Today’s Headlines

  • CTA Testing Prototype for Purchase of 300 New Lower-Emission Buses (Tribune)
  • Residents Asked to Weigh in on County Transportation Plan (Tribune, Sun-Times)
  • Rail Corridor From Chicago to Joliet Could Cost $1.5 Billion (Tribune, Sun-Times)
  • 167-Unit Building Planned Next to Tinley Park Metra Station (Southtown)
  • A Look at the Region’s Upcoming Infrastructure Needs (MPC)
  • Taxpayers Reimburse College of DuPage Trustees $1,500 for Driving to Meetings (Herald)
  • Sleepy Driver Strikes Bus, Mailbox, and Responding Ambulance (DNA)
  • New Marketing Company Uses Transit Tracker Data to Target Ads (Crain’s)
  • A Doozy of a Student Editorial on Active Trans’ Ped Streets Proposal (Columbia)

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  • David Altenburg

    The Columbia editorial board fails to understand the difference between a plaza and a park. They seem to assume that any public space that isn’t a park should be dedicated to getting cars around.

  • Anne A

    Initiatives under review include closing some of the 35 railroad grade
    crossings between Chicago and Joliet, separating rail traffic from vehicles at crossings and adding an additional track to expedite passenger trains

    Only 35 crossings? That number seems low to me. If grade separation could be done at some of the busiest crossings, that would be a huge help, as those crossings tend to have more crashes when folks get impatient. The downside would be more viaducts that are likely to flood in heavy rains.

    Some of the less used crossings are vital to bike and pedestrian routes, so I hope we don’t lose any of those. Considering the freight volume on the line, adding an additional track where feasible could be a good investment.

  • Smart Spending

    $1.5 BILLION for a watered down version of HSR is a complete waste of money. While transportation infrastructure spending is great, the money could be benefit fa more people in the city and surrounding near suburbs. Local transportation infrastructure needs huge amounts of help.

  • Wewilliewinkleman

    Regarding Residents Asked to Weigh in on County Transportation Plan. Poor headline. There is no plan as of yet. Just a survey.

    Couple of comments:
    1) Cook County Government getting into serious transportation planning may be seem like a good idea at first blush, but I’m not certain if it isn’t just a taxpayer money grab to insure big contracts for politically connected firms.
    2) From what I can tell, Cook County Government wants to sop up Federal Transportation dollars. I would hope that there is a good plan put forth before they start seeking these dollars, otherwise you will just get a hodgepodge of projects with little or no connectivity from one suburb to another.
    3) I would hope that Cook County would advocate for better mass transit to and from the suburbs and within suburban Cook County locations

  • CL

    I don’t see the problem with reimbursing College of DuPage board members for mileage. The only reason it sounds like a lot of money for driving is that the rate, 56 cents per mile, is artificially high. If you get 25 mpg, you make $14 for every gallon of gas that you use. Part of that is accounting for wear on private vehicles, but it’s still a very high rate. But that’s the federal standard milage rate that everybody uses, so the problem is the federal rate.

    It’s not a scandal that people get reimbursed for business trips. I get reimbursed for all of my work-related travel. When I drive, I get the 56 cent milage reimbursement, and when I take the train, I get reimbursed for the fare. Conservatives are just complaining about this because it’s funded by “the taxpayers,” but it’s a small amount of money in the grand scheme of things.

  • Anna Schibrowsky

    I think that the Columbia Chronicle Editorial Board is composed entirely of our Benevolent Automobile Overlords. If there were some humans on the board, they might not be so quick to pen us into the parks and deny our access to commercial and cultural services.

  • The survey will be used to create the plan, so residents are being asked to weigh in on the plan.

  • Kevin M

    I serve on a very active board and we are not paid nor given travel expense privileges. However, I agree with CL on that I don’t see a big problem with CoD here.

