WBEZ | Garfield Park http://www.wbez.org/tags/garfield-park Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicago speed cameras catch 234K leadfoots in opening weeks http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-speed-cameras-catch-234k-leadfoots-opening-weeks-108893 <p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-5f27a295-a526-eab2-207c-4398f3e0b89b">New data show Chicago&rsquo;s nascent speed camera system is already lightening the city&rsquo;s lead feet, but the numbers are also prompting critics to wonder whether City Hall is in for a massive revenue windfall at taxpayers&rsquo; expense.</p><p dir="ltr">Cameras in nine so-called &ldquo;safety zones&rdquo; near four Chicago parks logged 233,886 speeding violations between Aug. 26 and Oct. 9, according to data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act Request.</p><p>The cameras are not yet churning out actual tickets, but had they been, those nine alone would have generated nearly $13.9 million worth of citations in just 45 days, according to WBEZ&rsquo;s analysis. For now, the cameras are generating only warnings to give drivers time to learn where the cameras are - and tap the brakes - before getting walloped with fines.</p><blockquote><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-speed-cameras-catch-205k-leadfoots-opening-weeks-108893#map"><strong>MAP: Where are the new speed cameras?</strong></a></p></blockquote><p dir="ltr">And Chicagoans already seem to be riding the steep learning curve city transportation officials had hoped for: Speeding violations have dropped an average of 50 percent at the four sites since Aug. 26, data show.</p><p dir="ltr">Those numbers surprised even Scott Kubly, the Chicago Department of Transportation official who&rsquo;s in charge of the fledgling speed camera program.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;The fact that there&rsquo;s that many warnings that have gone out is an indication of how big a speeding problem that we actually have in Chicago,&rdquo; Kubly told WBEZ Thursday.</p><p dir="ltr">Some drivers could begin finding speed camera tickets in their mailboxes after Oct. 16, when the 30-day grace period for the Gompers Park cameras on the North Side runs out. Tickets for the other three speed camera sites - at Marquette, Mckinley Garfield Parks - hit the mail Oct. 21. Drivers photographed going between six and 10 mph over the posted limit will get a $35 fine. Get caught cruising any faster than that, and the fine jumps to $100.</p><p dir="ltr">In order to &quot;ease the transition,&quot; Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel&#39;s administration said in a Friday press release that the city would only issue tickets to drivers caught going faster than 10 mph over the speed limit. It&#39;s unclear how long that will last.</p><p dir="ltr">Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s administration estimates the city will make between $40 million and $60 million from speed camera tickets next year, when Chicago government is facing a nearly $339 million budget shortfall. But the high number of speed violations so far - and the big potential for revenue - has reignited criticisms that the program is more about making money than protecting kids.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I can not deny that, if those cameras are there, people are gonna slow down,&rdquo; said 5th Ward Ald. Leslie Hairston, who voted against allowing the speed cameras. &ldquo;But call it what it is. Don&rsquo;t try to sell us on the safety of children and parks and schools.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">If speed camera violations continue at their current rate, the city&rsquo;s take could reach into the hundreds of millions of dollars a year. And dozens more cameras are on the way: The city is aiming to have a total of 105 installed at 50 locations by early 2014, Kubly said.</p><p dir="ltr">Alderman John Arena, 45th Ward, who voted against the original speed camera plan, suggests the administration is low-balling its revenue projections, while overestimating the deterrent effect on drivers.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I think we&rsquo;re still gonna get caught in the net,&rdquo; Arena said. &ldquo;I think $100 million is easy for the system.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">But Emanuel&rsquo;s administration is sticking to its earlier projections as it bets on a dramatic dropoff in speeding - between 75 and 90 percent - as drivers begin finding tickets in their mailboxes.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Our number one goal is to slow traffic down, so if we never collect a dime on this, it&rsquo;s successful,&rdquo; Kubly said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s absolutely not a cash grab. It&rsquo;s all about making our roads safer.