Today’s Headlines for Monday, December 17

  • Active Trans Releases a Transportation Agenda for Next Mayor, City Council
  • How Lincoln Yards, The 78, Reese Redevelopment Could Reshape Transit (Crain’s)
  • New Plan Has Goal of Improving Quality of Life in the Austin Community (Sun-Times)
  • SUV Driver Cited After Fatally Striking Peter Hicks, 61, in Ravenswood (Sun-Times)
  • Driver Struck and Killed Elaine J. Marshall, 55, in Des Plaines (Daily Herald)
  • Teen Fatally Struck Young Woman in Northwest-Suburban Ingleside (Tribune)
  • Police Release Image of Vehicle Whose Driver Injured Ped, 59, in West Loop (ABC)
  • Bike Rider Flies off Cycle After Wheel Gets Stuck in LaSalle Bridge Plates (CBS)
  • Last Month Was the Worst November for CTA Thefts in 15 Years (Tribune)
  • Smallish Riverwalk, Low-Line, and Pedway Projects Had a Big Impact (Curbed)
  • Cyclists Are Looking Forward to Partial Opening of Navy Pier Flyover (CBS)
  • Check out the New Chainlink T-Shirt Design

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  • Anne A

    That LaSalle St. bridge crash certainly wasn’t the first crash of that type on that bridge, and I’m sure it won’t be the last, unless CDOT addresses the problem of gaps between bridge deck plates. If you’re riding a mountain bike or fat bike, you should be fine there. It’s best avoided if you have narrow tires.

  • DrMedicine

    Touhy Avenue remains an extremely dangerous high-speed auto sewer. I drive it every weekday to work, and I routinely see people going 65, 70 mph in a 40, weaving all over and running red left turn signals. Ever since Sky Chefs opened, there are lots of pedestrians attempting to cross at mid-block to get to and from the bus stop. There’s no extra light on the road at this point and walking to the corner would scarcely be safer and may be more hazardous, dedicated right turn lanes with little to no visibility. I’d be surprised if this was the first Sky Chefs fatality as a result of this crossing. 3 lanes in both directions with no median.

  • DrMedicine

    The Sky Chefs vehicles are among the most hazardous, as they will pull blindly into traffic and cut across three lanes with poor visibility on the way to the airport entrance. Hoping the realigned Mount Prospect Road crossing will address the pedestrian hazards but I’m skeptical.

  • planetshwoop

    Touhy Ave is an auto-sewer for the parts it is not in Chicago. Lincolnwood is a crisis for ped crossings, and so is Niles. The parts by the airport are horrifying too.

  • Cameron

    RE: How Lincoln Yards, The 78, Reese Redevelopment Could Reshape Transit

    First off, Metra and the CTA need to learn to play nice together. This means real fare integration. As the business district expands beyond walking distance from the main train station, the system needs to account for trips that start on Metra and end on the CTA. Otherwise there will be more private shuttles, more ride share trips, and more commuters driving the whole way because transit doesn’t work for them.

    Additionally, if any of these mega developments are going to have a Metra station as their primary transit connection, the lines serving that station will require substantial service upgrades. Dense, urban neighbors need rapid transit, not suburban style commuter trains.

  • Courtney

    It will be a shame if this Lincoln Yards development prompts all this transit investment but BRT on Ashland & Western (to start) doesn’t happen.

  • Cameron

    New BRT projects are basically dead on arrival in Chicago until the CTA has an honest decision about what went wrong with Loop Link, and what they learned to do differently next to get better results.

  • Courtney

    I hear you. I don’t think new deals have to be dead on arrival but they will definitely need to be subject to more scrutiny and more encouragement to be bolder and more transformative.

    Here is an article from 2015 about the Loop Link not being bold enough: https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2015/02/the-cracks-in-chicagos-grand-plans-for-the-bus/386027/

  • Cameron

    Loop Link was simultaneously too bold and not bold enough. It was bold enough to attract attention by disrupting the status quo and being expensive, while at the same time not being bold enough to deliver results. It’s an unfortunate combination that set transit improvements back.

  • david vartanoff

    While BRT on Ashland might be a short term benefit, the far better move is the restoration and extension of the forme “Paulina Connector” north from Lake St to connect to the Blue @ Damen and further to link to the Brown Line. Southward, an extension off the Pink Line to wye connections to the Orange Line; the western leg would create an O’Hare-Midway direct route skipping the Loop. The eastern leg and a further extension to an intermodal station at McCormick Place and a terminal at the Michael Reese site opens up multiple new travel options for both Chicagoans and visitors.
    In the Lincoln Yards case, a transit link both to the Union Station/West of the Loop area and to a transfer to the Red and Brown Lines should get built.
    The developers of the Reese and Lincoln Yards sites should underwrite at least half the cost of these infrastructure upgrades much as they need to contribute to sewer, water, streets, and sidewalks.

  • david vartanoff

    Spot on about fare integration. Restoring the MED to the rapid transit service levels of the 50s and upgrading the Rock Island to similar levels should happen along with electrification.

  • what_eva

    There’s no restoration of the Paulina Connector left except the bridge over the UP/MD tracks at Kinzie. The rest is gone as is a good chunk of the r-o-w.

  • what_eva

    Nearly every day I’ll see some dope of an uberlyft paying more attention to their phone than driving drift over into the red lane and block the buses.

    I’m totally with you on “not bold enough”. Camera enforcement of the lanes should have been a no brainer.

  • Austin Busch

    And once fare integration and frequent MED service are in place, it’s a no-brainer to connect the East 63rd Green line a little ways further to a Dorchester transfer point.

  • johnaustingreenfield

    Expensive compared to what? The Jane Byrne interchange expansion has cost about 15 times as much (so far) as Loop Link. If you haven’t read it yet, here’s a full discussion of why Loop Link should be considered a modest success. https://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/thrown-for-a-loop/Content?oid=59340965

  • Cameron

    At $41 million, Loop Link cost roughly the same as recent Green Line infill stations (more than Morgan, less than Cermak McCormick Place and estimates for Damen). It’s roughly double the cost of ADA upgrades at Quincy. It’s a major capital project that’s going to attract scrutiny.

    The main goal of Loop Link was faster bus trips. The fact that bus trips are at best only marginally faster isn’t a good result. Without addressing why Loop Link failed it’s main objective, additional BRT spending will be a tough sell.

  • johnaustingreenfield

    Loop Link didn’t meet its timesaving goals (although it potentially could if the city ever adds features like prepaid boarding and camera enforcement), but it hasn’t failed.

    From the article: “I’d also point out that Loop Link has better organized the streets along the route, especially Canal Street by Union Station, and has created better conditions for walking and biking, while discouraging speeding by private drivers, which makes everyone safer. And then there’s the question of what bus speeds would be like nowadays if Loop Link hadn’t been built, given the general increase in downtown car traffic in recent years.”

  • Cameron

    Not doing things that would speed up buses like prepaid boarding is what I meant by not being bold enough. The cycling improvements from Loop Link are debatable. The bike lane on Washington is one of the worst places downtown to ride a bike, particularly as you get to the east side of the Loop. I’ll usually take Monroe to avoid it.

  • planetshwoop

    “one of the worst”

    True.

    But the worst is Wells St.

  • planetshwoop

    I work near 180 W Madison and watch cars block the bus lane all day as they try to turn into the parking garage.

    It’s small stuff like that that has contributed to the underwhelming aspects to it.