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honte Dec 23, 2008 7:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ch.G, Ch.G (Post 3990340)
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? ;))

Most people I know would rather be in a fender-bender than mugged, raped, whatever. I certainly would.

Statistically, these things might not correlate; your argument might win. But you are ignoring the psychological aspect of things. Not feeling intimidated, harassed, or threatened simply trying to get home can be priceless. And people feel that they have some control of their situation when they are behind the wheel, even if scientifically they really don't.

Ch.G, Ch.G Dec 23, 2008 8:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by honte (Post 3990394)
Most people I know would rather be in a fender-bender than mugged, raped, whatever. I certainly would.

Statistically, these things might not correlate; your argument might win. But you are ignoring the psychological aspect of things. Not feeling intimidated, harassed, or threatened simply trying to get home can be priceless. And people feel that they have some control of their situation when they are behind the wheel, even if scientifically they really don't.

The number of vehicular fatalities in the United States is over 2.5 times the number of homicides. In 2007, 13.4% of those fatalities were nonmotorists. There are about 500,000 motor-vehicle related hospitalizations each year.

False perceptions about personal safety are no reason to halt progressive policy. There's actually a pretty valid case to be made that going forward with these policies is exactly what's needed to combat such illusions.

honte Dec 23, 2008 11:55 PM

^ I remain unconvinced, sorry. It's unfair to foist numerical statistics on people who physically interact with their communities every day and understand the situation inherently. Numbers can be misleading: How well does the above translate to Chicago? How well do those statistics translate to the local streets that many people will be theoretically walking from the train, vs. major highways and arterials? How, in Chicago, does it compare to the total number of victimizations that occur on the street overall, not just homicides? How would those numbers change if your policy were implemented? If people are on a bus rather than in car, how does that alter their risk factor to your stats? How can you statistically account for the acts that don't actually get perpetrated, or for abuse that isn't physical?

I think we shouldn't drag this on endlessly, but my point is that using some rather broad statistics to tell people that their life choices and real concerns are unimportant and wholly invalid, while using them to advance your "progressive" policy, seems totally inadequate.

the urban politician Dec 24, 2008 2:24 AM

^ Bottom line, these are all sorry, lazy excuses.

Downtown Chicago is one of the most transit accessible places in the western hemisphere. No excuse why somebody can't easily a way to get there without a car during rush hour.

I you want to drive, pay a bit extra. Maybe not you, but that makes PERFECT sense to me. And ultimately, it adds capacity to an existing system (highway and rail combined) whose expansion is otherwise prohibitively expensive and time consuming.

Ch.G, Ch.G Dec 24, 2008 2:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by honte (Post 3990795)
^ I remain unconvinced, sorry. It's unfair to foist numerical statistics on people who physically interact with their communities every day and understand the situation inherently. Numbers can be misleading: How well does the above translate to Chicago? How well do those statistics translate to the local streets that many people will be theoretically walking from the train, vs. major highways and arterials? How, in Chicago, does it compare to the total number of victimizations that occur on the street overall, not just homicides? How would those numbers change if your policy were implemented? If people are on a bus rather than in car, how does that alter their risk factor to your stats? How can you statistically account for the acts that don't actually get perpetrated, or for abuse that isn't physical?

I think we shouldn't drag this on endlessly, but my point is that using some rather broad statistics to tell people that their life choices and real concerns are unimportant and wholly invalid, while using them to advance your "progressive" policy, seems totally inadequate.

That's all fine, honte, but your criticism of the statistics I present and the questions you pose have equally valid counterparts in the form of criticism and questions about the "feelings" and "experience" and perceptions you advocate as a basis for policy decision instead.

Also, I'm not out to "change" the dangers of driving by advocating for policy x but to merely illustrate the fact that there are dangers in that mode of transportation, as well, and that the relative safety afforded by getting behind the wheel is illusory. (What better time of year to be making this point?) Considering your aversion to statistics, though, I might have been better off citing my "physical interactions" with and "inherent undertanding" of driving instead.

And it's probably an argument for another time or a different forum, but what would you rather base policy on if not empircal evidence? If numbers can be misleading, perceptions can be false and judgement lacking. The biggest hurdle for progress has always been unfounded fears.

honte Dec 24, 2008 2:43 AM

^ I think you both are twisting what I've said around a bit. Let me restate my intent, which was solely to counter the concept that personal safety concerns and public transit are a totally unacceptable combination. I was not responding to this particular proposal on the table.

