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Articles filed under Pyke, Marni

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  • No action 25 years after crash showed risk to 'lap babies' on planes Jul 14, 2014 9:34 AM
    When United Flight 232 was about to crash land in Sioux City, Iowa, parents of four lap-held babies had to place them wrapped in blankets on the floor. That was the best the FAA could do in 1989, and today the safety requirements for babies are still substandard, safety advocates say. "It's a glaring gap," former NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman said.

     
  • Has Metra missed the universal fare card train? Jun 23, 2014 5:30 AM
    July 1 marks the dawn of the universal fare card in Illinois. On that date, Pace and the CTA officially switch over to Ventra, the new joint fare system. But wait, you say, there are three transit agencies in the region. Where does Metra fit in? Can you wave your Ventra card at the conductor and have it be accepted as a Metra fare? The answer is — no, Metra officials said last week.

     
  • Outgoing Metra directors describe ups, downs at agency Jun 16, 2014 5:30 AM
    Friday marks the departure of veteran Metra board directors Arlene Mulder and Jack Schaffer from the agency that’s seemed more like a soap opera than a transit organization in the past four years. In interviews last week, the two, who have a combined 17 years on Metra, offered a behind-the-scenes look at the highs, and extreme lows, during a time marked by scandal, political hanky-panky and a very public suicide. They also spoke of Metra’s climb back to stability and the future.

     
  • Group aims to make suburbs safer for bike riders Jun 9, 2014 12:43 PM
    You can bike for miles on trails all over the suburbs, but can you bike to the library or train station? There's a new campaign to serve the 90 percent of us who aren't expert cyclists but need better ways to get to our destinations. “We want to help the suburbs develop next-generation bike facilities that accommodate the average person,” Active Transportation Alliance Executive Director Ron Burke said.

     
  • George Ranney dishes on the RTA, Route 53 and 15 years in the fray Jun 2, 2014 5:14 AM
    Libertyville native George Ranney, CEO of the former Metropolis Strategies, opens up about the state of transit funding ('that's nuts'), how to pay for extending Route 53 ('let's get real'), and the RTA ('they haven't been able to bring people together').

