Today’s Headlines

  • Clybourn Bike Lane Would Be City’s First PBL With Curbs (DNA)
  • Bike Commuter Challenge Winners Include Art Institute, CMAP, CTA, Orbitz, SRAM (Active Trans)
  • Park District Buys Bikes For Use On The Job (DNA)
  • CTA Wants To Create U.S. Jobs With Bids For New Rail Cars (Biz Journal)
  • Pets Aboard Metra? Advisory Board Weighs In Today On Pilot (WGN)
  • Mayor Breaks Ground On Randolph-Lake Riverwalk & Office Tower (WTTW)
  • Weekend Construction: Blue Line Closed Through Logan Square (CTA, DNA)
  • Also This Weekend: Classic Bike Show On Division (DNA), Bike To Brew (Active Trans)
  • Chicago Neighborhoods Less Segregated At Work Than At Home (MPC)
  • Some Jefferson Park Residents Want Condos, Not Rentals; Less Parking, Not More (DNA)
  • Inside MNML’s “The Bike For Chicago” Design: Reveal Tonight, Vote Monday (Reader, Chainlink)

Read about today’s national news at Streetsblog USA.

  • CL

    Pets should be allowed on Metra, and all mass transit.

    I have many reasons for keeping my car, but one of them is transporting my pet. I’ve looked into alternatives for some trips and found that pets weren’t allowed. Amtrak doesn’t allow pets, for example.

  • While i fully support many “buy American” provisions for government spending, it seems to get unfairly applied to mass transit systems. This leads to US transit systems, which are already underfunded, having to pay a premium for badly needed infrastructure.

  • Mishellie

    Agreed. People always make the allergy argument but fail to understand that they are allergic to dander buildup, not the pets themselves.

    On a train? Why can’t there be a pet car or two and other non pet cars?

    I see animals on CTA and never once have I seen them cause a problem.

    I should also add that the $100 “pet fee” on airlines is positively silly. Especially on Spirit – usually MY ticket is less than $100 why should I have to pay that much for my cat? She literally sits under my seat. I don’t mind paying a fee but $100 is excessive.

  • Fred

    Really? You’re complaining about fees on Spirit? That’s their business model. Super cheap basic fares, then CHARGE FOR EVERYTHING ELSE. Have you ever heard their CEO speak? He’s hilariously, un-apologetically candid about this business model. Even he will say if you don’t like the fees or poor customer service, feel free to fly a more expensive airline! You get what you pay for.

  • CL

    Yes, the pet fees are really high — when you include the fees, I save about $300 by driving halfway across the country with my cat instead of flying.

  • Sugar and Spice

    Seriously. It’s perfect for people who say why should I have to pay for parking when I ride my bike?

    On Spirit, you don’t pay for anything unless you use it. Nothing is inclusive.

  • Mishellie

    Actually no, I’m not complaining about the fee existing. I gladly play their game and bring a backpack and don’t but drinks etc… What I’m complaining about is that it’s a $100 fee, which is more than what my ticket costs, and the same amount as every luxury airline. I don’t see why an animal should cost more than a carry on bag.

  • Kevin M

    Actually, right here in Illinois, Amtrak & IDOT are currently running a pilot study on allowing pets aboard: http://www.amtrak.com/ccurl/19/793/Amtrak-Illinois-Pets-on-Train-Pilot-ATK-14-043a.pdf

  • I don’t even support that. I would hire a Spanish firm to manage any given project start-to-finish, since they would cost something like 30-40% less.

    But it’s not just the contractors; it’s the ungodly amounts of permitting, reviews, and NIMBY costs that make life harder for everyone.

  • ohsweetnothing

    The comment section the the Clybourn PBL article is pretty hilarious. Looks like people who ride bikes are fed up with the “scofflaw cyclists don’t deserve accomodations” comments, haha. Love it.

  • Mishellie

    Yep! I am adopting a cat in MN and I am driving to get them because airfare was going to be over $300 and driving will probably cost me like $120.

    So hopefully he wont be petrified of driving…

  • R.A. Stewart

    Well … he’s a cat, so …

    But maybe he’ll just curl up in despair and go to sleep until you get him to his new home.

  • cjlane

    I’m pretty sure that the largest added cost is not from the added cost on the rail cars/buses (many of which are made my foreign entities that set up US manufacturing plants), but rather from a combination of the permitting/review/complaint process that Robert cites AND some combination of the work rules, minority contracting, union labor requirements, etc on the construction side.

    If it were possible for a private entity to do the soup to nuts work of a public infrastructure project, and *completely* avoid the public project requirements and restrictions (other than ‘normal’ building code stuff applicable to any project), that project would be done for a lot less and a lot faster.

  • Fred

    I actually have to agree with you on this one. If your pet is traveling like a carry on, it should be charged like a carry on. I can see maybe an additional fee for any “accidents” that I’m sure occasionally occur, but I wouldn’t think it would have to be very large.

  • Mishellie

    Exactly! When I brought my first kitten home on spirit I was able to book way out in advance – the round trip with no carry on was like $80. Cat one way? $100. And then no one at Spirit even checked to make sure I was supposed to have a cat. Like she wasnt listed anywhere on my boarding pass or anything. I could have just carried her on free i think? I just feel like it should just be the carry on fee, since Spirit charges a carry on fee. Or I wish I was more coniving and thought to put her carrier inside a carry on bag and only take her out to go through security (did you know they test small animals to see if you’ve put explosives inside of them? Like seriously, even for a terrorist a kitten-bomb would be pretty cruel.)

  • Mishellie

    My brother’s kitten has no issue! She sits in the back deck and hangs out quietly.

    My CURRENT cat mews and mews and cries until a) she breaks my heart and b) she vomits. And that’s on the drive between Logan Square and Des Plaines when I’m going out of town. I feel like drugging her is the next step. For a twenty minute ride. So hopefully the new one will be better than that.

    Oddly enough, she was perfectly content when I flew her on the airplane. Only a little whining while walking around the MN airport, and fell right asleep once we boarded.

  • We’ll have our post up later today.

  • Roland Solinski

    Yeah, if any project takes Federal money then it is subject to inflated Davis-Bacon wage rates, minority rules, etc. Using union labor is actually not a requirement, but using non-union wouldn’t save any money because of Davis-Bacon.

    Illinois has similar rules at the state level, and even public-private partnerships like the Illiana are not exempt.

  • Is Davis-Bacon referring to Illinois’s “prevailing wage” rate calculated by a cabinet level department?

  • Roland Solinski

    Yes – for many jobs, especially unskilled ones, the prevailing wage is far higher than what the private sector pays. For skilled jobs, prevailing wage is usually similar to union wages.

    It’s all well and good if you want the gov’t to be providing good jobs but we all pay the price with less infrastructure investment.