Today’s Headlines

  • Divvy Set a New Ridership Record Saturday (Tribune, Crain’s)
  • Map: Lots of CTA Projects Going on This Summer (RedEye)
  • Study Looks at Improving Area Around Evanston Transit Stations (Northwestern)
  • Man Who Was Charged in South Side Crash Has Died From Injuries (Tribune)
  • Teen Driver in Fatal December Crash Charged With Homicide (DNA)
  • Pileup on Dan Ryan in Canaryville Injures 4 (DNA)
  • Young Ad Execs Competing to Come up With Best Divvy Marketing Campaign (CBJ)
  • City Proposes at Least 8 Divvy Locations in Rogers Park (DNA)
  • Roosevelt U. Participating in Bike2Campus Week (Park Forest)
  • Pothole Reveals Old Logan Square Streetcar Tracks (DNA)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Kevin M

    Re: The DNA article highlighting the streetcar rail revealed by pothole.

    1) This happens quite often; this winter alone I’ve probably seen a dozen different pothole revelations of street car rails around the city.

    2) I’d like to know what effect, if any, there is in terms of pavement durability/longevity when roads are paved over streetcar lines/beds instead of ripping out the rails and railbed substructure and completely rebuilding the roads from scratch. For instance, do the rails expand and contract, thereby weakening the pavement and causing premature failure points? If so, then can you imagine how much money has been wasted on constantly patching and resurfacing Chicago’s streets since 1958 versus if they had taken the initial time & expense to rip out the streetcar rail/bed and build the streets back from scratch?

    3) Is there any possibility (or precedent) for depaving one of these paved-over former-streetcar lines, say Ashland, and re-using the rails and/or rail bed for light rail transit?

  • I heard from a streetcar operator at IRM that the rails are now used to ground traffic lights (I think I remember that correctly), so I don’t imagine they’re coming out anytime soon.

  • R.A. Stewart

    You raise some interesting points. Since the cross-street at the end of our block, which presumably never had a streetcar line, is about as much pothole as pavement now, and I can name a bunch of side streets in our neighborhood that have been in disastrous condition for years, I’m more inclined to think that if anything it has been just a matter of doing the initial construction and subsequent maintenance on the cheap. (Of course, since we’re talking about Chicago, you understand that “cheap” refers to quality, not cost to taxpayers.)

    I’d love to think of those paved-over lines being reconditioned and used again for light rail. And hey, the city wouldn’t even have to dig: just let a couple more winters do their work, and there they will be. :-/ Don’t know if they would fit modern equipment, though.

  • Fred

    I’m no expert in electricity, but I’m pretty sure that doesn’t make sense. Why wouldn’t traffic lights be grounded to the…. ground?

  • The streetcar rail’s metal does ground it to the ground — it’s a more thorough puller of current than a single 10″ spike at each traffic light site.

  • Fbfree

    There’s no possibility of reusing any part of any existing buried streetcar trackage. Neither the foundations nor the tracks would be in usable condition.

  • The most durable road surface, for decades of relatively maintenance-free use with heavy loads, is cobblestone/brick. However, people driving cars STRONGLY dislike driving on it because even at 5mph it’s very bouncy-bouncy-bouncy.

  • BlueFairlane

    There aren’t many people on bikes who would disagree with people in cars. Cobblestones are not fun for any wheeled transportation moving faster than horse speed.

  • R.A. Stewart

    Another dream dies. I’m sure you’re right, though.

  • No, but they last! Just saying there are other considerations than sheer durability, for road surfaces. :->

  • BlueFairlane

    Oh, I see what you’re getting at. I initially thought you were going for a different angle.