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Monday, July 22

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kate / January 17, 2007 1:21 AM

No. I live & work off the blue line and work non 9-5 hours.

Should my beloved blue ever get entangled in such improvement messiness, the Milwaukee bus will have my back... which, I suppose, will add time to my commute but whatever. At least I'm not paying for gas/insurance/city stickers anymore.

Cinnamon / January 17, 2007 1:46 AM

I actually have to thank the CTA. Since it takes me over an hour to take one bus and two trains to get to work now, I'm finally ready to get off my arse and spend the rest of the winter on a stationary bike so I'm in shape come warmer weather. Cause I do plan on riding my bike to work. I even got a new route suggestion from a co-worker and even though it is a longer route it seems safer and since most of it is a bike path, I think it will be faster than the stop lights and traffic I've dealt with in the past.

amyc / January 17, 2007 6:23 AM

I'm thinking I might take the Western bus to the Blue Line at Armitage, but probably so will everybody else in Roscoe Village. God damn the CTA. God damn them to hell. If I wanted a 3-hour commute, I'd move to Schaumburg.

charlie d / January 17, 2007 7:39 AM

I work at home so..............

I commuted by bike for 10 years so if needed I 'd go right back to the bike anyway.

I use the CTA more for my photo junkets so I guess I need to figure that out.

No way around it the work NEEDS to be done. They of course should have taken a longer view of things, oh say 1970!

Oh well

Naz / January 17, 2007 8:40 AM

Amen to the bike sisters & brothers! In this kind of cold, it's understandable to take public transport, especially if you have a long commute. But anything above 30 and riding your bike should be the norm.

I work from a home office, so I don't necessarily relate -- but The Girl does, and I usually ride with her to work in the mornings. Much faster than the Brown Line, especially these days.

Cinnamon - do it! You have a fairly direct route to work, so I'll hold you to that.

Julian / January 17, 2007 8:55 AM

Oh yeah.

Brown line and red line rider here...or at least I was.

Looks like my bike will no longer be religated to criteriums... now where can I get painers to fit a carbon fiber Orbea...?


Oh, Naz- buy Moran's thermal bibs...they're ever so toasty!

jaye / January 17, 2007 8:56 AM

i am off the blue line but i walk most places or take the bus when i am not working at home..i dont like to be on the train or in the subway because i like to have the option to jump on or off if i see something that appeals to me..but i feel for those who are affected but maybe its time for a lot of us healthy able bodied folks to get a bike, scooter, skateboard even and stop being so at their mercy

jen / January 17, 2007 9:10 AM

amyc - good luck getting on the blue line at western even. i find the blue has gotten worse over the past year, too, so these people hoping to head south to the blue line are in for a bit of a shock i believe. the train is near-full when i get on at logan square some days.

so, um, i think you know what my feelings are on this whole mess. ;)

Matt / January 17, 2007 9:22 AM

Changes? I'm dealing with this by preparing to move to NYC, where the transit is better, even if my spending money will decline.

Yes, the CTA infrastructure needs repair. But the CTA has proved again and again that it cannot manage itself properly, and Daley hardly seems to care, given his recent nice comments about Frankie. And then the CTA just blames everything on the lack of state money.

I'm sick of it, and I don't like the idea of a CTA commute that will likely rival the commute I faced when I worked in the 'burbs.

Thank God I have a job that allows me to transfer easily to NYC, and which will even give me a salary bump to (sort of) make up for the higher prices there. With its culture of corruption and one-person rule (one serious mayoral candidate in a city of 3 million?????) and enduring CTA problems, this city's lost much of its luster--and I say this as a native Midwesterner who never had much love for the East Coast.

Have fun guys. The next few years will be fun for those who depend on public transit around here.

kiki / January 17, 2007 9:24 AM

it already takes me close to an hour to get from wilson on the red line to chicago on the blue line. doubling that means i'll have to leave the house at 7 am - not happening. express bus, here i come.

esskaycee / January 17, 2007 9:27 AM

Brown/Red line rider here in western Lincoln Square ... already takes me 45 mins. - 1 hour to get to work. I think I am totally buying a scooter, at least for the warmer months. (Plus, if you get one under 50 ccs you can lock it to a bike rack or a pole/meter like a bicycle!)

Carlotta / January 17, 2007 9:37 AM

All I need is a quick, short ride on the #156 LaSalle bus, so as of right now I'm not affected. But if I were to change jobs....

I don't see how riding the Red or Brown lines at any time of day will be an advantage to anyone who doesn't live close by those lines. There will be no difference between catching an el and crawling southbound down the Mag Mile on a bus.

It's too damn bad that the news media will once again annoint King Richie for another 4 year term, with a mere tsk-tsk about CTA woes, etc.

4point44 / January 17, 2007 9:39 AM

it doesn't affect my metra commute, but having the pedway closed off at state street is a bummber when it's cold or raining. i actually have to walk outside.

carrie / January 17, 2007 9:41 AM

I, too, am a blue liner so I would like to say "nope, won't affect me" but who am I kidding? Most of the blue line trains are already packed, and they'll be even more packed once the red and brown liners join the blue line (I don't blame ya for doing it, I would, too). Have any other blue liners noticed, too at night, during rush hour that the O'Hare train seems to take forever to come? I feel like I've been waiting 20-25 minutes for a train.

