Taghousehold travel survey

Divvy overtime fees and most frequent trip distances

Two people check out a Divvy bike in front of 3565 N Pine Grove Avenue, home to residents who sued the Chicago Department of Transportation and Alderman James Cappleman to have its installation prevented. That failed. Photo by John Greenfield. 

Kaitlyn Jakola interviewed me last week for the Chicago Magazine blog, The 312, about how newcomers should deal with Divvy bike sharing. I think I gave some good answers. Stick to the bike lanes by using an app (although that’s hard because so many of them don’t link up) and think about the rules you would follow if you were driving a car (which assumes you know how to do that). Two of the commenters called this a scam. The first stopped there but the second commenter showed some understanding of transportation and economics so I thought that I could reply and it would be taken seriously. They said:

It seems to me like the system is designed to create extra or ‘overage’ fees. Having to stop every 30 minutes and ‘redock’ your bike is prelude to a ripoff. By the time you get comfortable riding and determine where you’re going to go, it’s time to ‘redock’ then…

It doesn’t seem like the commenter knows how bike sharing works: think of a taxi that you drive yourself. The bike taxis are available at predetermined stands around the city. It’s there when you need it and you don’t need to own the vehicle.

Regarding overtime fees… The average trip taken on Divvy bikes is only 18 minutes long, which the Chicago Tribune – part of the same parent company as Chicago Magazine – reported on. That coincides with the average trip distances Americans and Cook County residents take. The Southern California Association of Governments, the federally-designated Metropolitan Planning Organization for the nation’s largest regional planning area, found that 80% of trips residents in that region were less than 2 miles long (.pdf). This matches what the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, the local MPO, found for Cook County that the average trip distance was 3.0 miles and the median trip distance was 2.3 miles (.pdf). Both studies’ figures aggregate trip mode, so this includes all trips people make by bus, personal automobile, walking, or bicycling. All of the distances are bikeable in 18 minutes.

Mode share by trip miles and trip frequency in Chicago and Cook County

Two tables in this post. Data from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s 2008 Travel Tracker Survey. Download source file (pdf).

Table 1. Number represents share of trip miles taken by that mode. So in Central Chicago (which seems to comprise neighborhoods as far north as Uptown and as far south as Hyde Park), 1.4% of all trip miles are by bike. If 1,000 people take 100 trips of 2 miles each, then 2,800 miles will be by bike.

