Log in

Previous 10 | Next 10

Jan. 25th, 2010


Sun-Times Archive

It looks like much of the Sun-Times archive is being sold off on ebay.
There's a lot of interesting stuff in here - a lot of transit-oriented stuff too. Don't forget to check the completed listings too.

I don't know if these are "duds" or duplicates or what, but it seems like they should be in a museum collection.

Jan. 5th, 2010


North Side is next.

Okay, so I've been noticing that this community has been a little dead lately and that's been bugging me. I figured I'd try and liven this place up with a series or more or less regular posting about the "L".

Now that the CTA has finished rebuilding the Ravenswood (Brown Line--please, let's not got into this discussion again) the Authority is now turning its attention to the other North Side stations (namely Sheridan, Wilson, Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn, Bryn Mawr, Thorndale, Granville, Loyola, Morse, Jarvis) and to stations in Evanston (South Blvd., Main, Dempster, Foster, Noyes, and Central). According to the website, the public comment period ended yesterday but I'm curious as to what the thoughts and opinions are of the people in this community regarding the rebuilding of these stations.

Let me begin by saying that I have no idea why Granville and Loyola are included as they are already ADA compliant, just as Howard and Davis are. (Note that Howard and Davis were not on CTA's list.) But nevermind that. On to the rebuilds!

As much as I am a fan of history and historical preservation, looking at this purely from an operational standpoint I'd have to say that Sheridan should go. Instead, a new station would be built at Irving Park (only a couple hundred feet west) in a similar fashion to what they did with Addison back in the early 90's. (Inserting a platform between the four track by adding two modern tracks and removing two old ones.) Without the local/express service (which has been gone since the 1940's) the dual platforms at Sheridan are no longer needed. Additionally, with the platforms out of the way, the tracks could be realigned for smoother curves through the S allowing for higher speeds.

I'd also want some stations picked out for historical preservation (not like the "preservation" done at Damen or Diversey). I'm thinking similar in nature to what was done at Ashland/Lake. Main, and Central are a must in my book. Dempster is virtually identical to Main, but is in worse shape and is less used. Foster and Noyes were never completed. They were supposed to get station houses like South Blvd. and Central, but it never materialized. (It'd be nice if they could become accessible with Arthur Gerber style station houses added, but we all know that's just not going to happen.)

Wilson, I'm sure, will have some level of preservation and I'd hope a few of the others would also get the same treatment. Thorndale, for instance. I'd also like to see the the auxillury exit at Bryn Mawr preserved as well.

On the whole, I think most should just be rebuilt as modern stations. Lawrence anybody?

Nov. 10th, 2009

Mr. Augh II


Well, Good Morning to You!

A CTA bus crashed into the side of a house at 115th Street and Vincennes Avenue on the South Side this morning, injuring four people including a 7-year-old passenger, police said.

Nov. 5th, 2009



CTA Tracking

While I was searching around, I came across this review of an Android CTA Tracker App. Which leads to the question: if you use a cell phone application to help with your bus routes, which one(s) do you use? Or do you, as the review suggests, use the bus tracker website (http://www.ctabustracker.com/) on your phone or computer?


Tuesday's News

Good News: If you're a T-Mobile user, T-Mobile is to be added to the list of cell phone providers available in the CTA tunnels.

Bad News: You're a T-Mobile user.

Oct. 22nd, 2009

Mr. Fengi


The Money Pit Gets Deeper

When the Block 37 project was first announced, the millions of taxpayer dollars used by Mayor Daley's pet project was almost the same as the CTA budget shortfall which threatened Doomsday.

Two years later, the amount of taxpayer money has increased to nearly equal the current CTA budget shortfall threatening the current Doomsday. The station still isn't finished and it's main purpose (an impossible to build express train) is more of a white elephant than ever. Now we get this:
Bank of America and a group of lenders are moving to foreclose on the retail and transit portion of the mixed-use development, claiming Chicago developer Joseph Freed and Associates LLC has, in essence, run out of money, according to a lawsuit filed Monday in Cook County Circuit Court.

Freed issued a statement Tuesday calling the banks' lawsuit a "misguided action that could halt the project" and make it "near-impossible to restart."

The clash marks a significant setback for the revitalization of shopping along State Street. It also signals that the long-anticipated commercial real estate bubble is beginning to pop as banks are forced to revalue big commercial properties.

"It's probably the tip of the iceberg of banks taking properties back," said Ross Glickman, chairman and chief executive of Chicago-based Urban Retail Properties, who was involved in the Block 37 project in the 1990s.

The banks have been negotiating with Freed since March, when the developer technically defaulted, the lawsuit said. Since then, cost overruns had reached "at least" $34 million as of Aug. 25, court documents said. Freed owes $128.5 million on a $205 million construction loan, the filing stated.

Bank of America is asking the court to appoint a receiver to manage the property and get the construction completed. The office portion, developed by Golub & Co., already has opened.

Commercial real estate values have fallen, on average, 40 percent since the middle of 2007, leaving hundreds of billions of dollars of commercial real estate deals underwater, said Jim Sullivan, managing director of Green Street Advisors, a real estate research firm. New developments are particularly vulnerable because they aren't generating enough cash flow to cover payments on loans, he said.

