Thursday, August 4, 2016

Carpool lanes still not coming to the Windy City 

What do Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, LA, San Diego, Phoenix, Houston, Dallas, Memphis, Nashville, Atlanta, Washington DC, Pittsburgh, Boston, NYC, Denver, Minneapolis, and Salt lake City all have in common? They all have carpool lanes! But not Chicago. I wonder why? Is it because the State of Illinois, IDOT, or even the City of Chicago doesn't want them? Or is it because there is more money to be made in keeping things the way they are?

If you live in the Chicago area, you already know how horrible the traffic is. In fact, it's so bad that there's a saying that goes like this:

" There are only two seasons in Chicago - Winter and construction."  

Sounds funny but it's no laughing matter for the millions of Chicagoans who have to put up with one of the worst commutes in the country. Not only do we pay some of the highest auto insurance and gasoline prices in the nation, but we have to deal with a system of commuter highways that is guaranteed to give even the meekest  of drivers a good case of road rage every now and then.

OK, so I've stated the problem, and it's pretty clear what it is. Now, I'm going to offer up the solution. It's so simple that you won't believe it, or maybe you've already had the same thought yourself.

Carpool lanes! That's right carpool lanes. Duh, you say. So what's standing in the way? Mayor Emanuel, Governor Rauner, and Mr. Randall S. Blankenhorn, ( he's the Secretary of Transportation for Illinois), I hope you are all reading this. I see absolutely no reason why the reversible express lanes can't be turned into carpool lanes.

The only thing really needed would be some new signage, a PR campaign, and some HD cameras at the entrances to the newly renamed carpool lanes. Actually, the term being used by the US DOT is " HOV " or high occupancy vehicles. And enforcement really shouldn't be that much of an issue.  Let's say that the cameras can be programmed to get a good freeze frame of every vehicle entering the HOV lanes. Shouldn't be that hard considering how they already do it with the red light cameras. If a 2 person per vehicle occupancy minimum is established, anyone caught with only themselves at the wheel is automatically issued a ticket. Bing! Instant revenue for the City of Chicago. What's not to like, Mayor Emanuel?

Aside from the extra revenue for the perennially cash-strapped city of big shoulders, the additional benefits are many. Fewer cars equal less congestion, shorter commute times, more available parking, fewer accidents, lower insurance rates, and lower fuel costs. It's a win-win for everybody!

So, I ask you all again. What's standing in the way, can you give a good answer?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Audiences Will Be Blown Away

Batman Boulevard- at the Corner of Tragedy Road and Irony Lane

I'm sure you all remember the theater shooting in Colorado this Summer, it was nearly two months ago today. And although the horror of this incident may have been supplanted by more recent global atrocities, there is something really eerie I've been meaning to share with everyone, so here it is. Take a look at the advertisement my friend Dan found in the Chicago Reader dated the same night of the shooting. Pay special attention to the copy and I think that you will, indeed, be blown away.
Life imitating Art? or Art imitating Life? You make the call.     

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy 4th of July Phil!

I hope everyone had a safe and fun 4th of July. With the searing heat that seems to be affecting just about everybody, I thought  this might be a good time to revisit what it really means to be an American.

Right now, I'm sitting in the comfort of my air-conditioned home thanks to a guy named Phil, who, in my opinion,  gets the All- American award for this 4th of July.  To be honest, I don't know if Phil is a flag-waving patriot, a Republican, or a Democrat, and it doesn't matter. What does matter is that Phil exemplifies the American spirit by handling himself in a way that many other Americans would do well to emulate.  So what did Phil do for me that makes me think so highly of him? Simple­: He did what he said he would do. Doesn't sound like such a big deal, but when you're sweating bullets and the AC cashes out on you at the onset of  a heat wave, you come to appreciate the value of service like never before.  

You see, Phil runs a small heating and cooling company  and has always been my go to guy for any HVAC work. So naturally when my AC went down, I called Phil.  Phil has a well- established business with a long list of loyal customers and is always busy, yet  somehow, he manages  to always respond to me both  quickly and professionally.  He gives me the kind of personal attention that makes me feel special and has earned my loyalty without question.  To be specific, a lot of AC guys would jack up the price or gouge you for a new unit in the middle of a heat wave,  and it's a perfect example of how some ugly Americans take advantage of their  fellow Americans in a crisis. Fortunately,  I didn't have to go that route or wait indefinitely for someone to show up  because I have Phil. Phil is fair, honest, does great work at a great price, and provides great service. He is, in a word, an All- American.  Instead of ripping people off when the opportunity arises, Phil realizes the value of building a long-term customer relationship so when the need for a major replacement arises, he gets the call. In fact, there is no-one else I would even consider calling because I know I can trust Phil to do the work right the first time, on-time.  No contract, no-deposit, just a handshake–the way real Americans still do business. But let's not just be American on the 4th of July, let's try being true Americans all-year long, just to see what happens.

Sure , you may still get screwed every now and then by those who can only think of themselves, but when you get past them and if you look closely, you'll probably see that you have a Phil or two in your life and you didn't even know it.

Happy 4th of July Phil !