Today’s Headlines for Thursday, July 7

  • Hit-and-Run Driver Injured West Ridge Man, 61, on Fourth of July  (DNA)
  • 3 Injured in CTA Bus/SUV Crash in North Lawndale (Sun-Times)
  • New Transit TIF Law Can Help Fund Red/Purple Work & Union Station Projects (MPC)
  • Chicago Tribune Looks at the Transit TIF Legislation
  • Work on Metra’s Ravinia Station Is Complete (Sun-Times)
  • Active Trans Provides a Recap of the Cycle of Peace Bike Giveaway
  • No Surprise: Chicago’s Busiest Biking Streets Have the Highest Number of Doorings (Klest)
  • Steven Helped Create “PBR,” an App That Recommends Low-Stress Bike Routes (Chicago Inno)
  • 7/14 Urban Think & Drink: Why Is Minneapolis Growing Faster Than Chicago? (MPC)
  • Beverly Hills Cycling Classic Takes Place July 15 (Tribune)
  • MWHSRA Hosts Brown Bag With Train Manufacturer on July 26

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Chicagoan

    I was in Minneapolis for my job recently and it’s a lovely city. The people are very nice and I was in awe of their Richardsonian Romanesque city hall building. But, I was also just in awe of how many surface parking lots downtown Minneapolis has right now.

    Regarding the growth of Minneapolis, it’s not too big, so when they experience any gains, they appear quite seismic in comparison to Chicago.

    I believe Minneapolis & St. Paul combined don’t have more than 750,000 people.

  • Anne A

    Come on down to Beverly/Morgan Park next Friday night (7/15) for fast paced criterium racing, local craft brews, food trucks and live music in a beautiful setting.

    Two good ways to get there on transit: Metra Rock Island to 107th St., then walk 1 short block west to Longwood Dri.

    Red line to 95th St., then take 103 (103rd St.) bus to Longwood Drive (by the CVS and Irish castle), and walk south 2 blocks on Longwood.

  • Chicagoan

    This sounds neat!

    Is there a website for the event?

  • BlueFairlane

    It’s always bugged me that Minneapolis is so much larger than Annapolis. (/dadjoke)

    I think the current reasons for the faster growth of Minneapolis are fairly obvious, especially if you have some perspective that allows you to look at Chicago from an outsider’s point of view. We’ve been losing African-American residents at an astounding rate, and there’s an immense perception problem among any potential newcomers who might replace them. Here’s what outsiders see: We have failing schools under the permanent threat of bankruptcy, shut down, or strike. We have a well advertised budget problem that keeps us teetering on the edge of financial collapse and that’s made all the worse by the financial mess of the state as a whole. We have a horrific problem with gun violence that only seems to be getting worse, and we have a leadership that only seems able to offer vague platitudes as solutions. The debacle of the Lucas museum only emphasized a perceived inability to get anything good done. From the outside, Minneapolis seems like a modern, progressive city on a hill where good things are happening (notwithstanding last night’s news), while we look (accurately or not) like we’re three steps from turning into a metropolitan Thunderdome.

    Now, I know people who love Chicago don’t like to hear this sort of thing, as our experience of the city is different from that narrative, but the narrative still exists and gets a lot of traction outside among the people who think about coming here. I don’t think these problems are necessarily fatal–the current growth dynamic isn’t necessarily a long-term trend–but I do think we’re teetering on a precipice, and we don’t have much time to pull back from it. Something big about the narrative has to change, or we’ll start the long fall that’s plagued so many other Great Lakes cities.

  • johnaustingreenfield

    Correct, the two cities have a combined population of about 712,000.

  • johnaustingreenfield
  • Anne A

    John’s link below is for the race itself. This link is for the festival connected with it.

  • Chicagoan

    We’ve been teetering on the precipice for a long time. The problems you mention have bothered the city for as long as I can remember. Perhaps I’m boastful (This is the “Windy City” after all!), but I think if we were destined to teeter over said precipice, it’d have happened quite a while ago.

    That’s not to say that we’re in the clear, but Chicago has lived in a state of turbulence for so long, why is this situation any different? My favorite thing about Chicago is the city’s great ability to hang on in the tough times and thrive in the good ones. Even nowadays, when there’s such a melancholy feel to parts of this city, there’s so much good happening too.

    Rather than the persistent and, to be honest, foolish comparisons to Detroit, I think Chicago is similar to late 20th-century New York City. There was once a time when City of New York employees had trouble cashing their work check, because banks didn’t actually know if the money would come to pass. New York got out of that quagmire with a lot of help from the federal government and a lot of strong solution making by city leadership.

    We need the same. Perhaps not help from the federal government, as even just help from the state government would be great. A stable Springfield, if that is even possible, would be a boon for Chicago.

  • johnaustingreenfield

    Got it, thanks.

  • BlueFairlane

    That’s not to say that we’re in the clear, but Chicago has lived in a
    state of turbulence for so long, why is this situation any different

    I think there are two things about the current situation that make today’s precipice significantly worse than those that came before.