"For banks, the issue is, 'How do we minimize the loss?' " Sullivan said. "Typically the way to do that is to get control of the property, re-price it, sell it and move on."
Imagine what could have been done if all the energy, resources and arm-twisting by City Hall had been devoted to keeping the current system viable instead of a big dream hole in the ground. Daley's defenders used to claim the loop was the lynchpin which anchored the whole city, now it seems more like they gravity well into which all money flows.

Oct. 12th, 2009

ronnie dobbs


Tell them no, Chicagoans!

Here's a quick summary of the (awful) new CTA budget proposal:

• Basic train fares to $3 from $2.25.

• Basic bus fares to $2.50 from $2.25.

• Express bus fares to $3 from as little as $2.25 now.

• Full fare 30-day passes to $110 from $86.

• Seven-day passes to $30 from $23.

In addition, express bus service would no longer be available on nine routes: X3, X4, X9, X20, X49, X54, X55, X80 and 53 AL.

Hours of operation also would be reduced on 41 other bus routes, generally in the early morning and late night. Each would lose between 25 minutes and about three hours of service a day, with a few routes even more.

In addition, buses and trains would run less frequently. Effective Feb. 7, the CTA is proposing to eliminate 827,000 hours of bus service (or 13.7 percent), and 57,803 hours of rail service (or 9.8 percent) across all bus routes and rail lines.

I don't know about everyone else, but I do not plan to sit idly by while this shit sails through. There will be 3 budget meetings, all open to the public. All 3 are scheduled for 6 pm:

Thursday, October 29, 2009
Austin Town Hall
5610 West Lake Street
Chicago, IL 60644

Monday, November 2, 2009
Lane Technical High School
2501 West Addison Street
Chicago, IL 60618

Tuesday, November 3, 2009
South Shore Cultural Center
7059 South Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60649

In addition to the public meetings, written comments are being accepted as well.
"This input will be welcomed at the meetings or by correspondence addressed to Gregory P. Longhini, Assistant Secretary of the Board, Chicago Transit Authority, P.O. Box 7567, Chicago, Illinois 60680-7567. Input also can be sent via e-mail to: glonghini@transitchicago.com." The deadline for written comments is November 10.

The full article on the CTA budget proposal is here.

I will definitely be writing and plan to attend the meeting at Lane Tech as well. Let them know we won't stand for this!
Mr. Goat


It's time to say "Enough!"

For a work only commuter who takes the train 5 days a week, the CTA's proposed .50 to .75 fare increase will mean $5 to $7.50 more per week. That's not a small increase. If they get the national average of 2 weeks paid time off, that's $250 to $375 a year. That's more than half a months rent for a lot of people, and a real hit for far more.

This is work commute only. If one uses the CTA more, it can quickly add up. As those who rely most on public transit tend to be those who can least afford it, this is an indirect tax increase for the poor.

Assuming, of course, one still has service - rail would be cut by 9.8% and bus service by 13.7%. Given the frequency of delays and interruptions, it would likely work out to 10 to 14 percent. Imagine waiting an extra 9 minutes for a bus in January.

It effects all of us, since a crappier CTA will force more people into cars. At six bucks a day, the cost of driving and parking starts to be a reasonable option.

It's a lot of damn money and cuts to heap upon people after hundreds of millions of our tax dollars - including tens of millions taken directly from the CTA budget - was wasted on Block 37.

We blew a vast amount of money on a train station people didn't want or need. It only exists for the Mayor's pet airport project - useless for the majority of CTA riders and costing a billion dollars or more of money we don't have.

I think it's time for real change. Not a dime more for Block 37 or the airport express until fares come down. Instead of doing fundraising for some new high concept project, the city's movers, shakers and paid consultants could seek donations for the Fare Stabilization Intiative. If there was a nice enough logo, I'm sure they could sell it.

Some random ideas: The city can use TIF money, cut services at Millenium Park, sell off the hospital land we pre-emptively purchased for the Olympic Village, and Chicago 2016 can contribute their leftover funds.

More realistically, the state and RTA can revoke the policy giving free rides to all seniors regardless of means. Make it a poverty program.

It's time to for the city to make a unique effort on something which directly, deeply and consistently affects the quality of life in Chicago transit. It's not as impressive or easy to explain as a new park or international sporting event, but the benefits are far more real.

Oct. 1st, 2009



Photo project

 Hey do you guys remember when a whole bunch of people (I don't know if it was livejournal-specific, or just people in general) decided to take pictures of their experiences on the el?  Just for one day, and all on the same day?

Was that a one-time thing, or does it happen regularly?

Sep. 26th, 2009


Just need to vent

First of all, when the bus is relatively empty, why do people insist on standing up? Especially near the driver, discussing garbage. A lot of times forward of the yellow line on routes such as Kimball-Homan.
Secondly, why do some drivers think they're in a Nascar competition?
And again, I will repeat, remove your infant from the stroller, fold it up, and when your ride is done, insert said infant into unfolded stroller. Lather, rinse, repeat. It's not so hard. Also, maybe not have so many kids, huh? Like there's enough jobs and food for everybody. This is all along all economic classes, racial lines, etc.

Previous 10 | Next 10