Skip to content

Posts from the Streetsblog Chicago Category

No Comments

Today’s Headlines for Thursday, December 8

  • 6 New Pace Bus Lines Will Begin Running Between O’Hare and Elgin on 12/19 (CBS)
  • Survey: Midwesterners Worst for Texting, Racing Through Yellows While Driving (Tribune)
  • Red Line Service Suspended between 55th and 95th Due to Medical Emergency (DNA)
  • Metra/Car Crash Near 79th and Kedzie in the Ashburn Neighborhood (Tribune)
  • Streetsblog Reader Who Filmed Stop Sign Scofflaw Drivers Elaborates on the Issue (Chicagoist)
  • 299 High-End Micro Apartments Planned Near Cumberland Blue Line Stop (DNA)
  • 20-Story Office Tower Proposed Near Ashland Green/Pink Station (Curbed)
  • New App Facilitates Rental of Unused Condo Parking Spaces (Crain’s)
  • After Trump Street Sign Flap, Ald. Beale Calls for Reforms to Honorary Sign Program (DNA)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA

No Comments

Join Us at EZ Inn Tomorrow and Sign a Get-Well Card for Alderman Brookins

Screen Shot 2016-11-30 at 5.11.52 PM

Alderman Brookins with a police sketch of his assailant.

We’re looking forward to hanging out with Streetsblog readers at tomorrow’s meetup:

December Streetsblog Chicago Reader Meetup
Wednesday, December 7, 6-8 PM
EZ Inn, 921 N. Western Ave.

At the event we’ll sign a get-well card for bike-friendly 21st Ward alderman Howard Brookins, who was the victim of a vicious kamikaze squirrel attack while cycling on the Cal-Sag Trail last month.

The EZ Inn has a great beer selection, and there’s always interesting music playing (maybe they’ll put on some Squirrel Bait for us). They don’t serve food but feel free to bring your own.

Our meet-ups are always a great place to network and talk transportation with other walking, biking and transit fans. We look forward to discussing the South Red Line extension, the recently passed TIF to fund the Red and Purple Modernization project, and whether or not those bike riders who crossed at North/Damen/Milwaukee with a walk signal deserved to be ticketed.

We hope to see you there. Until Wednesday, don’t let the nut jobs get you down.

RVSP on Facebook if you like.

8 Comments

What’s the Rationale Behind the Concrete Protection at Randolph/Dearborn?

The other day I was eating lunch at the Latinicity food court (try the arroz aeropuerto) on the third floor of the Block 37 building when I noticed there was a nice view of the intersection of the Dearborn Street two-way protected bike lane, as well as the recently installed Randolph protected lane. Both sides of the northwest corner of the junction have concrete infrastructure inspired by Dutch protected intersections.

It can often be a frustrating, or even frightening, experience to ride a bike on the streets of Chicago. Our bikeway are often clogged with illegally parked vehicles, torn up for utility work, or dangerously obstructed by construction projects, and reckless driving is widespread.

But the view was a reminder that, for all of the challenges that face Chicago cyclists, there are a lot of good initiatives happening to improve biking here. I snapped a photo of two Divvy riders in the intersection and posted it on Twitter, where it quickly racked up hundreds of “likes” and retweets.

Praise for the infrastructure poured in from Cincinnati, St. Louis (see the tweet above), Kansas City, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Atlanta, Miami, Houston, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, San Diego, Toronto, Mexico City, Lagos, Madrid, Paris, and London. Many of the retweets were by bike advocates urging their local officials to experiment with similar bikeway treatments. That’s not to say there weren’t some detractors.

Read more…

1 Comment

Today’s Headlines for Friday, December 2

  • Active Trans Wants Targeted Awareness Campaigns, More Driver’s Ed as Part of Vision Zero
  • Driver Who Killed Cyclist at Hinsdale Intersection Without Stop Signs Not Charged (Tribune)
  • 13 Years for Drunk Driver Who Critical Injured State Trooper, Fled the Scene (Sun-Times)
  • MPC Lauds the Passage of the Red and Purple Modernization Transit TIF
  • More Details About the Plan for an Affordable, LGBT-Friendly TOD in Logan (Curbed)
  • 175 Cars Towed on First Night of Winter Parking Ban (DNA)
  • 1,000s of Bikers (the Other Kind) Take Over Western Sunday for Toys for Tots Parade (DNA)
  • Activities on the Lakefront Trail This Month (Active Trans)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA

No Comments

Join Us at EZ Inn Next Week and Sign a Get-Well Card for Alderman Brookins

Screen Shot 2016-11-30 at 5.11.52 PM

Alderman Brookins with a police sketch of his assailant.