As someone with extensive engineering background, I can assure you that I am not fearful of statistics. But I respond better to proper and thorough data. In terms of formulating policy, it's a tool, often very powerful, which must be factored into a more robust equation.

I think most everyone who drives is aware of the dangers associated, if not the real data. But ultimately it should be their call what is most appropriate, based on their personal circumstances, which vary widely and in Chicago can reach almost unfathomable extremes. That's my only point. I am not rejecting the notion that there might be a penalty of sorts associated with these decisions, but I will advance (as before) that any such penalty can have a negative impact on quality of life unless improvements in public transit are produced in equal measure (to whatever extent that is possible).

Chicago3rd Dec 24, 2008 3:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ch.G, Ch.G (Post 3990455)
The number of vehicular fatalities in the United States is over 2.5 times the number of homicides. In 2007, 13.4% of those fatalities were nonmotorists. There are about 500,000 motor-vehicle related hospitalizations each year.

False perceptions about personal safety are no reason to halt progressive policy. There's actually a pretty valid case to be made that going forward with these policies is exactly what's needed to combat such illusions.

Thank you for taking this thread on!

Abner Dec 24, 2008 4:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ch.G, Ch.G (Post 3990455)
The number of vehicular fatalities in the United States is over 2.5 times the number of homicides. In 2007, 13.4% of those fatalities were nonmotorists. There are about 500,000 motor-vehicle related hospitalizations each year.

...which might be relevant in the case of the mean community, but not here because we are talking about people who live in especially dangerous neighborhoods. Also, you have to take into account not just the risk of death but also the risk of other crime (and on the other side, the risk of injury or property damage in a non-fatal car accident). I have no trouble believing that it's probably safer to drive straight to your house at Central Park and Lexington than it is to walk from the Kedzie Blue Line.

But most of the people I've known who have this problem usually drive to the train (parking is usually pretty copious in these neighborhoods, even near the stations) or just tough it out on CTA the whole way, since they're not the kind of people who can afford Loop parking anyway. I think they're already pretty well priced out of downtown garages.

Ch.G, Ch.G Dec 24, 2008 4:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by honte (Post 3991027)
^ I think you both are twisting what I've said around a bit. Let me restate my intent, which was solely to counter the concept that personal safety concerns and public transit are a totally unacceptable combination. I was not responding to this particular proposal on the table.

As someone with extensive engineering background, I can assure you that I am not fearful of statistics. But I respond better to proper and thorough data. In terms of formulating policy, it's a tool, often very powerful, which must be factored into a more robust equation.

I think most everyone who drives is aware of the dangers associated, if not the real data. But ultimately it should be their call what is most appropriate, based on their personal circumstances, which vary widely and in Chicago can reach almost unfathomable extremes. That's my only point. I am not rejecting the notion that there might be a penalty of sorts associated with these decisions, but I will advance (as before) that any such penalty can have a negative impact on quality of life unless improvements in public transit are produced in equal measure (to whatever extent that is possible).

I'm glad you're not as hostile to empiricism as implied by your initial statement.

But no one's twisting your argument, honte. It is what it is. You and a few others think "street" safety is a legitimate reason not to penalize those who choose cars over trains. I countered by saying this is not a valid reason to take a penalty off the table because driving carries with it its own set of safety issues.

This idea, which you weren't the first to put forward, that we're somehow denying people of their "right" or choice to drive is a straw man. No one is saying that. What we are saying is that the government has endorsed one mode of transportation (the automobile) at the expense of another (mass transit) and at the expense of the environment and of people's health and, more obliquely, national security and the built environment, and it's time those who choose the former start to shoulder their fair share of the cost.

Ch.G, Ch.G Dec 24, 2008 4:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Abner (Post 3991154)
...which might be relevant in the case of the mean community, but not here because we are talking about people who live in especially dangerous neighborhoods.

Unless you advocate charging people different rates based on the degree of danger in the neighborhoods from which they commute, we are talking about the mean community.

honte Dec 24, 2008 4:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ch.G, Ch.G (Post 3991161)
But no one's twisting your argument, honte. It is what it is. You and a few others think "street" safety is a legitimate reason not to penalize those who choose cars over trains. I countered by saying this is not a valid reason to take a penalty off the table because driving carries with it its own set of safety issues.

Are you sure? That's not what I said. My reaction was to your very broadly stated argument that dangerous neighborhoods are a non-issue, followed by the concept that the sidewalk is always safer than the car.

