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Nowhereman1280 Dec 22, 2008 9:37 PM

I have seen the TMA people completely fail, but they are usually helping IMO especially on Michigan during rush hour. The biggest problem is the stupid tourists walking like a heard of buffalo and paying no attention whatsoever to the walk signals. When they do that and block traffic a TMA person usually quickly responds and makes them stop.

Also, the other thing that makes them very handy is when vehicles (especially busses) break down they come and wave all the busses that would normally just sit there until they realized the other bus is broken around the obstructing vehicle...

honte Dec 22, 2008 10:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3988487)
They do this sometimes (control the signals manually). Whenever I've encountered it, it made traffic much, much worse.

Rather than TMA staff, I'd rather the city spend some of the infrastructure dough to:
1) put in left turn signals at many of the incredible multitude of intersections where there are currently none, and thus approximately 1-2 cars can turn left in each light cycle,
2) install loops in the roadway to perform the task you suggest (tweaking signal timing in real time depending on traffic volume).

Chicago's dearth of both of these is fairly striking when compared to most other cities' traffic control systems. They make a huge difference - when Houston's intelligent traffic systems broke down after the hurricane, much of the city was in gridlock during peak times, whereas otherwise traffic generally flows smoothly. (Not that I wish Chicago to be Houston, I'm just using the anecdote to point out that intelligent signalization should receive more attention in this town, particularly out in the neighborhoods).


Agreed on all counts. They do control the signals quite often around Sox Park and it usually seems pointless.

Why is there not a greater push toward improving the technological aspects of the road system? Are the things you mentioned being discussed? Technology seems important when it generates revenue (red light cameras and fancy parking meter machines) but otherwise it must have no purpose.

the urban politician Dec 23, 2008 1:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 3987435)
Again, the Metra schedule at off-peak times is inconvenient and the hassles of parking at off-peak times are terrible.

As for packages and purchases - have you ever returned on Metra from a shopping trip with lots of bags and boxes? You set the parcels down on the seat beside you, but as the train fills up, the conductor orders you to carry all that stuff in your lap to make way for another passenger to sit next to you. Or even worse, on CTA, where somebody could easily swipe one of your bags while you were looking the other way? Throwing the stuff in your trunk and driving starts to look appealing.

^ To this part of your post I thought I'd just remind you that we're talking about peak period congestion pricing (ie rush hour), thus off peak hours shouldn't be affected

the urban politician Dec 23, 2008 2:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 3987452)
100,000 different reasons for 100,000 different people. There is no parking currently available at most Metra stations, especially after 8 am. Waiting outside or walking in bad weather is not easy for some people. The walk home from the train station or bus stop is dangerous in some neighborhoods and suburbs. Some people work odd hours, or fear having to go pick up a sick child during the day when there's very limited (or no) Metra service. For many people, driving offers a significant time savings that they value highly. Parents often have to pick up children or run errands or buy groceries on the way to or from the office. People go from work to night classes or second jobs.

^ Nonsense. Give me a break with the sick child. And people working odd hours don't commute at rush hour so there goes that argument. And I have an idea--find a DIFFERENT time to buy groceries than on your way to and from work.

People can make it work, our lifestyles aren't set in stone. It's time to get over ourselves and stop forcing our rigid routines onto overly burdened transportation infrastructure. Given time, the market may ultimately correct some of these problems (more parking built around Metra stations, supermarkets built near the stations to accommodate the growing number of riders driving home from them, etc)

HowardL Dec 23, 2008 3:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Taft (Post 3988381)
One thought I had is that they could control the lights at their intersection. Let's say they had a device that could shorten or lengthen a light in a given direction and the corresponding walk signal. Not total control, mind you, but enough so that if, say, a lot of cars were backed up trying to turn, they could lengthen the light and shorten the walk signal.
Taft

That makes a lot of sense to me. Here's the bit that gets me, though. I walk to work. Michigan Ave 'can be' pure madness. The trip between Trib Tower and Oak 'can be' torture. Part of that is because you have a quarter billion people on the street, which is actually a lot of fun really, but the periodic stupid bits are aggrevating when 8 people in cars take precedent over 40 people in really ugly snow boots.

