Today’s Headlines

  • Survey: Divvy Users Are Saving $760 a Year on Transpo Costs (Mayor’s Office)
  • CTA Safety Scrutinized After Monday’s Non-Fatal Blue Line Collision (NBC, ABC, CBS)
  • …While a Deadly Car Crash That Halted the South Red Line Got Little Coverage (Tribune)
  • With O’Hare Station Closed, CTA Runs Shuttles to Airport (Tribune)
  • A Profile of the RTA’s Interim Executive Director (Daily Herald)
  • Suffredin: American Airlines Should Pay Fair Share of Taxes to RTA (Tribune)
  • North Red Line Work Continues for 2 More Weekends (DNA)
  • Riverwalk Work Will Cause Week-Long Bridge Closures This Summer (DNA)
  • Active Trans Holding Training Sessions for Crash Support Hotline Volunteers
  • Parking Geek Teaches Seminar for Drivers, Including Safety Around Cyclists (Expired Meter)
  • Ancien Cycles & Roll Out Cafe Will Be a Bike Culture Hub (BRAIN)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Anne A

    I was rather surprised that a crash as serious as yesterday’s Dan Ryan crash didn’t get more media coverage.

  • No Ur Fax

    You’re complaining about a lack of media coverage yet you link to a Tribune article.

    Car accidents sadly are not an uncommon occurrence. Train crashes strike an irrational fear in folks just like airline crashes.

  • It’s that the CTA crash got a ton of coverage, even in national media, while routine, deadly car crashes get barely a mention. And the media tend to chalk train crashes up as huge disasters while car crashes, claiming many more lives every day, are just seen as normal and unpreventable.

  • I said the car crash got little coverage, not zero coverage. But you nailed it: fear of deadly train crashes is irrational because statistically they’re incredibly rare compared to car crashes. However, whenever there’s a train incident like this there’s a media swarm and hand-wringing about how to improve train safety. Meanwhile, the 30K+ people who dies in U.S. car crashes each year is treated like business as usual.

  • Fred

    You should start a cable news channel: Car Crash Death TV. 24/7 live coverage of deadly car crashes nationwide.

  • That would be a challenge. In 2012 a station like that would have had to cover about 93 deadly crashes a day.

  • rohmen

    Not defending the lack of coverage of car crashes as an epidemic in this country (though I’m personally more disturbed by the fact that Chicago has recorded 12 homicides this year, with little more than the same type of quick mention the dan ryan crash received in the Trib), but considering the fact that two CTA L crashes in less than a year have led to people being injured, I think the level of attention/coverage being paid to the CTA’s safety record is fairly justified.

  • Fred

    Funny, I was thinking the exact opposite. Car crashes are so common it would be super easy to fill 24hrs/day covering them. And that is exactly why they aren’t covered like train/airplane crashes. If every news outlet covered every deadly car crash nationwide, there would be no time for any other news.

  • I agree, and because so many of us rely on the CTA, safety needs to be a priority and scrutinized. But it there were anywhere near the same amount of collisions on CTA as there were with cars, people would be screaming for an intervention.

  • BlueFairlane

    The answer is in the term “routine” and the “man-bites-dog” paradigm. Something that rarely happens is always far more news worthy than something that happens all the time.

  • Right, I’m saying there are so many motor vehicle deaths a day, about one every 15 minutes, it would be tough for a news station to cover them all.

  • Kevin M

    First line of the Trib article covering the automobile story called it an “accident”.

    First line of the Trib article covering the Blue Line story calls it not just “crash”, but ” spectacular crash”.

    Can someone explain the double-standard here? Why isn’t the Blue Line story an “accident”? Its not as if the operator was intentional about their role.

  • CL

    Probably because everyone was at O’Hare, understandably.

  • CL

    “North Red Line Work Continues for 2 More Weekends”

    Noooooooo. When the train skips your station, it adds so much time. I had to make 2 trips downtown and back last Saturday, and I felt like I spent my whole day on public transit. At least I have advance warning — I felt bad for the people who didn’t expect the delays and were late to wherever they were going.

  • Just to put it in perspective… since coverage of the 240 deaths on flight 370 began on March 8th, there have been over 1,400 motor vehicle related deaths in the United States.

  • Brian Morrissey

    Intentional or not, somebody is at fault in both and they should both be called “crashes”.

  • Brian Morrissey

    Just cover the “spectacular” crashes.

  • Chicago Magazine’s Whet Moser just ran the numbers comparing Chicago transit to Chicago driving. Transit has 1/4th the number of injuries per passenger mile.

    http://www.chicagomag.com/city-life/March-2014/Even-With-the-Occasional-Derailment-the-CTA-Is-Still-a-Lot-Safer-than-Driving/

  • Chicago Magazine’s Whet Moser just ran the numbers comparing Chicago transit to Chicago driving.

    http://www.chicagomag.com/city-life/March-2014/Even-With-the-Occasional-Derailment-the-CTA-Is-Still-a-Lot-Safer-than-Driving/

    Transit has half the number of injuries per passenger mile.

  • Fred

    There were probably more Chinese people killed in vehicle related incidents on March 8th than there were killed on that airplane.

  • Fred

    Only half?? I would have expected much lower than that!

