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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Monday, February 26

Gapers Block

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steve_sleeve / December 12, 2004 11:20 PM

...I'd have teleporting as an available mode of public transportation (but it would cost more than a bus or train ride, and no free transfers).

bumpity bump / December 13, 2004 12:43 AM

i'd put in blacklights and disco balls, like rock n roll bowling.

paul / December 13, 2004 7:33 AM

...I'd have my limo driver pick me up every morning.

wc / December 13, 2004 7:40 AM

I would have a separate train car for drunk frat guys/sorority girls, and another for people with luggage/shopping bags/shopping carts.

Another separate car with long cushioned benches for the homeless to sleep on. To be shared with tired commuters in the morning/evening.

Mike / December 13, 2004 8:49 AM

I'd incorporate many of the ideas already posted, and take a cue from our cousins across the pond.

Thurston / December 13, 2004 8:52 AM

... I'd really enforce the rule on the bus that people board in the front and exit in the back.

... I'd force people to stop crowding into the vestibule on the el when there is space in the aisle.

steven / December 13, 2004 9:31 AM

I'd watch all the goings-on from my private CTA-Copter.

Ray / December 13, 2004 9:38 AM

I'd put "walk left, stand right" signs on the escalators.

I'd extend the Yellow Line to Old Orchard, the Blue Line to Woodfield, the Orange Line to Ford City, and Green Line Jackson Park over to the Museum of Science and Industry.

I would state publicly that if the CTA is to be a social service agency, then it is absurd not to be giving it more operating subsidies.

And I'd publicly ask the mayor to cough up some of that TIF slush fund cash that I'm reading out in the Reader, before tendering my resignation.

Brenda / December 13, 2004 9:45 AM

I'd designate one car the official "knitting car", where all seats had enough room for long needles and flying elbows. Natch.

Michael / December 13, 2004 9:48 AM

Weekend "bar cars". Also, smelly people would not be allowed on the buses or trains.

sandor / December 13, 2004 9:48 AM

I'd ride the CTA to work, and force all my employees to do so as well.

robin.. / December 13, 2004 9:54 AM

...i'd vote for Ray. and i'd also PROHIBIT cell phones, unequivocally. those things are a blight on public space. seriously, unless you happen to go into labour on the train commute home, there is no reason to call people just to tell them you're on the train and you'll be there soon.

Ellie / December 13, 2004 9:55 AM

I would hire a group of retirees to strictly enforce a "no talking in the morning, especially on cell phones unless you're calling your boss to tell him/her you're running a bit late" rule. Violators will be shamed into shutting it!

Alex / December 13, 2004 9:56 AM

1. People who stood in a giant human clump blocking the doors, while the rest of the train or bus was clear, would get zapped with a stun gun.

2. Senior citizens, people with disabilities or pregnant women would always get a seat.

3. Orlando Bloom would always be my bus driver/train conductor.

pat / December 13, 2004 10:01 AM

Ditto on Ray's Yellow, Green, Blue and Orange line suggestions. Also, I'd extend the brown line to Jeff Park to make connecting to O'Hare a little easier, and create a Western Avenue subway that links all the lines together.

I'd also like to prove that the TVs on Pace busses are really mind control devices and that the money is better spent on the CTA.

Craig / December 13, 2004 10:12 AM

Get the damn Circle line started.

Add stations to the Green Line.

Redesign stations to be more comfortable-- more seating, covered platforms, materials that hide grime/clean easier.

Use the latest tracking technologies to keep riders informed of wait times and locations of trains and busses.

Launch a design competition to create more architecturally significant stations.

Brainstorm more creative ways to create revenue-- that don't involve fare increases. Advertising should be giving us free rides-- or at least something more interesting to look at while waiting.

Trying *even harder* to get politicians to realize that public transit is crucial to Chicago's urban growth explosion, and should recieve much more funding than it currently does.

Lowry / December 13, 2004 10:57 AM

... I would make the L the sole form of transportation for the entire country, forcing a rapid expansion of the lines. They would now span out so you could take the blue line past O'Hare all the way to Los Angeles.

jgs / December 13, 2004 10:59 AM

All Santa Train, all the time.