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Each new camera the city installs will have a month-long grace period before it starts churning out tickets, and afterward, drivers get one freebie written warning after the cameras are online. The city also plans to put up 20 so-called &ldquo;speed indicator signs&rdquo; that tell drivers in real time how fast they&#39;re going, which also slows down traffic, Kubly said.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We wanna make sure that, no matter where you are in the city, if you&rsquo;re near a school or a park, that you feel like there could be a camera there,&rdquo; Kubly said. &ldquo;And the idea is to create a culture in which abiding by the speed limit is the understood way to drive and the norm.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Kubly said the program is already having &ldquo;amazing&rdquo; success: Speed cameras photographed 7,397 violations on Sept. 10, the first day all nine cameras were up and running. By Oct. 3, violations had already fallen to 3,833.</p><p dir="ltr">Since then, the city has installed more cameras at Douglas, Legion, Washington, Humboldt and Major Taylor parks, as well as Prosser Vocational High School, according to a CDOT spokesman.</p><p dir="ltr">Alex Keefe covers politics for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/akeefe">@akeefe</a>.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Note: Calculations and figures in this story have been corrected and updated to reflect new data and information provided by the City of Chicago.</em></p><p><strong><a name="map"></a>Map of locations of Chicago&#39;s new speed cameras&nbsp; </strong><em>(Updated Oct. 10, 2013)</em><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/legend.PNG" style="float: left;" title="" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div> <style type="text/css"> #map-canvas { width:620px; height:900px; } .layer-wizard-search-label { font-family: sans-serif };</style> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://maps.google.com/maps/api/js?sensor=false"> </script><script type="text/javascript"> var map; var layer_0; function initialize() { map = new google.maps.Map(document.getElementById('map-canvas'), { center: new google.maps.LatLng(41.83188268689178, -87.721698912207), zoom: 11 }); var style = [ { featureType: 'all', elementType: 'all', stylers: [ { saturation: -99 } ] } ]; var styledMapType = new google.maps.StyledMapType(style, { map: map, name: 'Styled Map' }); map.mapTypes.set('map-style', styledMapType); map.setMapTypeId('map-style'); layer_0 = new google.maps.FusionTablesLayer({ query: { select: "col1", from: "1jB8zYONZanMZHu5gGMIb9vJKtm-LRSrG7lSyXlY" }, map: map, styleId: 2, templateId: 2 }); } google.maps.event.addDomListener(window, 'load', initialize); </script><div id="map-canvas">&nbsp;</div></p> Thu, 10 Oct 2013 14:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-speed-cameras-catch-234k-leadfoots-opening-weeks-108893 The mystery of Woodward Drive http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-03/mystery-woodward-drive-106129 <p><p>Anyone interested in Chicago history should&nbsp;get a copy of <em>Streetwise Chicago</em>. This 1988 book by Don Haymer and Tom McNamee lists the origins of thousands of the city&rsquo;s street names. They gathered their information mainly from files at City Hall or the Chicago Historical Society.</p><p>There are a few gaps. Woodward Drive, a little roadway in Garfield Park, is dismissed with &ldquo;source unknown.&rdquo; Obviously the Park District didn&rsquo;t keep very good records.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/B--Woodward Drive 01.JPG" title="Woodward Drive in Garfield Park" /></div><p>I have no way of proving it, but that&nbsp;roadway was probably named for Augustus Brevoort Woodward.</p><p>Woodward was quite a character. For one thing, when he was born in 1774, his given name was actually Elias. He later changed it to Augustus, after the first Roman emperor. That fact alone tells you something about the man&rsquo;s opinion of himself.</p><p>He came from a prominent New York City merchant family. After graduating from Columbia Woodward got a job in the Treasury Department, and eventually became a lawyer. Along the way he became friends with Thomas Jefferson.</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/B--Woodward.jpg" style="width: 255px; height: 382px; float: right;" title="Augustus Brevoort Woodward (author's collection)" />In 1805 President Jefferson appointed&nbsp;Woodward&nbsp;one of the judges of the Michigan Territory. He&nbsp;arrived in Detroit just after the little settlement had burned down. He immediately went to work rebuilding it.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Woodward&nbsp;put together&nbsp;a grand city plan based on Washington, D.C. Most of it was never realized, though he did name the main street Woodward Avenue, and that stuck. The Judge claimed that the name was merely descriptive of the street&rsquo;s general direction toward the north woods&mdash;&ldquo;wood-ward.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">He was greatly interested in science and education,&nbsp;and in his spare time developed&nbsp; a prospectus for a school he called the Catholepistemiad. Again, only some of Woodward&rsquo;s ideas were adopted.