Today’s Headlines for Monday, November 26

  • Every Metra Line Delayed as Storm Dumps up to 13 Inches of Snow (Tribune)
  • Driver Jumps Curb in Hinsdale, Fatally Striking Woman, 71 (Tribune)
  • Fatal Tractor Crash Delayed Holiday Travel on Amtrak’s Carl Sandberg Line (Tribune)
  • After Chuyuan Qiu’s 2016 Death, Bike Lanes Installed on Sheridan (Daily Northwestern)
  • Can Metra and Lake County Reverse the Plight of the Reverse Commuter? (Tribune)
  • Study: Drivers Traveled 1.9M Extra Miles Due to Closed City Emission Test Sites (WTTW)
  • Artists Want to Clean up, Activate “Neglected” Woodard Plaza (Block Club)
  • New Parking App “SpotAngels” Coming to Chicago (Tribune)
  • There Are Still Dozens of Payphones Within the CTA System (CBS)
  • How Does the CTA Decide How to Pronounce Street Names in Announcements? (WBEZ)
  • CTA Holiday Train Begins Running in Chicago Today (WGN)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA

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  • Anne A

    The protected bike lanes on Sheridan Rd. in Evanston are an amazing improvement. I wish they’d made this change years ago – without someone getting killed first.

  • rwy

    One issue that I have. Going southbound, your supposed to turn right onto Euclid. Then I guess you turn onto Ingleside. Then when you get to Sheridan there is a 2 way stop sign, so you have to yield to both directions of traffic on Sheridan. A 4 way stop would make sense at this intersection.

  • rwy

    Good to hear that there are still a few payphones. Cell phones aren’t always reliable. I had one that got stuck in a bootloop. Imagine if I had needed to call someone when that happened.

  • planetshwoop

    I was one of the reverse commuters for years, as were many of my co-workers. The train service wasn’t the issue – it was the last mile bus service that was the menace.

    As I recall, the companies did do somethings to help: preferred parking for carpoolers, shuttle bus service.

    But the sites are so far away, and you have to go in and out of the parking lot each time, which added delay. Giving buses some kind of signal pre-emption would make a big difference to speeding up the schedule I think. A lot of the time was wasted sitting at lights after going to Discover, or Wolters Kluwer, etc. etc.

  • Courtney

    Making biking and walking easier, pleasant, and safer should also be key.

  • planetshwoop

    This wasn’t an issue in this corner of Lake County. There were well marked bike-ways and sidewalks. Often I would bike to and from the station instead of taking the bus. And I could do that for many errands too. (And as another example, Schaumburg has an excellent bike network.)

    But the distances are large, so walking is challenge not because of lack of sidewalks, but just the distance.

  • what_eva

    Another problem with reverse Metra is that there aren’t many stations in the city, so getting to a station isn’t convenient. Take the tribune’s example of Joe the Millenial in Lakeview. How’s he getting to these newly added MD-N trains? Brown Line downtown to Quincy and walk to Union? Fullerton bus out to Healy? Addison or Irving bus out to Grayland? And Metra is adding 1 train. If I had to rely on a CTA bus to catch a Metra, I’d be giving myself a buffer of at least 20 minutes to I could be reasonably sure I wouldn’t get screwed by bus bunching (are 74, 152 and 80 three of the worst routes for bus bunching? Of course they are! It’s too bad there isn’t a stop by Belmont so you could add the 77 to the mess).

    If I were Joe, I’d almost certainly have to give up Lakeview for Wicker Park so I could get down Western reasonably or West Loop or something. Lakeview to MD-N would be a mess.

  • what_eva

    For a pretty large portion of people, biking isn’t going to be an option for the winter and in rainy weather and as planetshwoop says, the distances are what makes it walking really hard.

    Take Northbrook. There’s a couple of large complexes around like Crate and Barrel’s HQ at Techny/Waukegan or the former Kraft HQ (Medline now I think?) at Willow/Waukegan. By suburban standards, both are a short drive from the Northbrook or Glen stations on the MD-N, but it’s 2-2.5 miles, not a reasonable walk for most people.

  • planetshwoop

    So imagine if Medline had a fleet of eScooters. Get off the train, and use a battery-assisted ride to the office. There are trails and sidewalks, so it’s not too hard.

  • planetshwoop

    It wasn’t totally uncommon for “Joe” to drive to the station, from the people I met who did it, or have Joe’s partner drop him off.

    They have a few trains in the morning with limited stops (so they can turn it around faster) and there is always plenty of seating. I enjoyed it when I did it even if I did drive from time to time because of other factors.

    And as for the downtown — it is absolutely the case that a few of the riders are coming from the South/West Side. Either drive to Western or go downtown and get on at Union.

  • Jeremy

    True, which is why TOD zoning is so important.

  • Carter O’Brien

    What does TOD zoning have to do with reverse commuting from Lake View? My wife was a reverse commuter for a few years when we still lived there, and it was a miserable, miserable drive and there was absolutely no public trans alternative. The problem is in the suburbs, and the fact that Metra gets carte blanche to roll through the inner city without making many stops. We can cram people next to a few CTA stops until the cows come home, but that doesn’t fix the larger, very broken, system.

  • Jeremy

    The gist of what-eva’s comment was that it is burdensome to get to a Metra stop in the city for an outbound commute, especially because getting there at a specific time is important. Providing more housing by Metra stops allows more people to live nearby and walk to catch the train. TOD zoning doesn’t need to be limited to CTA train stops.

  • Carter O’Brien

    And that CTA>Metra stop issue is a challenge, but it hinges on the fact that Metra service isn’t frequent enough for reverse commuters.

    I interpreted “another problem with reverse Metra” to mean just that – limited housing near limited stops in Chicago is only one half of the equation – Chicago by itself is never going to be able to substantially change the commuting dynamic until suburban sprawl is checked and public transit is retrofitted into these areas. Otherwise you have more people living by Metra who have few places to go and work. And based on our experience and of many people we know, City folk working with the burbs are generally doing so only out of necessity, most are also looking for work in the City and eventually find it.

    In the bigger picture, TOD zoning is a joke until the City’s politicians and planners stop letting developers dictate the terms and start looking at the region as a whole. It’s a developer give-away right now that was sold to the public using a smoke and mirrors approach of hyping the reduced parking needs, with people only later realizing the density bonus has simply allowed a money grab along the Blue Line. The bus is where the opportunity truly lies, because far more area is covered by bus routes that you will ever get with L stops, and huge numbers of people rely on the bus to get to the L.

    A WBEZ article from yesterday is well worth the read: https://www.wbez.org/shows/wbez-news/chicago-has-a-plan-to-build-near-cta-trains-but-who-does-it-help/e967316b-2d98-4d1b-b2f3-2ba1eb066929?

  • Jared Kachelmeyer

    What’s stopping Millenial Joe from living near say Grayland station? I’m pretty sure he could find an apartment there for a lot less than he would pay in Lakeview. Of course Irving Park doesn’t exactly have the same amenities that Lakeview does…

  • planetshwoop

    It didn’t stop me. I moved to be closer to the train. When my employment from from Lake County to the city, it was still convenient.

    Plenty of people go north from Ravenswood…

  • Anne A

    That’s a tricky location. Your suggestion makes perfect sense to me.