Eamon / December 13, 2004 11:08 AM

Amen to the Circle Line.

Joe / December 13, 2004 11:12 AM

Lowry sez:

>They would now span out so you could take
>the blue line past O'Hare all the way to
>Los Angeles.

"This is Los Angeles.


Doors closing.

The next stop will be Las Vegas. Doors open on the right at Las Vegas.

Standing passengers, please do not lean against the doors"

I like it!

Viny / December 13, 2004 11:20 AM

I'd either make the sole express train on the system (Purple) serve actual Chicagoans instead of being largely for the benefit of Evanston residents by stopping at Lawrence, Loyola, and Howard, and not just Howard plus all stops in Evanston.

Charlie / December 13, 2004 11:25 AM

I'd modernize the system with a Monorail that uses half the engergy while cutting noise to a minimal "WHoooSH".

andrew / December 13, 2004 11:41 AM

I'd do my damndest to unify Pace, Metra and CTA into one agency. Then I'd form a taskforce on bus bunching, stop relying soley on "ridership surveys" for determining service on specific lines, and start campaigning for increased state funding more than two months before the budget is due.

Slabek / December 13, 2004 11:49 AM

The only way to really get the ball rolling on any of this is eliminate cars on a few major street in the center lanes, allowing no parking anywhere on those specified streets, throw down some tracks, and bring the damb trolleys back.

If trolleys aren't a "Chicagoland treat", like SF, well, do some digging.

leah / December 13, 2004 12:01 PM

More posters of stickman Jack eating snacks from his pack and yammering on his stick cell phone and maybe new ones of Jack barging onto the train before others have exited, stuff like that.

And real enforcement of exiting the back of the bus. It's my hugest pet peeve.

There's so much that could use improvement and reform. Gotta start small, I guess.

salty / December 13, 2004 12:21 PM

The Purple Line is my pet peeve -- I agree w/ Viny...halfway.

It IS supposed to serve Evanston, but it should have at least one stop before Belmont (maybe Loyola) then Belmont for transfers, then express all the way to the Loop. That way it can serve Northsiders, too.

None of this stopping at every Brown Line stop after Belmont! I mean, WTF, don't Brown Line riders get a train every 3 min. anyway?

And the Purple express would run once every hour during non-rush hour and weekends.

Also, I'd change all platforms to concrete w/ blue safety strips and a *working* elevator in every station (for wheelchairs & bad knees).

Maggie / December 13, 2004 12:56 PM

... bring in Happy Hour trains/buses with bartenders who look like the cats of Ocean's Twelve.

... have 'dance party' cars/buses with themed days.

... Have silent cars/buses, for the days I'm not in a dance party mood.

...when two of my buses that are running the same route are right behind e/o, I would have them leapfrog e/o so that people are more equally distributed.

Maggie / December 13, 2004 1:49 PM

and I meant the *cast* of Ocean's Twelve. Silly Maggie.

SA / December 13, 2004 2:55 PM

...I would run like hell, 'cause it looks like the peasantry are sharpening their pitchforks

Kirsten / December 13, 2004 3:06 PM

I think they should extend the blue line out past Forest Park, both to Oakbrook and O'Hare. There should also be a connection from the Blue line out to O'hare and the red and Brown on the Northside, maybe Belmont?
They need to modernize the system, that is for sure.
They should have all the seats facing the aisle, like they do on the the London Underground, much easier to get up and sit down, and more aisle space. They need more places to hold onto, the very low hand holds on the trains are a pain for tall people.
Also, Viny and Salty, I'm almost positive that Evanston, Skokie and Oak Park give the CTA money to have it operate out of Chicago. I know for a fact that Oak Park paid for a large portion of the Green line rehabs on the stations in Oak Park. I'm sure Evanston and Skokie are the same.