I'm gonna do it... here I go...

CTA, what were they thinking?!

bill / January 17, 2007 9:41 AM

I'm taking this opportunity to leave my beloved lakefront and check out different neighborhoods. I'm considering a move either west to logan square or south to bridgeport.

While I'm a true believe that if you're going to pay $800-$1000 a month for rent in Chicago you better damn well be steps from the lakefront, I think this is a good opportunity to immerse myself in everything else the city has to offer. Thanks CTA. Orange or Blue line, here I come!

Marilyn / January 17, 2007 9:52 AM

It will affect me big time as a Yellow/Purple/Red Line rider. It already takes an hour, and often more to get to and from work, and unless I leave both home and work very early, I'm in the big squeeze. What alternatives do I have? Metra costs more and won't get me to work faster because I have to travel from the train station to Streeterville. Driving is my only option, and probably one I'll take. I can't afford to let the CTA hijack a bigger chunk of my free time.

anne / January 17, 2007 9:54 AM

I'm considering buying a cheap bike I can leave outside all the time (and not care if it get stolen). Then riding said bike to the Metra stop which is just out of walking reach. It would cost me the same as my CTA ride, and take only 15 minutes tops.

Unfortunately, there are no viable bus routes for me to even consider.

Naz / January 17, 2007 9:57 AM

Julian - if my thighs could fit into a small, I'd be all over thermal tights.

But hey, that means I have a typical cycling physique no? ;)

Pardon the off-topicness folks.

fluffy / January 17, 2007 10:01 AM

Ever since the July 11 incident on the blue line, I don't ride the train at all. I don't trust the CTA trains.
I walk or take the bus.

sten / January 17, 2007 10:01 AM

Won't affect me because I either bike, bus or take the Metra Electric line, but my li'l bro is out in the cold. He commutes from Hyde Park to Loyola U. every day for classes, and he's on the wrong side of the closed red line track. Dono how he plans to deal, maybe I should get him an iPod or Nintendo DS.

Mikey / January 17, 2007 10:10 AM

As a Brown Line rider, my daily commute will indeed be affected...

Changes? Probably none. Unless my employer or the CTA wants to pony up for the extra time I would have to expend were I to wake up earlier in order to get to work on time...

miss casual / January 17, 2007 10:15 AM

biking to work is the best thing ever. holla at a playa.

it takes half as long and im in a good mood when i get to work as opposed to being pissed off / late / tired.

when it gets below 28 or theres mad snow i buckle but other than that i take my legs to work instead of the train.

maardvark / January 17, 2007 10:35 AM

I live in the part of the world where Roscoe Village blends into St. Bens (just north of Addison & Damen). I chose the location in large measure because of its easy access to the train--the Addison brown line stop is a comfortable walk, and I could take the brown line all the way in. But then, of course, the brown line starts getting slower and slower, and then they close Addison for a CTA year (which is longer than a regular year by an unspecified amount), meaning that my walk to the train more than doubles (Irving Park and Paulina are now nearly equidistant from me). And now, of course, they're saying that the train ride is going to get even slower. So much for the wonderful location.

There's no question that the work needs to be done. There's also no question that they need even more work--building additional lines to serve under-served parts of the city. But given the way they've handled this project, it's clear that the CTA can't be trusted with infrastructure improvements at all. They should, I don't know, hire away the guy who runs the Paris Metro.

skafiend / January 17, 2007 10:55 AM

I ride the 136. Picks me up a few feet from my building and drops me off a few feet from the building where I work. Perfect.

But as a lifelong Chicagoan, I have ridden public transportation almost all of the time, from travling to elementary school when I was a kid to taking the CTA and Pace to the Rosemont Horizon to cover DePaul basketball games, so hearing about new work on the CTA that will affect commutes is like hearing that water is wet.

Just waiting for it to get warm so I can bike to work every now and then.

jason / January 17, 2007 10:58 AM

Apparently GB knows my commute, because today was awful. 45 minute wait for a bus? In this weather? Then the first bus that comes along passes right on by. And that's before the wait for the recently lagging Red Line. I've been pretty good about staying on my bike this winter, and I won't make the CTA mistake again no matter how cold it gets. If I have to spend 45 minutes outside I might as well be getting somewhere. It's absurd to think that this city would consider hosting the Olympics with the public transit system in such bad shape. Frank Kreusi should be run out of town.

missmolly / January 17, 2007 11:01 AM

i take the blue line or #56 in the winter, bike in the summer.

i also have the option of green line from my house to work. i may start doing that...just to get used to it.

mike / January 17, 2007 11:08 AM

Skafiend, I dunno where you pick up the 136, but if I were you I'd count on a lot more of the already frustrated RP and Edgewater red line riders to abandon the train for your bus. I know I'm planning to.

