WBEZ | Lauren Chooljian http://www.wbez.org/tags/lauren-chooljian Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Final phase of Ventra rollout suspended, developer apologizes http://www.wbez.org/news/final-phase-ventra-rollout-suspended-developer-apologizes-109094 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Ventra.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Chicago commuters will be able to hold on to those old Chicago Cards and magnetic strip cards for a little while longer. Chicago Transit Authority officials announced the the final phase of the new <a href="http://ventrachicago.com/">Ventra </a>system&rsquo;s rollout will be suspended until a few of its problems are fixed. Chicago Cards and Chicago Card Plus were supposed to be phased out by November 15.</p><p dir="ltr">CTA President Forrest Claypool also said the agency won&rsquo;t pay the developer, Cubic Transportation Systems, any of the $454 million, 12-year contract, until the company meets three criterion: customer service wait times must be five minutes or less, processing times for the tap-and-go function of a Ventra card must be under two and a half seconds--99 percent of the time--and all readers and vending machines must be operational 99 percent of the time.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;The bottom line is that too many of our customers are confused and frustrated and that&rsquo;s our fault,&rdquo; Claypool told members of the City Club at a luncheon Tuesday.</p><p dir="ltr">Cubic&rsquo;s head of North American operations, Richard Wunderle, was on hand to answer some questions as well.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;This transition period wasn&rsquo;t our shining light, and for that I want to apologize to the riders of CTA,&rdquo; said Wunderle. &ldquo;It wasn&rsquo;t our best effort but it will get better, so I apologize for that.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Cubic isn&rsquo;t new to the public transit game: They&rsquo;ve got 400 fare-collection projects in operation across the world, including systems in Sydney, London and Washington, D.C. But the Ventra system marks the first time the company&rsquo;s tackled an open-fare, contactless card system; and officials say it&rsquo;s the first of its kind in North America.</p><p dir="ltr">Wunderle said Cubic engineers are already at work on a number of fixes to get things up to speed.</p><p dir="ltr">One issue that&rsquo;s drawn many complaints from CTA riders is being charged for multiple taps of their Ventra card at the turnstile. Officials say customers would tap their card, and after not immediately seeing a green &ldquo;Go&rdquo; signal, they&rsquo;d tap multiple times or move to a different lane. As of Tuesday, Cubic said they added a new &ldquo;processing&rdquo; screen to show riders the system is working before it lets them through. Engineers will also be upgrading the Ventra software over the weekend to try and bring processing times down on card readers to two-and-a-half seconds or less. CTA officials said that&rsquo;s happening 95 percent of the time--but the other 5 percent of the time, processing times varied from three to 10 seconds, sometimes more.</p><p dir="ltr">Claypool said the issue that&rsquo;s upset him the most is the long wait times for callers trying to reach a customer service agent, calling it a &ldquo;self-inflicted wound.&rdquo; The CTA chief said on one day last month, the center was overwhelmed with 20,000 calls. Some customers couldn&rsquo;t get through to an agent at all, while others waited, and waited - in some cases, for more than 30 minutes. Cubic has hired more customer service agents since then, and plans to expand further.</p><p dir="ltr">No timeline has been set for when the Ventra rollout will continue. Wunderle said he can&rsquo;t really give a &ldquo;best guess&rdquo; how long it will take the company to address the CTA&rsquo;s three benchmarks, only estimating &ldquo;weeks&rdquo; when pressed by a reporter.</p><p dir="ltr">Other interesting Ventra facts:</p><ul><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">The entire Ventra contract lasts 12 years: The two years allotted for engineering the system are almost up. The next 10 years of the contract will be for the service.</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Cubic paid $92 million up front toward the transition: installing card readers, vending machines, call center operations, etc.</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">CTA lawyers will be looking into how many fares they&rsquo;ve missed because of bus drivers waving people through when there seemed to be problems with the Ventra card</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">50 percent of CTA riders are now using Ventra cards</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Card readers will now display a &ldquo;low balance&rdquo; screen that lets customers know their Ventra card balance is under $10</p></li></ul><p dir="ltr"><em>Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 06 Nov 2013 13:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/final-phase-ventra-rollout-suspended-developer-apologizes-109094 Will Jesse Jackson Jr.'s personal items make the cut in Chicago's archives? http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/will-jesse-jackson-jrs-personal-items-make-cut-chicagos-archives-108755 <p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-4e161ccb-5204-f385-5bc8-8aecb07f6ab8">For those who were interested in buying the furs or celebrity memorabilia once owned by former Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., the opportunity was fleeting. &nbsp;Just three days after they were been posted on <a href="http://www.txauction.com/" target="_blank">TXAuction.com</a>, US Marshals yanked them, <a href="http://www.txauction.com/forms/USM%20Press%20Release.pdf?CFID=1089729&amp;CFTOKEN=3c87d548eb01990a-33A62555-5056-8125-308FE8E4057D2835&amp;jsessionid=2F0E7FF131365245A793B883F4B5D312.cfusion" target="_blank">after concerns over their authenticity.</a></p><p dir="ltr">While the US Marshals determine whether Jackson&rsquo;s belongings will return to the auction block, the capes and signed photographs of 80&rsquo;s actors and musicians have become the butt of jokes.</p><p dir="ltr">But will they make the cut in Chicago&rsquo;s historical archives? And how will these items be judged by the arbiters of Chicago political history?</p><p dir="ltr">There is only one place to start to answer that question:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagohistory.org/" target="_blank">The Chicago History Museum</a>, formerly known as the Chicago Historical Society.