Street Smart Chicago

Common Sense: Forget the Flowers

City Life, Edgewater, Essays & Commentary, Green, Transit Add comments

Chicago is being touted as a green city, but if you look at the facts it’s a bunch of crap. We’ve got the organic bars and cuisine, even some pricey eco-friendly dwellings, which is all just peachy, but what about those fucking potholes? I live in Edgewater, close to Devon, and every time I’m in a car there’s so much bopping up and down, I feel like I’m traveling in a horse and buggy. And the Red Line is a fucking nightmare. It takes just about an hour to get downtown from Granville, and why? Between Granville and Belmont, the train goes at a snail’s pace. How is Chicago eco-conscious when our public transportation system is more of a museum exhibit than a functioning system? As Daley himself has noted, the CTA is a 1920s system that’s both costly and inefficient. In February Daley announced the city’s decision to pump $227 million dollars into fixing flailing Chicago transit. Supposedly, part of that money is supposed to eliminate slow zones, such as the Englewood branch of the Green Line. As for the Red Line, I’ve yet to see it happen. Considering that $475 million was spent on Millennium Park, a project that was over budget by $350 million and four years behind schedule, it’s clear where Daley’s priorities lie: impressing the tourists. A total $5.2 billion was spent to revitalize Chicago’s streets, parks and walkways, including, yes, those lovely flowers lining Michigan Avenue. The fact that downtown is gleaming is just wonderful, but it means that many of the neighborhoods (including mine) are in a sorry state of neglect. Potholes, trash and a defunct train is the case not only in Edgewater but also in Rogers Park, Uptown and many other areas. The truly eco-friendly city nowadays is New York, with its efficient subway system, a decent recycling program (don’t get me started on the pathetic Chicago program) and far less trash on the streets. Just building a bike station at Millennium Park is not the solution; it needs to start with the basics. Get the trains in working order, fix the potholes and forget the flowers for a while. Daley and friends need to stop worrying about impressing the tourists and start taking interest in the people. (Marla Seidell)

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