces and People Will Use Them (Transitized)
  • CTA Will Bring Back Train-Cleaning Jobs Program for Ex-Offenders (Tribune)
  • Metra Riders Sound Off About Delays at Naperville Forum (Tribune)
  • Aging Equipment Is to Blame for Many Metra Delays (Crain’s)
  • Metra Has a Solid New Team, But Their Work is Cut Out for Them (Crain’s)
  • Orseno Gives Passengers Rides Home After Metra Train Breaks Down (CBS)
  • Valets Accused of Using Counterfeit Parking Meter Receipts (Tribune)
  • Signs Threaten Violence Against Those Who Disobey Dibs (ABC)
  • Strange Sights on the CTA (CBS)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Sobering reality

    Metra riders migh as well have been shouting at a brick wall. As long as most Metra jobs are union (clout) protected and the bare minimum funding comes in to pay salaries, nothing will change. You get what Metra gives you, and the RTA doesn’t care if you don’t like it .

  • Dave

    Oh my god the comment section on that Sun-Times article about car-free streets…

    No wonder progress is so difficult.

  • MarytM

    Eventually, people are going to do dibs year-round.

  • Anne A

    Parking valets using counterfeit meter slips – charming. Yet another reason to add to my long list of why I hate using valet parking.

  • Kevin M

    Yeah, right, it must be those nasty, greedy unions again–not only ruining our public schools, but now stifling transit progress.

    It sure can’t be the out-dated RTA funding formula or the state & federal government’s 50+ years of subsidizing automobile infrastructure which therefore competed with–and eventually bankrupted–private mass transit companies.

    Why study the history behind today’s problems with public services when you can just blame democratic labor institutions?

  • Sobering reality

    Look at the BGA payroll database, http://www.bettergov.org/payroll/

    and you’ll see plenty of Metra conductors getting paid $90,000-$115,000 a year to walk through a train car and punch a few tickets.

    check out this AMA with a conductor:
    http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1kaa77/iama_metra_chicago_train_conductor_ama/cbmyb19

    labor costs are out of control.
    government lawyers and public defenders don’t make anywhere near as much, yet indubitably have tougher, more demanding work.

  • Kevin M

    This is news to me. I had not previously been familiar with bettergov.org or their data. I’d like to learn more about this website/institution before I take the data as valid, and I’m certainly motivated to do so. If their payroll data is correct, this gives me a whole new perspective on the perpetual funding issues of mass transit in Chicagoland.

    Steve or John, any comment on this? If this payroll data is true, I’d love to see Streetsblog make a story out of this. I have not seen the major media outlets cover this.

  • Mishellie

    I just want to throw things. They act like these suggestions are actually “we shall henceforth punish driving in the city with death by stoning.”

  • Get off your high horse

    Last time I checked this was a democracy, not a government run by progressives telling everyone what is best for them.

  • Mishellie

    … last time I checked progressives were allowed to have opinions, and last time I checked cars were in no danger of disappearing.

    You’re pretty weird.

  • duppie

    Randy Neufeld give the following example to better understand this.

    You have what you think is a wonderful kitchen in your house. I works for you, and does what it needs to do. One day, a contractor comes into your kitchen and starts pointing out all the things that are wrong with it. You cook in it everyday, yet he tells you that is not possible.

    Will you just accept his recommendation and rehab your kitchen, despite the fact that you think the kitchen works well?

    Sustainable transportation advocates often make this mistake. They want to change things without bothering to ask what the local residents want, and without explaining properly what the benefits there are.

    So dont just discard their concerns. Listen to them, work to understand their concerns, alleviate their concerns, and then build concensus around your ideas. That is how you can be successful.

  • Kevin M

    I still standby my comments on an overall (s)lack of funding for public transit in Chicagoland. Here’s a Crain’s article that explains: http://s.coop/1u4q5

    I don’t believe the evident public transit funding problem in Chicagoland is solely a result of high union compensation. All significant sources of this problem should be examined.

