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Here we go again with more IDOT excuses

Monday, Sep 30, 2019

* We’ve talked a couple of times about Rep. Jaime Andrade’s futile effort to shoo the multitude of pigeons and their giant piles of guano out of the CTA’s Irving Park Blue Line station. We’ve discussed how a local woman is making things more difficult by feeding the pigeons. But there’s a jurisdictional issue and some bureaucratic resistance as well

Complicating any clean-up effort is the CTA station’s location under the Kennedy Expressway, which is controlled by the Illinois Department of Transportation. The sidewalk, however, is controlled by the Chicago Department of Transportation. So responsibility is divided among different agencies with their own budgets and approaches to the problem. […]

CTA riders interviewed outside the Irving Park station described the pigeon situation as “gross” and “terrible” and wondered why more netting couldn’t be put up in more areas of the bridge. Illinois Department of Transportation spokesman Guy Tridgell said the agency can’t do this because it needs to have the area open for inspections and other maintenance.

“We’re happy to continue discussing and meeting with all interested parties to see if there’s some solution,” Tridgell said.

Andrade disagreed with IDOT’s explanation, saying netting could easily be removed for inspections. “The problem comes down to who is going to pay,” he said.

It seems like IDOT is always explaining why it can’t do something, or why it’s taking so much time to do something. The whole place needs an attitude adjustment.

This is a public health hazard, for crying out loud. Find a way to fix it. Then move on to the next problem.

I mean, seriously, do they expect me to believe that if Acting Transportation Secretary Omer Osman used that CTA stop every day this would be allowed to continue? No way.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

31 Comments
  1. - Ok - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 10:30 am:

    “It seems like IDOT is always explaining why it can’t do something”

    That attitude adjustment comes from the top.

    If people’s default behavior is to do nothing to avoid doing the wrong thing, that means there is a culture of disengaged bus-throwing.

    To get the attitude change, people would have to be rewarded for trying even if they get it wrong.

    That won’t happen because for the past bakers dozen years, the Governor’s office hasn’t had in their scope to manage the agencies.

    In the last years of Blago, they were about feeding the ego beast. In Quinns time, it was a personal staffing office and deferred all management to the agencies. Under Rauner, the default was that government shouldn’t do anything because government wasn’t supposed to work. Under JB, it’s all legislative.

    These folks at IDOT just have had to just keep their heads down and punt for half their careers.


  2. - phenom_Anon - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 10:41 am:

    =It seems like IDOT is always explaining why it can’t do something, or why it’s taking so much time to do something.=

    Truer words have never been spoken regarding IDOT.


  3. - Not a Billionaire - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 10:48 am:

    And the GA have them all that capital money no strings attached. Of course they could do something about that. Maybe someone actually interested in policy as new Transportation Chair.


  4. - southsider - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 10:49 am:

    This is why government doesn’t work sometimes. Rather than arguing over jurisdiction, someone needs to just fix it. Andrade has tried and he’s been stifled every single time. If this was in the 13th ward, Madigan would have 10 guys out there scrubbing it.


  5. - Not a Billionaire - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 10:50 am:

    Btw. They still have not put out the MYP. Now 6 months late.


  6. - Generic Drone - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 11:00 am:

    When I was a youngin, they dedicated a day to shoot the pidgeons off the court house. How times change.


  7. - Donnie Elgin - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 11:12 am:

    Work with the Field museum - Peregrine falcons find pigeons delicious.


  8. - DuPage - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 11:19 am:

    A long time ago I heard of a group that wanted to get rid of pidgins without hurting them. They hired someone to trap and re-locate the birds. It was a failure. No matter how far away they are relocated, they find their way back.


  9. - Blue Dog Dem - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 11:24 am:

    Dear IDOT director Osman;

    I Blue Dog Dem,volunteer to rid you of this problem within 48 hours. Free of charge. Just get hold of Rich to get in touch.


  10. - germ x - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 11:40 am:

    ==This is a public health hazard, for crying out loud.==

    For crying out loud, this is an animal control issue. Chicago is a home rule municipality, and a big one at that, and should be able to deal with some bird poop. IDOT is not a public health agency. IDOT is not an animal control agency and its not responsible for any of Chicago’s many critter problems.

    Nature moves back into the cities. This cohabitation can be fine, but needs balance.This is an issue for those municipalities, not state agencies. Some of the largest, sophisticated, and most liberal cities in the world deal with this issue, even if they have to employ falcons. But for Chicago, maybe that is too Hawkish ;)


  11. - the Patriot - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 11:56 am:

    Close it for a week and give my 13 year old a cople cases of shotgun shells, problem solved.

    Its a $100 problem. They are pigeons, not white rhinos.


  12. - Shemp - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 11:57 am:

    Being IDOT, I am sure there is a policy manual, which can’t be changed by the bureaucracy, that dictates steps for this exact scenario, regardless of what’s actually best for the community.


  13. - Blue Dog Dem - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 12:03 pm:

    Shemp. How much you wanna bet they have to commission a $50,00 study. Develop a $100k RFP and award the contact to an approved list of WBE or MBE applicants.