</p><p dir="ltr">John Russick, director of curatorial affairs at the museum, is the tour guide du jour for what he calls the &ldquo;cook&rsquo;s tour&rdquo; of the museum. Russick has a pretty big hand in choosing what lives on the four floors of the building on Chicago&rsquo;s North Side, and its two additional storage areas across the state.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/brucelee.jpg" style="height: 201px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Bruce Lee memorabilia that Jesse Jackson, Jr. purchased with campaign dollars. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Marshals)" />The top floor of the Clark Street building is like a well-organized attic. Hundreds of thousands of items are hidden from public viewing in cabinets or covered with big white sheets. Quarters are pretty tight. Only a small group of people could wind their way through the stacks of toys, dinnerware, political buttons and more. There&rsquo;s everything from a trophy made of melted dimes for Admiral George Dewey to a replica of Mrs. O&rsquo;Leary&rsquo;s cow that actually kicks.</div><p dir="ltr">Then down in the basement, more Chicago relics. On one side, in the sculpture storage room, carved heads and busts of all shapes and sizes stare you down as if you&rsquo;ve disturbed them. Around the corner, there are rows upon rows of more faces - many of them belonging to Abraham Lincoln - but this time, on hanging portraits. In another corner, costumes; in yet another, architectural models and maps.</p><p dir="ltr">Russick says deciding what else to add to this vast collection is a pretty complex process.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Everything that happens in Chicago could be a great Chicago story,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;But not everything is a great Chicago story, so we are charged with that - to try and figure out what stories, especially recent stories, are really going to wind up being important stories in the future.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">There are a few criteria the museum staff must follow when they receive a donation or come across an item they might want to acquire.</p><p dir="ltr">First: Collecting in 2013 isn&rsquo;t the same as collecting when the museum was founded in 1856. Curators and staff ponder if the new item provides more insight into a story. Or might they already have something better in their massive collection so the museum isn&rsquo;t bursting at the seams?</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Badge.jpg" style="height: 236px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="A diamond-studded, gold star badge that was given to former first ward Alderman Michael “Hinky Dink” Kenna from a group of constituents. Museum officials say this is the perfect material representation of political corruption. (WBEZ/Lauren Chooljian)" />Second: Can this item evoke a larger story? Is there something that makes it more than just a costume or a document?</div><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We&rsquo;re not just here for researchers and scholars who want to tap into Chicago historical material,&rdquo; Russick explains. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re also here for citizens of the city who want to see objects that spark their imagination, that inspire them to look more.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">And Russick doesn&rsquo;t answer these questions alone. He&rsquo;s one of five curators that review possible items for the collection - and they&rsquo;ll also work with archivists, library staff and the collections department as things are processed and catalogued.</p><p dir="ltr">Take the Jesse Jackson Jr. items, for example.</p><p dir="ltr">Russick said he and his team talked it through, and decided in the end, the furs or signed photos, while intriguing, don&rsquo;t really tell the full Jackson story, or any other Chicago story, for that matter. The items ranged from a red cashmere cape with mink trim to Bruce Lee and Michael Jackson memorabilia.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We thought these might be evidence of some measure of personal style or even somewhat of maybe excess in his life, but it wasn&rsquo;t truly evidence of corruption or anything of that nature,&rdquo; he said.</p><p dir="ltr">Instead, he points to a gold, <a href="http://blog.chicagohistory.org/index.php/2013/02/a-star-with-a-storied-past/" target="_blank">diamond-studded sheriff&#39;s badge</a> that belonged to Michael &ldquo;Hinky Dink&rdquo; Kenna. He was one of two aldermen who represented the first ward in the late 1800&rsquo;s. Back then, the area south of the Loop was home to brothels, saloons and gambling halls. Kenna and Alderman &ldquo;Bathhouse John&rdquo; Coughlin profited from the schemes to keep them open.</p><p dir="ltr">Russick says some constituents gave Kenna the star in 1897. And this, he says, is a great fit for the museum&rsquo;s collection. It&rsquo;s material evidence of a culture of political back-scratching, and it could even be used for research.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It has sort of the markings of a gift,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Even in our culture today, we would see that as sort of suspicious and I think that it sort of builds on story we already know about Kenna and his times and the notion of first ward politics.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Russick says Jackson&rsquo;s personal items wouldn&rsquo;t fit in the collection in the same way. The items could end up at universities or political libraries or in someone&rsquo;s home, depending on the outcome of the auction.</p><p dir="ltr">Paul Green, director of the Institute for Politics at Roosevelt University, says the museum is making the right call.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;What would be the purpose of it?&rdquo; Green said. &ldquo;This is the stuff that got a guy sent to the slammer? &nbsp;You know, if we did that for everybody in Chicago and Illinois, we&rsquo;d have to turn Soldier Field into a museum and put a cover on it.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">According to Green, Chicago politicians are conscious of the material legacy they&rsquo;ll leave behind.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We like to put our names on everything, you know, sooner or later, Millennium Park will be the Richard M. Daley Millenium Park. I&rsquo;m not wishing the mayor any ill but when he goes to great precinct in the sky, that&rsquo;s gonna happen.