&nbsp;His school later became the University of Michigan.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Woodward&nbsp;scheduled court sessions according to his whims. In summer they were held outdoors under a pear tree. &ldquo;He was known as a two-bottles-a-day man,&rdquo; one historian wrote. &ldquo;It was not unusual for him to fall off the kitchen chair he used as a bench and go to sleep on the ground.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The Judge&nbsp;did draw up most of the territorial laws of Michigan, known as the Woodward Code. Still, he had to be the top dog in whatever he did. He quarreled constantly with his fellow judges and the governor. They finally succeeded in getting rid of him.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">In 1824 Woodward was shipped off to Florida as the territorial judge for the new territory. He died there three years later. A bachelor with no family to mourn him, his grave has been lost.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">As far as anyone knows, Augustus Brevoort Woodward never visited Chicago. But isn&rsquo;t he the sort of person who deserves a street in our city?&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></p> Mon, 18 Mar 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-03/mystery-woodward-drive-106129 Turnaround school gets turned around again http://www.wbez.org/story/turnaround-school-gets-turned-around-again-85474 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-20/Sims.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>President Obama and congressional leaders may be trying to cut the federal budget, but they’ve agreed to pour more than a half-billion dollars of new funds into Race to the Top, the president’s signature education program. It aims to turn around low-performing schools by taking steps like bringing in an outside group to replace the staff and run the school. Education Secretary Arne Duncan helped pioneer that model as Chicago schools chief. The city now has 12 turnaround schools. But their record is mixed and Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel has not said where he stands on them yet. A school near Chicago’s Garfield Park shows that the turnaround strategy is anything but a panacea.</p><p>MITCHELL: When classes change at Orr Academy High School, Tyese Sims drops everything and joins a dozen security guards patrolling the halls. She’s the new principal. And she keeps an eye on all three floors.</p><p>SIMS: I run up these stairs every day, all day.</p><p>MITCHELL: I bet you’re in pretty good shape.</p><p>SIMS: I guess!</p><p>SIMS (to students): Excuse me. What are we doing? Keep it moving.</p><p>MITCHELL: Almost every student in sight is wearing a school-issued polo shirt, either black or gold.</p><p>SIMS: Come on. Hurry up. 30 seconds.</p><p>MITCHELL: By the time the tardy bell rings, the halls are empty again.</p><p>SIMS: You don’t hear loud noises coming out of the rooms. It’s quiet. It’s calm.</p><p>MITCHELL: Orr Academy is undergoing its second turnaround in three years. In 2008, Chicago officials consolidated three small high schools that had occupied the building. To run the new Orr, the district contracted a nonprofit group called AUSL. That’s short for Academy for Urban School Leadership. AUSL brought in new teachers and staffers and a new principal. But student test scores after the first turnaround remained dismal. And Sims says there were other problems.<br> <br> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://public.tableausoftware.com/javascripts/api/viz_v1.js"></script></p><div id="tableau_hide_this" style="width: 654px; height: 634px;">&nbsp;</div><object class="tableauViz" style="display: none;" width="654" height="634"><param name="host_url" value="http%3A%2F%2Fpublic.tableausoftware.com%2F"><param name="name" value="PSAEscoresatOrrandpredecessors/Dashboard1"><param name="tabs" value="no"><param name="toolbar" value="yes"><param name="animate_transition" value="yes"><param name="display_static_image" value="yes"><param name="display_spinner" value="yes"><param name="display_overlay" value="yes"></object><noscript>Dashboard 1 <br /><a href="#"><img alt="Dashboard 1 " src="http:&#47;&#47;public.tableausoftware.com&#47;static&#47;images&#47;PS&#47;PSAEscoresatOrrandpredecessors&#47;Dashboard1&#47;1_rss.png" height="100%" /></a></noscript><div style="width: 654px; height: 22px; padding: 0px 10px 0px 0px; color: black; font: 8pt verdana,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><div style="float: right; padding-right: 8px;"><a href="http://www.tableausoftware.com/public?ref=http://public.tableausoftware.com/views/PSAEscoresatOrrandpredecessors/Dashboard1" target="_blank">Powered by Tableau</a></div></div><p>SIMS: When I came before — profane language, being disrespectful to peers, being disrespectful to other adults — I did see it. It was just something I wanted to change.