Today’s Headlines for Thursday, January 7

  • CTA Plans to Make All Stations Accessible Within 20 Years (Tribune)
  • Crain’s: Illinois Will Be Penalized in $480 Million Bond Sale to Fund Infrastructure
  • NW Indiana’s Infrastructure Outlook May Not Be as Rosy as It Seems (Tribune)
  • Former VP of LAZ Parking Charged With Fraud (Sun-Times)
  • Police: Armed Robbery Perpetrated on the Blue Line in Wicker Park (DNA)
  • 8 Passengers Got Stuck in an Elevator at the 79th Street Station for 2 Hours (NBC)
  • Active Trans: Tips on Addressing the Problem of Snow in Bike Lanes
  • Letter: Longmeadow Parkway Would Have a Negative Impact on Wildlife (Herald)
  • Buffalo Grove Hikes Metra Parking Fees to Pay for Lot Maintenance (Herald)
  • Curbed Checks Out the Strava Bike Heat Map
  • DNA Explores the New Path and Parkland at Fullerton and the Lake
  • Igloo Built on Wacker to Highlight Buildings’ Failure to Clear Sidewalks (DNA)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Re :Strava
    The other new trail that appears to have become instantly popular is the one along the Cal-Sag canal, whatever it’s called.

    I’m impressed too by how bike friendly Oak Park appears to be.

    Is the south side a biking desert or is Strava a very white middle class thing to do?

  • Also glad to see the east side of Waveland Golf Course (old name) reopened after a couple years of work fixing the washed out section of the trail there.

  • Jeff H

    My guess would be the latter. I don’t know what percentages are, but most strava uploads are most likely done via dedicated GPS device, either on the bike or wrist. Although there is a Strava smartphone app that anyone can use. But even then, you have to be able to afford a capable phone to run it. I like the Strava map, it’s neat to see how runners/riders have explored various areas of the city, but I don’t think it would be useful to form any meaningful conclusions about actual ridership and usage.

  • johnaustingreenfield

    Right, the Strava heat map is not the last word in judging which streets are getting high bike traffic. But it’s not worthless.

  • Anne A

    Mostly the latter. Also, much of the south side is MUCH lower density than a large portion of the north side, so there aren’t as many people there.

    I’m trying to encourage more south side folks to use Strava, since their data is being used in this way, so that folks riding on the south side are represented in the data. Beverly certainly shows up in the data, as well as VIncennes, 103rd St., the Major Taylor Trail and other significant routes. It’s a start.

  • I’ll probably be dead and gone before they ever fix the Belmont Blue line station. That is the most inefficient usage of space I have ever seen in a lifetime riding the CTA. Instead of having the westbound Belmont bus make the world’s most awkward maneuver, which totally screws up traffic in every direction, why not put an entrance on the NE side of the intersection and then take that freed up space and put in a real ADA compliant entrance? They could also add an ADA compliant entrance on the south side of the station at Barry and Kimball. Most subway stations have multiple entrances, I don’t get why Belmont stays in the dark ages.

  • Cameron Puetz

    Even among Strava users, the data is going to over emphasize routes used for recreation and exercise. If I’m going on a long ride or a tour I’ll use a tracking app to look at the data later, or maybe pull it up if I’m telling someone about the trip. If I’m commuting to work or running to the grocery store I’m not going to bother recording my ride.

  • Just in case people haven’t seen this blog post which explains in detail the “no left turn” policy UPS went to. It’s really quite fascinating and seems relevant to quite a few CTA bus routes and transportation in Chicago in general:

    http://priceonomics.com/why-ups-trucks-dont-turn-left/

  • That should be a mixed-use building with a subway entrance taking up 1/5 of the ground floor.

  • One thing it can show is that people bike on certain streets, which may be contrary to a local popular belief that “no one bikes here!”.

  • 20 years to accessibility.

    Really?

    Effing really?

    That’s ridiculous, verging on disgusting. ADA has been the law of the land since 1990. It’s older than my baby sister, and she’s going INTO LAW SCHOOL this year. Why in the world does CTA think 45 years is a reasonable timeframe between legislation and compliance?

  • Roland Solinski

    I agree that this station needs improvement, especially with no dedicated signals or pavement markings to help the Belmont buses enter the turnaround. The turnaround itself is not a bad idea, though – it allows Belmont buses to be short turned so that frequency is higher on the segment west of Kimball where densities are higher and there is more activity.

    I also don’t get the hatred for the standalone pavilion. I would hate to see the entrance stuffed unceremoniously into the base of a mixed use building, and I would hate to see the large crowds of riders squeezed onto a narrow sidewalk like they do at Kimball/Lawrence. If you’re looking for redevelopment, the shopping center north of Belmont is the perfect site for a large master-planned TOD with a mall and a few highrises, and no displacement of existing residents. It could even have a direct connection into the subway.

  • The turnaround is the single worst disruptor to all travel modes I have ever seen in my life. I have been using that station regularly for 15 years, here is what happens:

    Belmont westbound bus comes to a halt to turn left. Its progress is often delayed by the eastbound Belmont bus and cars and cabs illegally using the turnaround as a dropoff or pickup spot. For the westbound Belmont bus to get back to Belmont, it has to exit the turnaround and
    get 3 lanes over on Kimball to make a left. This regularly blocks both the northbound Kimball bus (or v.v.) as well as traffic. The bus often is occupying half the street as it waits to turn left, as it didn’t have time to fully straighten out.