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">But Green says, in this case, it&rsquo;s not the stuff that will secure Jackson&rsquo;s legacy in the city&rsquo;s history of corruption. &nbsp;And coming from a professor whose office could give the History Museum a run for its money, that&rsquo;s a significant statement.</p><p dir="ltr">Green&rsquo;s office walls are filled with signed photos of the last few mayors, and multiple keys to the city. He even has a picture of Kenna by his office door.</p><p dir="ltr">But Green says Jackson Jr.&rsquo;s story will survive without any relics. His story is one of a promising young politician whose future came to a <a href="http://www.fbi.gov/washingtondc/press-releases/2013/former-congressman-jesse-l.-jackson-jr.-sentenced-to-30-months-in-prison-for-conspiring-to-defraud-campaign" target="_blank">screeching halt by his own devices</a> - through illness or otherwise.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;There will be some people who think government is all corrupt and filled with bad people and they&rsquo;ll do a little giggle and say, &lsquo;oh, there goes another one,&rsquo; but people who are a little more conscientious [might] think what pressures [might he] be under that we don&rsquo;t understand?&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">There is one thing about Jackson&rsquo;s loot that sticks with Green: The guitar that was supposedly signed by Eddie Van Halen and Michael Jackson. That&rsquo;s the item that brought the whole auction down after reports that it might not be real. Green says he&rsquo;s surprised Jackson would spend that kind of money and not get certification for his purchase.</p><p dir="ltr">The US Marshals are still checking to see if the guitar is real or not - and whether they&rsquo;ll repost Jackson&rsquo;s belongings is also still up in the air. The auction was supposed to pay into the $750,000 of campaign funds that Jackson and his wife Sandi, a former Chicago alderman, admitted to using on personal items. Jackson has also been sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison. &nbsp;His wife is sentenced to serve a year after that. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Meanwhile, The Chicago History Museum&rsquo;s John Russick says items can become more interesting over time. The twist in the auction story shows the Jackson saga isn&rsquo;t over - and something might give the items more historical significance down the road.</p><p dir="ltr">Russick says curators aren&rsquo;t in any rush. As historians, they can wait.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ Reporter/Producer. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/laurenchooljian" target="_blank">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 24 Sep 2013 16:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/will-jesse-jackson-jrs-personal-items-make-cut-chicagos-archives-108755 Who was 25-year-old Rahm Emanuel? http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/who-was-25-year-old-rahm-emanuel-108327 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/rahm25yo.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">As mayor of the city of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s days are anything but repetitive.</p><p dir="ltr">Some days, he crisscrosses the city for press conferences, packing in <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/midterm-emanuel-still-cozy-city-council-107199">phone calls to aldermen</a> and business leaders on the way.</p><p dir="ltr">Other days, he&rsquo;s in meetings at City Hall, talking Wrigley renovations or budget fixes, or maybe even calling President Barack Obama to talk over top issues, and who knows what else.</p><p dir="ltr">He&rsquo;s known to try to squeeze in a <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324564704578626070625333886.html">workout</a> wherever he can, and sometimes, he commutes to work on the <a href="http://redeyechicago.tumblr.com/post/57525285278/our-mayor-really-gets-around">train </a>to mix things up a bit.</p><p>But 25-year-old Emanuel nailed down a pattern and stuck to it.</p><p>The year was 1984. Emanuel lived in Lakeview, near Waveland and Southport, in an old house converted into four apartments. He distinctly remembers his neighbors from that house: Emanuel was a graduate student at Northwestern University then, and would take the L back and forth to class every day.</p><p>As he recalls, there was just one restaurant by the Southport train station: a pizza place that sold pies by the slice.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;d get off the train after school, get dinner, which was a slice of pizza, eat it walking home, and sit down and do my homework,&rdquo; Emanuel said. &ldquo;Is that pathetic?&rdquo;</p><p>Emanuel&rsquo;s two-bedroom apartment was on the second floor of the house. His rent: $330. And that included utilities.</p><p>&ldquo;You couldn&rsquo;t touch a parking space for $330 there today,&rdquo; Emanuel said.</p><p>His classes were at <a href="http://www.northwestern.edu/magazine/spring2012/feature/in-your-face-sidebar/rahms-grad-school-days-at-northwestern.html">Northwestern</a>&rsquo;s School of Speech and Communications, where he studied mass communications and classical rhetorical theory.</p><p>Emanuel squeezed the master&rsquo;s program into nine months.</p><p>&ldquo;It was basically I wanted to do mental gymnastics for a year, &rdquo; Emanuel said. &ldquo;When I had graduated [from undergrad] and started working, I was not done enjoying the life of the mind, so to say.&rdquo;</p><p>The mayor said 25 marked a critical point. He always knew he wanted to go to graduate school, but that year he realized it was now or never.</p><p>When he wasn&rsquo;t debating about Aristotle or Cicero, Emanuel dabbled in political work. He spent some of that year at the Illinois Public Action Council. He was also in the throes of then-Congressman Paul Simon&rsquo;s campaign for a U.S. Senate seat, where he worked alongside people like Lisa Madigan, David Axelrod and Forrest Claypool, to name a few.</p><p>And yes, he was still <a href="http://www.joffrey.org/node/2854">dancing </a>when he was 25 years old. Twice a week.</p><p>Emanuel was a serious dancer in his youth, even earning a scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet. He passed it up to go to Sarah Lawrence. He says once the pressure was off to dance professionally, he wanted to get back to it.</p><p>Dance, Emanuel says, was important for discipline, as well as exercise.</p><p>But come on, besides all that, he must have been doing some socializing and dating as a twenty-something, right?</p><p>Emanuel says he&rsquo;ll keep most of those stories under wraps, but that his 25-year-old self was very much in the mindset of: &ldquo;I&rsquo;m gonna be single for the rest of my life.