Photos by Paolo Cisneros
Taxicabs make it easier to live in or visit a city without owning a car, and they help reduce traffic congestion and the need for parking spaces, so they definitely play an important role in Chicago’s sustainable transportation scene. This article was contributed by Paolo Cisneros, a graduate of the journalism program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a former writer with the Chicago Dispatcher, which covers the local taxi industry. A native Chicagoan, Paolo’s work focuses primarily on environmental and social justice issues. Follow him on Twitter at @PaoloCisneros.
Remember last fall when a bunch of fancy-pants meteorologists predicted this was going to be one of the harshest winters in Chicago history?
Be honest. How filled with anxiety and dread did your life suddenly become?
For most of us, such a reaction was to be expected, but there was one group of people who couldn’t have been happier about the news: Chicago’s taxi drivers.
Continue reading Will a new ordinance make taxis safer and greener, or just hurt cabdrivers?
Transportation commissioner Gabe Klein cycles to work on Michigan Avenue.
I wrote an article about myriad transportation projects and initiatives in Chicago for Architect’s Newspaper, a magazine based in New York City. It was published last week online and in print (in the centerfold, no less). My original article was over 2,500 words, but only 1,600 words fit in the print version. I will be publishing additional details from the interviews I conducted for the article and about the projects it mentions.
The first is my interview with transportation commissioner Gabe Klein, conducted over the phone on January 19, 2012.
How will things change for pedestrians?
My philosophy in addressing needs is that you have to look out for the most vulnerable users first. In many times, there’s a trickle down effect. We want Chicago to be a walkable, livable city. We also want it to be a bikeable city, but walkable first. I think there was a push in the past to make it so that cars moved as quickly as possible. Back then, cities lost their self-confidence and catered to the transient drivers who passed through [emphasis added]. You cater first and foremost to the people who live here, not just the people who work here. I think it’s an indicator of cities, how walkable it is. Continue reading Full interview of Gabe Klein from my Architect’s Newspaper article
Transportation commissioner Gabe Klein gives a thumbs up to stricter taxicab regulations. This photo was taken on a bike ride with John Greenfield for this article. Okay, he actually wasn’t giving a thumbs up to that, but I can only imagine that he would.
There are six stories in this edition of Grid Bits.
In October, we linked you to the Chicago Tribune’s coverage on unsafe taxi drivers and how it’s sometimes hard to revoke or suspend their driver’s or chauffeur’s licenses. Monday, Mayor Emanuel and Alderman Beale announced proposed changes to the taxi ordinance to deal with this and other issues: Continue reading Grid Bits: Taxi reforms, bike sharing update, crash analyses
John and I are still gathering information for our Open Streets article, which will be co-written and published Tuesday. Also on Tuesday is another public meeting about the Bloomingdale Trail, where the designers and consultants will showcase the results of this past weekend’s open house and charrettes (I went on Saturday). I will publish an article about the Tuesday presentation on Thursday, October 6. There are five stories in this edition of Grid Bits.
(1) Taxi drivers
Click on the photo to read the photographer’s caption. I found this by searching on Flickr for “stupid taxi chicago” in order to find people’s opinions. Photo by Nick Normal.
The Chicago Tribune reported on September 23, 2011, that many of the tickets Chicago police give to taxi drivers are dismissed in court. When a taxi driver receives commits three moving violations in one year, they risk having their chauffeur’s license not renewed. Continue reading Grid Bits: UP-North construction to restart, taxi drivers and street safety, new CTA Loop station