IDOT And CMAP Propose New Initiatives To Relieve Traffic Gridlock In Chicago

Those who commute by car to work everyday in and around Chicago, know how stressful the traffic can be. It can be stressful just trying to drive to the one of the airports, or coming down to the city over the weekend. Chicago has been documented as one of the worst cities in the U.S. when it comes to traffic gridlock. According to the Chicago Tribune, the Illinois Department of Transportation (“IDOT”) and (“CMAP”) have recently teamed up to plan alternative solutions for freeing up some of the traffic gridlock in and around Chicago.

One of their first proposed ideas is congestion pricing. Congestion pricing would allow motorists to pay for the privilege of bypassing gridlock. According to CMAP, a congestion pricing added lane can shorten a motorist’s morning rush-hour commute by a third to two-thirds. Rush-hour traffic in un-tolled lanes would drop by a quarter to a third, according to CMAP research.

The second suggestion is  using expressway shoulders for buses, an idea already used on the Jane Addams tollway and on Interstate 55.

Another suggestion to their plan would be installing sensors along expressways that gather real-time data on bottlenecks, so motorists know ahead of time which stretches to avoid.

This all seem like legitimate ideas, but do we know if they will really work? Also, how would the state pay for all of this? Once possible solution is an additional gas tax.

I am a little dubious of all of the above ideas. I am not an engineer or a traffic expert, but none of the plans take the actual number of total commuters of the road. The additional bus lane is a start, but I really cannot think of many people that would take a bus out of or into the city due time on the commute. I would like to see further study into high speed trains and/or additional train lines. If Metra and the state can offer faster trains and/or more trains in and out of the city, I believe we would have more commuters deciding to stay out of their vehicles. Of course I don’t know the cost and whether this is even feasible, but if we want less vehicles on the road, it seems to me the most viable option would be a faster train system.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Metra To Install High-Tech Safety System

Metra announced last month that they are going to spend $100 million to install a Positive Train Control (PTC) to its’ systems. PTC is a complex system of computers, GPS devices, radios and other communications equipment intended to take over when a train is approaching another train.

In an emergency, the system also could override an engineer who may be distracted or otherwise miss or ignore a warning signal to slow down, such as when a train crosses a switch or a track crossover, or when it exceeds the speed limit.

Basically this is a computer system that aims to eliminate human error. Is this too little too late? Critics say that rail lines should have installed such systems long ago. The National Transportation Safety Board called for positive train control as far back as 1990.

The NTSB cited the lack of such a system in the deadly crash on Metra’s Rock Island line in 2005, the second such derailment on the same line. In December 2006, the safety agency issued an urgent recommendation to Metra to install an automatic system to warn engineers.

Regardless, this is a positive step towards making Metra trains safer.

If you or someone you know has been involved in Chicago car aacidentChicago truck accident  or Illinois Metra accident , then call attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation  at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at
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Metra Train Strikes Car In Morgan Park

A Rock Island Metra train struck a car in Morgan Park this morning. Luckily no one was hurt but this has to be cause for concern.

Rock Island District Metra train No. 406 struck a vehicle at 111th Street, possibly near South Hale Avenue, according to Metra spokesman Tom Miller.

The crash apparently occurred at a low speed, according to Lt. Tom McNicholas of the Morgan Park District Police, whose headquarters are located two blocks from the 111th Street Metra Station.

McNicholas speculated that a car stalled on the tracks may be to blame since trains are “normally flying by” at that area, but said that officials are still trying to uncover the circumstances behind the train crash.

No injuries were reported and train 406 is on the move but running about 45 minutes late, according to Miller.

To read the complete story, click here.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an Illinois car accident, Illinois truck accident, Metra accident or CTA accident, then call attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384.

2 Metra Employees Suspended After Door Incident

There is trouble again with doors with another Chicago area train. You may recall, I discussed an incident that took place on the CTA Red Line. This time a Metra train leaving the city had problems with one of its’ doors.

Metra has suspended two longtime crew members after a 4-year-old boy’s foot was caught in the closed door of a commuter train leaving a station.

The boy, D.J. Newton, was not hurt Saturday while exiting a train car, said his mother, Eileen Kermer, 31, of Worth, who described her terror as she desperately yanked her son’s foot from the door, leaving his boot inside.

“With all my might, I pulled him as hard as I could,” Kermer said Monday. “I didn’t care if he lost his leg at that point or anything. I had to get him out of there.”

The crew members have been removed from service with pay pending a formal disciplinary hearing, Metra spokeswoman Judy Pardonnet said.

“Our preliminary review of this situation would indicate the crew did not follow the rules,” Pardonnet said. “It appears there was something that went very wrong.”

Metra also sent out a bulletin Monday reminding crews of proper procedures. Crew members are required to make sure doorways are clear of passengers before closing them, Pardonnet said. This includes a “second check” by a crew member before the last doors close.

Pardonnet said Metra coach doors reopen if something gets lodged in them. But it appeared the boy’s foot was too small for the door to respond, she said.

To read the complete story at the Chicago Tribune, click here.

Luckily the little boy was not hurt but it is troubling that two (2) incidents have occurred within a few months. Hopefully the CTA and Metra can rectify these problems.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a CTA accident, Metra accident, Illinois car accident or Illinois truck accident, then call Attorney Aaron J. Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384.