     
  • Noise from new runways takes a toll on suburbs May 27, 2014 1:28 PM
    No dandelion would dare poke its head out on Chester Gorniak’s immaculate lawn. But weeds are the only thing missing from his leafy Bensenville paradise that explodes with hydrangeas, weeping cherry trees, wind chimes, statues, fountains and two exuberant terriers. It’s utterly tranquil ... that is until an MD-80 shatters the silence, causing the animal statues to vibrate. Then, a 747. Then, an MD-80. And so on. Gorniak lived amicably with O’Hare International Airport for nearly 26 years, coping with intermittent jet noise. But a new runway commissioned in October has shifted air traffic flow, opening up a new front in the war between O’Hare and the suburbs that includes allies in Chicago. Adding to the mix are recent FAA rule changes shifting runway use and causing a din in previously quiet communities. The resultant cacophony has led state and federal lawmakers to seek remedies, but they’re bumping up against the second busiest airport in the nation. Meanwhile, Gorniak wants out. “I cannot live here. It’s impossible,” he said. O’Hare’s latest runway, once the site of St. Johannes Cemetery, revolutionized air traffic at O’Hare from a multidirectional approach to a predominantly east or west flow. That’s led to a surge in noise complaints from towns including Bensenville, Itasca, Wood Dale, Addison and northwest areas of Chicago. In Bensenville, for example, noise complaints shot up from one in March 2013 to 332 from 34 households in March 2014, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation. But the new runway’s not the only noise bomb hitting unsuspecting neighborhoods. In the wake of near misses at other airports during “go-arounds,” when an airplane scraps a landing, the FAA instituted rule changes at O’Hare in April. The revisions mean restricted use of Runway 32L, a workhorse runway that departs to the northwest. Two runways that depart to the southwest and west are picking up the slack. The changes also limit use of Runway 4L, which departs to the northeast. As a result, two runways departing to the east are handling more aircraft. Regarding the runway restrictions, the FAA is working with air traffic controllers on procedures to get back to using the two runways more, spokesman Tony Molinaro said. He noted that over the years, “noise contours have shrunk tremendously” with newer aircraft. But for now, sitting around the porch can be earsplitting for pockets of communities around the region. “There’s no rhyme or reason to it,” said James Argionis, a Park Ridge resident and member of the Fair Allocation in Runways Coalition (FAiR). The coalition, which includes suburbs and Chicago chapters, seeks a new plan for runway use that considers residential noise and wants Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino to resign. “I’m glad people in Chicago have gotten involved,” Argionis said. “For years, Bensenville and Park Ridge have been complaining and it’s fallen on deaf ears because it’s not their voters.” FAiR members say they want something beyond soundproofing. “What we really want is a seat at the table,” Argionis said. “In a democracy, it’s the right thing to do.” Chicago Department of Aviation officials said in a statement they “recognize the need to balance all of the economic benefits of O’Hare with quality of life issues of airport neighbors.” “We believe the best and most appropriate forum to address noise concerns is the O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission. All key parties, including the CDA, ONCC members, and from time to time the FAA and airlines, attend and participate in these meetings. The full ONCC meetings provide an opportunity for residents to voice their concerns.” Bensenville leaders, however, are still seeking a one-on-one meeting with the city. And Argionis thinks the ONCC’s mandate doesn’t go far enough to provide meaningful intervention. Meanwhile, state Sens. Dennis Reboletti, an Elmhurst Republican, and Michael McAuliffe, a Chicago Democrat, filed legislation this month asking the state to study the effects of O’Hare-related pollution on surrounding residents. The issue’s also got the attention of local congressmen. U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, a Hoffman Estates Democrat and pilot, said Thursday she met with FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and asked him to expedite an airport noise study. “I’ve also asked the FAA to use more runways at the airport so that there will be less noise congestion from the airplanes waiting on runways,” Duckworth said in an email. “It is crucial that improvements at O’Hare do not hurt the quality of life for my neighbors.” Help can’t come soon enough for Gorniak and his neighbors on Hillside Drive, including Rebecca Weed. The screech of jets is so overwhelming that it sets off the baby monitor in her daughter Hailey’s room. “I can hear it turn on and she’s sound asleep,” Weed said. “It took a while for me to figure it was the planes that were triggering the monitor.” Got an opinion on O’Hare noise? Drop me an email at mpyke@dailyherald.com. Or follow me on Twitter at @DHInTransit. One more thing Some suburban officials have suggested that imposing higher altitudes for aircraft in the vicinity could bring relief. But aviation professionals I checked with noted that O’Hare already institutes departure and arrival procedures that account for noise abatement. “The traffic flowing in and out of O’Hare is a complex choreography of activity,” said commercial pilot Dennis Tajer of Arlington Heights, an official with the Allied Pilots Association representing American Airlines pilots. Steeper altitudes also mean more complex maneuvers for aircraft and pilots, experts point out. Gridlock alert It’s your turn, Arlington Heights. The Illinois tollway is reconstructing I-90 ramps at the Route 53 and Arlington Heights Road interchanges. Expect lane closures now through the fall. Upcoming So what’s happening with that Go To 2040 plan that addressed regional planning and transportation? Find out at noon Thursday during a Metropolitan Planning Council forum at 140 S. Dearborn St., Suite 1400, Chicago.

     
  • Readers sound off on tolls, pets on planes and more May 19, 2014 5:25 AM
    The fur flies as readers vent about pets on planes, a potential conflict of interest for Gov. Pat Quinn and a tollway board director, and tolling freeways. Plus traffic tips and a green cars event in this week's column. Jan Spaletto of Palatine knows how she'd vote on tolling Route 53. "My opinion is that those proposing these changes are just plain nuts."

     
  • Why more tolls could be coming to area freeways May 5, 2014 9:29 AM
    Should freeways be tolled? That's the debate du jour as Congress tries to tackle highway funding before money runs out this fall. The White House's $302 billion, four-year transportation bill filed last week gives its blessing to states to charge tolls on interstates under certain conditions.

     
  • Chairman says reclaiming trust key to raising Metra funds Apr 10, 2014 5:00 PM
    Metra riders know the agency’s problems range from political patronage to aging equipment. Chairman Martin Oberman hopes resolving the first issue will give commuters enough faith in the agency to help pay to fix the second.