    It should go without saying that pedestrians and cyclists are also both massively inconvenienced by this, as well as add to the obstacles which slow down the bus’ progress.

    And the sidewalk queuing is disastrous here. How the idea of a single file line originated is beyond me. These lines regularly collide with each other, wrapping around the entrance to the subway like a boa constrictor strangling its prey, as well as blocking the sidewalks in all directions. The zipper method has always been proper CTA etiquette, it keeps the sidewalk unobstructed – just like you wait on the sides of the doors for people to get off the bus before you board.

    As for the usage of the site, a mixed use TOD building is pretty unimaginative and unnecessary. Kimball to the south and Belmont in both directions can be liberally upzoned for TOD buildings, what Avondale actually needs is a library, that would be a perfect fit here. We also need jobs. The huge plaza on Belmont is indeed an abomination, but not because it could be residential, but because in the big picture it’s an extension of the PMD that encompasses Belmont-Addison-Kedzie-Kimball. That site employed hundreds of people back in the day, as did many sites along the railroad tracks. We need living wage jobs in the neighborhood, not more dog grooming and fancy clothing boutiques, which have killed Belmont to the east.

    I highly recommend this piece (and everything Rob has on his site), it’s by a friend of mine who grew up in Avondale, I think it was on Forgotten Chicago originally, but I’m copying just the very end:

    http://reliablerascal.com/avondale/2013/09/up-on-the-avondale-tracks/

    “Back then, within walking distance of these railroad tracks The Hammond Organ Company was pumping out the B3′s and C3’s, plus the L and M 100’s that gave geniuses like George Gershwin and Jimmy Smith (from
    Blue Note Records) their signature sounds. Indeed, every serious organist from Felix Cavaliere to Stevie Winwood used a Hammond. And if you were a drummer, both Ludwig and Slingerland were just two beats down
    the street from Hammond. Florsheim was stamping out shoes known for their quality, as was their competitor, Stacy Adams. Mars Candies was busy cooking up Snickers & Milky Way Bars, and Schwinn Bicycles were
    rolling off the assembly lines faster than Americans could ride them away…

    Good jobs and two political parties in Washington that worked together for the common good. How’s that for a country? People who settled their differences civilly. Sure, you might get dragged down into a dank hideout that smells like a grave. And those who did the dragging
    might even recite a laundry list of all the bad things bound to happen, if you don’t bail ‘em out. They might rifle through your pockets. But they always left you with something. You walked away with a few smokes, a
    little hope. These Sharpies nowadays… they ain’t leavin’ you with nothin’. They want it all and they’re taking it. The only thing you’re gettin’ is the bill. The bill and that gnawing, worm-like, uniquely American sense of dread.

    Today, the lone remnant from the old Dad’s Root Beer plant that once employed hundreds is the turret, which serves as historical centerpiece for a swanky new condo complex. I don’t know what became of the Anheuser
    Busch warehouse, or its massive, rolling neon Budweiser sign.

    And nobody knows where the jobs went…”

  • Chicagoan

    Wow, that’s one beautiful article.

  • Dennis McClendon

    CDOT and CTA are in compliance with ADA, which only requires retrofits when significant structural changes are made. I’d guess that CTA’s proportion of accessible stations is already the highest—by far—of rapid transit systems built before 1970.

  • Several of the recent station retrofits in the past three years were massive enough to trigger ADA compliance requirements, but the CTA got out of it by claiming it’d be too expensive to fix it.

    This has been an ongoing discussion in Streetsblog comments sections. The CTA’s ongoing decisions that accessibility is just “too hard” (and making it even harder on themselves by insisting on a double wheelchair-width on BOTH sides of any elevator they intend to put into a platform, meaning that on any center-platform El situation they have to MOVE THE TRACKS OUTWARDS) are disgusting and systemic.

    There are two accessible stations downtown. TWO. In the entire Loop. So even if the station nearest your home is accessible, if you live in the Loop you better HOPE you work right by one of those two, or else you’ve got a whole extra leg on your commute on the other end compared to everyone else in your office.

  • what_eva

    There are 6 accessible stations in the Loop. Wash/Wells, HW Library, and Clark/Lake on the Loop tracks, Jackson/Blue, Jackson/Red and Lake/Red in the subway.

    That’s still not great, but it’s not as bad as 2

  • I fixed it within ten minutes of posting, give it another read.

  • Anne A

    I’m using it for all kinds of rides just to get the data out there. I’d like to encourage other folks to do likewise. In the long run, it could give a much better picture of bike traffic on our streets if lots of people use it for this purpose.

  • Anne A

    This is exactly why I’m using it for all types of riding.

  • That “Nobody bikes there” claim always makes me want to get a photo of ridiculous bike traffic and be all “Yeah, just look at all these nobodies!”

    Reminds me of all the times I was on an Amtrak train so full of nobody it was SRO in the snack car.

  • Maybe I’ll start using it, too, when I go out.
    The only thing I don’t want to do is turn it on and off after each ride.

  • Anne A

    It’s possible to configure it for auto-pause, which works great for shopping stops.