Elevating Chicago

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Moving on

When I started writing here almost a year ago, I wasn't sure what to expect. I'm just a mechanical engineer living in Washington, DC with an interest in transportation and urban planning trying to write about issues in Chicago. It wouldn't have surprised me if this blog proved to simply be me shouting into the ether, a few thousand words on transit oriented development and bike lanes before going quietly into the night. But I also had an idea for something bigger, something that would prove that while there may not yet be a StreetsblogChicago, it's not for lack on interest on the part of the city's residents. Obviously, Elevating Chicago has been much closer to the former than the latter, and that says more about me than about the community for these ideas. (One of Jane Jacobs' most basic ideas was that the city life--both good and bad--which we seek is everywhere around us all the time, if only we would look. It's hard to get a handle on that life from 800 miles away, and near impossible to advocate for it successfully by writing once a week or less.)

There's certainly an untapped well of interest in--and advocacy for--bringing to Chicago many of the of livable reforms and designs I've talked about here. From groups like the Active Transportation Alliance, to the Center for Neighborhood Technology, to individuals like Mike Payne, Jason Tinkey, Steve Vance, and Lee Crandell, there are plenty of smart, hard-working people in and around Chicago who understand how much greater the city could be. If, by some strange circumstance, you've been reading what I have to say but ignoring them, take it upon yourself to fix that now. (And if you're one of them: thanks for the writing you guys do. It's always smart, informative, and doesn't succumb to the cynicism that's all-too-easy to embrace in Chicago.)


So why am I shutting this down, anyway? Well, I'm starting on the road to doing this professionally. Later this summer, I'll be moving to California to get a Master of Science in Transportation Engineering from UC-Berkeley. Between classes, research, and exploring a new city (both socially and transportationally), this blog would take even more of a backseat than it already does. My plan is to focus on intra-city mass transit, though who knows where my research will take me. And don't worry: I'll do everything I can to avoid becoming any version of this.

Perhaps I'll come back to Chicago when I'm done--that's still a long way off. In the meantime, I'm going to leave this blog up as long as ChicagoNow will let me. I'll still be paying attention to this stuff even if I'm not writing about it, but should events warrant a comment, having a (semi-) established corner of cyberspace could prove useful. If you've been following me on twitter, I think I'm going to shut @ElevChicago down. I'll still be going strong on my personal account, @RedTosenbaum--and that will start to skew more heavily toward urbanism and transportation (and away from sports, quizzo, and beer) in the coming weeks and months. And of course, there's always email, which I suppose passes for formal communication these days: ted [dot] rosenbaum [at] gmail [dot] com.

May all your trains arrive just as your reach the platform, and may your roads be efficiently priced.


Sure, call it a comeback

After huddling in the studio for over a month, Elevating Chicago is here to announce a reboot, with some changes.  Before we go forward though, it's important to straighten out how we got here.  So full disclosure: I don't live in Chicago.  I grew up there here (I'm going to keep writing with the local voice.  So sue me) but I now live in Washington, DC--hence posts like this.  This worked out mostly ok, because Scott was still in the city and was a great help for me to get the details right, not to mention his own terrific posts.

In July, Scott moved away.  We were left without an anchor, and unsure of what to do.  He's pressed for time now and so most likely his byline won't appear in these parts anymore.  I, however, still can sneak in some time for this corner of the internet.  And I still love Chicago, so I'm going to keep writing.  Because for every good idea the city tries (rebuilt L stations, the upcoming BRT pilot) there are half-measures (the bike sharing pilot) and utter failures (how about a CDOT commissioner that sticks around for a while?)  So, although I won't be able to experience a lot of what happens first-hand, I'll be keeping a watchful eye on things (and talking to the friends and family I still have in Chicago) and offer my two cents.

So this post is also a bleg: if you see something that I might miss by not walking, driving, and riding around, tell me.  Email, twitter, carrier pigeon, whatever.  And if I miss details, correct me.  It won't be the first time I've been wrong, and the most important thing I can do here--elevating the conversation about making Chicago more livable for all of us--will never work if I'm inaccurate.

And now, on with the show...

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