To the rest of your above post, I find fairly little objectionable.

Rilestone75 Dec 24, 2008 5:21 PM

It is interesting to read posts from both sides of this issue, there are valid points on both. I personally think that we should not penalize drivers trying to get to the loop, but that's my opinion.

It seems to me that we have discussed hard evidence on the pros and cons here, but as honte has pointed out, there are also psychological reasons for wanting to drive. I think the "quality" of the commute should also be factored in. When I drive to the loop, I never have to smell someone else's urine that has dried on the floor of the car. I never have to listen to someone else screaming in their cell phone about personaly issues that probably shouldn't be discussed in public. I never have to push a drunken homeless person off my shoulder because they are wasted and falling asleep.

It also seems to me that the majority of people that are effected by the congestion of too many drivers at peak times, are simply other drivers. So lets let them vote on it. I think you would find that while they can be annoyed with the congestion, they are not so annoyed as to start charging themselves more. If the congestion is a problem for the CTA buses, then perhaps the CTA should go back and start looking at better rail alternatives to decrease the bus ridership.

I go back to my original point, before you decide to tax people for driving, look at your own transportation system and fix it first.

nomarandlee Dec 24, 2008 10:36 PM

Quote:

http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2...-approved.html

Canadian National Railway rail deal approved
December 24, 2008 at 1:54 PM | Comments (21)

Canadian National Railway has won federal approval for its controversial purchase of a line that would loop freight trains around Chicago, a bypass that some suburban communities fear will cause massive traffic problems.

Proposed 15 months ago, CN and its supporters say the deal would boost the Chicago-area economy by $60 million a year, creating hundreds of jobs and easing train gridlock. (MAP)

The current system of 2,800 miles of crisscrossing railroad track creates bottlenecks across Chicago. Supporters say the project would shift freight traffic away from the city by looping it in a 198-mile arc through the outer suburbs on the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway.

But many of those suburbs fear that the number of trains through their communities would triple or quadruple, blocking crossings for longer periods and tying up road traffic.

CN has offered to pay $300 million to U.S. Steel for the EJ&E, $100 million to upgrade the line and another $60 million to help local communities deal with the traffic impact along the route.

As a condition of its approval, the transportation board will require CN to pay the bulk of the cost of constructing two highway-rail grade separation projects. This will cost the railroad tens of millions of dollars more than originally estimated. One overpass or underpass would be at Ogden Avenue (Route 34) in Aurora and the other at Lincoln Highway (Route 30) in Lynwood.

Studies have said that 80 communities would have fewer trains, and 34 communities would have more.

Earlier this month, a federal environmental-impact report recommended just a few conditions on the deal.

Among the report's conclusions:

*Suburbs along the EJ&E would experience "adverse impacts," including vehicle traffic delays, increased noise and air emissions and shipments of hazardous materials. However, these problems would decrease in towns inside the EJ&E arc.

*Grade separations--overpasses or underpasses--should be built at two rail-highway crossings: Ogden Avenue in Aurora and Lincoln Highway in Lynwood.

*CN should be required to pay 15 percent of the cost of the grade separations. CN has offered to pay only 5 percent.

*The acquisition "would not have a substantial adverse effect" on Metra's plans to build a suburb-to-suburb STAR line. The plan could benefit South Shore Railway expansion.

So far, CN has reached agreements to minimize the impact in Joliet, Crest Hill, Mundelein and Chicago Heights in Illinois, and Dyer and Schererville in Indiana.

CN went to court in September seeking to force the transportation board to hasten its decision so the railroad could close the deal for the before a Dec. 31 deadline, but that request was rejected.

-- Richard Wronski
..

ChicagoChicago Dec 24, 2008 11:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rilestone75 (Post 3991905)
It is interesting to read posts from both sides of this issue, there are valid points on both. I personally think that we should not penalize drivers trying to get to the loop, but that's my opinion.

It seems to me that we have discussed hard evidence on the pros and cons here, but as honte has pointed out, there are also psychological reasons for wanting to drive. I think the "quality" of the commute should also be factored in. When I drive to the loop, I never have to smell someone else's urine that has dried on the floor of the car. I never have to listen to someone else screaming in their cell phone about personaly issues that probably shouldn't be discussed in public. I never have to push a drunken homeless person off my shoulder because they are wasted and falling asleep.

