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In the Potential Future News: O’Hare Bullet Train, the Future Head of Chicago Public Schools

New news about recent news, as Mayor Daley continues to doggedly pursue his long-held dream of an ORD express train, and another name gets added to the mix of rumored CPS chiefs.

O'Hare airport Chicago ORD

Hal Dardick follows up on a story that’s been in the news recently, and also forever: the high-speed/bullet/supertrain from downtown to O’Hare. It’s been an obsession and/or boondoggle for Mayor Daley for years:

The mayor has previously proposed big plans that have not come to fruition, including an “airport express” premium service train between O’Hare and the now-mothballed Block 37 “super station” in the Loop. Others, like Millennium Park, have.

The first instance I could find of a proposed O’Hare express train was 2001 (which also included plans for a Midway express train). So it’s been on the table longer than Meigs was.

On one hand: Chicago’s not too bad, at least in comparison to New York, which despite a vastly superior subway system requires transferring to get downtown from its airports.

On the other: the public-private partnership that maintains the Heathrow Express airport train has been successful in London. To my surprise, but I’m a cheap traveler (see: taking public trans from NYC airports).

Related: high-speed rail took a hit in the proposed federal budget.

While we’re on the subject, Ed Zotti suggests how to fix the El/L/elevated train (that’s at the top of my Daley bucket list: an official proclamation on the proper spelling, if not a permanently binding resolution). One thing about it bugged me a bit:

Here are some design features on which we can surely all agree. One: The stations shouldn’t smell like outhouses.

I’m not pro-urine, but on that count we’re actually much better off than New York. I went to NYC three times over the past year, twice during unseasonably cold March weather and once during the summer. During the cold weather, the stations were freezing. During the warm weather, they were hotter than the street, more humid, and smelled. I think Chicago’s a somewhat happy medium between New York (extremely useful and efficient, kind of gross) and DC/Atlanta (much less useful, extremely clean).

Kristen Mack and Joel Hood take a look at who’s rumored to be Rahm Emanuel’s pick to run CPS. Two of the names have been mentioned before, Jerry Weast and Andres Alonso. The third, Rochester superintendent Jean-Claude Brizard is… wait for it… in the midst of a politically charged debate over budget cuts and teachers’ unions. So he wouldn’t be coming off the bench cold. But according to the Democrat and Chronicle, Brizard’s name has been floated in Boston and Newark as well.


Photograph: Wallula Junction (CC by 2.0)


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