Emanuel campaign contributions

DonorContributionsConnection (Tribune)Notable properties or permits
Grosvenor Capital Management$1,056,287Grosvenor CEO Michael Sacks, vice chairman of World Business Chicago and Emanuel confidante.900 N Michigan Shops
Madison Dearborn Partners$858,800Investor in city contractor CDW Government; co-CEO Sam Mencoff appointed to World Business Chicago.NA
Plumbers and Pipefitters unions$766,500Mayor's water and sewer upgrades boost union jobs.NA
Citadel$559,550CEO Ken Griffin meets with mayor; firm invests in Chicago Mercantile Exchange, which mayor backed for state tax breaks; also invests in companies doing business with city.Renovations in its own building
Muneer Satter$352,600Former executive at Goldman Sachs, which got city bond business; appointed to World Business Chicago.Renovations to its office
Harris Associates$290,000Firm's Oakmark Fund invests in LiveNation, which books concerts at city's Northerly Island.Renovations to its office
DRW Trading Group$255,100Donald R. Wilson Jr., founder of DRW trading firm, is developer of multiple hotel projects; Emanuel appeared with Wilson to lobby regulators on futures trading rules.NA
Henry Crown & Co.$254,400President James S. Crown appointed by mayor to World Business Chicago.NA
Donald Edwards$241,600Mayoral appointee to World Business Chicago and Chicago Park District.NA
Lettuce Entertain You$236,850Partner in restaurants at O'Hare International Airport.Listed under several names. Search "Lettuce"
Groupon$231,200CEO Eric Lefkofsky appointed to World Business Chicago; co-chair of Emanuel-supported Chicago Ideas Week.Renovations to its office
JMB companies$191,900Neil Bluhm, Judd Malkin. Control JMB Realty, Bluhm's Walton St. Capital gets city pension business.Listed under several names. Search "JMB". Also associated with the 900 N Michigan Shops
Teamsters$184,700Emanuel labor rule changes hurt other unions, left Teamsters largely unscathed.NA
David Helfand$180,900Real estate executive, now with Equity Group Investments, major holder of Chicago real estate.NA
Chopper Trading$173,300Emanuel appealed to regulators to ease commodities futures trading rules for firms like Chopper.Renovations to its office
Medline Industries Inc.$171,600COO Jim Abrams appointed to World Business Chicago; mayoral jobs announcement and appearance at business conference.NA
Bartlit, Beck, Herman, Palenchar and Scott$162,300Law partner on CHA board.NA
PEAK6$160,000Emanuel appealed to regulators to ease commodities futures trading rules for firms like PEAK6.Renovations to its office
Joe Mansueto$160,000CEO of Morningstar, which has contract with Chicago Public Library.Renovations to the Morningstar office in Block 37
John Buck Co.$140,000Development projects downtown; John Buck appointed to World Business Chicago; gets city pension business.Listed under 10 names. 155 N Wacker Drive skyscraper opened in 2010. New residential tower at 200 N Michigan (yet going under the address of 201 N Garland Ct).
United Airlines$137,783United executives appointed to World Business Chicago; jobs and headquarters announcements.Majority of permits are for O’Hare operations. Others include renovations to its downtown office building.
Beacon Capital Partners$137,000Office building redevelopments.Unknown. There are many entries with "Beacon".
Jenner & Block$136,878Legal fees for O'Hare International Airport litigation.Listed under several names. Search "Jenner & Block"
AT&T$127,600City telecommunications contract. Donations from AT&T Illinois Employee PAC.Listed under 19 names.
Duchossois family$124,900Craig Duchossois appointed to World Business Chicago.NA
DLA Piper$124,700Helps clients get city tax increment financing (TIF) funds.Renovations to its office
Pritzker Group$124,500J.B. Pritzker appointed to World Business Chicago; head of 1871 tech incubator frequented by Emanuel.Only Penny Pritzker is listed, associated with an office renovation.
Exelon Corp.$124,200CEO Christopher Crane appointed to World Business Chicago.Listed under 7 names.
Winston & Strawn$114,000Legal fees on city bond business.Listed under 2 names, associated with an office renovation.
Clayco$105,000Emanuel joined CEO Robert Clark to announce headquarters move to Chicago.Listed under 4 names. Contractor for the University of Chicago and downtown office renovations.
Schiff Hardin LLP$94,250Legal fees on city bond business.NA
Chicago Trading Co.$92,000Emanuel appealed to regulators to ease commodities futures trading rules for firms like CTC.NA
Roger J. Kiley Jr.$75,600Emanuel reappointed to board of Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority.NA
Friedman Properties$75,550Hotel developments needing city permits.Listed under 6 names.
Sidley Austin LLP$74,450Represents clients on city development issues.Listed under 2 names, associated with an office renovation.
Power, Rogers and Smith$73,500Partner Larry R. Rogers Sr. appointed to City Colleges Board.NA
BDT Capital Partners, LLC$70,900Managing partner Byron Trott appointed to World Business Chicago; BDT bought and re-developing Wrigley Building.Renovations to its office
White Lodging Services$66,100Development partner on River North hotel complex.Minor elevator work
Victory Park Capital$65,000Victory CEO/founder Richard Levy is investor in North Side soccer field that needed city approval; firm owns Giordano's pizza chain that has needed city approvals for expansion.NA
Magellan Development Group, LLC$64,000Development partner on proposed Wanda Vista skyscraper praised by Emanuel.Listed under 4 names. Lakeshore East developer
Centerview Partners$61,500Consultant to Comcast merger with Time-Warner Cable, which Emanuel backed in letter to FCC.NA
Katten Muchin$61,300Legal fees on city bond business.Renovations to its office
Gibsons Restaurant Group$60,113City signed off on sidewalk expansion at Rush Street restaurant.NA
Martin J. Koldyke$55,600Founder of Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL), which takes over troubled city schools.NA
Richard Sandor$55,000Sandor is board member of Chicago Clean Energy Trust, a nonprofit supported by Emanuel that received a grant worth $2.2 million in federal and private funding.NA
Willis Stein and Partners$55,000Equity firm owns Roundy's, which owns Mariano's grocery chain that gets city TIF money.Search for "Mariano’s" and "Roundy’s". Minor projects.
Comcast$52,000Emanuel supported Comcast merger with Time-Warner Cable in letter to FCC.Listed under 6 names. Renovations to its office and retail store in Lincoln Park.
Jerry Reinsdorf$50,000Reinsdorf owns Chicago Bulls. City approved Bulls practice facility, Emanuel held news conference.New "Advocate Center" practice facility at 15 S Wood Street.
Isaac Goldman$45,300Emanuel appointed Front Barnett principal Isaac "Sandy" Goldman to Illinois Medical District Commission.NA
Chicago Board Options Exchange$40,300Emanuel supported state tax breaks for commodities exchanges; CEO Bill Brodsky on World Business Chicago.Listed under 3 names for renovations to its 400 S LaSalle Street office.
Robert Rubin$40,300Mayor attends Rubin's Hamilton Project retreat.NA
Valor Equity Partners$40,000Emanuel appointed Valor CEO Antonio Gracias to World Business Chicago.NA
Walgreen Co.$38,850Then-Walgreen CEO Greg Wasson appointed to World Business Chicago. Contract for city worker wellness screenings.Listed under 13 names. Many permits are drug store renovations.
PGR Holding LLC$35,500Pat Ryan Jr., son of Aon insurance founder, appointed to World Business Chicago; also founded charter school that receives city support. Pat Ryan Sr. heads PGR Holding.NA
University Public Issues Committee$35,000PAC linked to Northwestern University; Emanuel signed off on request to demolish Prentice hospital.NA
Rooney family$31,298R4 Services, headed by Trisha Rooney Alden, has records storage contracts with city and City Colleges of Chicago. Donations from multiple family members, including former Waste Management CEO Phil Rooney.NA
Willis$28,300City insurance contract. City Colleges partnership with Willis to train potential employees.NA
Northern Trust$25,800Retired CEO William Osborn appointed to World Business Chicago. Also an underwriter on city bond business.Listed under 9 names. Renovations to its various office buildings and bank outlets.
Jimmy John's$25,600Restaurants get various permits for business in Chicago.Sign and awning permits.
System Development Integration$20,000CTA contract, other city technology contracts; sought red light camera contract.NA

