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Old 02-16-2011, 02:37 PM
smartacus smartacus is offline
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 2
Do we Chicagoans really love our cars?

In Cecil's article, he wrote:

As for whether L.A. is more car-obsessed than other U.S. cities… well, that's not easy to establish objectively. But here's a suggestive data point. One might suppose that in a truly car-obsessed town, motorists would rather waste time stewing in their vehicles at rush hour than use transit, right? And in fact L.A. ranks #3 in annual delay per auto commuter. What city ranks #1? It's us.
I'm wondering if two things are being conflated in this discussion -- the metro area and the city proper.

When the "delay per auto commuter" is discussed, is that for the Chicago metro area? Because if it is, there is a pretty good reason why this figure exists, and it's not just that commuters looovvve their cars so very, very much that they are willing to waste tons of time in gridlock.

It's also the fact that public transit in the Chicago suburbs completely sucks and isn't much of an option.

Metra was designed to suit residential and work travel patterns that no longer hold true. People are no longer mainly commuting from their suburban homes to jobs in the city. They are also commuting from burb to burb, and the existing hub and spoke train system does not accommodate that. Neither are the suburban bus systems extensive enough to take up the slack.

Therefore, if you live in the suburbs, you probably commute by car and must consequently deal with horrendous traffic. Fixing the CTA (which is already pretty good) will do little to bring down the metro area's "delay per auto commuter" figure. Fixing Metra by adding "ring" or "beltway" lines might get the job done, but I figure the expense of acquiring the real estate to do that would be astronomical, without adding in the cost of building the lines themselves.