Today’s Headlines for Thursday, November 5

  • Reilly: Buildings Close to the Central Business District Shouldn’t Have a Lot of Parking (DNA)
  • Tweaking of Loop Link Lanes Is “Obviously Mismanagement,” Says Some Random Dude (CBS)
  • Taxi Union: Rahm Expedited Uber Access to Airports, Is Dragging Feet on Cab Reforms (Sun-Times)
  • Alleged Drunk Driver Rear-Ended Sheriff Deputy’s Car, Fled on Foot (DNA)
  • Jesse White: Our Job Is to Keep the Public Safe, Not Help DUI Offenders Get Licenses Back (Tribune)
  • It Could Be Months Before Fulton/Halsted Stoplight Is Activated (DNA)
  • Low Turnout at Metra Hearing on Proposed 2% Fare Increase (Sun-Times)
  • Chicago’s Still a Big Draw for Young Workers — The Hard Part Is Keeping Them Here (Crain’s)
  • Anti-TOD With 271 Spaces, 400 Spots Next to ‘L’ Stop Breaks Ground in Oak Park (Tribune)
  • Red Line Re-Routed After Customer Got Foot Stuck Between Train & Platform (Sun-Times)
  • Lucas Museum Agreement Allows Bears to Set Game-Day Parking Fees (DNA)
  • Sex Columnist Savages the Slow Cycling Movement, Chicagoans Weigh In (Chainlink)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Lisa Curcio

    Thanks Mike Parker. I was wondering why they were tearing up the lane they had so recently put in.

  • BlueFairlane

    Looks like some random dude is probably right.

  • Yes, that was some crack investigative reporting CBS did by crossing the street from their office.

    Here’s the full statement CDOT’s Mike Claffey provided to CBS on the matter: “Small portions of the dedicated bus lanes are being widened to optimize traffic flow. Field testing and adjustments are a normal part of the construction process. This will have no impact on completion and is within the project contingency.”

    I asked why CDOT wasn’t able to determine in advance how wide the lanes needed to be to accommodate the CTA fleet. Claffey responded, “It was discovered in field testing of articulated buses – which is a normal step in the process.”

  • BlueFairlane

    I find the dismissive attitude and ready acceptance of an obvious cover-your-ass statement kind of funny.

    So surveyors and civil engineers spend all sorts of time and money assembling detailed drawings and intricate blueprints, and the end result is decided in trial-and-error field testing after things get built. I could be an engineer if that’s really a “normal part of the construction process.” Just eyeball it, build some curbs, and see if the bus will fit. Heck, you could have at least painted some lines, set out a few road cones, and run a bus through a couple of times to see if it hit any of them.

    I would think this would bug you more, at least in terms of labor and materials cost. That’s money that could go to other projects.

  • rohmen

    I would humbly suggest that the follow up question to your follow up question to the City is “Did you perform calculations regarding the width needed to accommodate articulated buses before you poured the concrete”? The answer is kind of irrelevant, as either yes or no indicates the City essentially screwed up here. Not sure if City civil engineers do the design in this or whether they farm it out to a private company, but if they do farm it out, that private company better put its E&O carrier on notice because a construction defect lawsuit is brewing as we speak.

  • GA

    It’s really going to take ComEd months to energize one set of street signals at an intersection that has street lighting on every corner and an existing vault at the NE corner? Must need more rate increases.

  • rohmen

    Exactly…. This is one of the very reasons a mass transit construction project in the U.S. costs a large magnitude more than what it costs to construct in other countries. Mistakes happen, but that doesn’t mean they should, at least not with the regularity we see in infrastructure projects built here.

  • ohsweetnothing

    So I read the actual Savage post. I read it as him being supportive of “slow bike culture” but being sort of dismissive about cyclists, at least in Seattle. To be fair, he may have a point. I recall one meeting here re: protected bike lanes in the Loop and one outspoken younger cyclist kept commenting to the presenters about how protected bike lanes are dumb because HE can bike with traffic and HE bikes fast enough to go with the flow of cars and HE feels boxed in behind slower bikers in protected lanes.
    I’m sure moving in the direction of 8 to 80 facilities will piss some people off, but sounds like a dream to me.

  • rohmen

    That’s how I read it too. I really don’t think he’s bashing European-style transportation cycling per say, in fact it sounds like he enjoyed it quite a bit. What he’s stating, and I think it’s a very fair question, is how such changes will go over with certain segments of cyclists in this country. At the end of the day cyclists are just people, and many Americans do not play nicely and/or act courteously towards each other regardless of what facilities we’re discussing. That is the cultural difference he’s highlighting, which results in a debate as to how slow riding will be received here.

  • It’s good that somebody asked the city about this, but the CBS reporting was pretty lazy. “Let’s see what’s going on across the street from our office and then ask a couple of random guys for their opinion of it.”

    I did not “readily accept” CDOT’s statement, but merely reported it. But, yes, it might be a good idea to actually interview somebody who knows something about construction projects, rather then some dudes on the street, on whether CDOT’s answer holds water.

  • Yeah, “critiques” might have been a more accurate verb, but it’s hard to walk away from a good pun.

  • Here you go:

    “Did you perform calculations regarding the width needed to accommodate articulated buses before you poured the concrete”?

    Claffey: “Ideally this would have been determined earlier in the process, but this is why we have a field testing stage—to discover potential issues that were not apparent on paper plans.”

    “Was there an option of doing the field testing stage with paint lines and cones before laying concrete, or was that not feasible?”

    Claffey: “Along the entire route – or for all eight stations? I don’t think so.”

  • cjlane

    “I find the dismissive attitude and ready acceptance of an obvious cover-your-ass statement kind of funny.”

    What I find more than kind of funny is the supposition (or implication, perhaps) that the buses will actually remain in the lanes even semi-regularly. A goodly percentage of CTA bus drivers are ridiculously aggressive drivers.

  • Cameron Puetz

    That is not a normal part of the construction process. There are lots of computer modeling systems that allow you to digitally test a large vehicle diving through a tight space. These systems are commonly used to plan and test much more complicated motions than a bus turning a corner (think of a heavy haul truck driving through an industrial building to deliver replacement equipment with inches of clearance in any direction). The lane not accommodating a bus’s turning radius means someone made a mistake

  • ardecila

    Testing like this is a standard part of transit construction. This process can take months with a new rail line.

    With BRT, there are all sorts of curb details and so forth that CTA doesn’t really understand yet from an operations perspective. This is the very first BRT project and it’s got to work right if they hope to expand BRT on a much larger scale like Ashland.

  • BlueFairlane

    But, yes, it might be a good idea to actually interview somebody who knows something about construction projects …

    Then maybe you should do that instead of grumping at CBS and implying this is no big deal.

  • BlueFairlane

    I sincerely doubt that building infrastructure and then tearing it out because it doesn’t work is “a standard part of transit construction.” This is not the same as hitting the backspace in Word to fix a typo. I suspect Cameron Puetz below (or above, depending on your settings) hits closer to the mark.

  • BlueFairlane

    And the next question should be “Why not?” Why is it better to actually construct the lanes than to paint lines and cones for all eight stations?

    It’s stuff like this that makes people who otherwise might support new projects resistant.

  • Lisa Curcio

    And if it is a mistake someone who was responsible is either doing the work to fix it or will get back-charged for it. CDOT is not going to publicly talk about the issues with contractors–at least not at this stage.