  14. - Dr Kilovolt - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 12:13 pm:

    Sounds like CPD could step up with stricter enforcement of Municipal Code Section 728-710 – $500 fine for feeding pigeons.


  15. - Dr Kilovolt - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 12:19 pm:

    FOLLOWUP: I just read a trib article about the woman referred to here. I have seen her dumping food for the pigeons on Kimball underneath the Kennedy. I had no idea she was so determined. Alas.


  16. - allknowingmasterofraccoodom - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 12:31 pm:

    Rich, IDOT has been the laughing stock of state agencies for over 30 years. It is suffering the long term effects of patronage dumping. Like a landfill that just stinks and needs to be capped.


  17. - Not a Billionaire - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 12:34 pm:

    All. I had a contractor tell me the same thing. We went from one of the best to worst in the last 50 years. Also he said it needs new ideas and new blood.


  18. - Juvenal - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 12:54 pm:

    === In the last years of Blago, they were about feeding the ego beast. In Quinns time, it was a personal staffing office and deferred all management to the agencies. Under Rauner, the default was that government shouldn’t do anything because government wasn’t supposed to work. Under JB, it’s all legislative. ===

    Brilliant analysis.

    Pritzker’s team did manage the state fair exceptionally well, but on the bigger management issues we have yet to see any fruits of their labors. What we have seen in the news has not been encouraging.


  19. - Just Me - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 1:41 pm:

    Focus on the actual problem: the woman feeding them. If pigeon warrior infrastructure is set up at this location she is just going to find a new one. She used to feed at the Wilson ‘L’ and moved to this location.


  20. - G'Kar - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 2:03 pm:

    When Queen Victoria had a similar problem and asked her prime minister, the Duke of Wellington, he replied “Sparrow hawks, Ma’am.”


  21. - NoGifts - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 2:16 pm:

    CDOT could fix this with an construction awning.


  22. - Buford - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 2:22 pm:

    IDOT has a good old boy culture because the people who work in their yards (orange trucks, chain link fence and salt dome) have to live within a certain radius to be hired, which propagates the small town cover up for your buddies approach.

    Construction engineer Chris Aude in IDOT district Two in Dixon is a great example, knocking off early, parking 200 yards down the road and “allowing” Civil Constructors employees to take fill dirt from a road project in their personal vehicles. Aude is way too cozy with frat boy Chris Snyder, whose father runs Civil. IDOT needs an Inspector General with teeth, or permanent oversight from the AG’s office.


  23. - Mr. Smith - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 2:23 pm:

    Agree completely with @Just Me. Fix the feeding problem - amazing what a $500 ticket or two will do…

    The cleanup needs to happen, though. And soon.


  24. - Anon - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 2:46 pm:

    Part of the problem is your Chief of Staff and other high ranking officials are still filled with Republicans hired by Rauner. How can things change under the old regime. JB has had 10 month to replace these individuals and questions from loyal followers and unions are going unanswered.


  25. - Rich Miller - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 3:20 pm:

    ===IDOT is not… IDOT is not===

    The IDOT attitude in a nutshell.


  26. - Publius - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 3:50 pm:

    Most state agencies mistakenly believe their only customer is the taxpayer when in reality it is the people that use that sidewalk highway and rail line, in this case.

    It’s like a corporation saying it only customer is it’s shareholder .


  27. - Cat bird seat - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 3:50 pm:

    Maybe the second “I” should added to IDOT.


  28. - MG85 - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 3:55 pm:

    ==It is suffering the long term effects of patronage dumping. Like a landfill that just stinks and needs to be capped.==

    Not saying patronage hasn’t happened at IDOT, but that’s like blaming the thermostat in your house for being too hot when there’s a raging fire in your living room.

    IDOT is currently at half the staff it used to have less than a decade ago. This is the problem that society runs into: it wants services but it doesn’t want to pay for them. If you want these kinds of things done, done well, and done quickly, then you will need to return to the dang near 10,000 employees IDOT once had instead of the current operating 5,500.

    To Rich’s question, the answer is obviously it would not take so long because the top would be aware of it, the problem is when you have so few workers, the only thing workers can respond to is what the leadership sees.

    ==Part of the problem is your Chief of Staff and other high ranking officials are still filled with Republicans hired by Rauner. How can things change under the old regime. JB has had 10 month to replace these individuals and questions from loyal followers and unions are going unanswered.==

    This is also a unique challenge to IDOT. Most agencies saw sweeping changes at the top of the agencies. IDOT has not. How can JB expect IDOT (and us) to behave differently if the principles remain the same? Omar Osman and Matt Magalis are status quo. Unfortunately for us, status quo means Rauner. I don’t think that’s why JB got elected.


  29. - Soccermom - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 4:06 pm:

    https://www.birdbgone.com

    Incidentally, didn’t this company used to be Illinois-based?


  30. - MyTwoCents - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 4:51 pm:

    Buford, if you have concerns you can file a complaint with the OEIG. They’re responsible for IDOT and all the other executive branch agencies.


  31. - theCardinal - Tuesday, Oct 1, 19 @ 9:00 am:

    IDOT has been way underfunded for 20 years Raiding the Road Fund has been STOP. Maybe now there is a Cap bill this and a lot of other things will get fixed.


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