Side note, though, when talking about people on Michigan there appear to be three distinct categories: workers like me - slightly aggresive/focued and all of that, tourists ... meandering/clueless/having a ball, and then Michigan Avenue ladies ... who are brilliant. Chanel and stilettos in 8 inches of snow and the way they move through a crowd is poetry. I love them.

Mr Downtown Dec 23, 2008 6:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 3989053)
Give me a break with the sick child.

It's not something I made up. It's one of the top reasons people give for why they don't take public transit. For a mom with a couple of kids, this might well happen five or six times a year. I'm curious what answer you have for the woman from Lockport who gets a call from the school nurse at 9 am. The next outbound train arrives Lockport at 5:43 pm. With any luck, she could be at the school by 6 pm.

Quote:

people working odd hours don't commute at rush hour so there goes that argument.
People working odd hours can't ride Metra.

You keep talking about some sort of rush-hour congestion pricing. That's not what the mayor is proposing. In fact, I'm at a loss as to how such a thing could be implemented in Chicago. He's proposing an indiscriminate punishment of people who park downtown.

ardecila Dec 23, 2008 8:10 AM

From what I understand, this fee would only be levied on people who park their cars downtown during the morning rush. Almost all garages now have electronic ticketing systems, which record entry time. If the entry time falls within the morning peak period (say, 6-9:30) then the fee will be added to the price the driver pays as they exit.

Parking during evening rush hour is a different ballgame, since obviously one would be driving in the countervailing direction and parking in a garage that is emptying out. One would assume these people are either downtown for leisure purposes, or they are working at night. However, these drivers still add to congestion, since reverse-commuters returning to the city cause traffic congestion going inbound as well.

My sense is that the evening congestion fee would be much less than the morning fee, considering
a) transit is optimized for getting people OUT of downtown in the evening, making it a poor alternative, and
b) punishing leisure visitors to downtown seems to run counter to the ever-increasing appeal of downtown as an entertainment destination.

Incentive plans like this that aim to alter behavior always have side effects. It's impossible to predict the side effects of this one, but this might foster the creation of private park'n'ride lots near CTA stations close to downtown, on the less-crowded lines. For example, near the Western-Forest Park station on the Blue Line, or the Halsted station on the Orange Line. The cost of parking in these neighborhoods in a lot plus CTA fare plus time spent on the train is bound to be less than the congestion fee which, knowing the boneheaded planners at City Hall, will be steep. (Actually, why haven't private park'n'ride lots sprouted up already?)

By the way, nice choice of the Heritage Corridor, the lightest-used of all 11 Metra lines with a whopping 6 trains per day, to illustrate your point. ANY other Metra line would have a more robust schedule that could accommodate your parent-of-sick-child scenario. Of course, it would be great if Mom could work in a suburban office park just 20 minutes away from her child's school, right? Working downtown has its drawbacks for suburbanites, including a long trip home no matter what time of day or mode of transportation is chosen.

Ch.G, Ch.G Dec 23, 2008 9:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 3987435)
However, I will say that Metra isn't the model of convenience you make it out to be. The system of rail lines is adequate, but capacity is really starting to be strained on certain lines.

The nature of commuter rail places a cap on the total number of riders -
1) since it serves suburban locations, riders usually have to drive to the station and park there
2) since conductors and boarding/exiting passengers need to move through the aisles, riders need to be in a seat.

Because of limited quantity of parking spaces at the stations and seats on the train, this basically makes Metra into a kind of lottery. Whoever is able to get to the station early in the morning and happens to live in a far-flung suburb can use Metra (if you live closer in, the train is already full when it gets to you) . If, for whatever reason, you can't get to the station early, and/or you live in a closer suburb, you're out of a parking space or a seat. Staying in your car and driving downtown, then, offers a appealing alternative. Many people have agreed to pay $25 for parking to avoid the stress of waiting in a Metra parking lot for a space to open up, or standing in an aisle all the way downtown. If you raise that price of parking, then these people are liable to simply give up on downtown and find a job somewhere in the suburbs.