&rdquo;</p><p>There was one woman he dated that year. Emanuel says the relationship ended when she decided to move to Washington, D.C. for a job, and he wanted to stay in Chicago.</p><p>But amid all the pizza, Aristotle, politics and ballet, Emanuel&rsquo;s sights were already set on Washington.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m going to finish Northwestern,&rdquo; Emanuel said was the goal. &ldquo;And I&rsquo;m going to try and figure out how to one day work for a person who&rsquo;s going to be elected president.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Lauren Chooljian is WBEZ&rsquo;s Morning Producer/Reporter. Follow her<a href="http://twitter.com/triciabobeda"> </a><a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 07 Aug 2013 16:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/who-was-25-year-old-rahm-emanuel-108327 Year 25: Ernest Hemingway http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/year-25-ernest-hemingway-108094 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/hemingway25no2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>It&rsquo;s almost hard to believe that at just 25 years old, Ernest Hemingway was already writing one of the novels he&rsquo;s best known for: <em>The Sun Also Rises</em>.</p><p>Some have even called it his &ldquo;breakthrough&rdquo; work, while others say there&rsquo;s no amount of <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/books/99/07/04/specials/hemingway-rises.html">analysis</a> that could convey its quality.</p><p>But then you crack the spine yourself, and you find a book full of complex characters trying to find meaning in their lives; a story of friends wading through drama and heartbreak, all the while drinking a leather bag of wine or two (or four) while they take in bullfights and fishing trips.</p><p>And then it all makes sense: These tales scream of life as a twenty-something.</p><p>Well, maybe not the bullfights.</p><p>We&rsquo;ve learned through the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/year25">Year25</a> series that <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/year-25-105315">25</a> can be a pinnacle year, one that marks a period of great influence (positive or negative) by different places or people; one of big <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-rick-bayless-25-106967">decisions</a>, some angst, maybe even serious <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25-0/year-25-dan-savage-105358">romance</a> or adventures that can put a person on a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-alpana-singh-25-105949">path</a> that shapes the rest of his or her life.</p><p>As it turns out, Hemingway&rsquo;s 25th year was full of all those things - and he put them right into his writing.</p><p>Of course, we can&rsquo;t ask the famed author what was going through his head at 25, or if he had any eureka moments or transitional conversations during that year.</p><p>But he did leave us with many works that give a sense of his life at that time. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/068482499X">A Moveable Feast</a>, for example, is almost a memoir of his life in Paris in the 1920s. Not to mention there are scholars all over the world that have devoted their lives to discovering his.</p><p>By 25, Hemingway had already been through a lot. He worked as a news reporter for the <a href="http://www.kansascity.com/hemingway/">Kansas City Star</a> for under a year. By 18, he was driving ambulances through Italy during World War I where he was seriously <a href="http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/ernest-hemingway-wounded-on-the-italian-front">wounded</a> by a mortar shell.</p><p>He even experienced an earth-shattering <a href="http://www.rjgeib.com/thoughts/hemingway/agnes-von-kurowsky.html">heartbreak</a> - served up by a <a href="http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/u26j-RrGEEiEGDwx9R2Zgw.aspx">nurse</a> that he met while recovering from his injury.</p><p>Hemingway eventually married another woman, <a href="http://www.pbs.org/hemingwayadventure/paris.html">Hadley Richardson</a>, his first wife, and together they had a young son Jack.</p><p>By July 21, 1924, also known as Hemingway&rsquo;s 25th birthday, Jack was just over a year old. At the time, the family lived in Paris, France, and visited Spain in the summer to watch the bullfights. It was during this time when Hemingway mixed in with other famous Modernist writers and authors like <a href="http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/gertrude-stein">Gertrude Stein</a> -- people who would become a huge influence on his writing style.</p><p>&ldquo;[Stein] is the one who told him he should really spend time looking at Cézanne especially,&rdquo; said John W. Berry, Chairman of the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park.</p><p>&ldquo;He talked all of his life about the impact that Cézanne&rsquo;s paintings had on his early writing -- where you kind of put the background in very low focus and then you focus on just a few things in the foreground and really treat them with great detail.&rdquo;</p><p>Stein became sort of an editor figure for Hemingway. As he wrote away the days and drank away the nights, Stein was there to tell him which pages to cut out and where to look for inspiration. Hemingway also published a collection of short stories just after his 25th year, called <em><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/books/99/07/04/specials/hemingway-time.html">In Our Time</a></em>, which experts say was polished by Stein&rsquo;s editorial advice.</p><p>But it was <em>The Sun Also Rises</em> that really launched his career, according to <a href="http://lieslolson.com/">Liesl Olson</a>, director of the Scholl Center for American History and Culture at the Newberry Library in Chicago. The stories of carousing with friends, the incredibly detailed scenes of bullfighting -- those were all inspired by experiences of his 25th year.</p><p>Not every review was full of high praise when <em>The Sun Also Rises</em> was first published in 1926. He was panned by literary editor Fanny Butcher of the Chicago Tribune, a paper he read faithfully no matter where he lived.</p><p>&ldquo;What she wrote really mattered in Chicago,&rdquo; Olson said. &ldquo;She basically thought the novel was full of too much drinking, too much sex. It was sensational. It was about a group of twenty-somethings who didn&rsquo;t know what they were doing with their lives.&rdquo;</p><p>He also received a bad review from a critic close to his heart: His mother, Grace Hall Hemingway. She wouldn&rsquo;t even attend her book club meeting when the group was discussing <em>The Sun Also Rises</em>. According to Olson, Hemingway&rsquo;s mother sent a letter to him in Paris, saying, among other harsh things, &ldquo;you&rsquo;re prostituting a really great ability to the lowest ends.