Next South Shore alderman must expand and protect existing transit


A Metra Electric train crosses Yates Boulevard out of the South Shore station. Photo by Jeff Zoline.

Applications are being accepted by Mayor Email until Friday, January 25 at 5 PM.

Alderman Sandi Jackson of the 7th Ward, which includes South Shore, South Chicago, Rainbow Beach, and Jeffery Manor, resigned effective Tuesday. Mayor Emanuel has 60 days from Tuesday to appoint a successor and hinted at the process in which he would vet candidates. A website will be launched today; people can submit applications to be considered for the job by a panel of four – yet unnamed – community representatives.

The Chicago Tribune reported, “The next alderman for the South Side ward must have a record of ‘community involvement and engagement,’ the mayor stated in a news release. Emanuel hopes to pick the replacement by mid-February.” On Sunday, the Chicago Tribune speculated as to who might be jockeying for the position.

I talked to four residents in the South Shore neighborhood about the transportation issues and assets to understand the needs in the community that the next alderman should address. Community members are organizing rapidly: two of the three residents I interviewed, independently, knew of each other through a brand new organization called Reclaiming South Shore for All (RSSA), led by Mia Henry. Henry was planning for an RSSA meeting when I caught her on the phone; she only had time to convey that the Jeffery Jump “was a good move for people” in the neighborhood. Continue reading Next South Shore alderman must expand and protect existing transit

Tribune comes out against CTA’s aisle-facing seating in a funny way


On the first page of the Chicago Tribune on August 27 was a story about aisle-facing seating on the new Chicago Transit Authority’s 5000-series cars and how many people were unhappy with the setup. It was a case of inventing a story.

Then in the Sunday paper, on the “Chicago Week” page where the newspaper recaps a variety of stories it published since the previous Sunday, it summarized the story with the following:

Hey, can you move over a bit?

Not everyone’s happy with the CTA’s new rail cars and their aisle-facing seats, but the cars are likely here to stay. The transit agency spent $1.14 billion on the cars and reconfiguring the seats would require a major and expensive redesign. Riders have complained about having to ride with fellow commuters squeezed in on both sides and other passengers standing directly in front of them.

The photo included with the summary, embedded at the top, shows a majority of people (who are sitting) preoccupied with books and phones. One person sitting is giving the foreground standee the stink eye. This is hardly the photo to use to communicate the dislike that passengers have for the setup. 

Continue reading Tribune comes out against CTA’s aisle-facing seating in a funny way

Importance of hit-and-run crash deaths in the news media


One of the question sets I posed in this morning’s crash analysis article was about the attention hit-and-run crashes receive in news media:

Why are certain people who die emphasized in news media reporting? Why are other people ignored? In other words, of the 315 people who died in traffic crashes in 2010, how many got a newspaper article written about them?

In the Sunday’s Chicago Tribune newspaper, I found a tiny article at the bottom of the pictured page (above) for the deadlier of the two crashes from Saturday: a toddler and a 6-year-old in Brighton Park. If there was an article about Jesse Bradley in the same paper, I didn’t find it.

Chicago announces bike sharing vendor (updated)


Cycling on a Capital BikeShare in  Washington, D.C. Photo by Michael Jantzen. 

Updated 11:18: The press release is now online. I’ve been trying to pay attention to the City Council live video feed and transcript, but I’m not sure if they’ve discussed the proposed ordinance yet.

Alta Bicycle Share and Public Bike System Co. were just announced on the Chicago Tribune’s website as the Chicago bike sharing operator and equipment vendor, respectively. From John Hilkevitch:

City Hall estimates the total capital and start-up costs at $21 million, adding that $18 million will be covered by federal funding aimed at improving air quality and easing traffic congestion [CMAQ] and the remaining $3 million will be provided by the city.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is set to introduce an ordinance at Wednesday’s City Council meeting seeking aldermanic approval to enter into an agreement with Alta Bicycle Share, officials said.

The losing entries were offered by Bike Chicago [also known as Bike and Roll] and its equipment provider, B-Cycle; and I-GO and its equipment providers, Tracetel and Schwinn, officials said.

Continue reading Chicago announces bike sharing vendor (updated)

Speed cameras: There’s more than meets the eye (updated)


This map shows that 58.8% of Chicago streets, excluding highways, are eligible for speed camera enforcement. Open the map.

The Expired Meter has been tracking the speed camera issue very well. (Here’s our coverage.) Along with reporting that an ordinance would be introduced to alderman at tomorrow’s monthly City Council meeting, it reported Monday on an interview with Alderman Waguespack who had been briefed on the city’s speed camera goals:

Originally, city officials claimed existing red light camera locations would be utilized to do double duty and be retrofitted to also do speed enforcement.

But, according to Waguespack’s understanding of the briefing presented by officials from the Mayor’s office, Chicago Police Department and Chicago Department of Transportation, the city’s long range goal is to install speed cameras at 1,800 intersections near school and parks under the auspices of slowing down drivers through $50 to $100 fines for speeding near these intersections. The state law calls for cameras to be used within a 1/8 of a mile safety zone surrounding the schools and parks. [They can be used in those areas, and in no other areas.] Continue reading Speed cameras: There’s more than meets the eye (updated)

Clearing up some confusion about the Bloomingdale Trail fundraising process


Rahm Emanuel at yesterday’s press conference

Monday morning when Steven read the awesome news on the Sun-Times website (apparently the Mayor’s Office offered them the scoop on this) that the city has raised the last $9 million needed to start construction on the Bloomingdale Trail, his first reaction was annoyance. You can find more details about the exciting plans for the trail in most of the other local news outlets, so if you don’t mind today I’ll focus on this somewhat nitpicky issue.

Why was Steven irritated? Because of what he heard at last Thursday’s community meeting at Yates Elementary in Humboldt Park, where citizens were invited to provide input on the preliminary design ideas for the 2.7-mile trail and “linear park.”

Continue reading Clearing up some confusion about the Bloomingdale Trail fundraising process