Today’s Headlines for Friday, June 15

  • Turning Driver Fatally Struck Male Cyclist, 41, on 600 Block of N. Erie (Sun-Times)
  • Good Samaritan Saved the Life of WTTW’s Elizabeth Brackett After Bike Injury (Sun-Times)
  • Can Musk Build O’Hare Express for Less That Half the Price of $2.3 B Red Lne Extension? (Crain’s)
  • Metra Pays the Price for Being Frugal (Crain’s)
  • Metra to Stop Selling Tickets, 10-Ride Passes From 15 Stations (WGN)
  • Study: Divvy Stations Are Getting About 15X as Much Use in Avondale as E. Garfield (U.S. News)
  • “America’s Got Talent” Hopeful Booted From Performing at Red Line Lake Station (Reader)
  • We Keep You Rollin’ Hosts a Community Bike Ride on Sunday 6/23, 10 AM

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  • Kevin M

    Only in our great country (that is getting GREATER all the time) can a person kill another person with a lethal weapon and receive a ticket for their “accident”. Cars don’t kill, Guns don’t kill; America kills Americans.

  • Cameron Puetz

    RE: Metra to Stop Selling Tickets, 10-Ride Passes From 15 Stations
    This seems like a flaw in the design of the ticketing system. Metra ticket machines don’t seem any more likely to be targeted than Ventra machines, parking meters, parking ramp pay stations, Divvy stations, or the hundreds of other unattended credit card pay systems spread throughout the city. How do the other pay stations avoid this problem? Is the vendor that sold Metra a faulty system being held accountable? What options are available for customers not ridding all the way downtown?

    Metra and their supplier dropped the ball on this one. It shouldn’t be up to riders to work around Metra’s flawed ticketing system.

  • ohsweetnothing

    At the risk of jumping to conclusions, anyone familar with that stretch of Ogden probably has a strong idea about how that cyclist was killed. That section is awful and it, along with all the side streets (Erie, May) are designed as glorified on-ramps to the expressway.

  • Tooscrapps

    Odgen is terrible it’s whole length. It *could* be a great NW/SW route, especially south of Roosevelt, if the City had the money or the will for a major overhaul.

  • ohsweetnothing

    Hard agree. I wonder who has jurisdiction of the street.

  • Tooscrapps

    Considering it’s Route 66, I’m leaning towards IDOT.

  • ohsweetnothing

    Oh wow, I just assumed that was Adams all the out to….somewhere, hah.

    Yeah that would probably be quite the stumbling block…

  • rohmen

    Would it really be that hard for Musk to come in at under what the red line will cost? There’s been a lot written recently as to why infrastructure projects cost so much in the U.S. (and most of it seems to be chalked up to poor project mgmt.), and I think Musk (or any private entity spending its own money) could easily come in under what a traditional government-funded project would cost.

  • Cameron Puetz

    The Red Line extension is a much simpler project than the O’Hare express. The Red Line extension is 5.3 miles of above ground track.The O’Hare express is a minimum of 16 miles of dual underground tunnels. Adding to the complexity, Musk has pledged not to disturb surface traffic, meaning all tunnels must be bored and access points will be limited. Additionally the technology for the Red Line extension is well understood. There’s no design left to be done on the vehicles and no regulatory uncertainty.

  • rohmen

    I guess this is where we look at the flyover costing more than the chunnel—we simply do not do public transport projects here very economically. $2.3 billion for 5.3 miles is likely ridiculous itself.

    I posted this on another thread, but citylab did a good look at why transport costs so much per mile here, and poor mgmt. by public officials is identified as a leading culprit. https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2018/01/why-its-so-expensive-to-build-urban-rail-in-the-us/551408/

    Musk (or any private entity with a profit motivation) has an incentive to be much more efficient. Whether he can do it for $1 billion is open for debate, but I have no doubt he can do it for cheaper than what it would cost the City to do it per mile.

  • rohmen

    And after I typed that, I realize I’m wrong on chunnel cost for overall project cost, but I was thinking per mile. I may still be off a little even on a per mile basis (though I bet it’s close), but I think the point still stands that our per mile building costs on transit/infrastructure are way out of line to many other areas of the world, including Europe, which doesn’t exactly have lax safety, labor, and environmental requirements on projects themselves.

  • BlueFairlane

    In addition to the factors Cameron mentions, there’s also the labor cost to consider. Musk has never tried to hire for a major construction project in a union town. He likely thinks he’s going to approach labor much the way he has in the past and go cheap … or else he thinks it will all be robots. Either way, I expect he’s in for a few surprises.

    (Also, I don’t know that I’d hold Musk’s organization up as an example of superior management techniques.)

  • Jeremy

    I think people are buying the tickets with stolen credit cards, then selling them. That can’t be done with parking garages, Divvy, or parking meters. This might be more about reducing fraud by removing the profit motive.

  • Dennis McClendon

    With no surface or immediate subsurface (utility relocation) construction issues, the X tunnel seems much more like a sewer interceptor or water supply tunnel, dozens of which have been built quite economically under Chicago, whether through blue clay at -30 or dolomite at -100. Deep Tunnel sections of roughly similar length seem to come in at $150-$250 million. The big question is what sort of life-safety measures and evacuation shafts will be needed to allow passenger transport through such tunnels.