The "dangerous neighborhoods" point is valid, although it applies more to city dwellers using the CTA. Getting in your car, safely stored in your alley garage, and driving downtown seems a lot safer than walking a distance through this dangerous area to a train or bus stop and waiting for that train/bus to come, then dealing with the dangers that present themselves once you're on the train or bus. Many people who live in dangerous neighborhoods can't afford to park downtown and so they will take CTA anyway, but if any of them could afford this price, then they would drive.

Again, the Metra schedule at off-peak times is inconvenient and the hassles of parking at off-peak times are terrible.

As for packages and purchases - have you ever returned on Metra from a shopping trip with lots of bags and boxes? You set the parcels down on the seat beside you, but as the train fills up, the conductor orders you to carry all that stuff in your lap to make way for another passenger to sit next to you. Or even worse, on CTA, where somebody could easily swipe one of your bags while you were looking the other way? Throwing the stuff in your trunk and driving starts to look appealing.

So what, exactly, is the problem with standing, especially if the people standing "all the way downtown" are the ones closest to downtown (and thus with the shortest commute) as you suggest? Is this really that uncommon an experience for commuters in other cities with some kind of rail service? Or will you and Mr Downtown argue that a majority of the "automotively inclined" suffer from health problems that prevent them from being on their feet for twenty minutes? (And were this the case might it not be from spending so much time on their asses, anyway?)

As far as the parking goes, I'm pretty skeptical of the claim that would-be Metra users are discouraged by a dearth of parking around their suburban train stations. I know firsthand this couldn't be further from the truth along the Union Pacific North Line, for example.

Especially in this economy, I doubt the "inconveniences" of standing or brushing shoulders with the hoi polloi are enough to deter someone from sticking with their downtown job. God knows if triple-figure salaried North Shore businessmen are able to do it the rest of us shouldn't have a hard time, either.

The "dangerous neighborhoods" argument is not valid and I'm so shocked to see any kind of defense of this antiquated and borderline racist superstition that I almost think merely acknowledging it lends it more credence than its due. But suffice it to say, you're more likely to encounter danger on the road than danger on the sidewalk, unless of course the danger is careening from the road onto the sidewalk.

You know, the shopping thing reminds me of my mom's situation. She currently drives an SUV despite repeated pleas from me and my brother to trade it in for a more compact, fuel efficient vehicle. Her constant refrain is that she needs the space for the one or two times a year when the items she's transporting are so large or numerous they wouldn't fit in a trunk. It seems like an awfully flimsy defense of continuing to drive something so wasteful and costly, especially when alternatives (renting a van, asking a friend for help, etc.) abound. The shopping thing is analogous. And I would venture to guess the kind of people who are making these large trips so frequently as to render the alternatives too inconvenient probably wouldn't even bat an eye at a five or six or ten dollar increase in parking.

Ch.G, Ch.G Dec 23, 2008 10:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 3987452)
In a free, affluent society, it's not generally a successful approach to tell grownups that they're evil for making choices that are rational to them. When your objective is to attract people to a particular place, loudly announcing that they will be punished for coming in a certain way or at certain times of day is a very curious market strategy.

This might be true if it weren't for the fact that the "grownups" of which you speak are making their choices at the figurative and literal expense of the non-driving population. How many hundreds of billions of dollars have gone into road construction and maintenance already, to say nothing of the spill-over costs of air pollution, environmental damage and emergency care for a system that results in over forty thousand deaths a year?

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 3989053)
^ Nonsense. Give me a break with the sick child. And people working odd hours don't commute at rush hour so there goes that argument. And I have an idea--find a DIFFERENT time to buy groceries than on your way to and from work.

People can make it work, our lifestyles aren't set in stone. It's time to get over ourselves and stop forcing our rigid routines onto overly burdened transportation infrastructure. Given time, the market may ultimately correct some of these problems (more parking built around Metra stations, supermarkets built near the stations to accommodate the growing number of riders driving home from them, etc)

Exactly. :tup: You know, these defenses of vehicular transportation are sounding increasingly convoluted and flat-out anti- mass transit rather than anti- new rate hike plan. New York has the most developed rail system in the country (and probably the lowest rate of car ownership) and its residents seem to be doing just fine.

