Lake County Motorist

Suburban Chicagoland commuter and motorist weblog

Road Week Ahead: May 19 – May 23

Here’s what’s on tap for Lake County commuters this week: New lane configurations on the northernmost portion of the Tri-State Tollway, more capacity on Metra, and the countdown begins to the unofficial start of summer: Memorial Day.

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Filed under: Commuting, , ,

Lake Forest employees: Act now to retain Metra shuttle

From Stuckonsixty.com:

The trial run of the [privately run] shuttle service [from Conway Park businesses] to the west Lake Forest train station is scheduled to end on March 13, unless sufficient ridership is generated to justify the service and expense longer-term.

This shuttle supports Milwaukee District North line running between Fox Lake and Chicago.

Please encourage your colleagues to use the shuttle and METRA.

The shuttle’s schedule is available here. This privately run shuttle, along with the Stuckonsixty.com website, is an example of businesses banding together to provide convenience and added benefit to their employees.

Filed under: Commuting, , , , ,

An Amtrak accident story

It all started as a regular Friday night Metra ride home on the Milwaukee District-North line, until the engineer came on the intercom and announced that an Amtrak train had just struck a pedestrian at the Lake Forest station ahead. Our travel would thus be halted until further notice.

It was 5:20 PM.

I gasped. This was my first experience with a train accident. My memory flashed back to the northbound Amtrak train that had dashed past my station ten minutes earlier. It had to be the one involved.

Out came a multitude of cell phones as passengers phoned contacts, advising them of events. As the wait wore on, a handful of passengers began discussing the situation. One passenger passed judgment on the pedestrian, loudly voicing blame mixed with irritation at the delay. Another passenger responded, describing the necessity of a thorough investigation. Fortunately, other passengers did not join in the fray, perhaps out of weariness or out of respect for the tragedy they kept their opinions to themselves.

Over the ensuing hour and a half, updates were occasionally broadcast over the intercom. The announcer confirmed the fatality, of which we had already suspected. Finally around 6 PM our train was cleared to continue northward.

The mood in the car during our slow approach to and departure from the Lake Forest station was somber, the effect jarring. The blame-slinger was silent.

The victim was a woman from Round Lake. It was not until I read the News-Sun’s article about the accident that I learned of two recent accidents at the Round Lake Metra station. My condolences go out to the families of these victims.

According to the Illinois Commerce Commission’s website, there were 26 collisions between trains and motorists/pedestrians in Lake County between 2002 and 2007. Lake County has 1.6% of the state’s crossings, but accounted for 2.6% of the accidents.

The moral of the story is that safety around trains cannot be emphasized enough. There have been far too many train accidents as of late. We need for you to be safe.

Filed under: Mass Transit, , , , ,

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