     
  • Can lawmakers police themselves in reforming transit? Apr 7, 2014 5:30 AM
    It's one thing to cheer on transit reforms in the abstract. It's quite another when the group recommending the reforms has the audacity to suggest that you are part of the problem. That's the paradox facing lawmakers in the wake of some revolutionary ideas on fixing transit.

     
  • Acting RTA chief aims for policy over politics Mar 24, 2014 5:14 AM
    It’s not the most optimal time to lead the Regional Transportation Authority. The RTA has drawn a growing number of critics, and a powerful state panel is wondering if the agency even needs to exist. But Leanne Redden, the RTA's new interim executive director and a resident of Schaumburg, says she’s up for the challenge.

     
  • Snow-blocked sidewalks upset suburbanites Mar 17, 2014 7:09 AM
    Readers are taking over the In Transit column today and they're steamed about snow removal on sidewalks. Why, they wonder, don't more of their neighbors help keep the walks clear? And why aren't towns helping out more? “We often find that kids cannot wait on the sidewalk as many of the corner bus stops are piled with snow,” Longtime Schaumburg school bus driver Dick Voegtle said.

     
  • Snow all over suburban sidewalks puts pedestrians in peril Mar 10, 2014 5:55 AM
    Thousands of pedestrians have experienced a winter not just of discontent but downright peril, thanks to record snowfalls and a laissez faire attitude toward shoveling sidewalks in the suburbs. “It’s very dangerous,” mom Toni Sim said. “Especially with people (driving) and doing their makeup, texting, checking Facebook. No one has time to shovel the snow and the village doesn’t want to get involved.”

     
  • Negotiations with tollway whittled cost from moving pipeline Mar 3, 2014 5:33 AM
    Oh to be in the room when Northwest Cook County mayors learned it would cost millions to move a water pipe in the way of I-90 expansion. “We were knocked head over heels,” Hanover Park Mayor Rodney Craig said. Under a 1984 agreement between the Illinois tollway and the Northwest Suburban Municipal Joint Action Water Agency, the towns are on the hook for the $73 million cost of relocating parts of the pipeline for ongoing Jane Addams Tollway improvements.

     
  • Governor candidates talk tolls, transit and airports Feb 24, 2014 9:22 AM
    Democrat or Republican — you both have dreams in common. Dreams of less traffic, cheaper tolls, public transit that works, no potholes ... the list goes on. Here's where the GOP governor candidates stand on transportation.

     
  • Metra's new chairman lays out agenda Feb 17, 2014 4:58 AM
    How does a bicycle-riding, bow tie-wearing, Rahm Emanuel appointee who lives in Lincoln Park fit as chairman of an agency considered to be suburban turf? Like a glove, Martin Oberman says. “There is no need for the idea of a competition or jealousy between city and suburbs,” he said.

     
  • Experts: Connected cars bring dangerous distractions Feb 10, 2014 4:55 AM
    Nothing like a "connected car," where everything is so much safer — rearview cameras, blind spot spotters, and ways to talk without holding a cell phone. Not so fast, say experts, who argue we're deluding ourselves if we think hands-free is safe. “The more drivers are involved in nondriving tasks, the more we will see crashes go up,” said David Teater, a senior director with the Itasca-based National Safety Council.

     
  • Pull over, ‘Speed Racer’: Futuristic models part of Chicago Auto Show Feb 3, 2014 5:35 AM
    Vroom. Vroom. Forget winter. Let's talk horsepower, powertrains, mpg. Let's talk about the Kia GT4 Stinger, the all-new Mustang and Ford's aluminum — yes, aluminum — F-150 truck. The Chicago Auto Show is back in town and you can win free tickets. Ford is using “military-grade” aluminum alloys on the F-150 that knock off 700 pounds, making for a more fuel-efficient truck. But the break from traditional steel is a risky move, industry insiders say.

     
  • What now for Metra police force? Jan 27, 2014 12:53 PM
    So what's next for Metra's police force? With lots of questions swirling, board members say they'll talk publicly about the fate of the beleaguered department, embarrassed by a critical report that spoke of an "antiquated" system.

     
  • Mice under the hood and other winter car issues Jan 20, 2014 8:33 AM
    How do you keep rodents from nesting under your car's hood? Readers offer tips, plus more advice from experts on getting you and your car through the winter in one piece.

     
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