&rdquo;</p><p>Ouch.</p><p>Yet despite all that, the work he wrote at 25 became major bestseller, and it&rsquo;s never been out of print.</p><p>&ldquo;For all the twenty-somethings out there right now trying to do something big,&rdquo; Olson says. &ldquo;This is a really instructive moment.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is WBEZ&rsquo;s Morning Producer and Reporter. Follow <a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 17 Jul 2013 18:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/year-25-ernest-hemingway-108094 Where was Rep. Aaron Schock at 25? http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-rep-aaron-schock-25-107295 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP080205045166.jpg" style="float: right; height: 278px; width: 350px;" title="Rep. Aaron Schock in 2008. (AP/File)" />At 31, (soon-to-turn 32 in late May), Congressman Aaron Schock is the youngest participant of the Year 25 series.</p><p>It&rsquo;s a designation he&rsquo;s pretty used to. He was once the youngest Illinois state representative and school board president&mdash;at the same time.</p><p>At 25, Schock lived in an old house that was supposed to be condemned by the city of Peoria, Illinois.</p><p>But Schock bought it and flipped it himself when he finished college.</p><p>He was also a few years into his stint as an Illinois state rep, but that was only a part-time gig. Most of his days were spent in the private sector, working in real estate.</p><p>Schock says he had no idea as a 25-year-old that he&rsquo;d live most of his days in Washington as a federal lawmaker. But as he told WBEZ&rsquo;s Lauren Chooljian, he&rsquo;s pleased with how things have turned out so far.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is&rsquo; WBEZ&rsquo;s Morning Producer/Reporter. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/laurenchooljian" target="_blank">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p><p><strong>More from this series</strong></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25-0/year-25-dan-savage-105358" target="_blank">Dan Savage</a>&nbsp;|&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-senator-dick-durbin-25-107104" target="_blank">Sen. Dick Durbin</a>&nbsp;|&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-rick-bayless-25-106967" target="_blank">Rick Bayless</a></p></p> Tue, 21 May 2013 15:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-rep-aaron-schock-25-107295 Where was Rep. Tammy Duckworth at 25? http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-rep-tammy-duckworth-25-107159 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/duck.png" alt="" /><p><p>At 25, U.S. representative <a href="http://duckworth.house.gov/" target="_blank">Tammy Duckworth</a> was just beginning her career as a helicopter pilot for the Illinois Army National Guard - a bit sooner than she originally expected.</p><p>Usually, she says, it was about a&nbsp; year-long wait before you could get into flight school.</p><p>But when she got the call in 1993 that a spot was open last minute at Fort Rucker, Alabama, she packed up her bags and left Chicago, reporting to duty just three days later.</p><p>That is, after a quick stop to the Justice of the Peace to marry her then-boyfriend.</p><p>&ldquo;I did not want to go to flight school and do something that dangerous and my husband not have rights in case I was injured or wounded or hurt,&rdquo; Duckworth said.</p><p>They had a full wedding ceremony later that summer.</p><p>So off she went, incredibly focused on becoming a helicopter pilot and not at all thinking about the office on Capitol Hill she sits in now.</p><p>The Illinois Congresswoman sat down with WBEZ&rsquo;s Lauren Chooljian in Washington, D.C., to tell the story of 25-year-old Tammy Duckworth.</p><p>She reflects on what flight school was like, some of her favorite memories from that year and how it got her where she is today.</p><p>&ldquo;I thought I would be commanding an assault helicopter battalion,&rdquo; Duckworth said. &ldquo;I have, you know a little ache in my heart when I think of my peers who are now at that point and I&rsquo;m not. But this is a pretty good gig I have now, too.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is WBEZ&rsquo;s Morning Producer and Reporter. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/laurenchooljian" target="_blank">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p><p><object height="300" width="400"><param name="flashvars" value="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633495888176%2Fshow%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633495888176%2F&amp;set_id=72157633495888176&amp;jump_to=" /><param name="movie" value="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><embed allowfullscreen="true" flashvars="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633495888176%2Fshow%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633495888176%2F&amp;set_id=72157633495888176&amp;jump_to=" height="300" src="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="400"></embed></object></p></p> Tue, 14 May 2013 13:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-rep-tammy-duckworth-25-107159 Where was Congressman Gutierrez at 25? http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-congressman-gutierrez-25-107062 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/luis25.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><a href="http://gutierrez.house.gov/about-me/full-biography">Illinois U.S. Congressman Luis Gutierrez</a> has made a name for himself across the nation as one of the most vocal &nbsp;proponents of <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/gutierrez-ryan-push-immigration-overhaul-chicago-106786">immigration reform</a>.</p><p>Gutierrez is a longtime member of the U.S. House of Representatives &ndash; he&#39;s been serving since 1992. And years before that, he served as alderman of the 26th Ward in Chicago.</p><p>So, you&rsquo;d think, this guy must have been working toward a spot on Capitol Hill all his life.</p><p>Wrong.</p><p>25-year-old Luis Gutierrez was a 1st, 2nd and 3rd teacher in Puerto Rico. He had followed his then-girlfriend, Soraida, there and eventually married her.</p><p>The two were making a life for themselves - Soraida was going to school, and Luis was the lone male teacher in a little school out in the mountains. He was paid minimum wage - about $3.25 per hour, he says &ndash; which was hardly enough to feed the two of them and get Soraida to school. So, as Gutierrez recalls, he gave what little money he had to Soraida for school and then got creative.