And, TUP, you hit the nail on the head about lifestyle change. A huge element of our society has been lulled into a sense of entitlement. For the majority of Chicago drivers, viable alternatives exist. It's just a matter of change, which is always hard. But it's worth remembering that as rosy a perception some people have about the car's place in downtown Chicago, it does not come without its own set of costs: great personal expense, gridlock, accidents, pollution and tons and tons and tons of tax dollars to keep the system afloat.

Rilestone75 Dec 23, 2008 3:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ch.G, Ch.G (Post 3989592)
Exactly. :tup: You know, these defenses of vehicular transportation are sounding increasingly convoluted and flat-out anti- mass transit rather than anti- new rate hike plan. New York has the most developed rail system in the country (and probably the lowest rate of car ownership) and its residents seem to be doing just fine.

You just pointed out the best reason why people want to drive, NYC has the best rail system, the CTA and Metra suck in comparison. Having lived there, you can get anywhere in the city in relatively short time span and at all hours of the day, but with the CTA and Metra, who knows...

NYC has express trains, where are the CTA's (purple line excluded, because it really the brown line after Belmont)? The Bus system in the town is horrible.

I have read all the posts, from everyone who is on both sides of this issue and the truth is that people have the right to drive if they want to. Until the city fixes the problems that it has, it shouldn't look to create a new system of taxing its people, that will in all reality end up being just as broken as what we have now.

Fix what you have Mayor Daley, and if or when that doesn't work, then look for alternatives.

the urban politician Dec 23, 2008 3:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 3989389)
It's not something I made up. It's one of the top reasons people give for why they don't take public transit. For a mom with a couple of kids, this might well happen five or six times a year. I'm curious what answer you have for the woman from Lockport who gets a call from the school nurse at 9 am. The next outbound train arrives Lockport at 5:43 pm. With any luck, she could be at the school by 6 pm.

^ I'm not saying you made it up. But to suggest that a major city metro with horrendous congestion issues leading to loss of productivity should not implement solutions to its problems because of children getting sick a few days per year is simply preposterous

Quote:

People working odd hours can't ride Metra.
^ Exactly. So they should drive, since the peak pricing won't be in effect at that time.

Quote:

You keep talking about some sort of rush-hour congestion pricing. That's not what the mayor is proposing. In fact, I'm at a loss as to how such a thing could be implemented in Chicago. He's proposing an indiscriminate punishment of people who park downtown.
^ I don't understand your point here. The Mayor is proposing empowering the city's Revenue Director to adjust the parking tax without having to go through the City Council, and all discussion we have heard so far is that such fees will be maximized during peak rush periods and titrated towards a 10-15% vacancy rate in downtown garages. Sounds like rush-hour pricing to me..

I'd also like to remind you that absolutely none of this came out of the blue. Ever since the BRT plan was first announced several months ago, it was made known that the program was going to go hand-in-hand with increased peak hour parking fees.

the urban politician Dec 23, 2008 3:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rilestone75 (Post 3989829)
You just pointed out the best reason why people want to drive, NYC has the best rail system, the CTA and Metra suck in comparison. Having lived there, you can get anywhere in the city in relatively short time span and at all hours of the day, but with the CTA and Metra, who knows...

^ The CTA and Metra do a fairly decent job of getting people to and from downtown Chicago every day. Sorry, but you're wrong.

Quote:

I have read all the posts, from everyone who is on both sides of this issue and the truth is that people have the right to drive if they want to.
^ Exactly. And people who wish to exercise that "right" better pay for it. Because in heavily congested areas, the "right" to drive has become a privilege. No amount of wishing on a star is going to undo congestion; either accept the practical solution or move to a smaller city. On top of that, I would argue that making people pay a little extra may actually improve the driving experience.

Quote:

Fix what you have Mayor Daley, and if or when that doesn't work, then look for alternatives.
^ You know, I really love your type. You bitch and moan about transit, and about Daley, and cry about your Jesus-decreed "right" to drive for free while transit is underfunded by your State; yet when practical opportunities arise to create funding for the system, you start blaming the "cronies". Please. If you really care about transit funding then write your legislator or the Governor. The money for transit has to come from somewhere, and here's a hint--it's not from your ass.