Table 2. Number represents share of trips taken by that mode, regardless of distance.

[table “2” not found /]

How high (and low) expectations can make traffic safer

I have low expectations of fellow Chicagoans who are moving their vehicles on the same roads I cycle on. I expect that every door will fling open in my path, causing me to be doored. I also expect to be cut off at any moment, and especially in certain places like at intersections (where the majority of crashes occur), bus stops, or in places with lots of parallel parking activity. Because of these expectations I feel that my journeys have been pretty safe. My low expectations cause me to ride slower, ride out of the door zone, and pay attention to everyone’s maneuvers.

This is another post inspired by Traffic: Why we drive the way we do (and what it says about us) by Tom Vanderbilt. From page 227 of “Traffic”, about expectations :

Max Hall, a physics teacher in Massachusetts who often rides his collection of classic Vespas and Lambrettas in Rome, says that he finds it safer to ride in Rome than in Boston. Not only are American drivers unfamiliar with scooters, he maintains, but they resent being passed by them: “In Rome car and truck divers ‘know’ they are expect not to make sudden moves in traffic for fear of surprising, and hurting, two-wheeler drivers. And two-wheeler drivers drive, by and large, expecting not to be cut off.”

The scooter drivers have high expectations, and it seems that they’re being met.

This all plays nicely with the “safety in numbers” theory about cycling: the more people who are riding bicycles, the more visible bicycling is, and the more aware a driver will be around people who are bicycling, and the more they will expect someone on a bicycle. Awareness means caution.

It’s difficult to gauge the safety of cycling in Chicago as we’ve no exposure rate: we don’t know how many people are cycling how many miles (nor where).

A cyclist waits for the light to change at Milwaukee Avenue and Ashland Avenue. 

Exposure rate

Exposure rate in the sense I’m using it here means the number of times someone is in a crash or injury for each mile they ride. We know how many crashes and injuries are reported each year (in the Illinois Motorist Crash reports), but we don’t know how many miles people ride (neither individually nor an estimated average).

There was a limited household survey of Cook County residents in 2008 from CMAP, called Travel Tracker, that collected trip distance information for all trips members of a household made on all trip modes – I haven’t looked into this yet.

It would be highly useful if the Chicago Department of Transportation conducted ridership counts at the 10 intersections with the highest crash rates. And if the 10 intersections changed the following year, the new intersections would just be added to the initial 10 to track the changes of the initial 10. This would be one step closer to being able to determine a “crash rate” for each intersection.

© 2015 Steven Can Plan

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