</p><p>&ldquo;I remember - it&rsquo;s probably a violation of the law today, I hope it wasn&rsquo;t one then, although I&rsquo;m sure the statute of limitations have run out,&rdquo; Gutierrez said. &ldquo;I used to eat with all the children in the school lunch program.&rdquo;</p><p>Gutierrez says he soon realized Puerto Rico wasn&rsquo;t the best option for him and his wife, so they moved back to Chicago, where he was from originally. After a month or so of fruitless attempts to find a job, Gutierrez decided to get his his chauffeur&#39;s license and drive a cab.</p><p>Yes, you read that right. Illinois U.S. <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZbMdFUFAro">Congressman Luis Gutierrez</a>, drove a cab when he was 25 years old.</p><p>&ldquo;So, for all of those that see the cab driver, remember, it could be a transitional moment in their life, and one day they could be actually adopting and proposing the laws of the nation, that guy in the front seat,&rdquo; Gutierrez said.</p><p>In this interview with WBEZ&rsquo;s Lauren Chooljian, Gutierrez tells the stories of his 25th year, and explains how that person had not a clue in the world that he&rsquo;d wind up in elected politics. He also discusses how his personality has changed over the years, and what parts of his 25-year-old self had to change in order to be the lawmaker he is today.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is the WBEZ Morning Producer and Reporter. Follow her<a href="http://twitter.com/triciabobeda"> </a><a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a></em></p></p> Tue, 07 May 2013 15:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-congressman-gutierrez-25-107062 Where was Rick Bayless at 25? http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-rick-bayless-25-106967 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Screen Shot 2013-05-03 at 8.27.33 AM.png" alt="" /><p><p>When you think about <a href="https://www.rickbayless.com/" target="_blank">Rick Bayless</a>, the things that come to mind likely aren&rsquo;t Anthropological Linguistics or French food.</p><p>That just goes to show how little you know about the 25-year-old Rick Bayless.</p><p>At 25, Bayless was at the University of Michigan, knee-deep in the final stages of his dissertation.</p><p>He was also teaching cooking classes&mdash;mostly pastry or savory French food&mdash;and was seriously dating another U of M student.</p><p>But it was around this time that he realized that it wasn&rsquo;t linguistics that he loved, it was food.</p><p>So he decided to make a change. A big one.</p><p>As he tells WBEZ&rsquo;s Lauren Chooljian, it was that year that he sat his girlfriend down, and asked her two things: Would she marry him? And would she travel with him to either France or Mexico?</p><p>She said yes to both questions, and the two decided to move to Mexico.</p><p>Bayless says if not for that dinner table conversation, he might be living out his days as a French chef or pastry chef instead of the James Beard award-winning Mexican chef we know today.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is WBEZ&rsquo;s morning producer and reporter. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/laurenchooljian" target="_blank">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 03 May 2013 07:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-rick-bayless-25-106967 Year 25: Chicago seniors reflect on an 'eventful' year http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/year-25-chicago-seniors-reflect-eventful-year-106288 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F85190477" width="100%"></iframe></p><div class="image-insert-image "><br /><div class="image-insert-image ">As we&#39;ve learned thus far through the Year 25 series, a single year can really influence how the rest of your life shakes out. And that is really evident within the walls of a large room in the Chicago Cultural Center, where every week, a group of ladies gather for a senior citizens memoir writing class.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></div><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">Each week, they&#39;re given a new assignment by their editor and teacher Beth Finke, a local writer you may have heard on WBEZ before. She&#39;s been teaching the class for almost 10 years now, so she&#39;s always on the lookout for new assignment ideas. When she heard about our Year 25 series, she thought it might be fun to ask her students where they were at 25.</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">Well, of course, I had to be there.</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">The class of about dozen older ladies meets in a wing of the Cultural Center named, pretty aptly, I think, Renaissance Court. The writers are in their mid-60s to early 90s: You can imagine the stories they have to tell.</p><p>They all sit around a long table littered with lipstick-stained coffee cups, a few<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/wanda.JPG" style="width: 442px; height: 300px; float: right;" title="Wanda Bridgeforth, pictured at left, celebrates her birthday (Courtesy of Darlene Schweitzer) " />&nbsp;pairs of reading glasses and small stacks of paper.&nbsp;</p><p>Wanda Bridgeworth always sits in the same seat - at the head of the table, on the left side. You&#39;d think at 91 years old,&nbsp;it might be difficult to match memories with specific years of a long, full life. But as she begins to read her essay, it&#39;s clear that 25 really sticks out.</p><p>&quot;The VMAIL letter read VJ Day! Our unit alerted to head for home,&quot; she read. &quot;I could hardly contain myself. I hugged my daughter and shouted, &#39;Daddy is coming home.&#39;&quot;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">It was October 1946. Wanda&#39;s husband was coming home from war, just in time for her 25th birthday. She says she remembers a big party at the house, with family and friends, celebrating both his arrival and her birthday. This would also be the first time Wanda&#39;s husband would meet their daughter, who was born after he left.</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">All went well, Wanda writes, until bedtime.</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&quot;When he started to get into bed, she jumped over the side of her crib and grabbed his pajama shirt screaming, &#39;You get out of this bed! This is my mama&#39;s bed! And you don&#39;t belong here!&quot; Wanda read, while all her classmates burst out laughing.