Notes for March 11, 2015

A Later Library
A fortuitous national monument designation for Pullman? Check. Simultaneous endorsements from the Tribune and Sun-Times days before the start of early voting? Check. A conveniently-timed decision on the Obama library? Not so fast. Rahm’s chances at winning a second term have been partially held aloft by a series of fortunate events, but the announcement of the location of the Obama Presidential Library will not be one of them. Sources told the Associated Press on Monday that the Obama Library Foundation, spooked by the mayor’s shaky standing in the polls and unwilling to politicize the process any further, has decided to wait until after the runoff on April 7 to reveal the chosen location of the presidential library instead of making an announcement later this month as originally planned. Monday did hold some good news for the administration on this front—the Chicago Plan Commission approved the transfer of land in Washington Park and Jackson Park to the city. If City Council approves the move, the UofC’s proposed sites in both locations will officially be in play.

Not So Fast
Toward the end of last year, a study commissioned by the Tribune found that red-light cameras in Chicago, despite causing a fifteen percent decrease in angle and turning crashes, had actually caused a twenty-two percent increase in rear-end collisions, presumably as a result of overzealous braking by drivers eager to avoid a fine. This week, Rahm announced—in a shrewd concession either to statistics or voters—that red-light cameras at twenty-five intersections, mostly on the South Side, would be removed. Nevertheless, over 300 red-light cameras still remain throughout the city, making the program the largest of its kind in the nation. To add insult to injury, Chicago’s intersections also have the nation’s shortest yellow-light times, at three seconds on the dot.

It’s Spring
Months into winter in Chicago, the fear begins that maybe this one will last forever, that it will be gray always, that the sun will only come out when it’s so cold it hurts. Maybe Lake Michigan will never thaw but will act as a giant ice block for fish, pollutants, and the occasional shipwreck. Brawls over dibs will turn into generational feuds. They’ll have to spray-paint the river on Saint Patrick’s Day. Take heart, fear not, unlock the door to the part of you that hopes. It just hit fifty degrees for the first time in months, and we’ve already changed our clocks to follow the sun. The sidewalks are puddled, the men are in shorts [The author saw one man, in one pair of shorts —Ed.] Everyone seems to have agreed to pretend that a temperature fifteen degrees colder than the legal minimum for a Chicago apartment is warm. In a week and a half “spring” is official, but it hasn’t been this hot since Christmas, and Rainbow Cone’s already open: it’s all melt from here.

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