It also seems to me that the majority of people that are effected by the congestion of too many drivers at peak times, are simply other drivers. So lets let them vote on it. I think you would find that while they can be annoyed with the congestion, they are not so annoyed as to start charging themselves more. If the congestion is a problem for the CTA buses, then perhaps the CTA should go back and start looking at better rail alternatives to decrease the bus ridership.

I go back to my original point, before you decide to tax people for driving, look at your own transportation system and fix it first.

I'd say this is about as pathetic a post as I've seen. The excuses you cite are petty. If you feel that you're too good to deal with other people, then by all means drive, and pay more for it. After all, with that elitist attitude, you can afford it.

And FYI, I've never had a homeless person fall asleep on my shoulder. And the urine and loud talking exist everywhere. They aren't limited to public transit.

ardecila Dec 24, 2008 11:49 PM

Merry Christmas, outer suburbs! You deserve all the stress you're about to receive in the form of increased congestion. Maybe you'll realize that you are part of the country's THIRD-largest city and the freight-rail capital of the world. Maybe this will finally break your illusions about a pastoral fairy-tale world, and start helping to solve problems on a regional scale instead of pursuing petty self-interests. Or maybe not. I feel justified in saying this since I am from Barrington, and I have seen small-minded squabbling time and again whenever there is any sort of change.

Decreased congestion in the city is always good, but the one upside I can see to this debacle is that Barrington was able to form a broad coalition of suburbs with a very wide range of race and income level to try to address a regional problem. I disagree with their goals, of course, but I really hope some sort of regional planning can come out of this, along with a resolve to reduce congestion through road and transit improvements such as widened roadways, bypasses, grade separations, and the STAR Line.

simcityaustin Dec 25, 2008 5:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChicagoChicago (Post 3992522)
I'd say this is about as pathetic a post as I've seen. The excuses you cite are petty. If you feel that you're too good to deal with other people, then by all means drive, and pay more for it. After all, with that elitist attitude, you can afford it.

And FYI, I've never had a homeless person fall asleep on my shoulder. And the urine and loud talking exist everywhere. They aren't limited to public transit.


Maybe his excuses are petty, but he makes a point. If we are going to penalize people for driving then we should have a top notch public transportation system in place. Urine and loud noise don't exist in your Toyota unless you have the radio cranked up.

If you think people wanting to drive downtown and not pay a fee is some form of elitism, you need to get your head out of the water. Let me introduce to a few REAL elitists. (Not that I like elitists)

People already pay a fee in parking downtown.

I see a fee as potentially harming tourism, business, etc. I don't think the government has endorsed automobiles. Automobiles a re private investment, repairs to the infrastructure they run on is largely paid by taxes earned from gas sales to run the machines. Mass transit is much more subsidized by the government, and will always have to be. It's the nature of the beast.

BTW, I prefer mass transit.

emathias Dec 25, 2008 5:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 3992547)
...
and the STAR Line.

The STAR Line? I sure as heck hope not. Talk about a waste of money and resources! It's so pathetic an idea, there aren't even ridership figures projected for it yet! It's unneeded and a horrid waste of resources.

ChicagoChicago Dec 25, 2008 3:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by simcityaustin (Post 3992773)
Maybe his excuses are petty, but he makes a point. If we are going to penalize people for driving then we should have a top notch public transportation system in place. Urine and loud noise don't exist in your Toyota unless you have the radio cranked up.

If you think people wanting to drive downtown and not pay a fee is some form of elitism, you need to get your head out of the water. Let me introduce to a few REAL elitists. (Not that I like elitists)

People already pay a fee in parking downtown.

I see a fee as potentially harming tourism, business, etc. I don't think the government has endorsed automobiles. Automobiles a re private investment, repairs to the infrastructure they run on is largely paid by taxes earned from gas sales to run the machines. Mass transit is much more subsidized by the government, and will always have to be. It's the nature of the beast.

BTW, I prefer mass transit.

Oh please...don't even pretend to say that urine and loud noises are any more frequent on trains than they are on the street. I suppose he refuses to walk on the sidewalk for fear of smelling a sewer vent too.

There is no question that mass transit could be better. For that to occur though, there must be funding for it.

the urban politician Dec 25, 2008 3:43 PM

Great news on the CN purchase.

So Chicago continues to be America's freight capital. With this and CREATE, I think you guys are in good shape for the long haul

Ch.G, Ch.G Dec 25, 2008 6:24 PM

^ Sounds like great news to me, too, but do you have any idea where they get the $60 million figure from and what kind of jobs CN predicts will be created?


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