</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">Wanda writes how that year brought lots of changes: she was diagnosed with hearing loss, lost her new home to the railroad and on and on.</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">Another reminder of how unpredictable 25 can be, no matter what generation you&#39;re born into.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">For some of these writers, the adventures were of their own making. For Nancy Walker, all it took was one decision to kickstart a year of self-discovery. The year was 1963 -- she had been teaching in Mount Prospect for three years.&nbsp;</p><br /><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&quot;I loved teaching,&quot; Nancy read, &quot;But I wasn&#39;t meeting any new people in my 2nd grade classroom. So I decided to resign from my job and look for a glamorous job downtown.&quot;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/nancy.JPG" style="float: left; width: 257px; height: 300px;" title="Nancy Walker, one of the students in the class (Courtesy of Darlene Schweitzer) " /></p><p>So off she went, submitting applications for the few female-wanted ads in the newspaper. Turns out, her search ended up bringing her right back where she started -- she was hired later that year to teach at a school in Skokie. And she stayed there for the next 31 years.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&quot;The decision to resign from a good job when I was 25, could have been disastrous,&quot; she went on. &quot;But now, I view it as one of the best decisions of my life.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">And that&rsquo;s the thing about this class: 25 was so long ago, that the lens these ladies are looking through often lets them see quite clearly how that one year fits in the span of their whole lives. That&#39;s something I learned from Hanna Bratman, who was 25 almost seven decades ago. It was that year that she gained her U.S. citizenship.</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&quot;It meant that I now could say I&#39;m an American. I no longer had to identify myself as a German Jew,&quot; Hanna told me after class.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">Hanna says that new identity was very important to her. She calls herself a &quot;Holocaust person&quot; and told me some of the stories from her young life in Germany. She was thrown out of school when Hitler came to power, she recalls. And then there was the time she broke her leg and had to drive for hours in the middle of the night to find a doctor who would treat her.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/hanna.JPG" style="float: right; width: 350px; height: 300px;" title="Hanna Bratman, celebrating Wanda's birthday (Courtesy of Darlene Schweitzer) " /></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&quot;I think you grow up pretty fast when you&#39;re really on your own,&quot; she says.</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">But yet, she says, she&#39;s always been a positive person. And today, at 93 years old, she&#39;s still keeping busy. She leads a support group for people with vision loss, she leads a midlife group, and as she puts it, &quot;I help all the way around.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">And she also shows up for this class, every week, to listen to her peers tell their own stories.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">But there&#39;s another story here that was not shared in the class. A 25th year that has rippled out from one person to all of these students. For Beth Finke, the woman who is teaching them, 25 started out with a lot of excitement. Her now-husband, Mike, proposed to her on her birthday.</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&quot;We looked forward to having all our friends come in town...we got married in my sister&rsquo;s back yard. [We] all went to a White Sox game the day after, just, fun, fun, fun,&quot; Beth recounted.</p><p dir="ltr">But things took a sudden turn on her honeymoon in Scotland. She recalls that she started seeing strange spots.</p><p dir="ltr">&quot;I took my contacts out and cleaned them and put them back in,&quot; Finke said. &quot;And I knew right away.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/BigCrop%20from%20scan.jpg" style="width: 441px; height: 300px; float: left;" title="25 year old Beth Finke at her wedding (Courtesy of Beth Finke)" />Beth had been diagnosed with diabetes when she was seven, so she knew issues with her eyes were a possibility, but she didn&rsquo;t think she&rsquo;d lose her sight altogether.</p><p dir="ltr">For the next few months, her 25th year would be spent going back and forth between downstate Champaign and Chicago for surgeries and doctors&rsquo; visits.</p><p dir="ltr">&quot;We tried really hard to save my eyesight,&quot; she said. &quot;But by July of my 26th year I was totally blind.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr">So the things Beth saw during her 25th year - her wedding, her family members&rsquo; faces, the White Sox stadium - those are the images she still has in her head today.</p><p dir="ltr">Of course, the following years were transitional ones; she had to learn how to read Braille, how to use a cane, but with all of these changes came a gift: writing. She says there was something therapeutic about putting all her feelings and life changes on paper.</p><p dir="ltr">It&rsquo;s a gift she&rsquo;s now able to pass on to her students.</p><p dir="ltr">&quot;I give them 500 words. That&rsquo;s all they have to write these essays, so if you only have 500 words to work with you have to use really strong words. You have to really think about what you&rsquo;re writing,&quot; Finke said.</p><p dir="ltr">And as many of her students near the end of their years, it&rsquo;s these strong words that give them a chance to honor the lives that they&rsquo;ve lived.</p><p dir="ltr">&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 26 Mar 2013 10:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/year-25-chicago-seniors-reflect-eventful-year-106288 Emanuel checks bike paths off the list http://www.wbez.org/story/emanuel-checks-bike-paths-list-90943 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-23/IMG_2918.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>In his transition plan for the city, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he wanted to plot out two miles of protected bike lanes by his 100<sup>th</sup> day in office. It&rsquo;s part of his larger goal of making Chicago part of a &quot;world-class&quot; bike network--a goal he announced before he stepped into his City Hall Office.<br /><br />&quot;I announced in the campaign that we&#39;re going to do 25 miles of bike lanes a year,&quot; Emanuel said. The Mayor said he wants 100 miles of these lanes before his first term ends.