Today’s Headlines

  • 60 People Turn Out for CTA Info Session on BRT (Sun-Times)
  • Due to City/Suburban Rift, RTA Misses Deadline to Issue Budget Goals (Tribune)
  • NIMBYs Gripe About Pizzeria’s Proposal to Convert Car Spaces to Sidewalk Seating (DNA)
  • CTA Layoffs Due to Ventra Part of Trend Towards Mechanization of Jobs (Muckrakers)
  • “Red Light Doctor” Doing His Part to Keep Streets Unsafe for Pedestrians (DNA)
  • Help CDOT Out With Downtown Bike Counts (Active Trans)
  • All Churches Hold One Thing Sacred: Easy, Free Parking (LSD)
  • You Don’t Guano Park There: Car Parking Space Is a Bird Dropping Magnet (DNA)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Dan Korn

    The link for the churches story is wrong.

  • CL

    The characterization of the “Red Light Doctor” is a bit unfair — he’s helping people to defend themselves when tickets were issued improperly, such as when the yellow light is less than 3 seconds. Chicago doesn’t throw out legitimate tickets. The city should have to do everything right if they have the power to extract these fines from us.

    Even three seconds is too short — when I approach a red light camera intersection that doesn’t have a countdown clock, sometimes I end up crawling up to the intersection (people behind me love it) because there isn’t enough warning when the light changes. < 3 seconds is ridiculous.

  • This man is obviously a lot more concerned with getting drivers out of
    speeding and red light tickets on technicalities than reducing injuries
    and fatalities. On average, there are 3,000 pedestrian crashes a year in
    this city, 800 involving kids. Instead of cracking down on the many
    drivers who speed or blow reds, this guy thinks we should blame the
    victims. By the way Chicago does pedestrian safety education in the
    schools via programs like the Safe Routes Ambassadors. I’d like to see
    Mr. Fagel spend his volunteer time doing something positive in his
    community, instead of defending the right to drive dangerously.

  • CL

    He must have talked about blaming children in a different article — in this one, he was just talking about helping drivers when the city has illegally short yellows or issues tickets improperly. Even if you support the cameras, it still matters if tickets are issued properly — opposing these efforts is like saying you don’t even care if people deserve the tickets they’re getting. If the city gets to fine me $100, the yellow light should be three seconds, and they should have clear evidence that I drove through the intersection on red. The “technicalities” matter — especially when we’re giving contracts to private companies. Someone needs to hold them accountable for doing it correctly.

  • Nope, same article: “Fagel said if safety near schools are a concern — a primary argument for speed cameras — students should be taught specifically about pedestrian safety.” For the record, they already are, through programs like Chicago’s Safe Route Ambassadors.

  • CL

    Okay, I can see how that can be construed as blaming children. But I still support everything he’s doing to make sure red light and speed cameras are operating correctly and within the law. It won’t change the fact that we have the cameras now. (And it’s possible to oppose them without blaming kids)

  • I’ve never seen a yellow light phase shorter than 3 seconds in Chicago (or anywhere for that matter).

    The federal Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) says that the phase should be “determined using engineering practices” but has a guideline saying it should be no shorter than 3 seconds and no longer than 6 seconds.

  • BlueFairlane

    I’ve never seen a yellow light phase shorter than 3 seconds in Chicago (or anywhere for that matter).

    I don’t think you can accurately say that with any assurance. From an observational standpoint, the human mind will process, say, 2.5 seconds and 3 seconds as about the same thing, and the brain will file your estimate in the “Close Enough for Government Work” cabinet. Meanwhile, this city has never been the most devoted follower of federal standards in anything else, so I wouldn’t be at all surprised if somebody measured and found them shaving a few tenths off the yellow here and there.

  • CL

    Yes, people have used videocameras to demonstrate that some aren’t 3 seconds.

  • Anonymous

    The folks on Leavitt concerned about the new pizeria joint do have a point. Looking at street view, there are 8 or 9 properties directly across the street from the future Lou Malnatis.

    Converting their parking lot to seating is one thing, converting the east side of Leavitt to on-street sidewalk seating another. I would be upset with that as well due to noise concerns.

    Also, I am all for converting street parking to parklets, people spaces, etc., but this appears to be for the benefit of a private operator. A big no-no, I’d say.

  • Fred

    They want to turn their private parking lot into a private seating area. What’s wrong with that?

  • So I’ve been doing some research.

    There is no law that says what the minimum yellow duration should be. There is a guideline in the MUTCD that says, “A yellow change interval should have a minimum duration of 3 seconds and a maximum duration of 6 seconds.”

    The Illinois Compiled Statutes says nothing.

    The MUTCD also says the duration should be determined using engineering standards.

    The ITE maintains those standards, which are not available to the public for free.

  • Anonymous

    Because it changes the nature of the street, Leavitt that is.

    I expect that these owners bought assuming it would be a residential neighborhood. All of a sudden you have a restaurant seating across the street. I’d be concerned too.

  • Fred

    Its already a restaurant! One that looks like it has been there for a long time. It’s not like they are converting a quiet library into an all night thumping dance club. I feel the same way about these people as I do those who move next to airports then complain when the airport expands.

  • CL

    People are going to park on the residential streets instead, since there won’t be as many spaces in the lot.

    That’s just life in the city though — people park on residential streets because there’s nowhere else to park.

  • Al Lux

    One would think that the yellow timing should be related to the posted speed limit. If the speed limit is 50, as it is on some arterials with stop lights in the suburbs, then there is little chance you could be going the speed limit and react in time (stop) if there was a 3 second stop light.

    If the speed limit is lower, the more reasonable it is to have a shorter yellow phase because people can react in time based on the speed at which they are traveling.

  • Fred

    I don’t get it. People on this site CHEER when parking lots are developed. Why are people against this? Would people be happier if they sold off the parking lot and a Walgreens was built on it instead?

  • Anonymous

    But they are changing it from an indoor-only diner to an full-service restaurant with outdoor seating (i.e liquor sales, busy at night) across the street from residences. Different kind of animals altogether.

    Not saying the neighbors should have veto power, but they should have a voice and their concerns should be heard. (that dog-owner did make a fool of himself though).

    The airport comparison makes no sense. Airport expansion are long drawn-out affairs with various rounds of input, environmental assessments, studies, etc. None of that applies here. Whether it happens, and how, is solely up to Pawar.

  • Fred

    The Golden Angel is 24hrs and a breakfast joint. I would assume that means drunk asshats arriving at all hours of the night and the early morning breakfast crowd in by 7am. I imagine Lou’s won’t be open before 10am and the patio seating will have to be empty by 10pm (city ordinance). Lou’s is also mainly a restaurant meaning people don’t go there to get hammered and cause trouble. To me, this seems like a neighborly upgrade.

  • As I pointed out in the article about the Divvy rider who was crashed into by an IDOT truck driver, the 3 second yellow (or 3 second yellow + 1 second all-red phase) is hardly enough time for a bicyclist to cross 4+ lane intersections before the cross direction turns green.

    I’d like to know more about these guidelines that the Institute of Transportation Engineers has come up with but charge the public to see.