Posts Tagged ‘cta’

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dutch support the olympics

Tuesday 20 January, 2009

The Dutch-Chicago Business Exchange & Netherlands America Foundation hosted an event featuring Michael Murnane of Chicago 2016.  If you’ve seen many of these presentations to drum up local support for the movement, (which is an important variable in the International Olympic Committee(IOC)’s evaluation of all the competitive bids), there wasn’t much that was new.  but a few new nuggets.  The Chicago 2016 bid’s biggest obstacle is that Chicago is not well known to the IOC.  Many foreigners still think of Chicago as a flyover zone between the coasts, the city of Al Capone, or just a conglomeration of industrial smokestacks.  Chicago 2016 has grown to have 50 full-time staff in addition to 40-50 contributing on a pro bono basis.  They already count 10,000 volunteers, & if Chicago wins, we’ll need 4 times that.  The composition of the number of IOC voting members breaks down like so:
North America-(US & Canada)-4
Latin America-14
Asia Pacific-19
Western Europe-37
Eastern Europe-10
Africa-17
Middle East-8

Strengths of the bid are that Chicago represents 188 of 205 ancestries, 20 of which have 25,000+ residents represented by 10,000 ethnic organizations.  The bid book is due 12 Feb. & 4 IOC committee members led by a Moroccan woman will be in Chicago 2-8 April as the 1st stop on their tour of the candidate cities.  Register here can support the bid.

Q&A-Chicago 2016 does not have a ministry of sport like the administrations of other bidders, so it is 100% self-financed by donations.  The only expense to be incurred by the city will be for security, etc.  Their thinking is what’s implemented for 2016 has to make sense in 2017 as well.  Since their goals are:  1. win the bid  2. contribute to the Olympic movement 3. contribute to Chicago, that approach makes sense.  The Olympics cannot rehabilitate the CTA-there will be an overlay to the CTA during the games, but otherwise there is little Chicago 2016 can do to help.  Cricket, baseball, & softball may be demonstration sports for the 2016 Olympics, but those decisions won’t be made until the host city is chosen.  Building relationships with IOC members & the election & support of Barack Obama will help win votes.

I’ve already commented on what I think of Chicago’s bid a number of times.  Just search on this blog for those comments.

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the importance of public transportation

Thursday 21 August, 2008

I find it very interesting that the 1st thing Chicago Mayor Daley investigated in Beijing on his trip to promote the Chicago 2016 Olympic bid was to check out the new public transportation system, as mentioned in this article Transit system is Daley’s first stop in Beijing by Kathy Bergen in the Chicago Tribune. Chicago’s decaying public transportation system has been an embarrassment for quite awhile now & I’m glad it’s coming into focus for the mayor to fix it.

Head of the International Olympic Committee, Jacque Rogue was in Chicago late last fall & spoke to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. It was during that visit that CTA funding was being debated in Springfield, & the headlines in the papers were not complimentary to the negotiations. If he read the local papers on that trip, I’m sure he was horrified @ how public transportation is being managed in Chicago.

What concerns me as a businessperson is the CTA’s impact upon business, in that if workers can’t plan their commutes to get to work & home on time, significant worker productivity is lost. The CTA’s refusal to publish schedules (& even make them less relevant by saying they’ll run every 4-15 minutes, which essentially means whenever the conductor/driver wants), makes no sense to me. I’m surprised the business community doesn’t express a more vocal opinion on this too. Employers are losing valuable work time when workers aren’t sure when they’ll arrive @ work.

I’ve been on public transportation systems all over the world. I’ve been on buses in small towns in Poland that are more reliable than the buses in Chicago. The CTA’s argument is that you can’t control traffic. My argument is there is no reason to wait for a 1/2 hour for a bus, & then 3 come by in a 3 minute span. That’s an average of a bus arriving every 10 minutes, but doesn’t serve customers whose travel is inconsistent that way. 3 buses every 30 minutes doesn’t move people as effectively as 1 bus every 10 minutes. It’s a management issue. Make a schedule & stick to it. I understand the unions might not want to be held to a schedule, but I’ll choose serving customers over the interests of the unions.

When I was living in Germany, I visited Berlin before the wall came down. The subway in West Berlin rode through stations in East Berlin to get to other West Berlin stations. Which stations do Chicago’s most resemble? The old dilapidated East German ones! Even further, the CTA more resembles systems from old communistic countries with old hub & spoke systems where all lines run through a central point rather than more developed systems where you can travel to multiple destinations within an integrated subway/bus system with a schedule so that you can plan when & where to go. Here, you just have to wing it & hope for the best.

It would be terribly ironic if Chicago loses the bid for the 2016 Olympics because of inferior transportation infrastructure, especially in a city that sells itself to the world based on it’s world-class air & freight connections. We don’t need the glitz that Daley saw in China. We just need a system with a schedule you can count on that works as scheduled.