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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Monday, February 26

Gapers Block

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maardvark / February 28, 2007 12:45 AM

Kill it! Kill it now! Hasn't it been proven by now that building more roads won't solve gridlock? Hasn't it been proven yet that expressways divide communities? And shouldn't they be spending the money on making the disaster/sinkhole CTA functional again?

kate / February 28, 2007 1:08 AM

It's total bullshit.

A cross-town train (apparently the pink line's future intentions?) should trump any more f'n roads.

Truck Boy / February 28, 2007 6:29 AM

I like it, but I say make it trucks only.

It will help keep the cost of good in the city down, and will provide an increase in jobs, which will help the city economically. And provide more tax revenue, too. All these city services we get cost lots of money.

Haven't we already learned our lesson about putting all our eggs in the Chicago public transportation basket? It is the 21st century, and it is probably faster to walk from Addison to the Loop, than it is to take the Red Line.

Besides, this whole story (like the Olympic 2016 bid) is pandering to the construction lobby. Since the election is over, I'll beat we won't hear about the Crosswtown expressway for several more years.

Mike / February 28, 2007 7:26 AM

I'm not sure about it yet, but I really would like to see an accompanying rapid transit option availible with this proposal. We probably do have enough roads, but sadly lacking in the comprehensive subway/L coverage.

JJHunsecker / February 28, 2007 7:53 AM

A stupid idea. Just more pandering to cars at a time when we'd better start thinking about a city that relies less on cars. Public transportation doesn't work well because it is being destroyed, like anything else that the public pays for. (And that includes public health and Amtrak, too.) Another highway is the equivalent of another O'Hare. Want to stand in more lines? I moved out of Evanston because I realized that I wanted (as a citizen) to be treated better than a car (a concept the glorious city council of Evanston has some trouble with).

vit / February 28, 2007 8:37 AM

awful horrible idea, don't just let it die, but kill it violently so that it never rears its ugly head again.

vise77 / February 28, 2007 8:57 AM

No new roads. End of story. Keep up the ones we have, but no new roads on the city. Our focus should be on mass transit, whether fixing what we have, adding to our lines, or creating real express lanes for buses. As well, the freight rail lines in this area need a lot of attention--Crain's has been running good stories about this.

As a country, we bitch and moan about our oil money helping to fund our enemies, yet we still want to encourage more use of cars?

jaymce / February 28, 2007 9:01 AM

i dig it... less congestion on 90/94... less pollution... less sitting in cars wasting gas...

jaymce / February 28, 2007 9:01 AM

i dig it... less congestion on 90/94... less pollution... less sitting in cars wasting gas...

ken / February 28, 2007 9:18 AM

The crosstown always has been and always will be a pipe dream.

As far as less congestion and pollution goes, a crosstown xway only moves the problem it does not solve it.

The money would be better spent on fixing the existing rail systems and adding an additional light rail system to interconnect the outlying suburbs would be a much better step towards less congestion and less pollution.

D / February 28, 2007 9:38 AM

I would much rather see the city spend the money on fixing the up some of the deteriorated El lines.

From looking at aerial maps of the proposed route it appears that a lot of demolition will have to go on to clear the route. We're not talking just single family homes. I would expect that this would drive the price of the expressway too high.

printdude / February 28, 2007 11:01 AM

I'm for it - So long as they tie in an O-hare-Midway L Line, thus creating a new major line of traffic, both roadway and public transportiation-wise.
That would be sweet. That trip is my most traveled, and I would be happy to take the train somedays and drive others. (of course, driving less often)

Has anybody else noticed that the Orange line cars have a "Ford City" place marker on them? I have noticed when they roll up the "Midway" and change it to "Loop".

JB / February 28, 2007 11:11 AM

man, weren't we all s'posed to be flying around on jet packs by now?

a crosstown expressway seems to me like a half-assed solution to a serious problem--a band-aid at best.

i liked better the suggestions of the light rail system and express lanes for busses.

D / February 28, 2007 11:22 AM

printdude, from what I've read there was an entry for an orange line extension to the Ford City mall, and an El line (mid-city transitway) along the cross-city expressway route in the 2020 regional transportation plan. has some details on this:

Shylo / February 28, 2007 12:14 PM

I just can't imagine how it would be possible w/out tearing up so much of the neighborhoods that Cicero passes through. Have you ever driven Cicero that far? It is incredibly bendy.

fluffy / February 28, 2007 12:51 PM

Instead of creating potential problems, why not fix the ones that already exist.