  • Mishellie

    But their only concerns seem to be “If I can’t drive down 100% of the roads 100% of the time while encountering 0% traffic, while going whatever speed I want and not paying anything more than I am now, and not having to deal with obnoxious bicycles and pedestrians, then this city is going to shit and I’m going to run someone over.”

    How does one listen, acknowledge, or work with that perspective?

    Not to mention: if I had the money, and a contractor came in and said “everything would be much more pleasant for you and all your guests if you made an island here and added seating there etc…” I’d say “wow! thanks for your knowledge! Cool!”

    The comments on that article are doing things like citing bike the drive as a way that “radical” “whackjob” ATA is “trying to ruin drivers lives.” On one morning. One day a year. That is… beyond rationality and reasoning.

  • cjlane

    Yes, SunTimes comments are about 90% dreck, but you’re citing the dim-thoughts of a bunch of basement-dwelling bozos to say “persuasion will never work”, which amuses me.

  • cjlane

    “union (clout) protected”

    union =/= clout. They do overlap, sometimes, but they are *distinctly* *NOT* the same thing, and equating them diminishes the legit issues with both.

  • cjlane

    “I’d like to learn more about this website/institution before I take the data as valid”

    The data is certainly valid, and *should be* accurate. I can’t vouch 100% for the accuracy, of course, but they numbers are generally correct.

    ps: Not saying that there aren’t reasons to take issue with the BGA’s *advocacy* positions, but the data they present re public employee pay is not really in dispute.

  • Mishellie

    In my experience, it doesn’t work. On any issue related to progressivism. People hated the idea of social security. It got pushed through. Now people love it and fight for it. That’s kind of how it works.

  • Folks, please critique ideas, not people.

  • Mishellie

    I’m sorry but saying that suggesting pedestrian streets is equivalent to killing democracy is just weird and way over the top.

  • Kevin M

    Agreed. I discussed this site with a journalist friend of mine, and he says he has been relying on BGA for a long time.

  • Sobering reality

    Show me a public sector union, and I’ll show you several politicians who’s sole purpose is to fight for their pay raises against the best interests of the taxpayer.

    There are obviously no profits in Metra (LMAO), so union clout is not even remotely warranted.

  • cjlane

    Viva la revolucion!!

    “People hated the idea of social security.”

    Who? The rich folks and their elected proxies who still hate it, the far left who thought/think it doesn’t go far enough and various political opportunists? So? They all are *still* against it for the same reasons.

  • cjlane

    “equivalent to killing democracy ”

    More humor! Good times!

  • Mishellie

    Oh yes everyone hates SS. Try taking it away, see what happens.

    Other progressive policies that had to be passed rather forcefully:

    The Civil Rights Act (Jim Crow would still be in place today! Wouldn’t the country be great?!)

    In other countries, healthcare. Try taking the NHS system away from the UK. Try taking the German system from Germany. They were hard to pass but are universally well liked.

  • Mishellie

    “Last time I checked this was a democracy, not a government run by progressives telling everyone what is best for them.” — how is this threatening democracy? Please explain.

  • duppie

    How do you work with that perspective? You don’t. These kinds of plans are not decided in the comments section of your local news paper. Ignore the trolls.

    Regarding you accepting the recommendations from the
    contractor: let’s change the example to a car salesman. You’ve been riding your bike for a while. It pretty much does what you expect from it. In comes the car salesman. He tells you your bike is outdated, and he thinks you should drive an SUV instead. You have plenty of money. Would you buy the SUV based on the car salesman’s recommendation, despite the fact that your bike is serving you well?

  • Fred

    Living in a high rise with a balcony on a street that has restaurants with valet parking has ensured I will never use a valet ever again. The blatant ass-hattery I see done by valets would make their car owners violent if they saw what was going on. Full throttle backwards over a speedbump on a one way street? Pfft, totally kosher.