Once again, in the current environment in which State and Federal money (at the behest of our elected officials) underfund transit year after year, I can think of no better suitable source to fund transit than the drivers themselves. That's right--decade after decade drivers have hidden behind their elected officials, getting them to do the dirty work to somehow subsidize their highways at the expense of trains. But now Daley is getting rid of the middle man--he's reaching directly into your pockets to get that money. It's about friggin time..

ChicagoChicago Dec 23, 2008 3:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 3987452)
100,000 different reasons for 100,000 different people. There is no parking currently available at most Metra stations, especially after 8 am. Waiting outside or walking in bad weather is not easy for some people. The walk home from the train station or bus stop is dangerous in some neighborhoods and suburbs. Some people work odd hours, or fear having to go pick up a sick child during the day when there's very limited (or no) Metra service. For many people, driving offers a significant time savings that they value highly. Parents often have to pick up children or run errands or buy groceries on the way to or from the office. People go from work to night classes or second jobs.

In a free, affluent society, it's not generally a successful approach to tell grownups that they're evil for making choices that are rational to them. When your objective is to attract people to a particular place, loudly announcing that they will be punished for coming in a certain way or at certain times of day is a very curious market strategy.

If they need that many pathetic excuses to drive downtown, then they should be ‘punished.’ I’m sort of amazed that you would even bring up the “it’s not easy to walk in bad weather” argument when those of us that do ride buses see geriatrics on there every day. Driving and parking downtown should come a higher cost simply for the convenience factor. In fact, I’d prefer to see the gas tax and parking fees in place be capable of fully supporting the infrastructure that is in place for it (paving roads, building bridges, etc)

Rilestone75 Dec 23, 2008 5:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 3989863)
^ The CTA and Metra do a fairly decent job of getting people to and from downtown Chicago every day. Sorry, but you're wrong.



^ Exactly. And people who wish to exercise that "right" better pay for it. Because in heavily congested areas, the "right" to drive has become a privilege. No amount of wishing on a star is going to undo congestion; either accept the practical solution or move to a smaller city. On top of that, I would argue that making people pay a little extra may actually improve the driving experience.



^ You know, I really love your type. You bitch and moan about transit, and about Daley, and cry about your Jesus-decreed "right" to drive for free while transit is underfunded by your State; yet when practical opportunities arise to create funding for the system, you start blaming the "cronies". Please. If you really care about transit funding then write your legislator or the Governor. The money for transit has to come from somewhere, and here's a hint--it's not from your ass.

Once again, in the current environment in which State and Federal money (at the behest of our elected officials) underfund transit year after year, I can think of no better suitable source to fund transit than the drivers themselves. That's right--decade after decade drivers have hidden behind their elected officials, getting them to do the dirty work to somehow subsidize their highways at the expense of trains. But now Daley is getting rid of the middle man--he's reaching directly into your pockets to get that money. It's about friggin time..

I ride the CTA red line every day. My experience is average at best. If you think both the CTA and Metra do fairly decent job, then YOU are wrong. Is your measurement for rating them simply whether or not they get the people from point A to point B? If so, sure they do a fair job.

I rarely drive into the loop durning the week, but when I decide to make the 7.5 mile trip, it usually takes me about 35 minutes. Conversely that same trip via the CTA takes an hour! Can you do that math? 7.5 miles in one hour, averages 7.5 miles an hour. I might be better off jogging on some days...

Again, I blame Daley because while I have 5, count them 5 freaking parks within two blocks of my house, I still have to deal with crappy public transportation. Sure part of the problem is from G-Rod (asshole), and his seniors ride for free crap, but Daley and his other pet projects to help make the city "nicer" to live in are a waste of money. That money is what should pay for updated CTA/Metra service.

Let me ask you how smart it is to update the Brown Line so that it can utilize 8 car trains now instead of 6 car trains. This isn't going to speed up the time it takes to get to the loop by more than 5 minutes. Instead, they should have started working on express lines or something else.