The trains will be so slow they'll be rendered useless in the Spring. And all of the alternatives (other than biking) that people are mentioning (blue line, driving, express buses, Metra) will not be able to handle the overflow. One CTA red line train accounts for hundreds of cars and a dozen buses. And the Metra UP North gets packed at Rogers Park as it is.

CC / January 17, 2007 11:13 AM

Sure does. I take the red line north to Howard and the purple line to Davis. Even though I'm not in the actual work zone, I'm sure the northbound trains on both lines are going to be even more impossible than they already are (I already waste enough time cooling my heels at Howard).

I could start biking but I don't know of any routes that are very safe or direct and I own neither a bike nor the necessary equipment, so there's that expense.

Maardvark, I second your call to get someone (anyone!) from Europe to better manage the CTA. How sad is it that small, developing countries in Eastern Europe and elsewhere have public transportation systems that can run circles around Chicago's?

spence / January 17, 2007 11:14 AM

Redline Argyle to Chicago- 35-45 min commute one way, currently.

I plan on biking. I live close to the lakefront and work close to the lakefront, so really I have no excuse. In the summer, I was biking 1-2 times a week, but this will give me an excuse to bike 5 times a week for most of the year. I'll lose those 20-25 lbs I've packed on in the last 2 years. I'm super pissed about the current state of affairs at the CTA, but at least I've got options.

Felix / January 17, 2007 11:18 AM

Southwest side didn't get L service until nearly 1994. Green Line was out of commission from about 1994-1997. Those folks made it through just fine, so I don't see what there'd be to worry about. They can make improvements and slow down the service time, or they can make improvements, slow down the service time AND charge $4/ride. I'd say option A is preferable. Either way, we get something we have no power to change to bitch about. Fun.

Julian / January 17, 2007 11:42 AM

I have over the years come to the conclusion that by leaving home a bit earlier my commute takes almost half the time; I start work at 8am and my commute is about 40 min, down from 1:20 if I start work at 9am...

Something to think about...

skafiend / January 17, 2007 11:44 AM

Mike, I catch the bus around Hollywood/Bryn Mawr, so by the time it gets to me, it's passes about six stops. It's been getting more and more crowded for the past couple of years anyway. I used to be able to get on it and it was virtually empty. In fact, they were thisclose to shutting down the route completely.

But I'm not too worried since I'm at the early part of the route. The folks near Irving park (the last stop before the express run on LSD) are the ones who are going to be screwed.

And if we're importing European transit services, I'd opt for London's. Those trains are a bazillion years old but they run. OK, they occasionally have their breakdowns and if the elevator to the street is out, you'd better have life insurance, but I'd bet their track record against the CTA's anyday.

skafiend / January 17, 2007 11:49 AM

I recall life on the Red Line before they converted the subway and redirected the train to run through the subway lines directly north and south. You'd have to get off the train downtown and go to the subway to continue the ride north (the elevated train turned and went west and the subway went south then east to Garfield Park). It was a pain in the butt late at night when you're getting off work and just wanted to get home.

And don't get me started on standing on the old Addison train platform after a Cubs game...

amyc / January 17, 2007 11:56 AM

I really wish biking to work was an option for me (I have asthma). Maybe I should get a Segway!

And don't forget, all of these slowdowns will be exponentially worse for Cubs night games.

Marilyn / January 17, 2007 12:11 PM

They used to have A/B stops, so you'd only stop at every other stop (except for the high-traffic stops like Fullerton, which were A/B). I don't see why they can't reinstitute that system. It would speed things up and cut down congestion on the trains.

jen / January 17, 2007 12:20 PM

granted, i've buckled to cold weather the last couple days, i still claim my status as a year-round cyclist.

during my weak moments, i endure the 12-minute walk to the irving park brown line (the montrose stop was a five minute walk). of course, with the extra walk and waiting time, i do kick myself when i show up to work at the same time or later than i would have had i ridden my bike.

that being said, i'll just have to embrace the chill and go with it.

Shasta MacNasty / January 17, 2007 12:20 PM

I take Metra everyday. I think the CTA slowdow will indirectly impact me in that I believe some folks will start taking Metra instead. As another commenter posted, the UP north line gets JAMMED at Rogers Park and Ravenswood. I can only imagine how much worse it will get.

mary / January 17, 2007 12:21 PM

i think it will indirectly affect me, that is, i take the bus almost everywhere, but if train commuters will switch to the bus, it means i may see my bus pass me by (3 buses have passed me by on 2 different occasions just due to them being full). i may end up waking up 20 min earlier or finding a new place when my lease is up in june.

Emily / January 17, 2007 12:42 PM

I'll be riding my scooter to work, once I figure out a good place to park it by my office. And when it's really bike. The lakefront path is pretty and empty at 7a!

Emerson Dameron / January 17, 2007 12:45 PM

I have nothing to bring to the party over at Carole Brown's blog...

...except that I'd love to see Kruesi, Brown and Daley lose their jobs over this, and I know it ain't gonna happen.

