CTA to Downtown Chicago: “Drop Dead”


(Photo: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice….)

It’s really hard to try and prove a point about the worth of public transit when your local public-transit agency just keeps spitting in your face. I know, I swore I’d lay off the ranting. But a return to its former boneheadedness on the part of the Chicago Transit Authority has got me rocking back on my heels once again.

There will be no ‘L’ service in the entire eastern half of downtown Chicago on most nights and weekends for the rest of 2008.

Read it and weep not only in the CTA Tattler link, above, but on the CTA press releases page, too.

I guess that meeting with transit advocates earlier this spring where you professed to take the needs of residents seriously into account when reroutes are scheduled didn’t mean much did it, oh CTA honcho Ron Huberman?

(Again, see CTA Tattler for more of Huberman’s once hopefully isolated missteps in his first year at the helm of the CTA).

Because of rail and signal renewal on the Loop elevated tracks there will be no ‘L’ service on Lake Street or Wabash Avenue every night and almost every weekend until December.

But to make matters worse, the Red Line subway track work reroutes to the Loop ‘L’ on nights and weekends continue.

And with Lake and Wabash legs of the Loop ‘L’ out during the same times, the Red Line will be shunted to Wells and Van Buren. And that means:

There will be no ‘L’ service in the entire eastern half of downtown Chicago on most nights and weekends for the rest of 2008.

Did you get that? Seriously understand the implications of that? As in, the tens of thousands of residents of River North and the Loop will have absolutely no CTA train service east of Franklin (in River North) and east of Dearborn (in the Loop) most evenings and weekends for the rest of the year.

As in, almost every single evening and weekend with just like, what, pee breaks in between? You know people live, work, play down here right? Thousands of them. You do live in this city too, Ron, right?

And not just downtown residents trying to get into or out of their now transit-desert neighborhoods. But how about visitors from other nabes and towns trying to get home from a night out in the Loop on a weekday, or trying to get into it at all on the weekend?

Oh, and did I mention no shuttle buses in the Loop? I hope everyone Loop-bound knows the local bus system well, because you know if the CTA is set on screwing downtown dwellers, workers, and visitors to this extent, you probably shouldn’t count on them getting any of their diversion signage right, either (more on that below).

If ever there were a moment when I felt like dropping my lifelong opposition to learning how to drive, here it is. At this point, if I had the means to get a car and the mojo to go get my license, I would dump the CTA.

If this is the best project staging the CTA and its leadership can come up with during the height of the year in downtown Chicago, they obviously don’t:

a.) Stand up to their word; or
b.) Deserve my trust.

This year is also a pivotal year for me. I have the opportunity to trade my residence in downtown Chicago for digs in another Chicago neighborhood or possibly (horrors) a close-in suburb this summer. I have a feeling the CTA just made my decision for me.

I don’t know what kind of curse hangs over the CTA that, whoever is at the helm and no matter what it promises to the public, the agency just adores to keep dipping its toe over and over again into the great and awful sea of customer unfriendliness. But if there’s a goat riding around the system somewhere wearing a Cubs cap or a jersey bearing the face of Bartman, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least.

Good luck in Springfield looking for those capital funds, Ron. Ordinarily, I’d love to be standing there behind you with a banner. But I think I’ll be at the DMV that day.

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