emily / December 13, 2004 3:33 PM

1. ALWAYS have the stop notification turned ON on all busses. (both audio and visual)
2. Spray some Lysol in the underground stops. Clean up the urine.
3. Inlay compass keys in the sidewalks at the exits of every el stop in the city.
4. More advertising, less fare increases.
5. More vertical poles so short people can hold on.
6. Hire security who will escort annoying/drunk/smelly/panhandling people off the trains/busses.
7. Add one day/three day/week pass purchasing to all vending machines at el stops.
8. Hire bus drivers that aren't eager to throw everyone on the bus around with sudden and hard braking.
9. Allow leapfrogging of busses to avoid 5 bus backup during rush hour.
10. And finally: If I ran the CTA I'd be making a whole lot more money.

litty / December 13, 2004 3:38 PM

everything...and I mean EVERYTHING...associated with the CTA would be heated and weather proof.

There would be free coffee and donuts in the morning, and free shots of whiskey for after work.

Helper monkeys would keep all doors on busses and trains clear.

And maybe they'd put on little shows during delays to keep us entertained.

e_five / December 13, 2004 3:57 PM

Fix the tracks at the many slow zones where the train must slow to walking speed.

Close some stops too close to others such as Jarvis, Thorndale, Argyle, and either Lake or Washington.

Return Purple line to express service between Merchandise Mart and Fullerton.

Restore skip-stop service.

Restore conductors-- why is there only one person in charge of a packed 8-car train with 700 people?!

In other words, get back to the way it was in the mid-80s when my trip took 28 minutes instead of 40 or more and cost $1.00 instead of $1.75.

april / December 13, 2004 4:39 PM

-ban that crap cream paint

-back lashings to the train conductors who fail to use the easing-of-brakes method during rush hour. Now, I'm not talking about one accidental lurch. No. I'm talking about the jackasses that gun it and then slam on the brakes. Just like my mom.

paul / December 13, 2004 4:41 PM

Yea, what is it about the Brown line coming every 2 minutes, and three trains for every Purple line?

As for the Purple line, I'd make all the operators make long rambling announcements like that one guy, and I'd make it a bullet train fast so it would beat the Metra.

And while I'm at it the whole damn train would be purple.

Mike / December 13, 2004 5:06 PM

I'd retrofit every single line with a single mag-lev train that operates under the regular tracks, serves cocktails and can get from O'Hare to Clark/Lake (with all stops in between) in about 5 minutes.
Tickets would cost $10 per person, there would be no more parking downtown so everyone has to take it.

Also, all CTA uniforms would be thrown out and replaced with clown suits. Management would wear royal blue crushed-velvet track suits and oversized alarm clocks around their necks. At meetings, instead of "Yes sir, I think that's an excellent idea, sir" everyone would have to say "Yeeeeaaah boooy."

Lisa / December 13, 2004 5:22 PM

I'd make sure there was only one line to the South Side. Oh wait...

Tina / December 13, 2004 6:10 PM

I'd try to find a way to get rid of the permeating stench of urine on the red line...ugh!

Shylo / December 13, 2004 8:16 PM

I'd install Cadbury vending machines like they have in the London Underground.

Also, I'd install a bar/coffee car. Imagine the Craig's List ads!

Chris / December 13, 2004 9:41 PM

The Circle line would be great, it would really cut my commute time to work.

Keep the stink off the red line tunnels for sure. What's the point of re-designing Jackson if it's gonna smell the same?

Hire pushers for the trains just like in Japan for those busy Loop hours...though we'd probably get more harassment lawsuits going on.

karen / December 13, 2004 9:48 PM

I'd make all the popeye chicken eatin' greasy finger lickin' hilljacks clean the train cars.

Cindy / December 14, 2004 6:30 AM

I would have famous Chicago celebrity voices call off the stops.

matt / December 14, 2004 8:17 AM

I'd get rid of all those god damn homeless people...and loud teenagers! I pay a lot of money to live in this city and I don't need those undesirable elements interfering with my comfortably planned out urban living experience! Who let them in anyway?!

Tony / December 14, 2004 8:38 AM

fire Frank Kruzi and that idiot Carol Brown.

Sarah / December 14, 2004 9:26 AM

I would give myself a good talking to.

