Chicago should honor Mayor Kennelly

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Chicago Mayor Martin Kennelly (right) meets with author Carl Sandburg in 1951.

In the early 1960s, a Chicago alderman proposed naming what is now the Eisenhower Expressway after Mayor Martin H. Kennelly, who headed the city from 1947 to 1955, but that effort obviously failed.  In fact, there doesn’t seem to be any public memorial to Kennelly.  The exception is in the suburbs. A Kennelly great nephew has made a financial donation toward the renovation of an athletic facility at Riverside Brookfield High School, to be known as the Kennelly Athletic Complex. Is there something wrong with this scenario?  Kennelly rose from working in the stockroom of Marshall Field’s. Under his leadership, the groundwork for Chicago’s expressways was begun. He was not involved in political corruption, and he replaced political appointees with civil service workers. Kennelly lost in his run for a  third term because he was trying to clean up the city.  Just imagine what Chicago would be like today had Kennelly been able to stay in office and destroy the Democratic machine.

It’s more than time to honor Kennelly in a way that he’ll be remembered in Chicago history. We went to bat for Mayor Jane Byrne, and now it’s Kennelly’s turn.  He can be honored in Riverside and Chicago.

M.L. Chin, Lincoln Park

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Meet CTU contract demands by cutting pay

I can honestly agree with both the Sun-Times’ Tuesday editorial about the Chicago Teachers Union’s  contract demands and the CTU’s counterpoint. The board of the Chicago Public Schools should sign the contract immediately. And this should be done while staying within the budget. Payment for the CTU’s demands should come from cuts to other expenses, such as the salaries of both administrators and teachers. I’m also shocked that class sizes are going up. Did someone think class sizes would go down when you close 50 schools?

Anthony Carrollo, Near North

Tollway speed limits too low

A 70 mile per hour speed limit on Chicago Tollways would be safer than the mostly 55/60 speed limits recommended.  This counter-intuitive statement is true because most drivers travel at what they feel (and which are) safe and comfortable speeds, no matter what the limit is.  Changing the limit does not change the speed.  This has been proven and is even confirmed by data within the Tollway’s speed studies which predict an 80 percent violation rate with a 60 mph speed limit versus only a 25 to 30 percent violation rate with a 70 mph limit.

The danger from under-posted limits is that a few well-meaning drivers will travel at or near the limit. This increases risk for everyone because of the resulting speed variance, but there are additional problems. Unrealistic limits cease to communicate useful information to drivers as to what a reasonable speed is. Also, the opportunity to post advisory speeds for hidden hazards, where people really should slow down from 75 to 60, is lost.

Some of the most persuasive evidence that all Tollway speed limits should be 70 comes from within the Tollway’s engineering studies and IDOT’s policy on establishing proper speed limits.  For example, USDOT software, using Tollway data, including crash rates, recommends a speed limit of 70+ mph for all segments analyzed.  In addition, IDOT’s speed setting policy advocates limits at or near the “prevailing speed” which is 70 for all segments and discourages limits below the 50th percentile speed, which is 65 for all segments.

The Tollway’s recommended limits are improper, may be illegal and certainly compromise the safety of Tollway users by comparison to an appropriate limit of 70.  For unknown reasons Tollway officials have disregarded expert witness testimony, the actions of a majority of other states and crucial data from within their own engineering studies.

Steve Doner, Wheaton

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