CTA Ignores Transit Needs of Downtown Residents


(Photo: Shhh, maybe no one will notice…)

If I could post this entry in a “Not Getting Around” column, I would.  Last spring, Ron Huberman’s CTA planning masters came up with a rotten plan to shut off all weekend ‘L’ service on Lake Street and Wabash Avenue to speed up track work.  I and others lambasted the plan, and it was revised.  Unfortunately, it was only revised to miss the downtown festival season.  It’s still designed to make life easier for people who visit downtown, not for the thouands of Chicagoans, like me, who actually live in the neighborhood.

The Trib’s John Hilkevitch is reporting that beginning today, much overnight and all weekend ‘L’ service will be eliminated on Lake and Wabash.  The idea seems to be by screwing 24/7 downtown residents out of convenient ‘L’ service in the northern (River-North adjacent) and eastern areas of the Loop where many people live, the CTA will be able to improve service more quickly for people who spend eight hours a day down here.

What’s worse, while Red Line slow-zone work continues, many weekends Red Line trains will be rerouted to the Wells and Van Buren sides of the Loop, too.  Meaning it will be a lengthy walk or crowded bus ride (assuming CTA personnel give rerouted riders correct detour information this time) for anyone in the eastern half of downtown to connect with that rerouted service.

That sucks. Overnight work sounds just fine to me.  At least I’d still be able to get where I need to go without walking half a mile to find the rerouted Brown or Green Lines on Wells Street on the days when all of my time–and thus all of my trips–are beginning and ending downtown.

You do know that’s what it means to live downtown, right Ron?  Actually, er, living here physically?  Overnight and on weekends, especially.  Maybe you spend too much time in Uptown (or Boystown) to notice.  But lots of people actually have need of the ‘L’ services you’ve so casually decided aren’t a priority to maintain every weekend from now until Thanksgiving.

I’ll remember that.  The next time I’m asked in the media–or by an alderman–as a downtown resident how I think the CTA is doing.  Definitely the next time I try to ride a train in my neighborhood on the weekend.  And I’m pretty sure the next time I have any desire to write a kind word about Windy City transit on any of my bylines.

You’ve obviously just told me and thousands of my neighbors to drop dead–every weekend between now and Thanksgiving.  Consider this missive me returning the favor.

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