But, hey, while we're here... I only take the Red Line once a week, at about 5:00 on Wednesdays, from Clark/State to Loyola, for a committment that I *have* to arrive for by 6:00 at the latest. Any city logistics-heads got any advice on an alternate mode of transportation?

jj / January 17, 2007 1:07 PM

I drive to work usually but I do try and bike a few days a week in the summer. I'm wondering if everyone takes up biking, how will that affect the bike paths? They are pretty crowded at some times of day already, and I only see that getting worse. Also, any increase in bikers makes me worry about safety because I think both bikers and motorists need to be more educated on the rules of the road. I hope that the city will consider doing some "yay bikes - here's how not to get killed/kill" programs before summer.

Warmonger / January 17, 2007 1:08 PM

My commute will be affected by the transfer of riders from the Brown line to the Ravenswood Metra. I would note that as full as the Metra UP North is getting, even when I have been on a standing-room only train, it's nothing like being on a standing-room only El. And from Ravenswood to OTC, it's 14 minutes or so. Beats standing from Damen or Western on the Brown Line for up to an hour. For those of us who ride Metra without a monthly pass there is a possible upside - if the El folks jam the aisles, the conductors will have a hard time getting our tickets ...
I bike when it is warmer anyway. For those who are thinking of switching to biking, bear in mind that the lakefront path is great in the morning, but a mess in the evening. As alternatives, Clark and Lincoln are good bike commuter streets, Racine is a pleasant ride with lights at the major streets, Ravenswood to Lincoln is a nice connector, Damen is a viable option, and Clybourn is another good route to take in and out of the Loop - Division to Wells in, Orleans to Division to Clybourn out.
Last, but not least, if you're on the fence about biking due to perceived safety issues - there's safety in numbers! Ride with a group. Sounds like a lot of us are going to on two wheels come spring time.

ahn / January 17, 2007 1:35 PM

i'm not sure how this is going to change my commute. i work near michigan and randolph and live near the damen brown line. i take the brown and transfer to an evil crowded red in and the brown all the way home. i've been thinking of switching to the ravenswood UP metra if there's a significant change in my travel time come spring. since i don't work near the otc i'll have to take one of those shuttle buses. does anyone use one of those to get from the otc to their east of loop offices? how long does it take? kind of a random question but it might have a big effect on my choices.

granted, i'm going to be looking for a new place to live in june. maybe i'll go lake-side and spend my time on express buses. great for work, shitty for night time socializing.

matt / January 17, 2007 2:41 PM

I'm with the rest of the bikers--my commute on bike is already MUCH shorter than any train/bus combo (by at least 15 minutes) so all this construction will just be a great motivator for me to get my ass on the bike when the weather is bad/cold.

And to RE: "cc" those countries in Europe and eastern Europe have transit systems that are so great because a much larger portion of the tax $$ goes towards transit. Europe understands that in order to move people around efficiently, you need to pay for it. Unforunately, until this country/state/city realizes that we need to throw (at least) as much money at transit as we do at roads, we're going to have this "third-world" transit system.

I agree that the mismanagement of this project is ridiculous, but you also have to take into account that the CTA has wanted to expand the brown line's capacity for qutie awhile, but had difficulty getting federal funding. When congress has the option of choosing between a $500 interstate to nowhere and a $500 necessary infrastructure improvement, unfortunately they usually choose the interstate.

Reardless, I'll be laughing as I watch trains crawl along the tracks as I bike under them at Lincoln/Wrightwood.

matt / January 17, 2007 2:42 PM

$500 million, of course.

k / January 17, 2007 3:12 PM

How are all you people riding bikes to work without being a stinky, nasty mess? Seriously, do you work in offices that require business attire? Do you change when you get there? What about when it rains, what about half the shitty days in the summer that are hotter than hell? I love a bike ride but I never ride a long distance unless it doesn't matter what condition I show up in (blues fest...fine, work...hell no). Plus I think I'd fear for my life riding on the street downtown - a cab can take down five of us just as easily as it could take down one. I'd like to be converted, but right now, I just don't get it.

spence / January 17, 2007 3:14 PM


Are you taking a class at Loyola? If so, there is a shuttle from Pearson & Wabash to the Loyola Lake Shore Campus.

skafiend / January 17, 2007 3:59 PM


I personally belong to a gym right around the corner from work so I can duck in there.

But if you'd like to try it, there is a new bike locker facility on the other side of Millenium Park near LSD. They have a place for you to lock your bike, showers, lockers, etc. It's pretty cheap.

Bike Station

Zero Sum / January 17, 2007 4:16 PM


Your solution sounds simple, but the idea behind this thread is to find ways to cope with (or avoid) the CTA delays. By the time someone locks their bike, showers, and walks from the Bike Station to their office, they might have been better off, timewise, to just take the CTA in the first place.

Sure, the person will be better off for the exercise, and we'd ALL be better off by having one less person dependent on fossil fuels for transportation, but those issues are not pertinent here.

For the record, I bike to work very often, but I do it for exercise, for stress relief, and for the scenery - not because it saves me commuting time (because it doesn't).

paul / January 17, 2007 4:23 PM

I work more than half my time at home, so I shouldn't complain. However, around twice a week I take the purple line to my office, usually off-peak, and recently it's been awful even without the coming changes.

