Thursday, August 15, 2013
As mayors of towns in the Chicago suburbs Karen Darch, mayor of Barrington, IL, and Tom Weisner, mayor of Aurora, IL, have seen rail freight traffic quadruple due to a rail merger between Canadian National Railway and EJ&E Railway. These trains contain crude oil, and fearing a disaster similar to the tragedy in Lac-Megantic, the mayors have formed a coalition to increase safety regulations on crude oil transport. Mayors Darch and Weisner tell us about their concerns and the regulations they want to put in place. They co-wrote an editorial in the Wall Street Journal.
Wednesday, January 02, 2013
The Democratic nominee, Adlai Stevenson, addresses the 1952 American Legion convention at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Now that the Alabama and Mississippi Republican primaries are over, the candidates are setting their sights on the next big state: Illinois. Except for the densely populated area around Chicago, Illinois tends to be a fairly conservative state. With 69 delegates up for grabs and a chance to criticize President Obama on his home turf, the candidates will likely continue to ramp up their rhetoric to sway Midwestern voters.
Thursday, March 01, 2012
A storm system moving across the Midwest Wednesday morning caused tornadoes from Kansas to Kentucky. At least twelve people were killed; six deaths were reported in the city of Harrisburg, Illinois alone where the most damage occurred. The severe weather also tore through country music resort city Branson, Missouri destructing the heart of the city's tourist district.
Monday, April 25, 2011
(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) This just in from the Governor of Illinois -- one of the first statewide efforts we're aware of to track a serious safety concern for cyclists -- when motorists suddenly open doors into bike traffic, frequently knocking cyclists to the ground. Illinois officials says the database is an effort both to track the number of incidents and educate motorists about the practice, so they can train themselves to check for cyclists before they open doors into bike traffic, much as motorists now check for cars. Illinois says a database will go online in about a month, and will have data -- so far as it's recoverable -- dating from May 2010. Police will now be asked to note any incidents where they're called when a cyclist is hit by a motorist opening the door of a car.
UPDATE: The knowledgeable Caroline Sampanaro of the NYC-based Transportation Alternatives says she hasn't heard of any such state-wide efforts to track "dooring." If you know of local efforts that we're missing, let us know.
New Tracking of “Dooring” Crashes Will Identify Problem Areas
CHICAGO -- April 25, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn announced today that the state will begin tracking “dooring” crashes -- accidents involving bicyclists who are struck by opened doors from parked cars. The change will take effect immediately to help determine locations where road improvements and public outreach efforts may be necessary to protect bicyclists from these dangerous collisions.
“As more people are riding bicycles and embracing other green modes of transportation, we need to ensure that Illinois collects data that presents a complete picture of what is happening on our roads,” said Governor Quinn. “This new initiative will address a major safety issue for bicyclists and drivers, and will make our roads safer for everyone.”
The new policy is the result of collaboration between Governor Quinn, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Active Transportation Alliance. Prior to the change in policy, dooring collisions went unrecognized in IDOT’s annual reporting of traffic statistics because a moving motor vehicle was not involved.
The data collected and analyzed by IDOT can be used to plan for improved roadway designs and additional communication with motorists in areas with high concentrations of bicyclists.
“We appreciate Governor Quinn’s action on this issue,” said Ron Burke, executive director of the Active Transportation Alliance, an advocacy organization that works to improve conditions for walking, biking and transit. “Data on dooring problem spots will help communities take steps to reduce these collisions. We are grateful IDOT will track these crashes, and look forward to working with them to increase safety and education surrounding dooring.”
To assist police in submitting the correct information, IDOT’s Division of Traffic Safety is reaching out to law enforcement agencies across the state with instructions on how to begin recording dooring crashes. Police departments that have already have begun tracking dooring collisions, including Chicago, will have their data included in the state’s traffic statistics, retroactive to May 2010.
“We are committed to working with our partners in law enforcement to make roads safer for bicyclists,” Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig said. “Safety always will be a top priority at IDOT. The recognition of dooring accidents is another step in the right direction.”
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
When future generations look back on this election, the first after President Obama's dramatic victory in 2008, will they see it as a repeat of the 1994 Gingrich Revolution? An unraveling of the Obama agenda? Or a chance for the president to rebrand himself?
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
(Alex Goldmark, Transportation Nation) Less than a week ahead of elections around the country, Congressmen are happily announcing money their states are getting for high speed rail. Official allocations will take place tomorrow. California is getting nearly a billion dollars, Florida just over $800 million while several smaller projects in the Midwest for "higher speed" rail will also get funding, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Monday we reported on the money going to Florida and New England for intercity connections. Today local officials released more funding details for the Midwest and West Coast in what seems like a pre-election day affirmation of Presidential support for high-speed rail around the nation.
This week's $2.5 billion in grant announcements are not stimulus funds. They are the part of the FY2010 yearly allocations from the DOT and the Federal Railway Administration, (which has quite a handy website with plenty of charts, data, and interactive maps). The bulk of the allocations went to two of the largest states, California and Florida, receiving $900 and $800 million respectively.
The largest share of funding in the Midwest--$230 million-- goes to Iowa and Illinois for enhanced Amtrak service from Chicago to Iowa City. The Amtrak line from Chicago to Detroit received $150 million to increase its current speed to 110 mph--not quite the 220 mph that denotes most HSR, but certainly "higher speed" rail than the existing top speeds under 80 mph.
The Obama administration isn't funding every request though. They declined to give $8 million requested for a study and design of a potential Chicago-to-St. Louis bullet train.
In addition to this $2.5 billion for HSR this year, there is still a largely unspent pot of $700+ billion in stimulus money dedicated to high speed rail. Of the $8 billion in stimulus money allocated for HSR, just $871 million has been obligated.
Here's an updated list of all the projects receiving federal money, both stimulus funds as well as yearly allocations.
(Thanks to MidwestHSR for the tip on some of this.)
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Democrat Alexi Giannoulias debated against Republican Mark Kirk, last night. This was the second of the three televised debates for the pair who are deadlocked in the Illinois race for U.S. Senate. Both men hope to win the seat vacated by President Barack Obama in 2008.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich may have dodged a bullet yesterday after a Chicago jury found him guilty on only count of lying to federal agents. The jury was hung on the other 23 charges against him. After the verdict was read, Blagojevich told reporters, "this jury just showed you ... that on every count except for one, on every charge except for one, they could not prove that I did anything wrong."
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Closing arguments in the Blagojevich case heated up on Tuesday when the defense attorney, Sam Adam, Jr., delivered his closing argument to jurors in the case of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his brother, Robert Blagojevich.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
In a surprising move, ex-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich decided he would not testify in his corruption trial. Rob Wildeboer, criminal justice reporter for Chicago Public Radio, believes this was a wise move on Blagojevich's part. "I don't know what he could say to convince jurors about those tapes," he told The Takeaway. The defense strategy has shifted from putting Blagojevich on the stand to trying to prove that the government's case is too weak to find Blagojevich guilty.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is scheduled to take the witness stand this week to testify in his own defense at his federal corruption trial. In the five weeks since the trial began, prosecutors have played many recordings of the former politician using countless expletives in multiple profanity-laced tirades. Now, when Blagojevich takes the stand, law experts say he will have to win over jurors, leave behind his notoriously arrogant attitude and even admit some faults.