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man waits at CTA bus stop in downtown Chicago

Views from CTA bus stops in the Loop area of Downtown Chicago on April 10, 2020.

Manuel Martinez

The Rundown: Mayoral candidates vouch to fix the CTA

Hey there! It’s Thursday, and I watched “The Great British Baking Show” at the dentist this morning — an interesting choice from an office that usually encourages less sugar. Here’s what you need to know today.

1. Chicago’s mayoral hopefuls say they will improve the CTA and other forms of transportation

CTA riders say the city’s bus and train system is unreliable, unsafe and filthy — especially since the pandemic. Now, mayoral candidates are proposing everything from adding more Chicago Police officers at train stations to installing special traffic signals for buses, Mariah Woelfel and Tessa Weinberg report for WBEZ.

“While no Chicago mayoral candidate has vowed to bring us the flying cars we’ve been promised by classic time-travel movies, several imagine a city with an innovative and forward-looking approach to how residents get around,” Woelfel and Weinberg write. “Meanwhile, some candidates haven’t released a comprehensive transportation policy plan at all.”

But public transit isn’t the only transportation concern on voters’ minds. Questions over whether to lower speed limits and how to upgrade biking infrastructure have also been part of the conversation. [WBEZ]

Meanwhile, an unscientific survey of nearly 2,000 commuters found frustration about delays, so-called ghost buses and fears of harassment. [WBEZ]

2. What’s next for the Bears after the team finalized the purchase of land in Arlington Heights?

The team’s purchase of the former Arlington International Racecourse doesn’t necessarily mean the iconic NFL franchise will leave Chicago.

Building a proposed stadium, entertainment complex and residential development on their new land is still dependent on property tax limits and public subsidies, according to the Chicago Tribune. [Chicago Tribune]

Meanwhile, officials in the northwest suburb have visited other cities with NFL stadiums and entertainment districts to see how police and fire departments manage those facilities. [Arlington Heights Post]

Recent history shows these megaplexes can be a boon for tourism — and a risk for taxpayers. [WBEZ]

And what would Soldier Field look like without the Bears? Friends of the Parks Executive Director Juanita Irizarry told the Trib she hopes for more concerts and festivals at the stadium. [Chicago Tribune]

3. Expect a wintry mix all day — but a weekend warm-up should melt the slush

The city could get 2-3 inches of snow, sleet and freezing rain by the end of the day, making for a messy afternoon commute, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

The National Weather Service says to “plan for slippery road conditions” and “areas of blowing snow.” [Chicago Sun-Times]

Chilly temperatures are expected tomorrow, but highs in the 40s are coming this weekend. [National Weather Service]

4. Cook County property tax hikes lead to protests and workshops on how to lower those bills

Protesters planned to gather today outside of the Cook County treasurer’s office in the latest protest of steep property tax increases, my colleague Michael Loria writes for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Pilsen resident Jolie Jimenez told the newspaper the bill on her three-flat jumped from about $1,000 to $11,000 annually after the death of her mother, who qualified for homeowner, senior citizen and senior freeze exemptions.

Homeowners in gentrifying Latino neighborhoods saw some of the biggest property tax increases, and residents worry “the property tax hike will lead to the demise of the historic port of entry for Mexican immigrants,” Loria writes.

Laura Paz, a Pilsen homeowner and part of The People Rule Coalition leading the protests, told the Sun-Times: “For us, houses are not commodities. We come to our new country, our new world and we want to set down roots and that’s where we build our community.”

Meanwhile workshops aim to help residents learn about property tax exemptions. The group Mi Villita Neighbors will host a free workshop Saturday in Little Village. [Chicago Sun-Times]

5. Hear that? It’s the collective scream of parents already signing up for summer camp.

The park district camps in Chicago and many suburbs remain the most affordable summer child care option, making them extremely competitive, Rebecca Little writes for WBEZ.

Registration in her northwest suburb, Park Ridge, opened just before Valentine’s Day. Little described her intricate preparation for trying to ensure her child care needs will be met, including multiple computer screens and a chart with every summer week broken down.

The process can involve screams when the system overloads, and monthslong uncertainty about waitlists.

And Little isn’t the only parent going through this: A Park Ridge mother described summer camp sign-ups as “harder than getting tickets to Taylor Swift.” [WBEZ]

Here’s what else is happening

  • A Georgia special grand jury report says at least one witness may have lied about election interference. [New York Times]

  • Michael Jordan made a record $10 million donation to Make-A-Wish. [NPR]

  • The three objects shot down by U.S. fighter jets were most likely tied to private companies or research, President Joe Biden said today. [NPR]

  • Pro-Ukrainian demonstrators opposed the Joffrey Ballet’s production of Anna Karenina. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Oh, and one more thing …

Before Valentine’s Day came and went, one man was already thinking about Easter. Police in England said a semi-truck containing 200,000 Cadbury Creme Eggs was stolen on Feb. 10, NPR reports.

And West Mercia Police tweeted that “a number of other chocolate varieties were also stolen.” The chocolate was worth about $48,000.

The man, 32-year-old Joby Pool, allegedly used a metal grinder to break through a gate and into the truck. A motive has not been given. [NPR]

Tell me something good ...

What warm-weather activities are you most looking forward to?

Renuka writes:

“Warm weather, warm weather, just thinking about the sun beaming down on Chicago gets me hyped up to pick back up the lovely sport of badminton! Now I just need to find out where…”

Feel free to email us, and your response might be shared in the newsletter this week.

The Latest
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