Having done nearly ten years on the purple line, I know when and where to get on to get a seat, and even if it takes an hour to get from Chicago + Franklin to Evanston, I try to make that time worthwhile (and billable) with a laptop.

Metra has always been an option for me, just a bit more of a walk, and now, a new part time gig is closer to the Metra, so I just bought my first ten-ride ticket. I'm just hoping that it doesn't get ridicously crowded.

Biking is not an option, distance and traffic intimidates me as much as my inadequate health insurance. I did a messenger gig as a youth and know that I couldn't bike everyday without sutaining some sort of injury.

Naz / January 17, 2007 4:30 PM

Re: biking to work and showering, etc, saving time, etc.

You should think of it differently:

1) You get up at the same time if not later, get dressed and go.
2) The time you spend NOT showering and getting ready at home is the same amount of time you spend getting ready and showering at your office if you have a shower, or at a gym close to your work or at the Bike Station

If you live relatively close to your work, say, less than 3 or 4 miles, in this weather, you can get to work without breaking a sweat if you layer correctly and maintain an easy pace. Biking gets you warm enough but just at that point of breaking into a serious shower-needed sweat.

In the summer, it feels good to be outside and about and you ride faster because you feel looser (muscles, etc). Showering guidelines apply here too. Bring a spare shirt or change of clothes.

Regarding safety: the lakefront path is excellent for this -- you only deal with fellow cyclists, runners and pedestrians and not two ton cars. Sure, you may have to negotiate a few downtown streets to get east to the path but riding predictably, slower and safely should keep you safe and sound.

jj -- the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation and the City of Chicago work very hard on cyclist and motorist awareness, and how to ride in the city. They host workshops, have printed materials and more. They've been doing this for years.

Chicago, is one of the best cities to bike in, comparatively across the country.

Biking to work is one of those very instances where a rider is fortunate that Chicago is flat in terms of not having to work too hard to get places and associated clean-up.

skafiend / January 17, 2007 5:12 PM

Your solution sounds simple, but the idea behind this thread is to find ways to cope with (or avoid) the CTA delays. By the time someone locks their bike, showers, and walks from the Bike Station to their office, they might have been better off, timewise, to just take the CTA in the first place.

I wasn't offering a solution to the problem of CTA delay, merely answering a question posted by K. I'm fully aware of what the thread is about.

And as far as getting to work in a timely manner, in the summer I ride my bike to work at the Thompson center, go to the gym, shower and I'm at my desk in the same time, if not sooner, than I would be if I merely rode the bus. And I live in Edgewater and take major streets, stoplights and all, and not the unimpeded flow of the lakefront bikepath.

Guess what, Zero? It can be done.

anthony / January 17, 2007 6:43 PM

It took 40 MINUTES to get from Roosevelt to Merchandise Mart last week. That is wholly unacceptable.

I actually calculated that at my freelance rate, I could take a cab everyday and net out ahead.

Ridiculous. I've given up on the CTA. F-ck 'em.

MC High Life / January 17, 2007 7:12 PM

I moved to the South Side last July. My work commute takes me from 87th to Monroe on the recently rebuilt Red. Typical commute time on the train is 25 minutes. For those keeping score, that's about 10 miles in 25 minutes. It is also about 10 miles from Howard to Monroe. ..

vit / January 17, 2007 7:52 PM

Yes. I'll have an even harder time getting on the train at the Blue Line Division stop. I'll probably start taking the 56 bus more. My bike was stolen last summer and I haven't replaced it, but I intend to do just that this spring and start riding it to work more. However, my building does not have showers, and I work in the west loop, so the bike station is not a realistic option for someone like me. As such, I'll only probably ride when the weather permits it (e.g. not to hot out).

Kim / January 17, 2007 10:01 PM

I'm another 136-er. I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing. I probably won't get a seat as often going downtown, but I get on where the bus originates at night so I'm ok on that front. I don't think my commute will get longer - the bus will get fuller faster and, as such, will probably pass up some of the stops south of Montrose.

I'm actually thinking about moving to Tri-Taylor or the West Loop - I could walk to work from either locale.

J / January 18, 2007 9:21 AM

I hope it's not too crowded on my comfortable metra train with the changes.

Hal / January 18, 2007 9:35 AM

I think I'm going to drop my minimum temperature threshold for riding my bike from 60F down to 45F. Which is fine by me, I enjoy the ride and got a fancy new backpack and rear flashing light for Xmas I want to use. During the summer, the commute only took 10 minutes longer door to door than the El, including showering and changing at the gym across the street from my office. I live in Uptown and take a Red/Brown line combo which usually takes 45 minutes to get to my Loop office. Once the change hits, there will surely be a time savings there.

anson / January 18, 2007 11:09 AM

Yes. I'm going to try to start work earlier. I used to have a flex schedule that allowed me to start anytime before 10am. Now that I have to start work by 9, I think I'm going to try to get in by 7:45 or 8am. I hate the 9am rush anyway because it takes me 45 minutes to cover the same ground I cover in 25 or 30 before 8 or after 9. Plus the trains being jam packed don't contribute to me getting to work fresh and feeling energetic.