I agree with those that say 'kill it'.

Wow / February 28, 2007 1:19 PM many here against creating jobs & generating more tax revenue.

The CTA has its place, but it is a money sinkhole. It doesn't generate any income for the city.

Oh but wait you say - The CTA affects property values! It makes them go up! Then the city makes money on property taxes, more people moving into the city, etc.

Well if that were the case, the city would have an incentive to pump money into the CTA.

But since the city does not..?

printdude / February 28, 2007 2:02 PM

D, while I know of "possible" plans to extend the line, I still am surprised at the actual sign being in place on the "L", well before station placement.

And Shylo?
Cicero is one of the straightest streets we have. Bendy only near Midway. Perhaps you are thinking way past where this planned thing will be.

Andy / February 28, 2007 2:05 PM

A slightly more interesting article than the one GB linked to:,CST-NWS-cross22.article

I'm okay with this idea so long as a new EL line is included as part of the project.

deshigrrrl / February 28, 2007 2:41 PM

i say build an expressway or some damn route that makes it easier to get from the west side (like wicker or logan square) to the northeast side (edgewater/andersonville). hell, an el route for that would've been better than the damn pink line!

deshigrrrl / February 28, 2007 2:42 PM

i say build an expressway or some damn route that makes it easier to get from the west side (like wicker or logan square) to the northeast side (edgewater/andersonville). hell, an el route for that would've been better than the damn pink line! and that would work for northeast siders trying to get to o'hare as well!

Craig / February 28, 2007 2:46 PM

While we're at it, let's just string highways all over the entire city-- as long as it generates jobs and revenue, I say fuck quality of life. The people living in the shadow of the Dan Ryan don't seem to complain much.

leah / February 28, 2007 3:43 PM

I DREAM of the day we get an efficient way to get from Logan/Humboldt to Edgewater/Andersonville, deshigrrrl.

we can have a club.

maardvark / February 28, 2007 4:18 PM

leah, who needs a club when you can have the Circle Line?

Craig wrote an interesting article here a couple years ago about what the CTA network ought to look like. That is, if anybody up there actually liked us.

Emerson Dameron / February 28, 2007 4:24 PM

You don't "create" money - all money that's drawn to one place comes from somewhere else. That's why economics isn't called "the smiley science."

Allan / February 28, 2007 4:47 PM

I don't have a car. So I conveniently don't give a fuck but I do have an opinion on sheister dentists screwing me when I am already broke as shit with no job. Is $800 normal for a root canal?

skafiend / February 28, 2007 4:56 PM

I don't have a car. So I conveniently don't give a fuck

Taxes, displacement, pollution, congestion, the impact on highways and streets all around as everything in the crosstown's path is diverted or moved completely...

there's something for everyone!! wheeee!!!!

Green bean / February 28, 2007 5:00 PM

A good mass transit system and Dedicated Bike lanes are a solution. Another highway is a problem. If everyone who doesn't need to drive would choose an alternate method of transportation, those who do need to drive (trucks, busses, etc...) could get where they are going more easily, and there would be no need to provide more smooth surfaces for people to drive their asses around on.

We already have a shit load of highways. Why not do what they are doing in London and make people REALLY pay to drive in the city?

D / February 28, 2007 5:04 PM

your dream CTA map looks interesting. When designing this map did you consider population density data along with current bus / car traffic information on your proposed El corridors?

Also, did you consider where exactly the lines would be run and what would have to be demoed to fit them there?

Nifty map, just trying to figure out if it was a doodle or drawn after much research.

Jeremy / February 28, 2007 6:26 PM

If displacements are so bad, how can you want a new rail line? The owner of the existing rail right-of-way isn't selling for either highway or transit, so anything new means something old has to come out. Unfortunately, with population density like it is in Chicago, any infrastructure improvement project is going to knock down houses.

I'm pro-Crosstown, and I'm pro-CTA expansion. Let's build them all. The city needs as much expansion in transportation capacity as it can get, and just doing one or the other is going to accomplish nothing.

