Today’s Headlines

  • CTA Ridership Fell 3% Last Year, But ‘L’ Ridership Is at Highest Level in 50 Years (Tribune)
  • Garcia Vows to Remove Red Light Cams “Because Chicagoans Want Them Gone” (Tribune)
  • Yearlong Purple Line Reroute for Wilson Stop Construction Starts Monday (RedEye)
  • Driver Kills Andrew Smith, 41, Injures 3 Others People in West Garfield Park (Sun-Times)
  • Semi Driver Hit Disabled Car in Long Grove, Fire Destroys Both Vehicles (Sun-Times)
  • “Superloop” Would Link Commuter Stations to Lakefront Tourist Destinations (Gazette)
  • Plan for South Lakefront Could Include Separated Paths Plus a “Wave Organ” (DNA)
  • Protesters Shut Down Mag Mile to Pressure U. of C. to Build Trauma Center (Tribune)
  • Northbound Trains Will Skip Several Stops This Weekend Due to Red Track Work (DNA)
  • Blair Kamin’s Take on the Massive Riverfront Map Mural at 300 South Wacker (Tribune)
  • Tour de Fat Fundraiser for West Town Bikes Returns to Palmer Square on 7/11 (Chicagoist)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA

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Due to a funding shortfall, Streetsblog Chicago has suspended publication of orginal articles. Please see Streetsblog Editor-in-Chief Ben Fried’s message about the hiatus, and my post about the effort the revive the site via local fundraising. In the meantime, I am continuing to produce Today’s Headlines on a volunteer basis as a service to readers.

The Chicago Community Trust, a charitable foundation that was one of the early funders of SBC, has been impressed by the outpouring of support the site has received since we announced our hiatus on January 8. Thanks to the generosity of sponsors and readers like you, by February 16, we had raised $34K of the $75K needed to fund a year of operations.

As a result, CCT has very generously offered us a challenge grant. If Streetsblog reaches $50K in donations and sponsorships by our April 8 deadline to reboot the site, the Trust will provide the last $25K needed to resume daily publication of original reporting. In other words, our finish line is within sight.

However, we still have a lot of work to do in order to win that CCT funding that will allow us to relaunch. If you haven’t already done so, please donate to the Streetsblog Chicago Resurrection Fund today. While donations are not tax-deductible at this point, in the very unlikely event that the site does not relaunch by April 8, your money will be refunded.

If you’ve already contributed, thanks so much for helping us attract the challenge grant. As an added incentive to first-time donors, as well as those who’d like to make an additional contribution to help us win the CCT funding, anyone who donates $100 or more from this point on will get a copy of my book “Bars Across America.” Donate $200 or more and we’ll also throw in a copy of the anthology “On Bicycles,” to which I contributed a chapter about Chicago’s West Town Bikes, while supplies last.

We’re hosting a Donor Appreciation Party on Wednesday, March 25, 6-9 p.m. at Revolution Brewing’s Kedzie Avenue taproom, 3340 North Kedzie. All Streetsblog readers are invited to attend this free event, and everyone who has contributed $100 or more will get a complimentary beer courtesy of RevBrew, plus their free book(s).

Please feel free to spread the word about the challenge grant to potential donors, or contact me at 312-560-3966 or greenfieldjohn[at]hotmail.com with leads on other possible funding sources. To keep you apprised on our progress as we enter the home stretch, I’ll be updating the above Donate-O-Meter along with Today’s Headlines each morning.

Thanks again for your continuing support.

– John

  • I met John Krauss the other day, or Chicago Streetcar Renaissance. I mentioned that there are some fundamental, and potentially fatal, biases in CSR’s planning. For the loop circulator, they want to connect the Metra stations to tourist destination. However, most transit customers in the loop, and those with the least time to spare, are residents and commuters, not tourists. CSR route-by-route approach to planning (rather than a network approach) is trying to make streetcars into a all-in-one transit solution that cannot physically be provided.

    It will be interesting to see what CSR’s report about the loop circulator reveals. I will be disappointed, but unsurprised if it focuses entirely on real estate and largely ignores the details and the tough choices that are required in order to operate an effective transit service.

  • tooter turtle

    Is Garcia’s new position on red light cameras principled, or pandering?

  • CL

    I’m curious to see if Garcia will come out against the speed cameras, or just the red light cameras.

    I knew Rahm would live to regret angering his base, moderately informed white people, with all of these camera tickets.

  • jeff wegerson

    Or a principled pander? Lets face it camera cops are like casinos and drugs (legal of course), making money off of peoples vices.

  • jeff wegerson

    One more thing. The Future of BRT is three car (or more?) battery (or capcitor) electric motored wheel driven proto-trams. Yes some turns may need special treatment but the costs and route flexibility will still be favorable.

    Don’t get me wrong. I love the smooth feel of driving my car with the wheels exactly on the tracks down the middle of Kingsbury street north of North. You should try it. But the other huge huge relaxation effect of electric is the elimination of the micro-vibrations that emanate from from a combustion engine. Like in a Tesla. Try it when you get the chance.

    While some subways in Paris and maybe Toronto were at least for a while rubber tire, yes I think the preference there is still steel.

