Today’s Headlines for Wednesday, July 11

  • Musk Shows Off Tunneling Hardware for His (Not-Invented Yet) OE Pods (Curbed)
  • Manhattan Institute Fellow Praises Emanuel’s TOD, Affordable Housing Policies (Crain’s)
  • Almost 900 Mixed-Income Homes Planned for Former Harold Ickes Site (Tribune)
  • Motorcyclist Killed in Crash Near 95th and Halsted (ABC)
  • Driver Flips Car, Grazes Pedestrian in Naperville, Causing Minor Injuries (Patch)
  • Cyclist Knocked off Bike and Robbed at Addison and Racine (CWB Chicago)
  • Tell Rauner to Sign the Bike Walk Education in Schools Act (Active Trans)
  • Lake Forest Considers Funding for Metra Project That Would Increase Service (Tribune)
  • After Killing Its Divvy Program, Oak Park Sells Stations to Chicago for $147K (Tribune)
  • OK Cupid’s Risqué Ad Campaign Has Been Banned From the CTA, Park District (Reader)
  • MPC Think & Drink on Creativity, Urban Arts & Economic Vitality on 8/2

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  • Cameron Puetz

    RE: Lake Forest Considers Funding for Metra Project That Would Increase Service

    Didn’t Lake Forest recently team up with Glenview to fight triple tracking a portion of that line to relieve congestion. I’m all for improving rail service, but it seems pretty hypocritical to ask for more service to Lake Forest after fighting increasing the line’s capacity.

  • Tooscrapps

    I believe that was for increased Hiawatha service. But you’re spot on. LF residents want more service, but don’t want deal with the measures necessary so that others further up the line can have better service.

  • planetshwoop

    I don’t think that’s quite right. It wasn’t opposed to Hiawatha service as much as a) the process to make the recommendation, which seemed troubled a little and b) the prospect of idling freight trains near some of the nature preserves. Agree or disagree, that’s a pretty common concern

    I think the west side station doesn’t have very good service — most trains turn around at Deerfield or try and act as an express for Libertyville. Indeed better service for Grainger, Abbott etc nearby would be helpful — plenty of people use the reverse commute for Deerfield and the surrounding area. (Like I used to.)

    There is a lot of nascent plans for increased service on this line. A hypothetical station for some of the McDonald’s new campus. A new station in Niles for an entertainment district. And better reverse commute service for Lake Forest.

    Seems like a long term strategic plan is in order?!?

  • rohmen

    I believe strongly in process and transparency, but never have I seen anyone that suggests the “process” was flawed in the end also not disagree with the ultimate result. Sure, people may argue the process wasn’t fair, but that’s because they’re hope in a fairer process was to kill it.

    The nature preserves, etc., are a more legitimate concern, but what’s the alternative? Continuous expansion of roads to accommodate more trucking and auto traffic is just as likely to harm the same (or at a minimum other) nature preserves, so it still boils down not a NIMBY stance. LF has enough powerful people that the NIMBYs may win, or at least make this all much more difficult than it should be.

  • Tooscrapps

    Methinks if the siding was required, but could be in someone else’s backyard, LF residents would have no issues with it

  • rohmen

    No doubt. The issue for LF, unfortunately, is that most of its neighbors are just as powerful and just as opposed to it (if it even could be done somewhere else).

    I’m not totally unsympathetic to it all, but as you allude to above, it’s pretty clear they just want the freight traffic gone, and aren’t really opposed to rail expansion if it helps shave 15 minutes off their commute.

  • planetshwoop

    “Longtime Lake Forest City Manager Bob Kiely said Thursday that in a quest to get an Amtrak stop on the city’s west side, nearly $200,000 in city funds was paid to a lobbying firm without City Council approval.”

    This controversy doesn’t seem to be major, but any controversy makes it easier to dispute the outcome because the process wasn’t squeaky clean.

    As for the NIMBY aspect of Lake Forest, I think it’s a tough issue. I agree that more rail is generally a good idea. I agree that Lake Forest wouldn’t mind if, say, this happened in Deerfield or Northbrook.

    I think so much wealth is tied up in our homes – a consequence of a lot of trends over the last 60 years. So much of this reaction is a response to their real concern that house prices will decrease near the affected area. It’s hard to be completely rational when you stand to lose a lot of money.

    (Barrington Hills has a similar situation after the CP starting running A LOT more trains through the old EJ&E tracks.)

    The long long long term solution would be electrification of the rails. Less diesel smoke and quieter trains would make this debate easier.

  • Cameron Puetz

    You’re right, the issue was “resolved” by changing the plan to build the siding in Rondout.

  • Cameron Puetz

    Counterintuitively, even more tracks would address some of the concerns here. If there was a continuous third track instead of a series of parking sidings, that result would be a situation like the BNSF where slower trains keep moving while they get passed, instead of the objectionable situation of freight trains idling on a siding waiting to be passed.

    Since unlike Barrington Hills, many Lake Forest residents depend on Metra, one way to overcome NIMBYism here is package the proposed changes into a grand plan for this line. Make the Meta improvements, Amtrak improvements, and freight passing areas a package deal.

  • planetshwoop

    I agree. Also, having a regional body help with this kind of thing to help alleviate NIMBY issues would help.