In late winter, 1979, I knew an architecture student at the University
of Michigan. She wanted some pictures of buildings, in
downtown Chicago, for a presentation she had to do. She was
from Chicago, but did not have a car and did not have a camera.
I, on the other hand, had a Mazda Rx-3 and a Minolta SRT-202.
So off we went. Little did I know, they were having
record snowfalls that year. It was awfully treacherous
driving in that Mazda.
The snow piles on the street outside of her house were taller than my
little car. In fact, it was impossible to see the house.
Now, Chicago is getting slammed again.
March 6 (Bloomberg) — Chicago’s snowiest winter in three decades is
taking a toll on Paul Matushek. He managed 15 downtown bicycle
messengers in November, and now only five are willing to pedal through
ice and drifts.
Matushek, a dispatcher for Don’t Shoot the Messenger, isn’t alone in
coping with the 52.1 inches (132 centimeters) of snow dumped on Chicago
from Dec. 1 to Feb. 29. Road salt is depleted, ice-clogged rivers stall
barges with new loads, and the city has exhausted its snow-removal
budget with weeks of winter to go.
Chicago hasn’t been hit this hard since the record snows of 1978-79,
when voters angry at the government’s failure to clear streets booted
Mayor Michael Bilandic out of office. Richard M. Daley, serving his
19th year as mayor and not facing re-election until 2011, isn’t taking
chances. He’s spent $20 million dealing with the snow, $2 million over
It’s a good time to not have a car in Chicago, and to need to be
indoors most of the time. Plus, maybe the water level in the
Great Lakes will start to rise a little. Wash out some of the
PCB’s. Silver linings all over the place.