Today’s Headlines for Wednesday, January 23

  • Dorothy Brown, Who Proposed a New Bike Tax, Is off the Mayoral Ballot (Tribune)
  • Preckwinkle Vows to Revamp Overly Punitive Ticketing Policy Targeting Minorities (Sun-Times)
  • Moore: To Address Segregation Chicago Should Look to Other Cities’ Best Practices (WBEZ)
  • Driver Fatally Struck Chamber Orchestra Founder Robert Boarde Green, 82, in Chatham (Tribune)
  • CTA Driver Injured Jumping Out of Bus Window After Shots Fired on Bus (Tribune)
  • Near Misses at Mokena Metra Xing to Take Spotlight at Citzen’s Advisory Board Meeting (CBS)
  • Crain’s Looks at Rahm Emanuel’s Riverfront Improvement Legacy
  • Morton Arboretum’s Sculpture Installation Features a Car-Smashing Troll

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  • In Rahm’s River Front Initiatives, just like in so much transit infrastructure, so much of the money goes into pizazz and glitz when there are likely cheaper and still beautiful versions that would leave more money on the table for more infrastructure. There’s a balance there that is not being achieved. Perhaps more money needs to be spent on the design process. Money that would be more than recouped in the building process.

    Am I making sense here?

  • Carter O’Brien

    Sigh, re: the bus driver. As a human being, I get the instinct. As a CTA passenger, this is infuriating. How is this much different than that police officer who didn’t run into the Parkland school at the sound of gunfire? And how do we square this kind of behavior with the CTA’s whole passive aggressive “if you see something, say something” campaign absolving them of any responsibilities in the matter – who exactly were these passengers going to say anything *to* that wouldn’t have led to them gotten them shot as well? Or does CTA simply bank on the hope there will be concealed carry vigilantes who will rise up as super heroes in the moment?

    I hear “well, guys should do this, guys should do that, because that’s what I, Internet tough guy, would have done” and it has accomplished as little as one might imagine. We need to have an honest conversation about who has responsibility for safety on the CTA, because this crowd sourcing community policing model just doesn’t work. If the actual CTA employee has no responsibilities, expecting fare-paying customers to pick up the slack is delusional. Maybe CTA staff need to be armed. Maybe they need martial arts training, like how some cities teach Aikido, which is as much about defusing a situation as anything. But if you want people taking the bus – and not nearly enough are, so this issue is pretty damn important – this needs to be addressed at a systemic level.

  • rwy

    The thought of being on a bus where the driver and a passenger get into a shoot out is not an appealing one. Better to address issues that lead to shootings.

  • Carter O’Brien

    We need to do both. There are something along the order of 3,000 – 4,000 shootings a year in Chicago, it is inevitable they are going to occur on the CTA.

    I have personally stuck up for women being hassled, and once had the offender imply he could and would pull out a gun. Last Friday I politely but in a no-nonsense manner asked a guy on my subway train to put out a cigarette that was less than a yard from my face. I didn’t even notice right away that his entire neck and face were adorned with tats, and he was cradling a half-full bottle of Bacardi. He was totally fine about the cigarette and put it out immediately, strangely enough even offering me a handshake. But less than 10m later somebody on the other end of the car apparently looked at him the wrong way because he starting getting belligerent and yelling at him. This was in the middle of rush hour, downtown.

    Fortunately that stayed at a verbal level, but I’ll just say I’m not jumping in a situation like that. Too many people new to the City think life is a Dirty Harry movie, with it being somebody *else* who should playing the role of Clint Eastwood, or they are in denial this is an issue until it happens to them.

    I’m just saying, while they are a small minority and they aren’t going to dissuade a lot of us on a site like this from riding, there are genuine psychopaths out there, and safety is the NUMBER ONE reason I hear women tell me they avoid CTA and take Uber or Lyft. CTA needs to adapt and evolve if it wants to survive, and of course we all have a stake in this and a role to play as people concerned about a more sustainable Chicago.

  • safety is the NUMBER ONE reason I hear women tell me they avoid CTA and take Uber or Lyft

    I find it curious that so much of the bike transportation discussion is about making women feel safe, and so much of the public transportation discussion is not. Or is that just confirmation bias on my part? Or is it because bike safety is more of a perception issue, whereas I don’t think I’ve ever heard of someone getting mansplained about how riding the Red Line on a Saturday night is such a statistically safe thing for any rational person to do?

  • rohmen

    I’m sure the City played its role for sure on overspending its own funds, but I have to imagine some of the grandiose spending was born out of the fact that it was boom times for getting grants from the federal government for the projects. Sure, you could argue using less federal funds for X would have meant more for Y, but I think the rub is no one can say for sure the feds would have picked and funded an additional Y project in Chicago. The money may have gone to a Y project in Kansas City. That leaves local government with the “take as big of a slice as they will give you” problem, as a second slice isn’t guaranteed.

  • Good point about the fixed nature of federal grants.