Today’s Headlines

  • Candidates Canvasing CTA Stops, Courting Transit Union in Last Hours of Campaign (Tribune)
  • Shortly Before Today’s Election, Chuy Garcia Released His Transportation Platform
  • City Planning to Break Ground on Loop BRT Next Month (RedEye)
  • Take CDOT New Survey Re: Desired Ped, Bike, & Public Space Improvements (Active Trans)
  • Report: Pedestrian Death Caused by Cop Who Was Going Over 87 MPH Was “Unavoidable” (CBS)
  • Police Investigating Crash That Killed 5-Year-Old Gabriel Hovarth (Tribune)
  • Teen Who Was Rescued From Burning SUV on Lake Shore Drive Charged With DUI (CBS)
  • Cab Driver Fined, Suspended After Pleading Guilty to Sexual Harassment Charges (RedEye)
  • CTA Could Improve Its Twitter Ratings By Engaging With Followers (Tattler)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA

[xyz-ihs snippet=”PayPal-Button”]
[thermometer raised=35786 target=50000 height=400 align=right currency=$ alt=off sep=,]

Due to a funding shortfall, Streetsblog Chicago has suspended publication of orginal articles. Please see Streetsblog Editor-in-Chief Ben Fried’s message about the hiatus, and my post about the effort the revive the site via local fundraising. In the meantime, I am continuing to produce Today’s Headlines on a volunteer basis as a service to readers.

The Chicago Community Trust, a charitable foundation that was one of the early funders of SBC, has been impressed by the outpouring of support the site has received since we announced our hiatus on January 8. Thanks to the generosity of sponsors and readers like you, by February 16, we had raised $34K of the $75K needed to fund a year of operations.

As a result, CCT has very generously offered us a challenge grant. If Streetsblog reaches $50K in donations and sponsorships by our April 8 deadline to reboot the site, the Trust will provide the last $25K needed to resume daily publication of original reporting. In other words, our finish line is within sight.

However, we still have a lot of work to do in order to win the CCT funding that will allow us to relaunch. If you haven’t already done so, please donate to the Streetsblog Chicago Resurrection Fund today. While donations are not tax-deductible at this point, in the very unlikely event that the site does not relaunch by April 8, your money will be refunded.

If you’ve already contributed, thanks so much for helping us attract the challenge grant. As an added incentive to first-time donors, as well as those who’d like to make an additional contribution to help us win the CCT funding, anyone who donates $100 or more from this point on will be mailed a copy of my book “Bars Across America.” Donate $200 or more and we’ll also throw in a copy of the anthology “On Bicycles,” to which I contributed a chapter about Chicago’s West Town Bikes, while supplies last.

Please feel free to spread the word about the challenge grant to potential donors, or contact me at 312-560-3966 or greenfieldjohn[at] with leads on other possible funding sources. To keep you apprised on our progress as we enter the home stretch, I’ll be updating the above Donate-O-Meter along with Today’s Headlines each morning.

Thanks again for your continuing support.

– John

  • Wow, that CDOT survey is really strangely designed. It’s hard to tell exactly what use they think they can make of it.

  • duppie

    Notice that Garcia not once uses the word bicycle or pedestrian in his entire transportation platform. Expect very little on that front from him.

  • BlueFairlane

    As long as he doesn’t close 60 public schools and then almost immediately fund a basketball arena for a private college, I’m okay with that.

  • Here’s a press release from the Garcia campaign with a detailed response to Rauner’s proposed transit funding cuts:

  • cjlane

    He won’t need to close any schools, because Rahm already took the bullet on that one.

    And he’ll duck any responsibility for future school closings (and charter schools and all the rest), bc he’s going to pass CPS off to an elected board that will be ‘reg captured’ by the CTU.

  • cjlane

    I also note that he excludes the elimination of RLCs from the discussion.

  • I’m more afraid the elected school board is more likely to be dominated by charter-school money and white well-off northside parents who are terrified at the thought of brown kids taking over “their” “good” schools.

  • cjlane


    (1) the “white well-off northside parents” that are so feared would most likely just move their kids to private or the ‘burbs, if there were a ‘takeover’ so much as seriously threatened.

    (2) how would (*maybe*) 10% of the electorate dominate the school board? There are more CTU members in Chicago than there are “white well-off northside parents”.

