Today’s Headlines

  • Garcia Opposes Belmont Flyover, Might Support Ashland BRT With “Compromises” (RedEye)
  • Rauner Would Cut 40% of Amtrak Funding at a Time When Ridership Is Growing (Tribune)
  • Chicagoans Speak Out in Support of “Loop Link” Downtown BRT (Active Trans)
  • Madison/Wabash Station Closes March 16 to Make Way for Washington/Wabash Stop (RedEye)
  • Police Are Seeking Hit-and-Run driver Who Critically Injured Woman in Dunning (DNA)
  • Out-of-Service CTA Bus Catches Fire on the Ryan Near Sox Park, No Injuries (Sun-Times)
  • Some Aspects of CDOT’s 55th Street Master Plan Are Bold, Some Aren’t (Transport Notes)
  • UberSelect Launches, Offering Rides in Fancy Cars for a Higher Price Than UberX (RedEye)
  • Cool-Headed Cabbie Helps Cops Apprehend His Passenger, a Forgery Suspect (Tribune)
  • Think Spring: Bike the Drive Registration Is Now Open (Chicagoist)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA

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  • David Altenburg

    It’s nice to see Garcia get specific about something in his transportation “platform”. Too bad that something is opposition to a service improvement. It’s also disturbing that while he’s handing out unrealistic promises (24 hour service everywhere in the metro area), he can’t be bothered to acknowledge the existence of pedestrians or cyclists.

  • Kevin M

    I’m recalling how I lost interest in Miguel del Valle when I saw his lackluster, status quo-supporting transportation “platform”.

  • This clarification reeks of the “if Rahm is for it, I’m against it!” attitude that has poisoned the election.

    Ashland carries about 30k people on the average weekday, almost double the Pink line and on par with the Orange line. Ashland could support full blown HRT or at least partially underground LRT but thats just not in the cards unless Garcia wants to foot the bill.

    Belmont junction while not nearly as busy as the 2 loop junctions still hosts 2 of the 3 busiest lines in the system. The opposition likes to talk up signals or an at-grade high-speed switch as a solution but this only delays the inevitable. If ridership is to grow so must mainline capacity.

    24 hour service thing is nice but like everything else it will cost time and money. Maintenance schedules will be impacted, drivers will be much more expensive, and I don’t think other lines (apart from maybe the Brown line and a few of the 20k+ bus routes) have the ridership to support 24/7 service. Start with expanding service in the evening and mornings first then we can talk 24/7.

    He also mentioned “the different systems (CTA, Metra, Pace) should be integrated to attract more riders”. Are we talking fare/ticket compatibility, timed transfers, one agency to rule them all? All of these are very different things and I’d love of clarification on what he means.

    The bone Garcia tosses to CREATE and Transit Future is nice but when the rest of your policy is this weak I have a hard time believing its genuine support. Also the lack of anything on bike/ped feels like the final nail in the coffin.

  • jeff wegerson

    Garcia lacks transit sophistication. My guess is that if (when?) he is elected he will acquire the needed sophistication. He will see that BRT has the potential to improve service for his perceived constituency much better than 24/7 schedules.

    Likewise he will come to support the flyover when he comes to understand the goal is increased capacity rather than saving a few minutes of riders’ time.

  • jeff wegerson

    Like I said above, I see Garcia’s positions adjusting as he gains transit sophistication. Remember too that he is pitching his words now to people who are also very unsophisticated about transit. He is an experienced politician. He knows how change.

  • Kevin M

    I agree that he lacks transit sophistication. But will he take the steps you’ve outlined? Some of his base–perhaps the majority–also lack transit sophistication and may not want him to support full BRT, the flyover, or anything far above and beyond status quo. There’s a lot of things I dislike about Emanuel, but one thing I have always appreciated is his unwavering, savvy progressive stance on transportation in the face of a loud majority and media who have momentum on their side. He’s been slowly turning the tide against a generation or two of Chicago leaders who, with a few exceptions, did their best to make alternative transportation a 2nd class option.

  • jeff wegerson

    Like I said above, I bet he sees the fly-over as a small time saver rather than a big capacity booster. He’s saying now what a lot of voters think.

    As for BRT, one can see that he gets it at a gut level. Likely his statement is just meant to garner as many votes as possible.

    As a populist I suspect in the end he has to come down strong for transit.

  • Lisa Curcio

    Garcia’s platform seems to have tacked on “Pedestrian and Cyclist Safety” at the bottom of the list of transportation issues and here is what he says:

    “Pedestrian & Biker Safety

    As Mayor, I will prioritize projects that improve the most dangerous intersections and corridors in the city. I will also support continuing to expand the city’s network of protected bike lanes and neighborhood bike routes to fill in gaps and provide safe access to all parts of the city.”