    1. In those previous periods of turbulence, Chicago’s problems were the exact same problems faced by every other city in America. New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Detroit, Los Angeles … all were failing at roughly the same time in roughly the same ways. Even smaller cities were in a state of collapse; I can remember when downtown Louisville was nothing but scrap metal yards. So Chicago looked no worse than any other big city. Today, nobody pays attention to Detroit or Cleveland because they’re already dead, while other cities–Minneapolis, for one–seem to be thriving. The competition looks a lot brighter now than it did then, and we look a lot worse in comparison.

    2. You point out the help New York needed from the federal government to get out of its ’70s mess, and it only got that help after a lot of hard fights and diligent begging. The federal government these days is far, far more dysfunctional now than it was even then, and it’s far less interested in providing that kind of help today even if it were able to pass the bills it’d take to do it. And the state is worse by several orders of magnitude. I don’t see any outside help ready to bail us out. If we’re going to pull out of this, we’re going to have to do it on our own. We need solution-making leadership far more than New York did, and so far, that’s not popping up. It might … but it hasn’t yet, and it needs to soon.

  • planetshwoop

    This looks fantastic. Time for my fam to head down to Beverly next weekend! Between this and Tour de Fat it’s going to be a big bike week!

  • Chicago is a bunch of places. The one north of the Stevenson and East of the Kennedy and Edens is rock solid and not going anywhere but up. On the other hand the traditional black neighborhoods continue to be disinvested. Them and the near in suburbs south, east and west will continue to stagnate as long as neo-liberal capitalism continues as an austerity driven 1% enrichment scheme. The farther out suburbs will be hit and miss.

    Chicago and Toronto both have a Great Lake and outstanding lakefront parks. Cleveland and Milwaukee do not. But then neither does Minneapolis.

    One of the things that kept Chicago’s population up, I believe, was immigration from Hispanic/Latin America. With the 2008 economic debacle much of that net immigration has turned negative in the U.S.

    The only reputation that mattered for Chicago was the one of jobs. People don’t come here for the weather, or the quality of the arts, or the glamour. But we are not near a catastrophic financial collapse that will see masses of people leave all at once. While we have old neighborhoods that are hollowing out like Detroit, we have a much more diverse economic base that Detroit ever had.

    As long as we build on our strengths, our weaknesses will not do us in. Indeed should we as a nation be able to return to the economic methods put in place by FDR, that bore fruit in the 50s and 60s Chicago would once again boom. Basically that is a return to things like Glass/Steagal banking regulation and serious curtailment of extreme dysfunctional wealth concentration with serious progressive marginal tax rates.

  • rohmen

    I largely agree with you, but Milwaukee actually has an absolutely beautiful lakefront, much of it protected parkland that is actually very similar to Chicago’s. The issue in Milwaukee (and Cleveland to an extent, which has a surprisingly solid mass transit system) has never been a lack of amenities to draw “urbanites” in. It’s the death of traditional rust-belt manufacturing without drawing a substitute. I agree with (what I think is) your point. Chicago is really a tale of two cities, one prosperous (and likely to remain so), and the other not (and that part stands to get even worse or hollow out). While parts of the City are dying, parts are thriving, and that places us in a rather unique position when compared to most other cities in this country. It also makes it a hell of a lot harder of a problem to solve.

  • rohmen

    It’s not really reported anywhere near as much as it should be, outside of the Reader really, but one of the reasons we’ve been losing population in this City (while other neighborhoods seem to be thriving) is CHA spent essentially the past 15 years tearing down all of the public housing in this City without building anything to replace it, and in turn sitting on literally close to a billion in housing funds that would have kept lower income people here.

    I’m cynical, but it doesn’t take much of a cynic to see that population loss is one avenue City leaders were at one time actively fostering (or at least Daley seemed to embrace it heavily) to in order to shift resources to the Loop and the “nice” areas. Population statistics alone do not tell Chicago’s story.

    The problem, however, is Daley and Rahm became so myopically focused on the prosperous parts of this City (which in reality remain more prosperous than even the nicest parts of Minneapolis, or even most other U.S. cities outside S.F., N.Y. and L.A.) that the neighborhoods left behind have become so bad the issues are finally spilling over.

  • J. Geoff Rove

    A note about Ravinia, most concert goers use the Ravinia Park station. The stop for “Ravinia” on Roger Williams is mostly a “locals” station.

    Also speaking of the UP North line, can someone do a FOIA to find out how much has been spent on the replacement bridges and new track section in Chicago. This unfinished project is way over budget and I believe most the last fare increases went to pay for part of this.

  • Looking forward to trying PBR, once there’s an Android version.

  • johnaustingreenfield

    I think you’ll find it’s a blue-ribbon app.

  • Kevin M

    Agreed that it appears to be a very sluggish project. It is July and and I’m not even sure if they’re going to replace any more bridges this year, and I don’t think they replaced any last year. And there are a *lot* more in this project that are supposed to be replaced. As a taxpayer and transit user, I am very interested in knowing details about the status of this project.