  • BlueFairlane

    Actually, I find this sort of disturbing, as I wouldn’t have expected it to be nearly so high.

  • skyrefuge

    Not sure what numbers Steve was referencing, but according to the article, in Chicago, in 2011, transit-related injuries were 26% of auto-related injuries (47 vs. 182 per million passenger miles)

  • BlueFairlane

    That still seems like a much higher amount that I would have expected, but looking at the article I think I see why. As they say, their metric includes “336 injuries to ‘revenue facility occupants,’ i.e. ‘individuals waiting for or leaving transit.’” This suggests they include things like people slipping on ice on an el platform, walking in front of a Metra train, or getting hit by a car while waiting for the bus. If I remember right, that guy who was killed when an out-of-control cab rolled over him at Chicago and Milwaukee would be included. This methodolgy likely puts a lot of injuries in the transit category that happened primarily because of car traffic. Take those away, and the number drops by about a third.

  • alexfrancisburchard

    Well, as I was driving back from Ohare an hour ago, the signs said something like 137 car deaths or something this year, I don’t remember if its a kill count or a crash count, but The Blue Line alone has injured about 70 people this year, The CTA takes a LOT of people out when it crashes, whereas cars only take one or two at a time.

  • Um. As a former westside Green Line resident, let me say: suck it up. You get three weekends of delay for a significant upgrade; we got closure for MORE THAN A YEAR of the entire line, plus removal of a significant proportion of the stations.

  • Misread it. Just edited my comment.

  • Alex_H

    Is there a place where one can read more about this?

  • I misspoke. I meant 1/4th, not half.

  • Wikipedia, for starters:
    “On January 9, 1994, the Green Line closed for the largest transit rehabilitation project in the city’s history. The Green Line reopened on May 12, 1996, with much of the renewal work completed, and with the exception of a few stations. Six stations were closed indefinitely following the rehabilitation project, which angered many commuters who depend on the Green Line. In September 1997, after political pressure brought on by community leaders, the Jackson Park branch was shortened again from University to Cottage Grove after previous attempts by the City, CTA and other agencies to extend the route eastward to Dorchester, immediately west of the Illinois Central Railroad. This had seemed logical to the pro- “Dorchester Terminal,” camp, due to the fact that the Metra Electric District and South Shore Line both share a station along the IC ROW, at 63rd Street.”

  • Anne A

    Click here for a bit of history from Chicago-L.org. This page includes the realignment of what are now the red and green lines, as well as the lengthy green line closure (halfway down the page) for reconstruction.

  • Anne A

    The numbers on those digital signs are the count of people who died in motor vehicle crashes. On the rare occasions when there are transit crashes with injuries, fatalities are extremely rare.

  • Fred

    Likely also includes the hand full of drunk idiots that fall off the platform every year due to no fault of the CTA.

  • Through the closure I had a daily commute that involved the Halsted bus. Before the closure, 3/4ths of the passengers would get off (and then refill) at the Green Line stop, both directions, at all times of day that I rode it (usually either early-morning-rush or just-before-10AM going southbound, and either 3ish or 7:30 at night northbound). From chatting with my seat neighbors, it wasn’t all downtown-bound; there were large numbers of people taking every possible transfer direction you can imagine, for work or play.

    Then the line shut down, and the muttering was palpable. Ridership visibly declined in non-rush-hour timeframes, and those who remained had to figure out complicated ways to complete their trips. Still, we thought — imagine after the reconstruction! It was said to be borderline unsafe before, so it was all to the good, right?

    They even reconstructed the entire Halsted station (to the new model like the one at Ashland now, green geometric sheet metal in a sort of vaguely-vintage configuration: http://www.chicago-l.org/stations/ashland.html ). Great, my seat-neighbors thought: new station! Big one! Maybe with an elevator, that’d be nice.

    And then they took the station apart, day by day as I commuted under it, until it was bare track again … and reopened the line like that.

    If you pulled shit like that on the north side, not only would it ACTUALLY BE COMMUNICATED, but people would scream holy hell. And that’s from an area where the next station is a couple blocks away — there are enormous gaps on the west leg of the Green where you just canNOT get on the train, tough tooties.

    The scuttlebutt on the bus (I’ve never heard an official answer; that was the period where different heads of CTA were coming in and out and cancelling each other’s projects) was that clearly the Oak Parkers were sick of (a) so many black people on ‘their’ train and (b) it taking ‘so long’ to get to downtown, so they cut the station count to speed the trip.

    And it iiiiiis faster now … but you can’t connect to the #8 bus anymore, which makes both the bus and the green line strongly less useful.

  • Cameron Puetz

    Again the rarity of crashes makes the two crashes in a short period a cause for greater concern. If something that rarely happens starts happening more you want to look for what’s changed and any underlying root causes.

  • what_eva

    2 more weekends of work, but only 1 more of station closings scheduled. What they’re doing is hooking up the new substation to the tracks. They did the southbound tracks last weekend. SB Red ran on NB Red track, NB Red ran on NB Purple track, so that’s why no stops NB.

    This weekend they do the northbound tracks, so SB Red will be on the SB Purple track and NB Red on the SB Red track, meaning no stops SB.

  • what_eva

    Improved power distribution is a good thing, but I don’t know that your average rider would see it as a significant upgrade…