Of course, once three tracking starts, it will be getting warm again, so I'll also be biking anywhere from two to four times a week. Hopefully that will allow me to avoid the scrum on most days. On the other hand, I hope increased traffic won't make riding more dangerous...

Sarah / January 18, 2007 11:35 AM

Anyone who rides an express bus who doesn't think that their commute is going to be impacted by this reduction in service should think again. I'm sure that a lot of commuters on the red and brown lines are going to be taking the bus once the train slows down, and a lot of these buses are already filled to capacity. It pisses me off that the CTA isn't planning on increasing service on these routes as part of a contingency plan.

One of the things that I have learned from working for the city is that if you get in touch with a city official (most) are obliged to respond to your request or to redirect it to a more appropriate person. The mayor has a whole office that is dedicated to responding to people's letters. When the CTA announced this latest round of service cutbacks I contacted my alderman to express my concerns about express bus service. I would definitely encourage others to do the same, or to voice any of the concerns that you have.

Richard Daley / January 18, 2007 11:35 AM

It won't have any effect on me whatsoever. The election's next month.

Marilyn / January 18, 2007 11:38 AM

Don't be so sure, Richie. Remember Bilandic? He lost his seat in City Hall because he couldn't get the streets plowed for the common folk (only his buddies) so they could get around. There's not that big a difference except that you have dozens of flunkies to fall on their swords for you (you hope).

michael / January 18, 2007 11:39 AM

Since I board the train just north of where the major renovations are taking place, I can't help but be affected by the work. Still, the trains are more reliable then my bus options; I once waited for a #8 for over an hour. Certainly I'm foolish for waiting that long, but after 30 or 40 minutes, it's a matter of principle.

And although my commute is the reverse of the unwashed masses, I'm sure I'll still have to deal.

So, just like the CTA says, I'll just have to SHUT UP AND JUST:


Carole Brown / January 18, 2007 12:04 PM

It's going to suck. All the proles will abandon the trains and try to drive instead, which will clog all the roads. Getting to Lehman Brothers via taxi is going to take longer. Guess I'll have to leave early, leave late, or alternate. Hey, that's catchy.

ken / January 18, 2007 12:16 PM

I'm unlucky enough to take Metra, which is plagued with its own inefficiencies and uses its own standard of time keeping to remain "on time".

I do feel for everyone who has to deal with the CTA.

Why is it that every time some "improvement" or another comes along that may inconvenience some, certain people decide to put the blame on Daley? The man has honestly done more to improve this city than that of the last 3 mayors combined. Or does everybody forget what this city was like in the late 70s through the 80s? Sorry to be off topic, but seriously if stronger aldermen are what is needed then stop voting for the weak, agenda minded.

If you have a better idea on how to run things perhaps you should not waste your time voicing those opinions and/or grievances to the few who read and respond in this forum, and get on the campaign trail yourselves.

Marilyn / January 18, 2007 12:20 PM

It's amazing how all the Daley supporters sound alike. At least you didn't say "love it or leave it."

ken / January 18, 2007 12:28 PM

It's more amazing how all the Daley detractors can point the fingers while not offering any solutions or alternatives.

amyc / January 18, 2007 12:52 PM

Here's a possible solution, Ken -- increase the number of buses. A lot.

An eight-car train is equivalent to, what, 8-10 buses? And we're losing 47 trains per day, IIRC (31 northbound and 16 southbound). So if the city and the mayor and his handpicked minions at the CTA wanted to make the situation better, they'd figure out how to add another 375 buses per day to all the routes that will have to absorb all those people. Telling us to just get used to twice as much travel time is not what good leaders do.

Here's another fun thought -- how about if everyone who served on the CTA board were required to take the CTA five days a week for the duration of their term? Carole Brown takes cabs everywhere. I think Daley gets carried around town on a bejeweled litter. They have no idea what their critics are even talking about.

vise77 / January 18, 2007 12:55 PM

OK, I'll bite.

Here's what Daley can do:

--Fire current management team and appoint new blood. Hell, the PR effect could win some trust or good spirit for the CTA. Who knows? Someone good might actually be installed. I mean, Daley found a good schools guy a while back, right?
--Find a way to increase the city's contribution to the CTA. Easier said than done, but even a symbolic move could win points with citizens and lawmakers. I am not in favor of using Skyway money for this, but, then again, I can't think of few better uses for at least a sliver of Skyway money than mass transit.
--Use all that Daley magic to lobby hard in Springfield for new RTA funding formumla. Daley is supposed to have all this influence, right? I mean, that's one reason he's mayor, right?
--Daley can start taking CTA buses or trains to work, and mandate that CTA managers do the same (yes, he has the power--people still jump when Daley tells them to). This might be more PR than anything else, but who knows? It sure would help build confidence that our leaders care about the CTA. Bloomberg takes the subway in NYC, and that says a lot.
--De-prioritize the airport express train idea, though I fear there is no stopping Block 37. As well, Daley can get behind long delayed extension of Red Line to South Side.
--Clean trains would go a long way to satisfying us proles who depend on the CTA. Hell, even "cleaner" rather than "clean" would help. Surely Daley, who according to some is the reason there are clean streets, can clean the trains, right? I mean, he planted all those pretty flowers everywhere, and pushed wrought iron fences.

