atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#1266: Passenger trains in Crete?

Crete is supposed to get a couple of Metra train stations. ETA: "someday". RTA wants to run a passenger line down the side of the Union Pacific right-of-way, from Chicago to Balmoral Park; so there'd be a stop in downtown Crete and a stop at Balmoral. (One would presume that, as the urban sprawl continues to fan out, the line would be extended ever further south--to Beecher and possibly all the way to Kankakee, eventually.)

On the plus side, I think it's a good idea to have passenger trains, because it makes it easier for people to get to Chicago without having to drive there. The city is full of people who think they have to drive to get there, which is one reason it costs $15 to park your car for a couple of hours; most of those people could just as easily get there by train and scarcely notice the difference.

Heck, if you spend a day at a museum, does it make sense to drive there? I find driving in Chicago to be an enormous pain in the ass; if I'm going to one place and returning home, I'd rather take the train.

Back when I was an on-site computer technician, I frequently had to drive into the city; and it was a royal pain. But I had to get there and back ASAP, which precluded waiting for public transportation, so I learned how to drive in the city. I even learned how to drive in the undercity, the arcane network of streets that exist below street level. (In his Dresden Files books, Jim Butcher alludes to the existence of a portal to the fairy world--he doesn't call it that--somewhere under Chicago. I'm glad I never found that.)

But on the minus side, crime follows public transportation. If it's cheap enough, you get criminals riding the train out and driving stolen cars in. And since the "end of the line" will be near a gambling facility, one can reasonably expect people who have made poor lifestyle choices to end up cruising the trains for easy victims.

Currently the area is served by a Metra line on the Illinois Central tracks, in University Park. That line ends in the middle of corn fields, so anyone who rides that train to the end for nefarious purposes has the option of stealing corn and tagging a deserted train station before riding back home. I can't point to this example and say, "this is what I'm talking about"; but the proposed line through Crete will put the stations smack dab in the middle of a reasonably wealthy suburb with a small police force--it's never needed a large one. It's not very difficult for a reasonably intelligent person to wonder what that will do for the crime rate.

Ultimately I think the benefits outweigh the liabilities, but knowing how government does things, I expect that they have not considered any liabilities other than "What will this do for property values?"

There used to be a light rail (read: trolley) that ran from somewhere up north to Balmoral Park; in fact they only just tore down the old trolley station a couple years ago, and filled in the tunnel from the station to the racetrack. That's a shame; they could have saved themselves the cost of building a new one.

* * *

Every so often I learn something about the history of Crete which makes me break out Google Earth and have a look at the satellite photos. The land where they built the new high school used to be a golf course, back before the '30s, but it's been long enough that any trace of where the fairways might have been is pretty well obscured. The tallest trees provide the barest trace of an indication.

For years, as you came into town from the west, on Exchange, you might see these two brick columns standing at the edge of a small forest--for decades I wondered what the hell they had been for, and only after they were torn down and hauled away did I find out what it was.

After looking at that, I was looking at where the C&EI used to have a small yard, and I realized that the foliage had grown in a pattern that showed where the tracks used to be--but if I hadn't known there was a railraod yard there, I wouldn't have been able to see it.

They've replaced the image that contains Crete with a new one that was taken last year. It shows the new high school mostly complete, we've still got the boats in the back yard, but you can't see the driveway because the new image is one where the trees have foliage on them.

* * *

Yesterday I was awake until 2:30 PM. I don't remember when I finally woke up from sleeping the day away, but then I was up. After D2 online, I watched a slew of anime, cut the grass, ran errands, and then finally hit the hay--and slept until 10 PM.

I got up, got dinner, sat down in front of the TV, and turned it on; and after a few commercials the first episode of the new season of Smallville--delayed to 10:30 because of a baseball game--started. Perfect timing.

Michael Rosenbaum is not in the credits--did we lose Lex Luthor?--and his role as villain has been taken up by two new characters. Lana Lang is similarly out of the picture. This'll be the first season without them, if this is so.

Since Lex Luthor knows that Clark Kent has super powers, they either have to find a way to give him amnesia about it (yet again) or take him out of the picture. For the moment, he's out of the picture; but if Lex Luthor doesn't come back, it leaves a gaping hole in the entire "Veritas" plot arc, one they spent a lot of time developing in the prior season.

So, we'll see, I guess.
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