My point in all of this is that Daley and whoever else is running the show should fix what they have before forcing others to pay for their short falls.

pip Dec 23, 2008 5:37 PM

topix.net

ChicagoChicago Dec 23, 2008 6:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rilestone75 (Post 3990100)
I ride the CTA red line every day. My experience is average at best. If you think both the CTA and Metra do fairly decent job, then YOU are wrong. Is your measurement for rating them simply whether or not they get the people from point A to point B? If so, sure they do a fair job.

I rarely drive into the loop durning the week, but when I decide to make the 7.5 mile trip, it usually takes me about 35 minutes. Conversely that same trip via the CTA takes an hour! Can you do that math? 7.5 miles in one hour, averages 7.5 miles an hour. I might be better off jogging on some days...

Again, I blame Daley because while I have 5, count them 5 freaking parks within two blocks of my house, I still have to deal with crappy public transportation. Sure part of the problem is from G-Rod (asshole), and his seniors ride for free crap, but Daley and his other pet projects to help make the city "nicer" to live in are a waste of money. That money is what should pay for updated CTA/Metra service.

Let me ask you how smart it is to update the Brown Line so that it can utilize 8 car trains now instead of 6 car trains. This isn't going to speed up the time it takes to get to the loop by more than 5 minutes. Instead, they should have started working on express lines or something else.

My point in all of this is that Daley and whoever else is running the show should fix what they have before forcing others to pay for their short falls.

What route do you take? I live 5 miles from work, and it takes me 35 minutes on average, and that includes a bus trip and waiting at both stops.

And I live off the brown line. During rush hour, the brown line trains would become so congested that they had problems getting people on and off the train as people tried to pack more in. This slowed the line at every stop. For the most part, it is much better now with 8 car trains. If there was one project in the city that needed to be done, it was improving the brown line service. And don’t even bring up ridership. All riders at Belmont and Fullerton are counted towards red line ridership when the reality is it’s likely 60/40.

Taft Dec 23, 2008 6:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rilestone75 (Post 3990100)
I ride the CTA red line every day. My experience is average at best. If you think both the CTA and Metra do fairly decent job, then YOU are wrong. Is your measurement for rating them simply whether or not they get the people from point A to point B? If so, sure they do a fair job.

I rarely drive into the loop durning the week, but when I decide to make the 7.5 mile trip, it usually takes me about 35 minutes. Conversely that same trip via the CTA takes an hour! Can you do that math? 7.5 miles in one hour, averages 7.5 miles an hour. I might be better off jogging on some days...

Again, I blame Daley because while I have 5, count them 5 freaking parks within two blocks of my house, I still have to deal with crappy public transportation. Sure part of the problem is from G-Rod (asshole), and his seniors ride for free crap, but Daley and his other pet projects to help make the city "nicer" to live in are a waste of money. That money is what should pay for updated CTA/Metra service.

Let me ask you how smart it is to update the Brown Line so that it can utilize 8 car trains now instead of 6 car trains. This isn't going to speed up the time it takes to get to the loop by more than 5 minutes. Instead, they should have started working on express lines or something else.

My point in all of this is that Daley and whoever else is running the show should fix what they have before forcing others to pay for their short falls.

May I ask which neighborhood you live in? I ask because your experience strikes me as anything but typical. Granted, I've only lived off of the Blue line (near the North/Damen/Milwaukee stop) and Brown line (near the Wellington stop), but my experience has been anything but negative.

Currently, my commute takes me from the Diversey stop (Wellington is closed) to the Merchandise Mart stop on the brown line. I can count on one hand the number of times in the last year where my commute takes longer than 30 minutes, door-to-door (that includes 10 minutes of walking). Compare that to a much-less-reliable driving commute which, door-to-door takes me anywhere from 15 minutes to 40 minutes (an hour and a half in a snow storm...yikes!). If I do drive, the time of my commute matters much more, as do weather conditions. Sure, it is more comfortable, but the higher cost (about 10 bucks a day, if I get a monthly parking permit, 12-15 if I don't) and the variable travel time just aren't worth it to me.

The brown line rehabbing certainly wasn't perfect (train delays and packed trains during construction, value engineering at the stops, etc.), but the effects of having 8 trains on the brown line during rush hour are very noticeable. Trains are much easier to get on during rush hour and the entire commute seems to move much more smoothly. As a regular brown line rider, I see the improvements as very necessary and a very wise allocation of resources.