</p><p>The new lanes put bikers directly between the curb and a parking lane divided by plastic barriers. The Mayor promised the city would select a pilot location--emphasis on the select--for the first two miles of the project. The transition plan outlines that locations would be selected based on &quot;high community demand and cycling activity combined with sufficient physical room to create protected lanes.&quot;<br /><br />WBEZ Producer Susie An and News Desk Intern Lauren Chooljian decided to take a ride down Kinzie to see the project for themselves. They started on Navy Pier, and headed down Grand Avenue toward Kinzie and Milwaukee--the start of the protected bike lane. The contrast between Grand and Kinzie was quite stark. Grand only has painted bike lanes, and cars and buses are able to get pretty close, while the protective barriers on Kinzie keep bikers at a safe distance from motorists.</p><p>According to the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, there were more than <a href="http://www.cmap.illinois.gov/bike-ped">1400 reported bike accidents in 2009</a> in the city, with only a fraction of them happening on Kinzie. There were also few accidents on Jackson, between Damen and Halsted--the site of the next stretch of protected bike lanes. The Mayor&#39;s office announced this summer that the city would soon install 1.5 miles of protected lanes by the United Center.</p><p>According to CMAP the intersection of Milwaukee, Ogden and Chicago had the most bike accidents in the city between 2005 and 2009. (The Chicago Department of Transportation doesn&rsquo;t have it&#39;s own bike accident data.) The city says there aren&#39;t plans for a protected bike lane there yet.</p><p>&quot;Kinzie was chosen as the first project--there was ample available right of way, we quickly developed a plan to put in an installation that would have maximum benefit for a minimal financial cost,&quot; said Brian Steele, spokesman for the Chicago Department of Transportation.</p><p>The half-mile stretch in the River North neighborhood cost $140,000 to install, according to the city. Taxpayers paid for all but $10,000 of the construction costs, as cycling company SRAM made a donation to the project. The path runs from Milwaukee to Wells and includes a fiber glass cover over the Kinzie Bridge.</p><p>Joe Schwieterman, transportation expert from DePaul University, says the costs of these projects aren&#39;t trivial.</p><p>&quot;It adds up when you start talking about dozens or even 100 miles of bike lanes,&quot; he said.</p><p>According to Schwieterman, the projects are relatively cheap when compared to other infrastructure investments, but the cost of a bike lane isn&#39;t just about the installation.<br /><br />&quot;Unfortunately, though, it does mean for every lane of bike you put up, you eliminate something for another program&mdash;that&rsquo;s where Rahm&rsquo;s going to have to play his hand here pretty soon,&quot; Schwieterman said.</p><p>Steele says CDOT plans to build the Jackson bike lane during an upcoming resurfacing project in September. He says his office doesn&rsquo;t have a cost estimate for the project, because the design hasn&#39;t been finalized, and each individual location will have its &quot;own associated cost.&quot;</p><p>So, technically, the mayor met his 100 day goal.</p><p>But the selection doesn&rsquo;t satisfy all Chicago cyclists. Steven Vance, writer for the bike blog <a href="http://gridchicago.com/">Grid Chicago</a>, is pleased that the city is getting protected bike lanes. However, if he could do the 100 days over again, he said he &quot;would keep the Kinzie bike lane, but I&rsquo;m not sure I would keep the Jackson bike lane.&quot;</p><p>Vance said he wants to know more about the selection process&mdash;he thinks there are other city streets that need a protected lane more than Jackson. For Vance, it&#39;s not just about throwing bike lanes in when the street is already being worked on--there are a lot of factors to be considered. He recently put together a <a href="http://www.stevevance.net/crashportal/?page=bikecrash">map of accident data</a> from the Illinois Department of Transportation. His records show only three accidents occurred in 2009 where the Kinzie lanes are now, and where the Jackson lanes will be.</p><p>Brian Steele says CDOT does look at a myriad of factors: he mentioned bike traffic and available right of way (or width of the road) as major considerations.</p><p>Schwieterman calls the bike lanes on Kinzie and Jackson easy victories&mdash;projects that residents can actually see but ones that may have the least transportation significance.</p><p>&quot;Kinzie is a little like that, it runs laterally across downtown--to get the real bang for the buck so to speak you may have to go to busy arterials and that&rsquo;s where traffic moves a little faster, you have more pressured intersections, people making turns, and that&rsquo;s where not having a history of bike culture is going to make us move up a real learning curve,&quot; Schwieterman said.</p><p>There&#39;s already been evidence of this learning curve just a month after the Kinzie lanes opened. Some drivers have complained about added traffic congestion on Kinzie. Postal trucks have been spotted driving down the bike lane, and during Susie and Lauren&#39;s ride, they also saw a few confused drivers --one car was even parked in the lane.</p><p>And remember, the Mayor wants 100 miles of these lanes by the end of his first term--Schwieterman says that&rsquo;s pretty ambitious.<br /><br />&quot;Well, 100 miles is a lot. I mean let&rsquo;s not kid ourselves, for a city that&rsquo;s having trouble fixing pot holes to do 100 miles of streets. When you have new ideas like this you need to lay out the plan so people can understand what the end game is. And I think our city has been accused often of setting the bar too high then we accomplish nothing,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />Schwieterman says the city&rsquo;s budget is squeezed as it is so it&rsquo;s going to be hard to make the case for bike lanes. But Steele says CDOT will be looking for funding from the state and the federal government to help with these projects.</p><p>Although Mayor Emanuel can check another thing off his 100 day check list, the real challenge lies ahead in the next 98 miles.</p><p><em>Susie An contributed to this report</em></p><p><em>Music Button: Genji Siraisi, &quot;Monkey Proof&quot; from the CD Censorsh!t (Expansion Team Records)</em></p></p> Wed, 24 Aug 2011 10:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/emanuel-checks-bike-paths-list-90943