You’ve probably read about the unfortunate and ironic case of 21st Ward alderman Howard Brookins, whose ward includes parts of Gresham and other Southwest Side neighborhoods. Last month in City Council Brookins railed against “aggressive squirrels” who have been chewing through city-owned garbage cans, and he called for a crackdown.

Then on November 13 when Brookins was riding his bike on the Cal-Sag trail, one of the bushy-tailed rodents jumped into the spokes of his front wheel. This kamikaze action cost the animal its life but also caused the alderman to crash. Was it a coincidence – or payback?

What’s not so funny is that Brookins sustained a broken nose, a fractured skull, and lost several of his teeth. He’ll need additional surgeries and months to fully recover. Fortunately the alderman, who recently got out of the hospital, hasn’t lost his sense of humor. “I can think of no other reason for this squirrel’s actions than that it was like a suicide bomber, getting revenge,” he told the Tribune.

At Streetsblog Chicago’s monthly reader meetup next week, we’re going to raise a toast to the bike-friendly politician and sign a card wishing him a speedy recovery. Here’s the skinny:

December Streetsblog Chicago Reader Meetup

Wednesday, December 7, 6-8 PM
EZ Inn, 921 N. Western Ave.

The bar can be reached via the Western, Chicago, and Division buses. There’s a Divvy station right around the corner on Walton, just east of Western.

This cozy venue has a great beer selection, and there’s always interesting music playing. They don’t serve food but feel free to bring your own.

Our meet-ups are always a great place to network and talk transportation with other walking, biking and transit fans. We look forward to discussing the South Red Line extension, the recently passed TIF to fund the Red and Purple Modernization project, and whether or not those bike riders who crossed at North/Damen/Milwaukee with a walk signal deserved to be ticketed.

We hope to see you there. Until next week, watch out for squirrels.

RVSP on Facebook if you like.

9 Comments

Today’s Headlines for Wednesday, November 30

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA

Streetsblog USA
View Comments

4 Ways Trump’s Transportation Plan Is Ripe for Corruption

2402460600_35e0a28ae7_z

As long as Trump doesn’t release his tax returns, divest from his assets, and put his wealth in a true blind trust, the public can have no confidence that federal infrastructure spending will be based on merit and not Trump’s personal financial interests. Photo: Kamoteus/Flickr

Donald Trump’s opaque personal finances and business entanglements around the globe raise the possibility of unprecedented corruption for a United States president. And transportation is one area where the risk of Trump using the powers of the presidency to enrich his family and reward cronies is especially high.

As a candidate, Trump outlined a $1 trillion infrastructure plan, consisting mainly of tax incentives and subsidized loans for private companies to build things like roads and water systems. Paul Krugman and Ron Klain have noted that this would confer huge subsidies to companies that don’t need them, for projects that would get built anyway. In other words, government handouts for contractors and financiers.

In the transportation realm, Trump’s plan would mean building lots of privately-financed toll roads, an arrangement rife with examples of costly blunders, bankruptcies, and conflicts of interest. Letting the Trump White House oversee a huge program of privatized toll road construction would open the door to corruption on a massive scale.

While the vast sums we spend on infrastructure have always been vulnerable to various forms of corruption, the potential for Trump to game the system goes far beyond typical “highway to nowhere” graft. Here’s a closer look at why.

1. Trump has not released his tax returns, and his assets are not in a true blind trust

Alone among modern presidents, Trump has not released his tax returns. The public has no way to tell exactly what Trump’s financial interests are and how far they extend. And because Trump and his children have not divested from the family’s assets and put their wealth under the control of a disinterested third party, or blind trust, they can continue to profit from decisions made by the vast federal government apparatus that Donald Trump will soon steer.

Read more…

Streetsblog USA
View Comments

Don’t Forget to Expose Your City’s Parking Failures This Black Friday

Photo: Brandon Lerch

If it’s half-empty on Black Friday, it will never be full. Photo: Brandon Lerch

It’s that time of year again — time to show how much space we waste on commercial parking!