That said, I realize that not all commutes on the CTA are as convenient as my own. Buses can be much less reliable and a commute from a far-flung stop on any line to the heart of the loop *does* take a long time. Express trains might help that, but at what cost? And aren't the myriad of Metra lines already serving a similar purpose? Everyone likes to play Monday morning quarterback, but do you REALLY know the best places to use the CTA's dwindling cash?

Taft

honte Dec 23, 2008 7:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ch.G, Ch.G (Post 3989578)
The "dangerous neighborhoods" argument is not valid and I'm so shocked to see any kind of defense of this antiquated and borderline racist superstition that I almost think merely acknowledging it lends it more credence than its due. But suffice it to say, you're more likely to encounter danger on the road than danger on the sidewalk, unless of course the danger is careening from the road onto the sidewalk.

I gather you've never lived in a rougher area... but whether or not you're on-board with this, I promise you that many people, perhaps even the majority of people, in these areas feel that the car is a safer means of transit when you factor in the total trip from door to door.

Now, if everyone were to eliminate their cars and walk along the street, that might be fine. If we take the Jane Jacobs fantasy even further, so that every porch has a grandma sitting on it reading a romance novel and a shotgun by her side, that would be even better.

Ch.G, Ch.G Dec 23, 2008 7:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rilestone75 (Post 3989829)
You just pointed out the best reason why people want to drive, NYC has the best rail system, the CTA and Metra suck in comparison. Having lived there, you can get anywhere in the city in relatively short time span and at all hours of the day, but with the CTA and Metra, who knows...

NYC has express trains, where are the CTA's (purple line excluded, because it really the brown line after Belmont)? The Bus system in the town is horrible.

I have read all the posts, from everyone who is on both sides of this issue and the truth is that people have the right to drive if they want to. Until the city fixes the problems that it has, it shouldn't look to create a new system of taxing its people, that will in all reality end up being just as broken as what we have now.

Fix what you have Mayor Daley, and if or when that doesn't work, then look for alternatives.

As someone who also lives in the New York metropolitan area, I can testify firsthand that you are simply wrong about Metra when compared to the MTA. My experience on the Metro-North Railroad was no better than my experience on the Union Pacific North Line. It is true that cities/suburbs closer to New York (mine is not) are more frequently served during off-peak times, but, 1) though sometimes inconvenient, it's not difficult to structure that part of your day around 1-hour intervals as opposed to 30-minute ons and 2) we're talking about peak times, anyway.

And while driving may be a right, it is also an overly subsidized luxury shouldered, as I detailed above, by many people who choose to exercise their right to an alternative mode of transportation that gets pittances by comparison, and an artifact of collusion between unduly influential auto/real estate lobbies and defense officials who thought a decentralized population stood greater chance of surviving an A-bomb.

Ch.G, Ch.G Dec 23, 2008 7:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by honte (Post 3990270)
I gather you've never lived in a rougher area...

You gather wrong unless you consider New Haven a model of safety these days. (I was recently offered a hit on a crack pipe by a man "just chilling" outside my apartment after my friend gave him a cigarette.)

Quote:

Originally Posted by honte (Post 3990270)
but whether or not you're on-board with this, I promise you that many people, perhaps even the majority of people, in these areas feel that the car is a safer means of transit when you factor in the total trip from door to door.

Given the economic demographics of "rougher" neighborhoods (because I know you're not talking about the Gold Coast, River North, Streeterville, the Loop, the South Loop, the West Loop, Lincoln Park, Lakeview, Andersonville, Bucktown, Wicker Park, etc.), I'd venture to guess many of their residents can't afford to drive anyway. And this perception of safety afforded by a car ignores (as do you in your rebuttal) the very real dangers of driving. (I gather you've never been in an accident? ;))

Quote:

Originally Posted by honte (Post 3990270)
Now, if everyone were to eliminate their cars and walk along the street, that might be fine. If we take the Jane Jacobs fantasy even further, so that every porch has a grandma sitting on it reading a romance novel and a shotgun by her side, that would be even better.

Ah, yes, you've described Manhattan perfectly. :koko:


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