</p><p>MITCHELL: Now AUSL has changed Orr’s principal again. The group brought in Sims in the middle of the semester. During her first month, the school gave students 310 out-of-school suspensions. A handful resulted from behavior the district calls “very serious” — things like assault, alcohol use and vandalism. Most suspensions concerned infractions like tardiness, disobedience and disruption. Sims says she also dropped almost three dozen students for poor attendance.</p><p>SIMS: If we’re really preparing them for the real world, there’s no way we can keep a job and, with missing this number of days and being tardy, they’ll think, ‘Wow, my high school didn’t prepare me. This was acceptable there, but now I’m in the real world and it’s not like that.’</p><p>LANG: When you’re first starting something new and you’re changing, people have to take it seriously.</p><p>MITCHELL: AUSL’s Debbra Lang oversees Orr and two other high schools the group runs for the Chicago district. Lang says AUSL is applying what’s called the broken-windows theory. It’s a way some police try to keep the peace by focusing on low-level offenses like vandalism. Lang says the approach works for schools, too.</p><p>LANG: The precursor to fighting is often a slew of curse words. And so we would much rather intervene — deal with the cursing — rather than having it lead to fighting. What we’re really encouraging is an environment where learning can take place.</p><p>MITCHELL: Not everyone is happy about that encouragement. 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett got so many calls about Orr Academy’s latest turnaround that he held a community forum with Principal Sims. She got mixed reactions there from parents...</p><p>MOTHER: Two-day suspension for ‘damn’ — for the words — I think that that’s a little harsh.</p><p>GRANDMOTHER: I like your approach to what you’re doing at the school with the children. They need to have some respect.</p><p>FATHER: My son comes home suspended two days. Where was that phone call to the parents?</p><p>MITCHELL: ...and from teachers and counselors.</p><p>TEACHER: The history at Orr has been inconsistency. You take your kids to Whitney Young, they know on Day 1, ‘I can’t curse in class.’ This year, we’re getting that message half-way into the third semester. That’s where you’re going to get push-back from students.</p><p>COUNSELOR: I’ve never seen Orr any better than it is now. You can walk in that school — I would ask anybody to walk in that school and just walk around.</p><p>MITCHELL: The alderman’s forum also turned out young people. An Orr Academy senior stood up and said she’d like a turnaround of some school staff attitudes.</p><p>STUDENT: Students curse out adults. Adults curse out students. The students are the only group of people being addressed for that.</p><p>MITCHELL: A community organizer spoke up for students who end up on the street.</p><p>ORGANIZER: This is not the first time where we had phone calls from parents, saying, ‘I feel like my kid is getting pushed out.’</p><p>MITCHELL: But Alderman Burnett urged everyone to give the school’s new leaders a chance.</p><p>BURNETT: We just lost a principal at Orr because they didn’t think he was doing well enough. So these principals, just like everyone else, have a duty to do things in order to keep their jobs too.</p><p>JENNINGS: This is a daunting task.</p><p>MITCHELL: Jack Jennings of the Washington-based Center on Education Policy says there’s not much evidence yet that the turnaround model works.</p><p>JENNINGS: These schools serve very poor students who bring the problems of poverty into the school — namely one-parent homes, sometimes parents being on drugs. These schools generally are in dangerous neighborhoods. Sometimes there’s a lack of security in the building itself. These schools have teachers that are frequently discouraged because they’ve tried to improve for years and they’re not being given adequate help. And a number schools do everything right and they still don’t succeed in turning around. And some schools that have become better, if they don’t receive assistance over a couple more years, will slide back and wind up in the same type of trouble [that they were in] before.</p><p>MITCHELL: Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel’s team didn’t respond when we asked whether he’d try to turn around more schools. This week he did announce that two AUSL officials would fill top city education posts. The turnaround approach isn’t the only vision for improving the nation’s worst schools. In Chicago, the teachers union suggests more social services for students and decent jobs for parents. Those remedies could be expensive, though. At Orr Academy, Principal Sims insists that simpler steps can go a long way.</p><p>SIMS: It’s just structures in place so we can have a safe, orderly environment for our students so learning can take place.</p><p>MITCHELL: Simpler steps like getting kids to class on time.</p><p>SIMS: Let’s go baby. Come on, let’s hustle.</p></p> Thu, 21 Apr 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/turnaround-school-gets-turned-around-again-85474