Today’s Headlines

  • Active Trans Notes That City Won’t Meet 100-Mile PBL Goal, Calls for More Advanced Bikeways
  • South Red Line Sees First Ridership Growth Since Last Year’s Rehab (RedEye)
  • Quinn Says He “Wasn’t Happy” About IDOT Hiring Schneider’s Stepdaughter (Tribune)
  • DePaul Study: Metra Needs to Start Providing Wi-Fi Service (Tribune)
  • Man Crashes Pickup Into House in Huntley, Flees on Foot (Tribune)
  • Hyde Park School Gets Crashed Into for the Second Time in 3 Months (DNA)
  • A Look Back at Ventra’s Rocky Rollout (Tattler)
  • Despite High Gas Prices, Large Number of People Planning July 4 Car Trips (Sun-Times)
  • Fence Installed Under Oak Park ‘L’ for Lovers’ Locks (Sun-Times)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • BlueFairlane

    I think one thing difficult for the non-driver to understand is that in the minds of drivers, gas prices are simultaneously always high and never high. What I mean by this is that drivers always complain about gas prices, but that these prices very rarely have an effect on what drivers do. And prices are only perceived as unusually high the first summer they hit a particular threshold.

    Gas prices right now are right around $4/gallon. That seems like a lot, and we complain about that. But gas prices have been right around $4/gallon now for several years. When prices first hit $4 in 2008, a lot of people significantly reduced their driving, but everybody’s long since grown used to that number. This is just normal, and people have adjusted to it and budgeted for it.

  • Adam

    From NPR, “New analysis finds that the countdown clocks telling pedestrians how
    much time they have to cross the intersection actually increase traffic
    crashes.” http://www.npr.org/2014/07/01/327199161/safety-feature-for-pedestrians-has-undesired-consequence

  • Cameron Puetz

    Think of it like groceries. Transportation (like food) can be a major part of a person’s budget, but since it’s such a basic need it has to become a major hardship before most people reexamine their transportation spending.

  • Assuming the added rear-end crashes don’t injure more people, I’d still take the extra pedestrian safety any day.

  • Yeah. I’m tempted to say that gas prices are as expensive as they always have been: http://inflationdata.com/Inflation/images/charts/Oil/Inflation_adjusted_gasoline_price_sm.jpg

    That’s not quite accurate, but it’s not far off, either.

  • Corn Dog Aficionado

    Why does Metra need to waste millions on what will likely be mediocre at best Wi Fi? Buy a data plan if you need the internet that badly.

  • duppie

    When done well, it shouldn’t cost them a penny.
    Have a 3rd party provider do the work, in exchange for advertising rights. They can install modern monitors inside the car that show next station , arrival time, etc. interspersed with ads. I have seen it done in the Netherlands. Works very well

  • David Altenburg

    Basically, if you give drivers any tool that will help them drive faster, they’ll use it.

    When I’m on my bike, I really do appreciate being able to see the pedestrian counters to know if I should try to make it or just relax. That’s necessary in part because our yellow lights are so short that on major intersections, I feel like it’s necessary to treat yellows as reds so that this doesn’t happen to me: http://www.mybikeadvocate.com/2014/06/changing-lights-dangerous-time.html

  • duppie

    There is a simple solution for that. Add speed camera functionality to the red light camera, You blow through the intersection at 40mph to avoid the red light? You get a ticket for speeding.

    Technology has been available for decades. I’ve seen it growing up in the Netherlands

  • In the Netherlands the little bike countdown timers [that I’ve seen] are also very small and I doubt a driver could see them. Are there larger ones for pedestrians, or are they small, too?

  • Corn Dog Aficionado

    If you are exchanging physical advertising rights, then that is costing Metra money because they are not selling that space to anyone else.

    If you are having pop up ads constantly on people using the Wi Fi, then that is dogshit service.

  • duppie

    To your first point: that would be true if they currently used that space. But they are not used. See example below. You can hang them above the first and the last seat in each car.

  • Corn Dog Aficionado

    Even if they are not used, that is still an opportunity cost. An opportunity for revenue not being capitalized on. Not sure if it is even possible given the current setup of Metra cars, but if it was, they are still losing $.

  • duppie

    Not really. Opportunity cost assumes that there is a choice to be made. Metra has given no indication that they have plans to further monetize advertising opportunities. So the choice here is between installing ad-supported wifi, or doing nothing.

  • duppie

    I’ve seen a few of them on my last visit to the Netherlands. They are not common yet. And their countdown is much, much faster. Think 5 seconds or less