TagMetro

Travel grief

I came back to Chicago today after a trip to New York City.

The first thing I did when I arrived was imagine all the things that I want to change based on what I saw and learned in New York City. Someone told me this is travel grief, states of emotion and motivation in order to effect change.

What was the first thing I saw?

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has three types of ticket vending machines (TVM) in the O’Hare Blue Line station. One is the common TVM that can create cards with cash value, add value to existing cards, or add value to Chicago Cards (with cash). The second TVM did all of this and accepted credit cards. The third TVM issued single or multi-day passes (I don’t remember if it took credit cards).

The vending machines in the New York City subway perform the functions of all CTA three machines AND all accept credit cards. Since 1999.

There’s more. I tried to keep a list. As I process my 500+ photos, I’ll be reminded of the ones I forgot to write down.

The snow debate: Who should clear sidewalks?

A couple of days ago (I think it was Friday night, December 18, 2009), a storm dumped several feet of snow in the northeast United States, covering New York City, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The storm was so eventful that Metro (Washington, D.C.) stored many of its trains in the subway tunnels to avoid getting them covered in heavy snow, and applied “heater tape” to the third rails to keep them from getting new ice after two passes from plows and deicing trains. [This information comes from the linked Metro press release on December 19, 2009.]

Now Streetsblog NYC is hosting the debate about snow removal from sidewalks. Why doesn’t anyone do it, and who should do it? Images of unplowed sidewalks and pedestrians walking in clean and clear streets bring up issues about priorities in street design and maintenance.

Many municipalities have ordinances requiring the property owner to remove snow from the sidewalk (Chicago even specifies a time frame in which the work must be completed; at my last apartment, I shoveled the snow from the sidewalk and porches for a deduction in rent). Many people report how these laws pass through the winter without enforcement.

My bike waits for me on unplowed sidewalk in front of my school. I live in Chicago, Illinois, not the east coast.

A plow removes snow from a bike lane in Copenhagen, Denmark. Is this something we can bring to our bike lanes and sidewalks in the United States?

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