  • Looks like it came out today. I hope that he fleshes it out more, and add stronger objectives and goals.

  • what_eva

    I don’t agree that he gets BRT at a gut level. His “compromises” (as John wisely used scare quotes) for Ashland include not removing car lanes, basically making it the X9 and not BRT.

  • Fred

    Garcia has to balance “Anybody But Rahm” voters with actual policy. I don’t think the ABBR crowd alone is enough to get elected. It will be interesting to see where he actually stands on various issues if elected.

  • Deni

    I’m so concerned about Garcia’s transportation policy that I’m likely to vote for Rahm, and I hate Rahm. I’ve got a kid in public school, which Rahm is trying to ruin. But Garcia’s transportation deficiency is that bad. The fact that he would kill the Belmont flyover and that he would reduce Ashland BRT to nothing better than an “express” bus route to accommodate the NIMBYs shows that he doesn’t grasp the issue.

  • Mike C

    I’m not so confident that he will change his mind and fully support these projects if he’s elected. Why change his policy if he was elected with that policy? Won’t he most likely say that the voters elected him, so they must support his campaign policy on transit? Why change his policy if his policy is ‘what a lot of voters think’? If he will change is policy so easily, it is clear he hasn’t put much thought into to his current transit policy. Transit is a major issue in Chicago and shouldn’t be treated so lightly.

  • BlueFairlane

    This thread illustrates a tendency that seems astoundingly common in Illinois voters. Voters see a gap in a candidate’s platform, so they fill it all on their own with a baseless assumption that the candidate will come around to their own point of view. I saw a lot of it here during the gubernatorial race. People said, “Well, Rauner hasn’t mentioned transportation, but Quinn’s for the Illiana, so Rauner’s probably against it. And he might support Amtrak, too! I’ll vote for Rauner.”

    I just don’t think any candidate will ever come as close to matching the feeling about transportation issues of this site’s readers as Rahm has. Now, it’s debatable how much Gabe Klein had to do with driving that and whether it can continue in the face of what’s happening with state government. But ultimately, if John had another $13,440 and were inclined to endorse anybody, I bet he’d be endorsing Rahm. The questions for the folk around here, then, is whether this one issue outweighs all the other issues the city faces enough to justify your vote. For me, it doesn’t, as this is the only issue where I see Rahm accomplishing anything at all. I’ll be voting for Garcia, but I suspect I’m in the minority here.

  • jeff wegerson

    I can’t disagree about Rahm’s support for transit. My biggest fear about Rahm is that one of his goals is to privatize the water. Might Chuy do that too? That’s my other fear, namely that the tentacles of no-liberalism extend deeply in our current political class. Look at Bill Clinton.

  • jeff wegerson

    I’m definitely filling my knowledge gaps with my own desires. But then side by side within the same gaps I fill in with my fears. Will Garcia turn into an Obama, that is just another populist neo-liberal privatizer.

  • jeff wegerson

    Right. Of course, politicians are always accused of saying one thing and doing another.

  • jeff wegerson

    I haven’t seen the clarifications of his statements. Left turns we can possibly live with but elimination of the dedicated lane is a non-starter.

    By gut level understanding I meant that he likely recognizes that good transit is a working class issue and when that he could be open to having it explained why a real BRT is good for the carless working class.

  • what_eva

    There’s a quote right in the article:

    “Garcia said he would support the Ashland proposal if there is a better compromise with residents and business associations. “There are a multitude of concerns that have been raised, including limited number of car lanes and left turns,” Garcia said in an email.

    There is no compromise on number of car lanes possible.

    I agree with you on left turns, I’ve always thought those can be managed with smarter signals. Don’t get caught up on “Gold Standard”, build something that works.

  • jeff wegerson

    I read too quickly. I was specifically looking for the lanes thing. I agree lanes are non-negotiable. We need to remind Garcia that cars will still have a 2-1 lane advantage after BRT. Cars just need to decide whether they want the second to be for driving or parking.

  • what_eva

    Yeah, but the cars don’t get a choice in many places due to meters.

  • jeff wegerson

    My view on meters is that when you take the Ashland meters then the side street parking values rise to replace the lost Ashland parking values. So long term not a problem.

  • what_eva

    The problem there is twofold:
    1. Many side streets already have meters between the arterial and the alley
    2. If they don’t have meters, good luck not having a revolt from the residents of that street in adding them.

  • cjlane

    “Cars just need to decide”

    Cars can’t decide anything.

    Where’s the Streetsblog righteous indignation over the robot car fallacy??