Removing Chicago’s red snarling streetcar tracks is a failure of planning | Owen Street

There’s a new streetcar track in town.

It was rolled out earlier this month after a long period of planning and environmental analysis and a year of construction by Chicago’s Capital Development Department.

While I thought the track itself had a lot of promise, I wasn’t happy with how I had to transport my possessions around to the new tracks.

Consequently, I didn’t have the time to slog all the way to the new tracks, and it turned out that I was all that was waiting for me there.

I did, however, have my bicycle in hand. And while the tracks are pretty solid (from the outside looking in), they do have a slight incline, making the ride a bit uncomfortable.

I think about this every time I go up to the tracks, and it’s bound to irk me more and more.

Imagine how much more they’ll feel, when I’m pushing a little kid or helping someone with an older relative.

I could probably shovel gravel and putt-putt off on my own – maybe roll a ball between the young person’s hands for a bit – but I still wish that the city of Chicago had provided, at least in some small way, some means to simply (or at least slightly) get a hold of my stuff.

More than two weeks into this experiment, I’m still trying to figure out what the city could have done better.

Maybe there’s a better way to deal with curbside storage and moving around. Maybe some kind of planner really thought about all the ramifications of this project, which left the city with a lot of unanswered questions, and why it would, on first thought, make sense to actually roll out this new track system.

Maybe those questions never got asked, because ultimately, the only planning that was done by this city was on the planning and approval of the line, which took almost 20 years to come into fruition.

I suppose that I feel like I know now where it falls under all of that planning – that it must have.

And now, I am an observer of that planning, attempting to relate it to the regular us, those of us who aren’t crafting commuter rails on our coffee tables in an open office, and putting them together with styrofoam tubes.

Owen Street

Leave a Comment