  • Sobering reality

    I agree that there should also be more funding. But that’s not a fiscal reality currently, at least not from the state. By the way, I’m sure you already know this but the state is in big fiscal trouble. They have been bled dry by PUBLIC SECTOR UNIONS and the politicians they donate to who keep giving them insane raises and wages and 6% cost of living increases in retirement despite CPI hovering at about 1% increases per year. Protecting outdated jobs that could easily be automated and industries and jobs that should be eliminated is the public union way.

  • cjlane

    “how is this threatening democracy? ”

    Where do I say that?

  • cjlane

    What does any of that have to do with your assertion that “People hated the idea of social security.”?

    “Oh yes everyone hates SS.”

    Um, did I say that? Did I even *imply* it?

    You are aware that there are several well-funded groups that want to eliminate SS, right? And that one of the major opposition points to the original enactment was that it didn’t go far enough, right? And that that criticism from the left can still be made today? And that Huey Long’s main reason for the filibuster was to score point in his plan to run for president the next year?

  • Anne A

    I know a police officer in River North who LOVES writing tickets on valet parkers and cabbies when they’re doing bad things. He told me about an incident where he saw a valet parker go THREE blocks in reverse (and not slowly) on a one way street. When he stopped the guy, it turned out he was driving on a suspended license. Even worse – his boss knew about it. Both driver and boss got tickets.

  • Get off your high horse

    You mad, bro? Take a few plays off and count to 10.

  • Anne A

    Just to add a little more factual info – Conductors do a lot more than walk through a car, answer questions and sell/punch tickets. They are part of a trained operations crew working with engineers and other staff to ensure safe operation of the trains.

  • What? I thought that as long as your car was pointed in the right direction, you could go either direction on a one-way street. That’s why you see me bicycling in reverse on my street… :)

  • Mishellie

    I’m not “mad”. I’m saying it is absolutely over the top and ridiculous that you are saying that progressives suggesting pedestrian streets is somehow ending democracy.

  • Mishellie

    You didn’t. You weren’t in this conversation at all and took my reply to another poster out of context.

  • I think it’s problematic that Metra’s contracts, or “purchaser service agreements”, with UP and BNSF completely lack performance incentives, according to new CEO Don Orseno, speaking at Monday’s Illinois House mass transit committee hearing.

  • “fiscal reality”

    Part of the fiscal reality of the state is that the Illinois Department of Transportation is spending millions of dollars on unneeded highway expansion which have a small return on investment. Additionally, highways cannot generate enough travel (read: gas taxes) or economic productivity the way that transit can (by way of fares and increasing mobility and access across an area for more folks).

  • Am I reading this correctly: there’s a belief that some people who work for Metra are paid too much?

  • Hey guys, could we please table this discussion? It’s not particularly relevant to the original post, and my inbox is getting clogged with comments. Thanks.

  • Voltaire

    In fact, I would say the most important parts of their jobs likely takes place outside the public eye.

  • Mishellie

    No. Because I have a brain and can objectively look into it do some research, and say “I’m sorry, but for me, personally, an SUV isn’t the right choice. It may be for someone else though, even if I disagree and even if having more SUVs might mildly inconvenience me riding, maybe an electrician needs that SUV to get to work with all his equipment or something, and then more power to them.” Instead, we’re getting people having a coronary over the merest suggestion that MAYBE a few blocks be closed to cars, claiming it will cause absolute chaos and gridlock, shouting that anyone who supports the plan is a radical nutjob, and that anyone who chooses something different from them should die/be run over.

  • duppie

    Ok. I give up. I tried, but there is no point in reasoning with you. Peace. Out.

  • cjlane

    “‘ll show you several politicians who’s sole purpose is to fight for their pay raises against the best interests of the taxpayer.”

    That’s not “clout” in standard Chicago understanding of the word. “Clout” has a specific meaning here, and that ain’t it.

  • cjlane

    You replied to me and asked me to explain.

    I found it funny because you’ve evidenced that you would prefer to throw bombs bc convincing people (ie, the core of democracy) is too hard.

  • Kevin M

    Yes