Jen / February 28, 2007 6:35 PM


Dutch101 / February 28, 2007 7:00 PM

I really think that the city should invest in improving/repairing the CTA before it spends money on a highway that will likely be something of a relic within 50 or 60 years (I hope). And I disagree with Jeremy when he says that any infrastructure project will involve land acquisition and displacement. A subway or elevated train route could conceivably follow existing streets owned by the city, and avoid too much displacement, and the deleterious effects on neighborhoods that accompany freeway construction (why do you think Boston spent almost $15 BILLION to bury their highways). The Crosstown is a terrible idea, and it terrifies me that some people don't see what a boondoggle it would be.

Andy / February 28, 2007 9:38 PM

I'm with those who are in favor of both. If the Crosstown becomes obsolete in 50-60 years, great, it becomes green space.

The proposed circle line is a joke that will only relieve CTA congestion in the loop while ignoring the people in the "fringe" areas beyond Ashland.

But we have to draw as many federal/state dollars into both the CTA and the Crosstown projects as we can. In both projects, it's not likely the city is going to pay a huge amount of the cost. Most of it will come from some future federal transportation bill funded out of the motor fuel tax.

Steve / March 1, 2007 12:51 AM

The future of our civilization requires fewer personal motor vehicles, not more roads. The days of shiny happy motoring wherever you want whenever you want should only be viewable through the rearview mirror, not the windshield.

4point44 / March 1, 2007 9:30 AM

i think they should make it an ice highway. which superhero was it that skated around on his own ice roads? i want to say silver surfer, but i could be wrong.

the daley ice highway. i like the sound of that.

skafiend / March 1, 2007 10:14 AM

i think they should make it an ice highway. which superhero was it that skated around on his own ice roads?

Ironically enough, I believe he was called Iceman:


Geek alert over...

p / March 1, 2007 10:17 AM

While i do agree with the sentiment of Steve's above post, i just totally felt like jim belushi (the deceased belushi brother who you don't wish physical harm) in animal house when he hears the jive turkey in the black turtleneck on the steps crooning "i gave my love a chickeeeeen that had no bone, i wrote my love a story that had no end" is mesmerized and speechless, then forced to smash the gentleman's guitar (laptop) against the wall through the mindblowing empty sappiness of it all.

But, again, i agree with the sentiment and do not believe sufficient benefits of the Crosstown are present to justify going ahead. Venting existing freeways with a dedicated expressway for commercial vehicles sounds intriguing but dragging out a dated automobile-focused plan such as this one. Especially when funds could be used to yield much greater benefits to the city's residents through further development of projects focused on public transit which serve our future more efficiently with an improved, more conscious and increasingly necessary infrastruture more dedicated to public transit focused communities employing design serving bikes, buses, trains and (holy shit!) pedestrians.

Also- Construction doesn't have to be on freeways to create jobs.

jj / March 1, 2007 11:39 AM

I don't think I have enough information about the plan's specifics, but I am definitely interested in a north-south train line along Cicero.

I think one of the reasons people drive is because so much of our public transit is centered around downtown. Times have changed and downtown is not the center of the world as it once was. For example, living on the northwest side and trying to go to school in Rogers Park was going to take me 90 minutes to 2 hours by either bus or train or combo, one way because you have to go all the way downtown and then all the way north again. It's not that I was lazy, I just didn't have the time for that kind of thing - I had to work three jobs to put myself through school. I'm sure there are lots of other students, parents, double shift workers, etc who are in similar situations - we'd take the train if given the choice, but not at a time deficit of two hours each way!

My point is, having more options for public transit would give more people the ability to reduce their driving - something I think we can all agree is the ultimate goal. I would love to see a cost-benefit analysis of how this might play out with the proposed cross-town.

4point44 / March 1, 2007 1:58 PM

yes! iceman!

i want my ice highway- i'll drive to work in a giant ice skate.

jake / March 2, 2007 1:04 AM

the crosstown is obviously a bad idea. it would be expensive, it would displace thousands of people, and only deepen our self-destructive addiction to cars. plus highways are one of the worst features of the city.

the truck lanes wouldn't be as bad, but it makes a lot more sense to make way for trucks by getting cars off the road.

let's fight for an El-only plan. it would be comparatively cheap, it would displace few people or maybe no one, and most important it would get us moving in the right direction on transit.

but call your state reps about the upcoming cta funding vote and encourage them to increase the tax on gas and send that money to public transit. those of us who don't drive are subsidizing drivers by building their roads, paying higher insurance premiums to cover their car wrecks, and cleaning up their pollution. the reason public transit doesn't "pay for itself" is that our economy sets the wrong prices when it comes to environmental goods.

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