Tagneighborhood

There used to be homes here

This is a testament to the destructive power of urban highways, be they tunneled, trenched, or elevated.

While biking through Chicago’s west side on Monday along the Congress branch of the Chicago Transit Authority Blue Line, my friend Tony remarked subtly on the “neighborhood” that lines the Eisenhower expressway (you call them highways or freeways):

There used to be homes on the other side of the street.

Indeed, there were homes across from the homes, like a typical neighborhood in any city. Or something useful and interesting for the neighborhood across the street that wasn’t 12 lanes of fast-moving automobiles and a rapid transit line, with all the noise, pollution, and crashes that comes with it.

Let’s not ever let this happen again; no more highways through neighborhoods.

Invigorating Bridgeport

I recently started a blog called Bridgeport. About three weeks ago.

My intent is to use it as a platform on which to promote local businesses. I didn’t know what to write about it until a journalism student at Columbia College asked me some questions about me and the blog for a class assignment.

A chic Chicagoan rides by Bricks Realty, a local Bridgeport business on Morgan Street.

How long have you lived in Bridgeport and how do you like it?

I’ve lived in Bridgeport for 2.5 years in December 2010. I like it less than I liked living Pilsen because I’m a little further away to where I went to school and where I used to work. I also like the obvious Pilsen identity and numerous taquerias (I’ve documented my visits to 24 taquerias to judge their burritos).

When did you start the blog?

I started the blog on October 6th, but the first entry didn’t appear until the next day. I work in the middle of the night often.

Why did you decide to start blogging about Bridgeport?

I started blogging about Bridgeport because I feel that we have a lot of great local businesses that don’t get the same attention that businesses in the Loop, Lincoln Park, or Wicker Park receive. The level of awareness Chicagoans have for businesses and attractions in Bridgeport seems very low. I think people will come to Bridgeport to enjoy one neat place they read about, and then leave. There are diverse products and services available in Bridgeport – there’s more than just a restaurant known for its brunch and organic food.

What do you blog about?

So far I haven’t blogged about much. I’ve posted a couple events, like a store sale at Blue City Cycles, or an open house at Bubbly Dynamics where the public is invited to meet local craftspeople and see their work. I went to that open house and met all the craftspeople to introduce them to the blog. I plan to feature them in a future entry.

Do you run any other blogs?

I write often in another blog about urban planning and Chicago. It has a silly name, Steven can plan, but once you launch, you don’t really have an opportunity to change the name without confusing readers. (I just counted the words, 70,826 of ’em!)

What is your background in (ie major/job)?

I graduated from UIC with a master’s degree in urban planning this past May. I worked at the Chicago Department of Transportation for almost 3 years ending in September this year. I’m looking for new work, but I also just love blogging and taking photos.

Witness appeal

In London and Greater London (but not the City of London), when the Metropolitan Police want the public’s help in their investigations of incidents and crimes, including traffic collisions, they erect “Witness Appeal Signs” near the scene.

“We are appealing for witnesses.” Singapore also uses these signs.

It seems in 2009, though, the Metropolitan Police banned the use of the signs except for traffic collisions. Some research indicated that the public perceived that, due to the presence of the signs, crime in the neighborhood was increasing. The Daily Mail article quoted one officer to say:

“They were placed where the crimes actually happened, so were very much targeted at people who might have seen something. Now that source of information has been cut off…”

The signs are placed and designed in such a way to be seen by people walking, biking, and driving near the scene of the incident.

How effective is this small sign posted on a pole compared to a bright Witness Appeal Sign in London?

I suggest that American police departments, Chicago’s included, look into installing similar signs for the most severe traffic collisions, starting with a bilingual “witness appeal sign” for the hit & run crash in Pilsen that killed Martha Gonzalez.

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