Letters: If we build near transit, people will come

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File photo by Chuck Fieldman, Pioneer Press.

Recently released Census figures showing that Chicago grew just 1 percent between 2010 and 2014 (“Census shows where city populations increased, decreased last year” — May 20) were sobering, but we can take steps today to reverse that trend.

Chicago has a lot going for it: the lakefront, a brand new downtown riverwalk, a diverse economy including a burgeoning tech sector, great restaurants and nightlife, some of the world’s best cultural and academic institutions, vibrant and diverse neighborhoods and — connecting everything — a world-class rapid transit system.

Yet we fall short in putting people and jobs near our train lines. Only 32 percent of the Chicago region’s jobs and 22 percent of residents are within a half-mile of transit, the standard for “walkability.” Those numbers aren’t just low by comparison with other regions, they’re uneven. Many lower-income residents find themselves priced out of hot markets around transit stops. In turn, they face a more difficult and costly commute to jobs.

People with a range of incomes increasingly want to live near transit, but developers aren’t strongly encouraged to build enough homes to meet that demand. In 2013 the city updated an ordinance to remove some constraints and offer new incentives. Several attractive new developments near transit stations have proven these policies are worth expanding.

Creating more opportunities for people of all incomes to live near transit is one of the keys to unlocking our region’s growth. If we build there, they will come.

MarySue Barrett, President

Metropolitan Planning Council

SEND LETTERS TO:letters@suntimes.com (Please include the name of your neighborhood or town, and a phone number for verification purposes.)

Drop ‘Hastert Rule’

With all the institutions that have dropped the disgraced Dennis Hastert’s name from buildings, boards of directors and websites, will the GOP drop his name from its gridlock-inducing “Hastert Rule” that Speaker of the House John Boehner, a Republican, continues to use to keep bills that could pass with bipartisan support from ever seeing the light of day?

Daniel Lauber, River Forest

Thumbs down to bobcat hunting

It was an embarrassing day for rational and enlightened debate when, on the final day of the legislative session lawmakers passed a bill to open a trophy hunting and trapping season on the state’s still-recovering bobcat population. Although H.B. 352 was initially voted down, political arm-twisting by downstate legislators prompted a dozen lawmakers to flip-flop and secure enough votes to pass this ill-conceived bill. They are trying to conduct random, commercial killing of these shy and elusive creatures for the first time in more than 40 years.And to what end?Who is benefitting from this slaughter?Nobody eats these beautiful cats, and they’re not posing any risk to public safety or livestock. In fact, they’re typically considered beneficial to farmers as their diet mainly consists of rodents.It’s a shame that despite the myriad problems facing Illinois, some lawmakers chose to make passing this inhumane bill a priority – placing the interests of those who enjoy killing for killing’s sake and want to profit off of bobcat pelts above the vast majority of people in the state who want to maintain the policy of protecting animals just slightly larger than a common house cat. Most of these animals will languish in steel-jawed leghold traps before being bludgeoned to death.Gov. Rauner needs to know that his constituents are opposed to this bill.Please call the governor at 312-814-2121, and ask him to veto H.B. 352.Wayne Pacelle is the president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United StatesHorse racing’s ugly side

Millions of Americans are eagerlyanticipating a horse race that could have a Triple Crown winner on Saturday. Most of these fansdon’t realize that the vast majority of horses that raceunsuccessfullyare doomed. Thousands of them are inhumanely sent to foreign countries to be viciouslykilled in slaughterhouses to produce food for humans and pets.Countless others are abused, neglected andabandonedbefore succumbing to illnesses and starvation.Many horses aretreated like pests and get shot to death. The grandeur of the Triple Crown is glorious while the fate of most racehorses isappalling and inglorious.

Brien Comerford, Glenview

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