Today’s Headlines for Monday, May 9

  • After Times’ Alarmist “Nervous Biker’s Guide,” Chicago Mag Has Good Advice for Newbies
  • The Tribune Looks at Why The Major Taylor Trail Gets Less Ridership Than The 606
  • Woman Seriously Injured After Van Driver Crashes Into Humboldt Park Cafe (CBS)
  • Woman Charged After Allegedly Pulling a Gun on CTA Bus, Pepper Spraying Driver (Tribune)
  • What Does the Redevelopment of Goose Island Mean for the City (Curbed)
  • Chicago Uber Drivers Are Organizing for Better Pay (Crain’s)
  • Active Trans Looks at the Planned Improvements to Cottage Grove
  • 47th Street Near Green Line Getting New Street Trees, Decorative Pavers (DNA)
  • Design Firm Picked for Rehab of Metra Station in NW Suburban Cary (NW Herald)
  • Sorry, Illinois Jones — No Precious Artifacts Found During Riverwalk Work (DNA)
  • Events This Month on the Lakefront Trail (Active Trans)

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  • The last time I was on Major Taylor (one week ago) I only saw two other people and they were together and armed with a tire knocker. Nice enough guys but it was a little unsettling. It’s probably my favorite trail in Chicago but I would think twice before riding it by myself again.

  • johnaustingreenfield
  • Welcome to today’s Lucky 10,000. :->

    http://m.xkcd.com/1053/

  • Chicagoan

    Perhaps The 606 is more popular than the Major Taylor Trail because The 606 is on a former elevated railroad line, while the Major Taylor Trail is more of a customary trail.

    The 606’s comparison to the High Line during construction also helped, there was tons of publicity.

    Also, the whole northside/southside thing…

  • planetshwoop

    Why is the city obsessed with decorative pavers? They seem like an absolute flush of money down the toilet. Does anyone think “Oh hey I should pull over and shop here because the intersection is decorated?”

    I suppose they could have a marginal benefit for enhancing pedestrian safety but I’m skeptical.

  • planetshwoop

    Having grown up in Cary, I have spent a significant amount of time in that sad station.

    #1 — I wonder if anyone will ever advocate that the car storage for a train station should be 1-2 blocks away where you walk through a business district, rather than directly adjacent to the tracks. Cary’s layout, like most on the UP-NW, prevents much business because you walk three blocks though other cars, not something modestly pleasant like stores.

    #2 — The challenge with the design is a bad decision some time back from the Union Pacific — they eliminated the station at-grade crossings. Cary has this, so does Irving Park in the city. The two ways to get on or off the train are at either end of a station that has to handle 8-10 metra car lengths. This is miserable for passengers and creates its own safety issues.

  • Chicagoan

    I think that they enhance the pedestrian experience.

    This sounds well-deserved for Bronzeville’s commercial corridor.

    Also, aren’t the pavers for the sidewalks?

  • Anne A

    I think that the density of the neighborhoods around the trail, combined with the fact that it’s an elevated line (no at-grade street crossings) makes a huge difference.

  • Chicagoan

    Great point!

    The 606 has also become a popular commuting route, right?

    That must help a lot.

  • Anne A

    I’ve ridden it hundreds of times over the past 10 years and rarely experienced any problems. Most of those rides have been myself – on a portion of the trail or the whole thing. When I encounter people along the trail, it’s almost always a positive thing.

    I appreciate it when we get publicity for the trail but feel like it’s a mixed blessing when it has a mostly negative bias. Articles like this tend to create or reinforce paranoid and generate responses like yours.

    Those few incidents have been incidents involving dogs, similar to what I have experienced along the lakefront and in other parts of the city. It’s always better when people walking dogs are aware of their surroundings, not tuned out (listening to loud music) to the point where they can’t hear what’s going on around them. In those incidents, I was startled by the dog’s reaction when I passed and had words with the owner, but no damage was done. I usually go off the trail and give the dog some space if the owner isn’t pulling the dog in closer.

    I love dogs but get frustrated with irresponsible dog owners who don’t keep their dogs clear of other trail users when necessary.

  • Anne A

    I see many types of uses on the Major Taylor Trail – casual walking, biking, jogging, cross country skiing and plenty of dog walking. At times I see people using it for grocery shopping or going to/from transit.

    Density in most areas near the Major Taylor Trail is a fraction of density along the 606/Bloomingdale.

  • Jared Kachelmeyer

    For a year or two until they fade away and look awful.

  • Chicagoan

    A lot of European cities have decorative pavers and I think they age well.

    I don’t think ours are “awful”.

    I’m thankful that the city is interested in doing stuff like this, as opposed to just making sure drivers are content.

  • Pat

    I’m sick of seeing the stamped “brick” crosswalks. It’s just paint that fades away.

    However, I am down with real colored brick at cosswalks, because we know this city is horrible with keeping crossings well marked. While its more costly upfront, it can be taken out and most of reused if a street needs to be repaved.

  • planetshwoop

    It’s basically the same technology as the applique applied to bike lanes — the green pavement covering. It wears out. It’s OK that the intersection is a different color but I think it rarely makes drivers slow down or behave differently.

    On Friday I saw CDOT repainting the polka dots on Lincoln where they have the extended curbs — those really do make a difference for pedestrians because it’s so much easier to cross the street.

  • Anne A

    The quality of pavers used here usually isn’t very good. We’ve gotten 2 new streetscape projects in my neighborhood recently. The one on 95th St. used a concrete product that looked good initially and is holding up well so far. The one on 99th St. (less than 1 year old) used brick pavers that don’t look very good. I have my doubts about how well those will last.

  • Anne A

    Another disappointing piece about the Major Taylor Trail – it fans the flames of fear and discourages people from riding the trail. That’s not what we need.

  • “The trail’s solitude adds to the feeling of insecurity: The southern end leading to the Little Calumet River is lovely but on a quiet weekday feels like Fangorn Forest in “The Lord of the Rings” — vaguely unsettling.

    “David Miller, 46, of Englewood, comes often to Whistler Woods after work to watch for a pair of bald eagles, but the burly truck driver will not go on the trail itself. “You don’t know who’s up in there,” he said.”

    It’s the power of perception: The MTT may have objectively less crime than the 606 (didn’t someone determine that? or am I remembering something else?), but as long as it feels unsafe, it’s going to carry that stigma.

  • If it got more users, it would “feel” safer, because you could always see a bystander or two and have the feeling that a yell for help would be heard and responded to.

  • Well to be clear, I wouldn’t say I had a negative experience, but the fact is the guy was carrying a weapon. Obviously he felt he needed it, even though he was a big guy and with someone else. I probably wouldn’t have thought much more about it until I read the article. Maybe they were just on their way to put some air in some tires. :P

  • BlueFairlane

    But then, if it got more traffic, you wouldn’t be able to go there to watch for bald eagles. The bald eagles would be someplace that people think isn’t safe.

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