Another South Loop blogger yesterday listed all the things the resigning Gabe Klein–Chicago Transportation Commissioner–did for the city, and the South Loop in particular, in the last couple years. Like bikes and bike lanes–and gracing us with his presence as an actual resident in the neighborhood. He even pats Gabe on the back for asking him one morning, while he was checking his phone while standing near a Divvy Bike station if everything was “Ok.”
All I can say is, “What????????”
If you ask me, Gabe’s left a complete mess.
Let’s start with that annoying (at best) and downright unsightly and majorly dangerous (at worst) rip-off Divvy Bike program. Property owners in Chicago are petitioning against–and even seeking to file lawsuits against–the plunking of racks of baby blue bikes outside their doors. Thereby lowering the curb appeal–and thus, the value of their property. I couldn’t agree more. Just what we need outside the stately 1905 firehouse at 14th and Michigan–which now houses a beautiful restaurant in the restored structure. A bunch of baby blues.
And they take up parking spaces, too. Pushing many people into overpriced lots.
And outside the South Loop? A rack of those things in front of the Chicago Cultural Center is about as bad as it gets. Sis Daley would turn over in her grave if she knew.
Divvy. Just what we need. More idiots–like lawyers in suits with briefcases riding like crazy a-holes to their appointments; and tourists who have no idea where they’re going or in what direction–running us pedestrians down on the sidewalks. Hey, we’re not driving gas guzzlers, us walkers. So don’t get on your high horses, Divvy riders. You aren’t the only ones saving us from taxi fumes and SUV pollution. We walkers are just as committed to our bodies and our communities as you are, even though you love to scare us by riding fast and furious around us–sometimes even striking us and knocking us down.
It’s a fact that Gabe knew and worked with these guys who run the business that has littered our pretty streets with these ugly bikes. I think it’s all so that his boss garners campaign money and votes from the bike-loving community. Which is a substantial number of people. Selfish ones. Their philosophy? Bikes rule. The rest of us be damned.
Are Divvys a sweetheart deal? I’d like to know who paid for the installation of the bike holders. And the fees; who thought that one up? Rushing back after a half hour ride to return your bike–or else face increasingly hefty fees is just about as “Ventralike” (a new term I am officially making up for government programs that take advantage of innocent citizens who are trying to keep quiet, make a living and enjoy life) as you can get.
Then there’s those bike lanes. Don’t get me started. The one on Dearborn on the South Loop/Printers Row portion of that vintage Chicago street has totally ruined one of the most beautiful urban vistas in the world. The street, culminating at the beautiful Dearborn Station at Polk Street–an iconic city landmark–had a gorgeous symmetry. On both sides there are stately old buildings, and there was a parking lane dipping down toward the sidewalk on each side. Perfectly balanced and beautiful.
Now you have parking essentially in the middle of the street that makes it look like a permanent construction zone, or like a big shot is having a party in his loft and got permission to let his guests double park. And you have an extremely dangerous two-way bike lane on only ONE side of a one-way street, with two different traffic control signals at Congress (one for bikes; one for cars). Can you think of a more treacherous (not to mention confusing) intersection for pedestrians? (Not to mention the bikes and the cars.)
Other things Gabe’s getting credit for: speed cameras and the renovation of the Bloomingdale Trail. Uh, well, I know Rahm’s administration wants to take credit for everything in Chicago from the Picasso to the Museum Campus–but these things were either here or decidedly planned for in previous administrations. Enough said.
So if you ask this South Loop blogger about good old Gabe and ways he served our neighborhood, I think there is one outstanding thing he’s done to serve the South Loop: he resigned.