Today’s Headlines for Monday, May 11

  • Hilkevitch to Carter: Reconsider O’Hare Express Train, Bring Back Smooth Train/Bus Transfers (Tribune)
  • Plan for State Street Between 69th & 79th Includes Some Pedestrian Improvements (DNA)
  • A Roundup of Logan Development Projects, Including TOD Buildings (Logan Squarist)
  • Second Case of a Pedestrian Killed by a Motorcyclist in 2 Weeks, This Time in McHenry County (Tribune)
  • Once Again, Surveillance Cam Images Lead to Arrest in CTA Sexual Assault Case (Tribune)
  • City Notes Examines the Pros & Cons of Various Rail Transit Options
  • The DePaulia Looks at Bike Lane Equity Issues
  • Strap It On: Divvy May Test Out a Helmet Vending Machine This Year (RedEye)
  • How to Host a Bike Drive for Working Bikes in Your Community (Chicago Parent)
  • Can Cycling Give You a Six-Pack? Yes, Via This DePaul Grad’s Booze-Carrying Device (Chicago Inno)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Kevin M

    Hilkevitch is the perfect transit writer for the Tribune, and that’s because the Tribune is an extremely unfriendly paper towards alternative transportation. Hilkevitch is about as informed on transit issues as Kass, and both of these no-talent “writers” serve the same goal: pander to the popular side of any controversy.

    It is a sick symptom of the sorry state of our local media when one of the biggest newspapers’ own transit guru is calling for investment in to an airport express train and divestment of the Belmont Flyover. The former would effect far fewer Chicago citizens and cost far more than the latter project. Who is Hilkevitch serving when he writes? What an uninformed blowhard.

    If this town had a real intelligent news media company that was committed to employing informed, hard-working, well-researched journalists, John Greenfield and Steven Lane would be their alt. transportation writers and John Hilkevitch would be selling used cars in Bensenville.

  • Kevin M

    Ps, Hilkevitch wrote of the Belmont Flyover: “The project, opposed by neighbors in Lakeview, is a solution to a problem that doesn’t yet fully exist.”

    A. He admits that the problem–congestion between Brown, Purple and Red line trains–already does exist to some degree
    B. Why in the world should we wait until this problem is worse before beginning to build the massive, multi-year momentum that will be necessary to secure federal funding towards this project? Only an uninformed, overpaid transit “writer” would advocate for delaying this effort until the problem is worse.

  • I think this is actually a pretty good Hilk piece, but I agree with you on those two points. We don’t really need an express train to O’Hare. The Blue Line is already a fairly efficient way to get there, and the Your New Blue project is supposed to shave five minutes off the one-way trip. I think Hilk wants this because he’s an aviation buff.

    He also leaves out the fact that one of the biggest arguments for the flyover (a project that I’m personally on the fence about, due to the financial cost and impact on the neighborhood) is that it would allow for more train capacity at the station, which is going to become increasingly important as train ridership continues to grow.

    Thanks for the shout-out, but my writing partner is Steven Vance. However, graphic designer Steven Lane, best known for printing hundreds of Chicago Critical Mass t-shirts, would also make an excellent Trib transportation reporter.

  • I think he wants it because he’s one of the many people I encounter who get incredibly upset when the travel time from wherever they are to wherever they want to be rises over ~30min. Suddenly that’s an affront to them and a massive waste of their time.

    Mind, the current 45-60min from O’Hare to downtown is quite good by my standards, and reasonably convenient; it’s certainly a LOT faster than trying to do it by car down the Kennedy at any time of the day except utter traffic nadirs.

  • BlueFairlane

    I think there’s also a certain reluctance among the tourist gurus to have the downtown business travelers and the tourist families mingle with the unwashed masses. The homeless folk won’t gather on the express train.

  • Kevin M

    My apologies to Mr. Vance!

  • I call that group, “I want there to be awesome transit, but only for people who Deserve It.”

  • Pat

    Unfortunately the O’Hare leg of the Blue is pretty crammed in on the Kennedy to allow for a third track, for which you have scheduled express runs. I would love to see something like that on the Forest Park branch, which seems to have plenty of space in the median for a third track from Austin-Medical Center.

    However, doesn’t the onging construction of an extension of the people mover to the Rosemont Metra stop make that a 30 minute option to O’Hare?

    I will say his comment about buses and trains is pretty spot on. I wonder how a fix could be put into practice. With all the tracking we have now, I wonder if drivers could be informed when a train is within 2 minutes of a transfer point, and wait accordingly.

    Clearly, there must be some sort of cut-off, because at places like Belmont or Fullerton, you could be waiting for one train and then another is 2 minutes out, and so on.

  • I definitely think the train ride is more pleasant than dealing with traffic jams, but even at this time of day, it’s not faster. Google Maps has the trip from the Palmer House Hotel to O’Hare at 38 minutes by car, 44 by train. Hopefully, Your New Blue will level the playing field.

  • Anne A

    At many times of day, that travel time by car would be fantasy at best.

  • Anne A

    Shortening ped crossing distances along State between 69th & 79th could literally be a lifesaver. Where State is a frontage road for the Dan Ryan, it tends to be a speedway – when/where pavement conditions are reasonable. Ped safety should be prioritized all the way to 95th, especially at red line stations.

  • CL

    44 minutes by train sounds AMAZING. Taking public transit from Rogers Park to O’Hare used to take me nearly 2 hours. And I’m sure there are places where it’s worse.

    Travel time from the downtown to O’Hare is fine. Just like travel time from the downtown to just about anywhere is fine — because all of the train lines go there!

    The real problem is that huge portions of the city are so poorly connected that they’re looking at HOURS to get from one side to the other. That should be the priority, not speeding up service to and from downtown.

  • It’s about 15min at 2 in the morning when you can go a flat 75mph the whole way and see four other cars the whole time.

    At 3PM on a weekday, it’s more like 90min (more on Friday, because 3PM on Friday is already rush-hour traffic on the Kennedy).

    44min by train is the scheduled, expected time, but in practice it’s often closer to an hour.

    (these ground-truthed times brought to you by a former airport employee who lived out on the Green Line and regularly had to do the through-downtown commute at a variety of times)

  • But didn’t you know, only people with one or more legs of their travel terminating downtown matter?

    *sidles away with a knowing wink*

  • BlueFairlane

    I don’t know that I’d buy the idea that you could drive that route in 38 minutes the day after you were the last person to survive the apocalypse, much less in the middle of a week day. 38 minutes seems mythical to me.

  • Wewilliewinkleman

    But didn’t they build that whole station, that’s not a station downtown (block 37) with the intention of having an express to O’Hare?

  • Yes. But they can’t use it until they build a third track the full way from downtown to O’Hare, which isn’t plausible just now.

  • what_eva

    The reason it isn’t more of a problem is also because the CTA isn’t run by complete idiots, they aren’t trying to jam more trains through Clark Junction. If the flyover is built, they can run red lines on much tighter headways to alleviate the crush of rush hour trains.