Voting rube / January 18, 2007 12:57 PM

One solution would be to vote out incumbent rubber stamp city council members who were appointed by Daley and see their jobs as careers. They don't ride the CTA so when they witness it crumbling in their neighborhood and they see TIF dollars going to build banks and restaurants, they keep their mouths shut, or complain about elephants and foie gras ... oh wait, my Daley-appointed alderman of 16 years is running unopposed because she was able to knock three potential opponents off the ballot. Nevermind.

One solution would be to vote out the do-nothings on the CTA board ... oh wait, they're not elected like in other cities; they're cronies who are appointed by the Mayor and the Governor. Nevermind.

One solution would be to elect an executive director who can get along with downstate lawmakers and work with (instead of against) the RTA to convince everyone that more dollars for transit in Illinois' economic engine will benefit everyone, save money in the long run on road maintenance and accidents, and reduce pollution ... oh wait, he was appointed by Daley and even though everyone is calling for his expulsion, was defended last week by the mayor. Nevermind.

On Carole's blog and on CTA Tattler, people are offering all kinds of solutions and suggestions. They have gone unanswered so far.

I've lived in DC, Baltimore and New York. All of them were shitholes in the 70s and 80s too Ken, and all of them have gentrified.

peanut / January 18, 2007 1:21 PM

As a Rockwell brownline rider, I'm really not looking forward to that twice-as-long homeward commute. Time to true those wheels.

For refreshening oneself apres bike, may I suggest bringing a 2nd pair of underwear and some deodorant. (How you say? Le bain de francais?) Not to get too personal.

jj, I hear that IDOT is coming out with driver safety PSAs this spring on sharing the road with cyclists. I hope it's true, because it's WAY OVERDUE.

Emerson Dameron / January 18, 2007 1:39 PM

Vise and Rube-

Thanks for saving me some time. Second-guessing the Fortunate Son's noblesse oblige never seems to accomplish anything, but I'm glad people have the nerve to "point the finger" when his monolopy gets off center.

Wait. Forget I said any of that. Stop playa-hatin'. And if you don't like Chicago, give Cincinnati a try! Or Detroit! If you haven't been shot in the last week, you have Richie to thank! Bow down, hataz.

Emerson Dameron / January 18, 2007 1:47 PM

When I announced my move here, a friend and native Chicagoan said, "Sorry about Daley. He's a lot like Mayor Quimby."

ken / January 18, 2007 2:27 PM

Excellent. This is far more productive conversation than simply saying "He Sucks" etc.

Thanks for that.

As for the cronieism (sp?), I do agree it is a worsening problem, but is not limited to Daley alone, this is problem that plagues all in power. To that I'll say everyone that Daley appoints gets approved or not by the city council who are not necessarily appointed by Daley but are voted for by you, me and the rest of the generally uninformed public.

The CTA chairman is one of five people on the CTA appointed by the mayor. The other two by the governor. All must be approved. These are not just blanket appointments.
Unfortunately, the chairman must deal with the RTA board, most of which are appointed by the county boards in the collar counties.
So CTA projects end up being cut or downsized due to State level issues and the transportation needs outside the city - mostly out of the mayor's hands and scope of influence.

Ultimately, I think the RTA should control it all and be elected by the populace not appointed by anyone, of course this may take educating the voting public a bit. The same goes for IDOT officials. None of these bodies are on the same page nor are they working toward any sort of common agenda.

As for gentrification, it hasn't exactly solved any of the transportation problems in Baltimore or DC. It still takes 2 hours to travel 10 miles there too.

Gentrification simply further burdens the poor. Ask some of the former residents of Robert Taylor or Cabrini who got shuffled out to the far suburbs.

ken / January 18, 2007 2:31 PM

If anyone is qualified here is start for change

Analyst/Transit Research

The CTA is looking for someone in planning.

Any Civil Engineers/City Planners out there?

ken / January 18, 2007 2:39 PM

Analyst/Transit Research


ken / January 18, 2007 2:41 PM

Damn link doesn't want to work. Sorry. You can find it on the CTA website under careers.

Marilyn / January 18, 2007 3:07 PM

Ken - It may look more productive, but I've been over on Carole Brown's blog, where more than 100 replies with a myriad of suggestions have been posted, and you know what? No reply from the CTA poobahs. It's a little late to be hiring a planner or analyst now, after the work has already begun and the delays already getting longer and more dangerous. It could be 6 months before someone is hired (and who knows if they'll be there on merit or because they're connected). The utter frustration of not being heard, of being treated like dirt, of having no say. This is what fuels the anger, the sarcasm, the hopelessness.

vise77 / January 18, 2007 3:46 PM

Don't get hopeless, Marilyn, get angry, very angry. Those in power want to you to lose hope and become apathetic--or, at least, let off steam through harmless sarcasm.