  • ardecila

    Agreed. My #1 priority for “placemaking” is generally wider sidewalks… my favorite “places” in the city are those where pedestrians are not shoved into a narrow gutter between parked cars and blank walls. Division/Damen, for example. It encourages walkability by improving the pedestrian experience and by restricting parking (for that reason, it’s also very unlikely due to that damn meter lease).

  • They dominate it just fine now, largely because they’re the parents who have TIME to agitate, get involved, and generally influence (and be politically involved). If you’re working 2-3 jobs to make the rent and barely even get to see your kid, it’s vital that your kid get good education — but there’s very little you can do about it personally without letting them starve in the gutter.

    Well off white northside parents need to get over their internalized racist assumptions that any brown school is a prison riot (provably untrue), show up, invest, and put their spare time to work for schools, instead of running at the first rumor of “diversity” or the first hint that their kids might share a school with poorer ones.

    If the parents with the most ability to get involved in the schools refuse to touch CPS, there’s a limit to how good it can get, no matter how resourced it is or how the school board is organized.

  • cjlane

    “Well off white northside parents need to get over their internalized racist assumptions that any brown school is a prison riot”

    Nice mind reading there, Elliott. You change a lot of opinions with that approach? Telling people that they’re racist, and they need to bust their ass for others?

    And do you really not see how an elected school board–assuming no ‘districting’ of seats, which might change the equation–would be *not* dominated by 10% of the electorate?

  • I think the for-profit charters have a lot of money, and are uninterested in being held to any reasonable standard, so they will use their money to fight.

    National politics is dominated by a tiny percentage of the electorate (in practice, anything that evangelical Christians hate cannot currently get through Congress, and they’re under 20% of the population), so why would it be different in Chicago? Politics are changed by two things: massive money, or lots and lots of enthusiasm and time on the part of activists.

    As far as “changing minds,” I see no reason to avoid calling a spade a spade. When longtime residents of my neighborhood met me on the playground last summer and I told them my kid was going to our neighborhood school, they drew together and widened their eyes in horror. “Oh,” they said, “I went there in the 60s, but the neighborhood’s so DIFFERENT now. I wouldn’t put my grandchildren in it!”

    What’s changed about the neighborhood is that it’s no longer completely white. There are a lot of recent immigrants. There are even — gasp! — a significant sub population of Muslims, so a smattering of the moms on the playground and at the school council meeting are wearing modest head coverings, and a good percentage speak better Spanish than English.

    But it’s an effing AMAZING school. With 20%+ special ed and 50%+ English language learners and 70%+ qualifying on Federal poverty standards, it is STILL in the topmost tier of CPS schools.

    But the families in the million-dollar homes two blocks from it only see the “diversity”, and scare each other away from it with tales of discipline problems and the “wrong kind” of kids who “aren’t committed” to learning.

    That’s not mindreading. It’s direct quotes from things people have said to my face.

    They can afford private school. I can’t. I was never going to be able to ship my kid around to some school that scared me less.

    But I don’t have to, because our school is amazing. And so are a lot of other schools in CPS. More could BE amazing if all the most motivated parents quit running away so fast the instant their neighborhood school goes over 10% black enrollment. But right now the policies are set up by people who presume that poor kids in poor schools are just bad at learning, which is utter bullshit, and it infuriates me to hear people spouting nonsense on racist assumptions.

    Yes, it’s racist. And not calling it racist lets them hide behind a mask of thinking they’re not contributing to the problem through their inaction and “niceness”.

    Anger is an appropriate tool of activism. Telling people they can only accomplish something if they’re calm and follow ‘genteel’ rules of engagement is a strategy designed purposefully to maintain the status quo.

  • Hey folks, this conversation is getting a little off-topic for our transportation news site. If you choose to continue with it, at least please keep the discourse polite. Personal attacks will be deleted. Thanks.

  • I’m not a fan of the survey either. There’s also no option for “all of them, please”.

    There’s still a basic level of infrastructure and design that’s not being provided (think curb ramps, smooth & flat sidewalks, sidewalk snow removal, well-maintained trees and landscaping, parking lot owners in compliance with the landscape ordinance), for which you don’t need a survey to say what’s needed to improve streets and “places”.

  • “Police Crash That Killed Pedestrian ‘Unavoidable'”

    I agree – it’s hard to avoid any crash when you’re traveling between 87 and 109 MPH.