Kari / December 14, 2004 10:04 AM

I'd have someone turn down the damn speaker volume on the last two cars of the Brown line. When you can't hear the music in your headphones because DOORS ARE CLOSING SOUTHPORT IS NEXT clearly something ain't right. Shut up, CTA.

kim / December 14, 2004 10:28 AM

"I'd get rid of all those god damn homeless people...and loud teenagers! I pay a lot of money to live in this city and I don't need those undesirable elements interfering with my comfortably planned out urban living experience!"

Matt- Move to the suburbs where you can live your money-loving sheltered life...people like you suck! Living in a big city is about culture and being surrounded by different types of people.

Not Matt / December 14, 2004 11:08 AM

Hey kim, check out my webpage!

kim / December 14, 2004 11:15 AM

sorry, my mistake...i didnt catch the sarcasm in matts entry. i just really sick of people trying to get rid of "problem" people rather than solving them.

Dave / December 14, 2004 11:32 AM

Living in a big city is about culture and being surrounded by different types of people.

Ah yes! Culture, like bus seats covered in bum vomit.

pismire / December 14, 2004 11:45 AM

I'd raise fares and cut service. I'd make sure that you'd wait a half an hour for a bus and then send three at the same time. I'd spray all the el stations with eau d'urine perfume. I'd have the el stop every two minutes and play that annoying beeping over and over and over. I'd make sure that all the ticket machines never took your dollar bills. I'd load the trains and buses with inconsiderate commuters.

Silly me. That's how it is NOW . . . .OK, I'll rethink this.

Carrie / December 14, 2004 12:33 PM

The "workers" in the bright yellow vests would actually work. And the people that sit in the booth all day wouldn't be mean when people need help.

People with those wheely bags would have to carry them off the train so people like me will no longer trip over them and want to kick them onto the tracks (kick the bags, not the people).

People sitting in the outside seat would have to stand to let the person on the inside out. No more just swinging your legs into the aisle.

Anyone who shoves their way on the train so they can get a seat for one stop would be pinched. Mostly the people who shove at say, Jackson and then get off at Monroe. They will also be charged double because that is walking distance.

Also, I agree with jgs- All Santa Train, all the time.

Frank / December 14, 2004 1:00 PM

I vote for Ray, what a visionary.

Then I would ask to lead a special unit of CTA Marshals that patrol busses and trains moving people to the middle/back so more people can ride.

Let's face it, sometimes as a human being you gotta NOT read the newspaper and pay attention to other humans who are more than likely just commuting to work like you are.

These marshals would all be extremely polite, people-people but full of loud Chicago attitude for idiots who don't get it. Taking the Jack posters to the streets!

Sean U. / December 14, 2004 1:14 PM

I'd have a sort of tire-popping device guarantee that the buses [especially the old 66 and any bus line in my old neighborhood] couldn't get within eight blocks of each other. Often was the time I would head out of Atomix with a hot coffee in hand, only to watch three, sometimes four buses, gently bump past like elephants at the circus, trunk-in-tail.

If their tires would explode when coming close to each other, the drivers would be a lot less carefree about bus-bunching. Always made me so full of hate.

Nuxrs / December 14, 2004 1:48 PM

Forget the popping, how about fareboxes that shut down when the buses are too close? If I gotta wait a half-hour for three buses to come at once, I wanna ride for free...

Thurston / December 14, 2004 2:48 PM

A lot of you are feeling my pain on the #66 Chicago bus, which arrives three at a time or not at all. So, if I ran the CTA, I would make 1/3 to 1/2 of the buses operate on a semi-express basis on routes where bus-bunching is polemic. A semi-express bus would stop only where one can transfer to another from of public transportation. Locals would make all the stops. People could choose to utilize a local or semi-express bus stop depending on their destination and laziness. For example, an east bound semi-express #66 would stop at Western, Damen, Ashland, Milwaukee/blue line, Halstead, Franklin/Brown line, etc. I think under this regimen bus-bunching would be significantly reduced.

vit / December 14, 2004 6:16 PM

I am totally feeling your #66 bus pain, today around 9:15 was a good example of their incompetancy in action.

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