“The Shabbiest Metra Station in Chicagoland”

(Photo: Commuter rail station that only a termite could love. Credit: Photoentropy.)

Ever wonder why the Metra station at Roosevelt Road looks like a big steamy pile of lactose-intolerant toothpaste poop? While the rest of the Museum Campus area and the South Loop in general zoom along in their tony residential upswing, Metra’s Roosevelt Road station continues to sit and fester in all its rotted, splintered, ramshackle, pee-scented, teetering-wooden-walkway glory. Today’s Trib tells why.

Variously described in the article by riders as a “fishing shack”, a “treehouse”, and more to the point, “an ugly disgrace” that is the “shabbiest Metra station in Chicagoland”, Metra doesn’t see the station as its problem. They blame late-arriving state funding as the reason for the delay in three-year old plans to demolish the facility and replace it with one more in keeping with the transportation demands of the 21st century (or at least the 20th).

Yet Metra’s stance on receiving the funds A.S.A.P., as reported in the article, is nothing more than to passively complain that Springfield keeps promising the money “in a week” and to swear that, for the time being anyway, the existing outhouse-cum-station is structurally sound. With that kind of rousing support from Metra, I wonder whether the commuter rail agency is waiting to act until Roosevelt Road (take your pick): a.) falls over; b.) burns down; c.) is eaten overnight by woodchucks.

You decide the direction in which Metra’s we’re-a-victim-here reasoning resonates for you. But while you ponder, consider the nine new Metra stations and 20 new Metra route miles that have come on line in the last 12 months, without delay, in the suburbs.

If Metra really is serious about fixing Roosevelt Road, a good first step would be for the Metra Board at its meeting on August 11 to follow through with their much threatened ouster of anti-urban, regionally challenged chair Jeffrey Ladd, whose very public 2003 appraisal of the need for Metra service improvements on Chicago’s south side was to assert “we’re not a social service agency“.

Continuing to call it like he sees it, in May of this year Ladd told the Sun-Times, “I’ve got other things in my life” besides Metra. Hopefully, in August the Metra board will support him in going and doing them, instead.

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