Today’s Headlines for Thursday, October 20

  • Crain’s Op-Ed: Pedestrianize Michigan, Create an 8-Mile Sunday Ciclovia Route
  • There Have Been 6 Armed Robberies on The 606 Since September 19 (DNA)
  • Police: Ride-Share Driver Is Stealing Credit Card Info From Passengers (Chicagoist)
  • Should Delivery Drivers Pay to Use Downtown Loading Zones? (DNA)
  • Inexplicable: EPA Closing All City Emissions Testing Facilities to Cut Costs (Tribune)
  • Chainlinkers Discuss the Sociology of “Shoaling” (I’ve Been Guilty of It Myself)
  • Lincoln Parkers Say TOD Construction Is Coating Their Cars With Crud (DNA)

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  • Anne A

    The state decision to close emissions testing locations in Chicago seems penny wise and pound foolish. How much will be generated in additional emissions from vehicles registered to addresses that are nowhere near suburban testing locations, in comparison to having those vehicles to go to current city testing locations?

  • Anne A

    I love the idea of pedestrianizing North Michigan Ave. My biggest concern is how to handle the diversion of bus traffic.

  • ardecila

    The op-ed author cites Las Ramblas in Barcelona as an example… it’s not fully pedestrianized, it has narrow 2-lane service drives on either side that are used for bus traffic and deliveries. Denver’s 16th Street Mall is similar, but it’s not really wide enough for the pedestrian traffic it gets.

    You could also build a few ramps down to Lower Michigan, and fully pedestrianize the stretch between Grand and Randolph including the upper level of the bridge.

    And if you can excuse the visual intrusion, you could even equip the pedestrian mall with overhead wires and switch the bus routes over to trolley buses to eliminate the diesel fumes and some of the noise.

  • Batboy

    I like the idea too but would not eliminate bus traffic. Get a BRT route that runs the length of Michigan

  • ardecila

    Agreed 100%. This is absolutely ridiculous that the state is completely abandoning its biggest city for this important service.

  • Batboy

    As older cars are being replaced with more fuel efficient vehicles, it may be a wash eventually. I have confidence that these centers won’t even be relevant in a decade.

  • Kevin M

    Fuel efficiency does not necessarily equate to lower emissions. In fact, sometime lower emission controls reduce fuel efficiency. Pull off a muffler or catylitic convertor and a motor vehicle will find more horsepower at the wheels.

    As long as there are compustible engines, we should definitely be testing them for compliance with air pollution protection laws (and, I’d argue, revisit those laws to close loop holes for commercial vehicles).

  • Batboy

    I didn’t imply that testing should be eliminated but only the location is likely less relevant today ( if drivers are following emissions laws).

    Yes, when we find a new technology that makes combustible engines a thing of the past (my prediction) then these centers may be shut for good.

  • cozzyd

    State St. in Madison is not a bad model

  • Agree with both of your assessments, about Las Ramblas and Denver.

  • “Should Delivery Drivers Pay to Use Downtown Loading Zones?”

    Yes. And in the highest density retail/restaurant areas, too.

    And simultaneously the city should meter all currently-free personal property parking in downtown. On Adams at LaSalle, a Divvy station blocks a narrow sidewalk while people park for free all week.

  • BlueFairlane

    Few things piss me off more than shoaling, especially when it’s somebody who’s riding at about the speed my grandmother walks. You’re going to immediately get passed, so why do it?

  • Anne A

    “Should Delivery Drivers Pay to Use Downtown Loading Zones?”

    Yes. And in the highest density retail/restaurant areas, too.

    Well St. in Old Town and River North comes to mind.

  • CDOT could help Wells by moving the loading zone signs that currently surround the Divvy station north of North.

  • planetshwoop

    I’ve always admired the California model: you paid a mechanic to run the test and they would submit the results electronically to the state. So there was a user fee, but that’s something most motorists are used to anyway. It was local, and didn’t require massive build-out and fixed infrastructure to support, which I always found silly in Illinois.

  • planetshwoop

    Since a lot of the bus traffic is devoted to getting workers from the North Side into the Loop, a weekend pilot would be interesting for Michigan Ave.

    Since the the city is already likely raking it in on parking fees, I suspect there would be skepticism towards taking something that’s successful (Michigan Ave) and trying to pedestrianize it. A greater risk/reward might be something further afield: 53 or 57th St. in Hyde Park, Taylor St. in West Loop, Giddings Plaza, etc.

    Or my personal desire for the Loop, LaSalle St. Since it’s very narrow, two way, and doesn’t go through end to end, it’s perfect for this kind of experiment. Setting up some tables and letting workers and visitors have a cafe in the street would be enlightening.

  • Tristan Crockett

    Even without fully pedestrianizing, there are a ton of lanes there that can be better utilized. One lane on each side to widen the sidewalks, plus one lane on each side as a bus-only lane (though the rightmost lane does seem like a de facto bus lane at rush hour, there are enough buses there that cars tend to not use it unless turning right).

    Car traffic can still use the rest of the street, but prevents drivers from trying to use it like a highway. There seems to be a lot of capacity on adjacent streets, especially since the upper/lower distinction bleeds into Streeterville from the Loop.

  • You can still do that today. The emissions facilities were for older cars.

  • BlueFairlane

    You can do that at certain shops here. Over the summer, I took my 2002 Honda Civic into a Car-X and had the test done.

  • Anne A

    When I lived in New Hampshire, I appreciated the fact that there were MANY state-licensed inspection locations across the state. I had no problem with paying a fee to have it done in a location that was convenient for me.