Traffic builds up on Wacker Drive and State Street in downtown Chicago on Sept. 10, 2019.
Traffic builds up on Wacker Drive and State Street in downtown Chicago on Sept. 10, 2019.
Rich Hein/Sun-Times

The Sun-Times Editorial Board voiced its concern about one approach the city may take to congestion pricing.

At Lyft, we are firm supporters of true congestion pricing, when implemented comprehensively and in a way that doesn’t harm working families in Chicago.

We’re encouraged that the board supports this policy — a fee charged to all motorists in congested areas (typically downtown) while incentivizing shared rides.

This logical step would help decrease traffic throughout the Loop, West Loop and Lincoln Park and also bring needed money to the city.

However, we were disappointed that the board suggested first adding more fees to rideshare in Chicago, already the highest taxes and fees in the nation. That short-sighted thinking will do more harm than good and would not solve the city’s budget needs.

Chicagoans would be led to drive themselves more often, exacerbating congestion. Those without other transportation options would be punished.

Let’s start by acknowledging the obvious: Traffic downtown is a serious issue.

Trying to get around when the streets are at a standstill is frustrating, and it’s the case far too often. As the Sun-Times notes, Chicago ranks third nationally for time wasted in traffic jams.

Here’s the thing: Rideshare vehicles account for less than 4% of the vehicle miles traveled throughout Chicagoland. The other 96% come from personal or commercial vehicles.

To really address congestion, we must tackle that 96% — personal cars and delivery trucks that clog up our streets.

Shared rides, scooters, and bikes, like our partnership with Divvy, are also great ways to reduce this traffic — most effective if we can incentivize their use with congestion pricing.

To alleviate our crippling traffic problems, the city should align behind congestion pricing applied comprehensively to all vehicles in the downtown area. Let’s get this done without hurting those who rely on rideshare to get around and make their living.

Elliot Darvick, Midwest regional director, Lyft

SEND LETTERS TO:letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes.

Terrible timing on firefighter article

As a 4th generation Chicago firefighter and an elected representative of over 7,400 active and retired Chicago firefighters and paramedics, I was absolutely appalled by the thoughtless timing of your article published on 9/11/19 “Lightfoot taking aim at costly perks, staffing requirements in fire contract.”

On a national day of mourning for first responders and others whose lives were lost on 9/11/2001, such an article, and its timing, was careless at best, and its irony couldn’t be more glaring.

If the backdrop of our nation’s largest, most deadly terrorist attack isn’t the best reminder to the City of Chicago and its citizens of the need to maintain a fully staffed, highly trained and efficient fire department, I don’t know what is.

Although the headline would lead one to believe that the positions and statements were directly attributed to the mayor, they were in fact from an anonymous source. Moreover, the acrimonious tone of these statements and their timing raises suspicions about the true motivation and agenda of these so-called sources.

Based on my experience, I simply refuse to believe that Mayor Lightfoot would be so insensitive as to attend a memorial service honoring the Chicago Fire Department and the families of those who lost loved ones on that fateful day, knowing such an article would be published that very morning.

As a citizen of our great city, I remain confident that Mayor Lightfoot’s commitment to public safety remains unwavering. Perhaps we should be less concerned about so called “sacred cows” and more concerned about “chickens coming home to roost”.

Robert Tebbens, political director, Chicago Firefighters Union – Local 2

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