I don't mean to sound paranoid, but that's what comes from living under the closest thing the USA has to a totalitarian government. Seriously: One party rule; no serious challengers to the Dear Leader; little accountability; the mixture of the persona of the Dear Leader (and the Dear Leader, Sr.) with the identity of the state (well, city in this case).

Tell me again why we haven't started marching on city hall? This is still our city, right?

ken / January 18, 2007 3:54 PM

Marilyn - It is never too late for change. Hiring a planner/analyst (hopefully one in tune with real life public issues) was merely a weak sarcastic suggestion. Of course this won't fix the current problems, but the right person could make better decisions in the future, and possibly listen more to the masses. The truth is, our transportation system is over 100 years old and is in need of the repairs/upgrades and unfortunately we have to suffer the effects like it or not. Carole's blog has some great suggestions and it is still possible that changes can be made to be more accomodating as this project will be ongoing for years. My point is it really does not matter who is in charge these things need to be done.

If everyone's favorite "brand x" politician were to be in charge anyone inconvenienced would point their finger and say he/she sucks.

I don't know maybe I'm just frustrated with all the frustration as well, I really don't have a favorite nor do I fully support any one politician, but simply being angry doesn't bring solutions.

Marilyn / January 18, 2007 3:57 PM

Vise - Is it? I remember a city that a working man or woman could afford to live in, a city with texture. When I look around me, I don't see gentrification. I see a place overrun with the suburban sensibilities that I originally moved to the city to escape. Neighborhoods look increasingly like malls, everything is clean and homogeneous and imitation "real," and you can't even park on the public streets anymore because of the permit parking and elimination of hundreds of formerly legal parking spots. The city used to be a place where you could experience new things and get some adult sealegs. Now, it's a seamless transition from Naperville to Wrigleyville (which used to be Lakeview). The city I knew and loved is just like the ancient tree in the new movie "Pan's Labyrinth," being strangled by a giant toad. Who would have thought 20 years ago that the Chicago Federation of Labor would not endorse a Daley for mayor. That they haven't shows you how much has changed.

Thomas Paine / January 18, 2007 4:10 PM

"...but how a race of men came into the world so exalted above the rest, and distinguished like some new species, is worth inquiring into, and whether they are the means of happiness or of misery to mankind."

It would be nice for the 21st Century to bring an end to the "Daley" monarchy in Chicago...and an end to the "Clinton/Bush" kingdom in Washington.

P.S. I drive to work.

michael / January 18, 2007 5:29 PM

Just a quick "by the way", which i'm sure someone else has voiced:

Why are there improvements to the stations, yet reduced number of trains? So more people can be more comfortable, while they waste more time, waiting?

If there's money to pay for new stations, there should be money to pay for more train service, if not cleaner train service.

CTA: just shut up and "TAKE IT!"

james / January 18, 2007 9:50 PM

i live a half-block from the damen brown line stop, so not only will i be giving up the cta in favor of metra or my bicycle once this project starts, but i'll also be giving it up when they tear down the damen station in november.

leigh / January 19, 2007 9:59 AM

i'm beginning to think the is a really scary plot to get people to move into the thousands upon thousands of empty and new condos they keep building in the south loop. all the real estate people got together with daley and said "if we make it impossible for them to live anywhere else, they will have no choice! ha ha ha!"

irv / January 19, 2007 11:16 AM

so a guy walks into a hot dog stand, waits in line and when he finally gets to the counter says give me your specialty. he pays $3.00 and gets a hot dog. Irate at the wait and at the cheap meal, he protests "i waited all that time and then got this -- this is no steak!" Fire the chef! The chef says if you want steak, you need to pay for steak. The irate customer says, "if you didn't mis-manage all the money you make at this second-rate stand, you could serve me steak -- execpt that you're so incompetent I bet you don't even know how to make steak."

So, I ask, is the problem with the hot dog stand or with the customer? Does the customer really want steak? Will the customer ever get steak with this approach? Not in a million years. The same goes for CTA. It's current leader may be disagreeable to some, but the bottom line is that there's no one on earth that could provide much better CTA service with the budget they have. Compare all you want to NYC, London, or Paris -- just maybe sometime before you complain take the time to consider how much more those regions subsidize their transit than our's does. Many times more. Improving CTA may not end with more money, but it certainly begins with it.

To spend so much time and effort on complaining about management, and give no attention to getting the state legislature to increase transit funding is terribly short sighted. And yes, transit is a regional issue -- not a City issue. Cities like NYC in the 70's and San Fran today, who try to carry the financial burden of transit and other regional services on their backs, soon go broke. The problem is a regional one for the Illinois State Legislature to solve -- I'm sorry, not the Mayor. CTA, RTA, Metra and Pace were all created by the state legislature. Making them work is the responsibility of the state legislature. The state legislators are very happy when people blame the Mayor and his appointees for thier negligence, I can assure you.

KJ / January 19, 2007 2:06 PM

It's a good point about the state legislature and we shouldn't overlook them. I'm going to be writing some letters to my reps. However, I'm not about to let the mayor off the hook, either. If public transit for half the city is hogtied for the next two years, the mayor should realize that he is going to have a problem on a number of levels. I hope he gets major citizen wrath.

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