Strong Towns is organizing its annual #BlackFridayParking campaign, asking readers to snap photos of half-empty parking lots on one of the biggest shopping days of the year.

Vast parking lots and garage consume far too much space in our cities and towns. They make places unwalkable. Their impermeable surfaces generate runoff that pollutes our water. And they erode the fiscal viability of local governments by increasing infrastructure costs and weakening the tax base.

And yet, everywhere you look in America, enormous seas of parking are the norm at retail centers. The fact that many parking lots remain half-empty on Black Friday is proof that we’ve gone way too far with all this asphalt.

The Strong Towns contest is a chance to step back and call attention to this problem, so get your cameras ready and remember the #BlackFridayParking hashtag.

Streetsblog USA
View Comments

Steve Bannon Would Love to Team Up With Chuck Schumer on Infrastructure

asdf

Imagine all the Trump signs marking projects that get tax breaks from the infrastructure plan Steve Bannon is pushing for.

We mentioned it briefly last week, but Trump advisor Steve Bannon’s comments to the Hollywood Reporter about infrastructure are worth a closer look. It helps explain why Democrats like Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are making a grave mistake when they line up to help Trump implement this plan.

Bannon is the propagandist who entered the Trump campaign team after turning Breitbart into the world’s leading “news” source for white supremacists. In the Hollywood Reporter article, he refers to cities as “the metrosexual bubble” and lashes out at his enemies list, which includes “globalists,” liberals, elites, centrists, and Megyn Kelly.

Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan is the central piece of what Bannon calls his “economic nationalist” (read: white nationalist) agenda:

Like [Andrew] Jackson’s populism, we’re going to build an entirely new political movement. It’s everything related to jobs. The conservatives are going to go crazy. I’m the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. With negative interest rates throughout the world, it’s the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything. Ship yards, iron works, get them all jacked up. We’re just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks. It will be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution — conservatives, plus populists, in an economic nationalist movement.

Policywise, Bannon seems to have no idea what he’s talking about. The references to “ship yards” and “iron works” don’t make much sense. We’re talking about a plan to build roads, water systems, and electrical grids.

There’s a good reason a propagandist wouldn’t want to talk about the actual infrastructure policy that Trump’s team has floated. The construction industry is at nearly full employment right now, and Trump’s plan won’t have much if any stimulative effect.

Read more…

Streetsblog USA
View Comments

Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi Are Falling for Infrastructure Propaganda

Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi have bought into an exaggerated narrative about America's infrastructure needs, and that is leading them to dangerous conclusions. NASA/Bill Ingalls, via <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Charles_Schumer_at_the_Intrepid_Museum.jpg">Wikimedia Commons</a>; Pelosi photo: <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nancy_Pelosi.jpeg">Wikimedia Commons</a>

Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi have followed along with an exaggerated narrative about America’s infrastructure needs, and that is leading them to dangerous conclusions. Pelosi photo: Wikimedia Commons; Trump photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr; Schumer photo: NASA/Bill Ingalls, via Wikimedia Commons

We’re going to see a lot of stories about Donald Trump and infrastructure in the next few months, and this reporting will be heavily influenced by a message that has been honed and perfected by the American Society of Civil Engineers. It will be important to see through these arguments and view the Trump infrastructure plan with clear eyes.

Already, leading Congressional Democrats like Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are failing to do that. They are saying they want to work with Trump on “infrastructure,” reflecting a common viewpoint that infrastructure is a bipartisan issue.

This situation is dangerous for several reasons, including the likelihood that the transportation components of Trump’s infrastructure plan will be heavily tilted toward roads, as well as the broader implications of handing Trump’s overtly bigoted and notoriously corrupt inner circle a large pool of new financial resources, which can be used to reward cronies and punish adversaries.

America does have very real infrastructure needs, and there’s a lot of truth to the general sentiment that things like roads, transit networks, and water systems are in need of repair. But these needs tend to arise as much from the way public agencies spend the funds at their disposal — allocating too much to road expansion, not enough to maintenance, for instance — as they do from a lack of funding.

Key to the view that Schumer and Pelosi espouse is the messaging of the American Society of Civil Engineers, whose infrastructure “Report Card” claims the U.S. needs to spend trillions of dollars more on infrastructure. The ASCE report card is widely repeated in media reports, and Hillary Clinton even linked to the document in her infrastructure platform.

Read more…