By Bert Stratton

I’m on board. I’m good with the proposal from Hyperloop, a California company that announced on Monday it wants to get me from my home in Cleveland to Chicago in 28 minutes. If they can pull it off (right now it’s just a feasibility study), Hyperloop will be an underground low-pressure tube that goes 730 mph. Will this happen? I don’t know. Driverless cars are around the corner. Ketchup bottles are upside down.

A Michigan football bar here in Cleveland? I’ll take it, and the growing economy that comes with it.

I periodically ascend to Chicago, the capital of the Midwest, to deliver my offerings. My wife and I visit our daughter, who works there. We bring her odds and ends from her childhood bedroom. She’s one of the many Midwest college grads who settle in Chicago, which is taking more than its fair share of energy and talent out of the other Midwestern cities — Cleveland included. Chicago’s North Side is a post-college bubble, with an abundance of Big Ten–themed bars to prove it.

I’m not a fan of such bars, but as a Midwest provincial (one who doesn’t live within 10 miles of the Loop), I wouldn’t mind some of that energy and talent coming back here to Cleveland. A Michigan bar here in Cleveland? I’ll take it, and the growing economy that comes with it. With the Hyperloop, maybe that can happen. A Loop worker could buy a modestly priced palace (by Chicago standards) in Shaker Heights and commute daily to Chicago. No hassle. Throw in a bar car and Shaker can be the Darien, CT, to Chicago’s Wall Street.

Then, of course, there’s the Chicago traffic jams, which I always thought should have names, like hurricanes. In Cleveland we have two or three traffic jams a year. I’d like to see a few more here (another indication of a growing economy), but I’m also good with our current “Cleveland, We Have Light Traffic” civic campaign.

My wife wants to invest in the Hyperloop. Our older son, a lawyer, says, “No, Hyperloop is not happening. It’s a pipe dream, literally.” Hey, I’ll take a puff. On two conditions: 1. Free luggage. 2. Allow food: Chicago-bound, I’ll carry a bundle of coconut bars from Davis Bakery; and I wouldn’t mind returning with a bag of popcorn from Garrett.


Bert Stratton has contributed to The New York Times, the Times of Israel, the Plain Dealer and City Journal. He has won two Hopwood Awards. He blogs at Klezmer Guy.

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