In Grid Bits for Tuesday, September 20, 2011, Metra wants customers to report on customers and conductors who miss fares; Evanston wants to build an infill Yellow Line station; additional automobile crash analysis; Chicago police are looking for a hit-and-run driver; a railroad plans to expand by buying and demolishing homes in Englewood. There are 6 stories in this post.
Photo of a 5000-series Chicago Transit Authority train car at Howard station by Eric Pancer.
The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Norfolk Southern (NS), a Class I railroad, is buying properties in the Englewood neighborhood in order to build an 84-acre expansion of their existing intermodal yard. An intermodal yard is where shipping containers are transferred from long-distance freight trains (from as far away as Los Angeles) to other trains or to trucks.
Some local residents do not want to move, and others want to make sure that they receive the right buyout price for their home and property. Many of the plots NS needs are vacant and owned by the City of Chicago. Alderman Pat Dowell (3rd Ward) plans to ask the City Council to delay negotiations to ensure the homeowners, the majority of whom are black, get a fair deal.
Residents have other concerns: Some homeowners are fighting the expansion, saying enough has been done in the city to move African-Americans from their homes. The article also mentions that levels of lead are high. Lastly, there are worries that the larger yard will bring more diesel fumes from the additional trucks and trains.
View Norfolk Southern intermodal yards in Englewood in a larger map
(2) Rally to support transit
Today, Tuesday, September 20, 2011, at 4 PM in the Great Hall at Union Stations, 251 N Clinton. Active Transportation Alliance has more details. Speakers include Joe Costello (current director at the Regional Transportation Authority, RTA), Steve Schlickman (former director at RTA, current director of the Urban Transportation Center at UIC), and Ron Burke (current director at Active Transportation Alliance).
(3) Paying for rides on Metra
The Chicago Tribune is reporting that after a survey Metra conducted in February 2011, in which respondents identified “fare fraud and noncollection as common concerns“, the commuter train agency has launched a marketing campaign that encourages passengers to report situations where other riders don’t pay the fare, or where conductors don’t collect it. Make a report.
A Metra conductor collects a passenger’s fare. Photo by Pedro Ribeiro.
The “Be Fair, Pay the Fare” campaign asks riders to make reports on Metra’s website about times when they notice that conductors have not collected fares, or if other riders have skipped paying fares, or travel beyond their fare zone. Metra is also increasing the number of “observers” on trains to do the same thing.
This news comes soon after the Chicago Sun-Times interviewed conductors who didn’t like being singled out, as there are many instances where collecting all fares is difficult: during major events like Taste of Chicago, or when other conductors do not show up for work and the remaining conductors pick up that slack.
(4) New Yellow Line station(s)
The Oakton Yellow Line station is under construction in Skokie, while a new study chose Dodge and Asbury Avenues as preferred locations for a new Chicago Transit Authority station in Evanston, Illinois. The latest public meeting was last Thursday, September 15, 2011. You can view the presentation boards and drawings on the project website. There is one more unscheduled meeting; the City of Evanston is asking residents to submit their opinions on the station choices in a confidential survey. View walking times maps for each station, by Brian Derstine: Dodge, Asbury, Ridge, and his analysis of all three stations.
View Potential Yellow Line stations in Evanston, IL in a larger map
Chicago police are looking for the driver of a blue or black, four-door, Ford F-150 pickup truck, whose driver (described as male) struck two pedestrians on Saturday, September 17, 2011, killing one of them, and drove off. The crash occurred in the 5700 block of West Lawrence. The Chicago Sun-Times has a photo and detailed description of the truck.
I’ve started a project with three other people to develop a Chicago crash data browser and visualization website. While I work with Nabil on using geographic information software (GIS) to link intersections and streets with crashes, Derek and Nick are working on how to present the data. Independently, I just keep running queries on interesting factors in the data.
Did you know that in 2010 in Chicago, 49.8% of automobile crashes involving pedestrians were labeled by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) as hit-and-runs? For bicyclists, that number was 33.3%. And for all automobile crashes, including those involving pedestrians and bicyclists, 39.6% are considered hit-and-runs. Read more on crash data analysis.