    As the article states, the trustee posts are unpaid. And until I know what the total annual budgets were for CoD in the last two years, the $50,000 spent on trustee expenses doesn’t mean anything to me. It might be a drop in a bucket for all we know.

    Boo on Daily Herald for wasting their (and our) time & effort on what is likely small, low-hanging fruit in the overall CoD budget.

  • rohmen

    Exactly. Maybe it is truly out of the ordinary to reimburse college trustees for this type of expense, which would be nice of the Herald to confirm rather than just take a conservative policy institute’s statement at face value, but the reimbursement mileage rate of .565 is set by the IRS in relation to work travel, and not by the CoD.

  • Anne A

    I would hope that Cook County would advocate for better mass transit to
    and from the suburbs and within suburban Cook County locations

    I absolutely agree. Better connectivity between Pace and Metra and between CTA and Metra could make a huge difference. I’ve already been reaping the benefits of better Pace-CTA coordination on the far south side and have thanked Pace and CTA for that effort.

  • cjlane

    It reads like it was written by someone who has never set foot in the loop. Specifically this:

    “The bus would have to travel along Dearborn or Lasalle streets if Clark Street were closed off downtown.”

    Um, the 22 bus *already* travels on Dearborn. And the bigger problem (than using LaSalle) with using LaSalle is that the route would get cut short, and no longer go south to Polk.

    Now, this makes me think that, absent the use of Clark (and Dearborn, in the loop) for a streetcar line (an idea I like), that the *far* better choices for de-carring within the loop are Wabash and Wells. Wells would probably have to include partials and skipped blocks, in recognition of the many existing parking garages, but both are already horrible to drive on and would be decent bike routes from the River to Roosevelt (wells would tie into a future riverfront route somewhere south of Harrison).

    Anyway, the biggest problem anywhere in the loop is the parking meter deal. Serious handtying there,

  • Anne A

    I’m happy about the cleaner diesel buses. Between hybrids and cleaner-running diesels, the problem of “diesel breakfast” that I used to face on my bike commute has almost been eliminated. Cleaner buses and hybrid cars make it easier to breathe in traffic.

    The old dirtier buses were probably a significant factor in development of the asthma I now face. I hope that folks now starting out as bike commuters are spared that fate.

  • Anna Schibrowsky

    OK, I have just spent 2 hours weighing in on the plan with little map points, so, if we don’t get better transportation, don’t blame me. I did my part.

  • Anna Schibrowsky

    It seems my comment to our Benevolent Automobile Overlords has not been approved on Columbia’s site. Here is what I posted:

    Dear Benevolent Automobile Overlords of the Columbia Chronicle Editorial Board:

    We, the humans of Chicago, beseech thee to allow us access to your many fine shops, services, and cultural institutions. Though we enjoy the 8,100 acres you have set aside as “human reservations,” we find that we, like Automobiles, enjoy going into food and clothing stores; securing our money in banks; and attending universities, museums, and cultural events.

    Therefore, we request approval from our Automobile Overlords to leave our parks and venture into your business areas to engage in commerce.

    We await your decision with bated breath.

    Sincerely,
    The Humans

  • Cook County coordination with *RTA*, CDOT, and the various municipalities’ public works/highway/transportation departments is absolutely essential to a good plan.

  • I’ve written a post about this now. You’ll see a word about the reduced number of train crashes ;)

  • I think de-carring Wabash Avenue would help that street’s goal to become a bigger shopping destination.

    http://www.civicartworks.com/projects/transforming-wabash via
    http://loopchicago.com/blog/transforming-wabash-share-your-ideas

  • BlueFairlane

    While cleaner buses are undoubtedly a great step forward, I’m afraid they are only a very small drop in the very large bucket of Chicago air quality issues.

  • cjlane

    Really a good idea for so many reasons. Could maybe keep a block or three open-to-cars single traffic lane ‘circulators’ if that made sense. See this as most useful bt Wacker and Lake, and off of Congress.

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