    “The Village [of Wheeling] remains sympathetic to the Morales family for this tragic accident that took place within the context of valid and important police work,” according to the statement.”

    The CBS news article fails to communicate what was valid and important. Instead it remarked that the person who was hit and killed in the crash with the vehicle operated by the Wheeling police officer was wearing dark clothing and had a specific blood alcohol content.

    This police department, like the Chicago Police Department, should adopt a policy that falls on the side of not pursuing those who flee in motor vehicles. Well, I may be writing a bit myopically, but the CPD’s policy is that an officer desiring to pursue a fleeing person must apply this “balancing test”: “The necessity to immediately apprehend the fleeing suspect outweighs the level of inherent danger created by a motor vehicle pursuit.

  • R.A. Stewart

    Quoting from that same article …

    “According to the suit and police, the officer had not activated the SUV’s flashers or sirens at the time of the crash.”

    Am I missing something, or isn’t that a pretty significant detail? That was what I had trouble understanding. I’ve never been in the situation, but wouldn’t you put on the lights at least when starting a high-speed pursuit?

  • cjlane

    So, you are taking the views of some 60-somethings, and some folks who already don’t send their kids to a neighborhood CPS school (if they send them to CPS at all), and projecting it on to a whole bunch of people who do?

    Whatever, dude. You’ve managed to make *me*, personally, a LOT less sympathetic to your positions.

    And yes, my kids do go to one of the neighborhood CPS elementary schools that you believe to be full of racists. And yes, if CPS changed the rules so that our neighborhood school was no longer a neighborhood school, I would seriously consider moving out of the city, because I value the *neighborhoodness* of the school.

  • My point (though as John said, we’re getting off-topic) is that the people with the internalized racial expectations are AVOIDING the neighborhood schools, in favor of magnets, selectives, and private school.

    I’m not saying “They Are Racists!” I’m saying, there’s a lot of unexamined knee-jerk fear involved in all this that adds up to a deeply white-supremacist result. WBEZ has done coverage on this ( ); not only are our neighborhoods pretty segregated, if you look at the CPS figures, even the neighborhoods containing a mix have highly segregated schools, because the population continues to separate itself.

    And I know whose voices I hear getting listened to by politicians. It’s not the voices in favor of strong neighborhood schools that educate all children well.

  • Yep. The Chicago Police Department policy addresses how to have a chase when you’ve “passed” the balancing test, and includes that certain vehicles are not allowed to be used in a chase, and that you must have sirens or lights (depending on the vehicle).

  • cjlane

    You come across as if you are saying “they’re racists”, and I am saying you that your approach is off putting. But I won’t stand in your way.

    “And I know whose voices I hear getting listened to by politicians. It’s not the voices in favor of strong neighborhood schools that educate all children well.”

    I think you have selective deafness, then.

    Unless you think there is an easy fix for the problems of CPS, and the politicians are intentionally staying away from that fix because of lobbying.

  • I know you think that if I mentioned things nicely people would react better, but in my experience no matter how calmly, respectfully, and apologetically I sneak up on the statement “This belief or action of yours is leading to a strongly negative result specifically for non-white people,” I get exactly the same “I’M NOT RACIST HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT !!” nuclear reaction.

    Everyone with a kid in CPS wants their kid to get a good education. Some parents are terrified that “a good education” is a strongly scarce resource and that if they don’t cling to every advantage and step on everyone else’s kids, their kid will fail.

    And the people with the power of the purse seem determined to shut down neighborhood schools and open for-profit charters that provably give WORSE education, so yes, I’m kind of angry and burned out.

  • cjlane

    “charters that provably give WORSE education”

    They just as ‘provably’ do better. Everything I have seen and read (much, but far from comprehensive) turns on the perspective of the author *and* the reader. If you are strongly pro-regular-public, everything that speaks well of charters can easily be picked apart, and vice versa. There isn’t a whole lot of honest brokerage, given the paucity of truly ‘neutral’ funding sources for research. And even then, one can assert that the stats are juked in one fashion or another, or that the observable metrics used are BS and not what “real education” should be.

    And no, I don’t think that if you ‘mentioned things nicely’ people would react better; I think that asserting that you know what people think is off-putting (when you are, as here, wrong–obviously the opposite is true when you happen to be right), and unlikely to influence those who you believe (to some extent accurately) have an outsized influence.