  • duppie

    He has flip-flopped 4 times so far on the camera subject. I’d expect him to flip at least twice more between now and April 7

  • Hi Jeff,

    Some of my thoughts regarding battery electric buses. I’m pleasantly surprised with how useful battery electric buses are today, but they have limitations. For high frequency transit routes, overhead electric will still be preferable.

    It’s Paris and Montreal with rubber tired metros, not Toronto.

  • Yeah, this is annoying.

  • jeff wegerson

    I see battery tech advancing both stored energy wise as well as recharge speed. Proterra has a 5 minute recharge bus now. Now if we can just get the driverless versions so we can increase the unemployment rates.

  • I’d recommend taking a look at this video. Unemployability is a huge looming social problem. However, it won’t be solved by keeping productivity low, especially with transit.

  • cjlane

    So, a violation of the law (a trite law, perhaps, but still the law) is a vice like legal gambling?

    Camera cops are *not* the same thing as cigarette and booze taxes, or the amusement tax or any other sort of tax. They are a penalty for the violation of a duly enacted ordinance.

    Why have traffic laws at all, nevemind enforcing those laws (which, btw, include DUI laws), if the fines are ‘just about making money off people’s vices’?

  • jeff wegerson

    I didn’t watch the video but I read the entire article. The one topic they do not discuss is ownership of robots. At one time it was legal to own people just like it’s legal now to own robots. The richest people owned the most people. Still do if you buy into the concept of wage-slavery.

    Likewise the richest people own the most robots. So instead of labor saving robots freeing us to a life of increasing leisure we are becoming free to sleep under bridges. (Well maybe not bridges anymore.) The savings are all going to our owners. Fewer and fewer of even them.

    So that’s what is missing from someone’s robots wet dream. The logical conclusion is a robot planet (solar system, galaxy etc.) Science Fiction stuff. I mean if people are increasingly useless, why tolerate us at all?

    So let’s go back to the 1950’s of 90% marginal tax rates. Spread the robot ownership around a bit.

  • jeff wegerson

    Pretty much every one speeds pretty much everywhere. Speeding is more like pot in that respect. So yes perhaps decriminalize 5-10 mph over the limit and in effect tax it as a vice.

    But my complaint here is the “duly enacted ordinance” whiners.

  • cjlane

    “my complaint here is…”

    Huh? do not grok.

    “perhaps decriminalize 5-10 mph over the limit”

    Um, camera tickets only get sent at 6 over, and the expensive ticket requires being 11 over. So that’s baked in the cake.

  • Speeding kills rather more people than weed, I would venture.

  • I can never remember…did the city enable ticketing speeders going 6 over (a $35 ticket), or is it still just sending the 10 over tickets ($100)?

  • cjlane

    I couldn’t find a definite answer quickly, either, so went conservative.

  • cjlane
  • The city’s speed cameras FAQ confirms that.

  • Actually, CDOT just confirmed that they are still only ticketing people going 10 mph or more over the speed limit. They said this January press release outlines the current policy: http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/cdot/provdrs/traffic_signals_andstreetlights/news/2014/dec/ASEjan6.html

    “Per city ordinance, fines for violations are $35 for vehicles traveling 6-10 miles per hour over the posted speed limit while in a safety zone, and $100 for vehicles traveling 11 or more miles over the posted speed limit. The City is currently only issuing tickets for speeders going 10 or more miles per hour over the posted speed limit.”

  • cjlane

    Just saw this in a DNA article:

    “Speed cameras in Chicago can issue $35 tickets for motorists going six to 10 miles over the speed limit (but are currently only ticketing those going 10 over), and $100 tickets for those going 11 or more miles per hour over the speed limit.”

    So, the $35 tickets are being issued for being exactly 10 over, only? Seems correct, with the relatively low numbers of $35 tickets being issued.

  • I think you misunderstood the phrasing. And the phrasing is a little off.

    6-10 over = $35 ticket
    11+ over = $100 ticket
    Only the $100 tickets (for those driving 11+ over) are being issued. When they mention the $35 tickets, those are hypothetical tickets for real violations (because they aren’t issuing $35 tickets, or tickets to anyone driving 6-10 over).

  • cjlane

    No, I don’t misunderstand the phrasing. It’s very clear that the info DNA based their articles on showed that $35 tickets are being issued for being exactly 10 over. Here’s one of the stories where the issue is actually discussed:

    http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20150507/forest-glen/why-doesnt-city-nab-all-drivers-speeding-past-cameras

    And the math doesn’t work unless $35 tickets are being issued–532k $100 tickets, but $58m in total fines.

    Now, are they issuing 10 over tickets right now? Dunno. But they most certainly have been issued.

  • Steven, actually, when I talked to the CDOT spokesman a couple months ago, he confirmed that $35 tickets are only being issued for people going exactly 10 mph over the speed limit. When I pointed out that this was kind of weird, he had no response.

  • Sorry, I stand corrected. That’s really weird that “exactly 10 over” is a thing (see John’s comment about this).

  • cjlane

    Yeah, really weird.

    Also, weird–but unsurprising–about the spokespeople having no response about the weirdness to either John or DNA. You’d think they’d have an answer, but I spose it’s a matter of any answer they give creates an argument to toss some tickets.

    Were I in charge, I’d probably make it 8-10 getting the tickets, and send warnings to the 6-7 over, but only when they’ve had multiples.