As usual, the CTA will be free tonight from 10pm to 4am, courtesy of MillerCoors.
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Saturday, July 30
As usual, the CTA will be free tonight from 10pm to 4am, courtesy of MillerCoors.
Uber released a list of the top 10 destinations for Uber rides in Chicago. You could probably easily guess eight or nine of them.
More than 1600 flights were canceled at O'Hare and Midway yesterday, stranding thousands in the terminals. One guy who was allegedly stuck at O'Hare for 50 hours (really? more than two days?) gave up and proposed to his girlfriend by text.
A taxi driver lobby convinced McPier to levy its $4 airport departure tax against rideshares in addition to the already-covered taxis -- but almost nobody knows about it, and it's not clear if the tax is getting paid.
How many fares does a CTA bus need to pick up on each run in order to break even? Curious City does the math.
The City has approved Lyft for pickups and drop-offs at Midway and O'Hare -- but not Uber yet. They only submitted their paperwork on Monday. Chicagoist has maps of where they'll pick you up. UPDATE: Whaddya know, Uber's paperwork was processed in record time, so you can use them at the airports tomorrow, too.
The Kennedy between the Circle Interchange and Edens junction was declared the worst traffic bottleneck in the country by the American Highway Users Alliance, with backups often stretching 12 miles. (Not sure about those names? Consult our guide to Chicago traffic.)
If you received one of the 100,000+ traffic tickets that were issued from malfunctioning red-light cameras, you can check this nifty Trib database to see if the camera that captured your plate is known for having issues.
In the wake of the Paris terror attacks, Metra has beefed up security on trains and platforms.
Incredibly, 70 percent of Union Station is off limits to visitors. The redevelopment plan announced earlier this year would return to use many of those formerly public spaces -- and Crain's has a look at what would be revealed.
The Skyway was closed to traffic this morning due to high winds and blowing debris. It may or may not reopen for the evening rush, depending on conditions.
A man was caught selling stolen Ventra farecards intended for homeless CPS students, the BGA reports. It's part of an overall pattern of lax control of Ventra cards by the school district, whose budget for CTA fares has more than doubled in the past five years.
After a Lincoln Towing driver taunted and berated a long line of concertgoers whose cars were towed while at a concert at the Aragon -- and then assaulted and tried to run over a cyclist who tried to talk some sense into him -- Ald. Ameya Pawar is threatening to force the long-problematic company out of Uptown. (Previously.)
The Yellow Line resumes service tomorrow morning, after closing in May when a rail embankment collapsed due to nearby construction. As a thank-you for your patience, rides are free from the Dempster-Skokie and Oakton-Skokie stations through Nov. 6.
A guy who tried to get a Lyft near O'Hare ended up getting a ride to the police station instead after the cops impounded the car for picking up near the airport, even though that will likely be legal soon (because the Mayor supports it).
Illinois is relatively safe on the roads, according to a new study of car-related deaths by state. Maybe we're just better at wearing our seatbelts.
Uber, Lyft, Sidecar and presumably any future ridesharing services will gain access to O'Hare and Midway in exchange for a 2 cent tax per ride under the latest budget proposal being considered Wednesday by City Council.
CTA's budget is balanced, meaning no fare increase in 2016 -- but only if deadlocked Springfield approves.
DNAinfo shows you where Divvy bikes went once they left the station, as well as how many rides each station garnered in the past year.
Today's cab strike didn't take many taxis off the road, and at least one Uber driver is sympathetic to the cause. But Uber went on the offensive, pointing out that cabbies are less likely to pick up passengers on the West and South sides than Uber drivers are.
Taxi drivers plan a "Day Without a Cab Driver" 24-hour strike Thursday morning till Friday morning in protest of Mayor Emanuel's proposal to allow rideshare drivers to pick up passengers at the airports and McCormick Place and fare increases.
Divvy workers unionized last year, and are now petitioning to earn a living wage. Lend your support here. Meanwhile, StreetsBlog looks at how the Divvy for Everyone program, intended to bring bikesharing to underprivileged communities, is going.
As cabbies shut down taxi travel at the airports Wednesday in protest of Emanuel's budget proposal allowing rideshare services access to the airports, another battle was waged in the courtroom. A federal judge paved the way for an equal-protection lawsuit against the City for treating rideshare services different from taxis.
The Museum of Science and Industry is unloading part of its historical train collection to make room for other modes of transportation. The trains, including a horse-drawn Chicago streetcar, will be sold at auction on Oct. 5.
Taxi drivers are blocking cab stands and refusing to pick up passengers today at O'Hare and Midway in protest of a City budget proposal allowing drivers for rideshare companies to access the airports.
Artist Genea Barnes commemorates fallen cyclists by capturing images of ghost bike memorials put up in their honor.
O'Hare's persistent presence on lists of the worst airports in the country has more to do with delays than the quality of the facilities, writes Nate Silver.
The CTA's response to the collapse of an embankment by the Yellow Line near Skokie has been surprisingly lax according to the Sun-Times, considering it could've caused a major accident.
Construction will shut down lanes on the Eisenhower, Kennedy and Dan Ryan expressways during the next few weekends.
Express buses will return to Ashland and Western during rush hour, the City announced, with officials insisting plans for bus rapid transit on Ashland are still in the works.
Mayor Emanuel announced plans to improve the parking, security, and concessions at Midway Airport.
The cash-strapped City is collecting on decades-old parking tickets to try and generate new revenue.
According to an investigation by CBS Chicago, as people update their address on file with the City, they are receiving a brand-new notice in the mail for old citations. And since there's no statute of limitations, any unpaid tickets are fair game.
The City hopes to encourage density and use of public transit by removing parking minimums for housing developments near L stations.
New leadership at Chicago's infrastructure bank will try to get the organization moving on major improvement projects; the group stalled somewhat after launching to big fanfare three years ago.
Laura Washington credits Uber with making it easier for African Americans to hail a taxi while also providing job opportunities for people from underserved areas.
No one knows when it started, but late at night the lowest depths Lower Wacker Drive screech with drifting, speeding cars.
Consultants involved in lining up contractors to build the Ventra system later reused confidential information on another project, writes Jason Prechtel in his latest work digging into the payment system.
Just in time for the evening commute: Chicago is rated as one of the country's worst big cities for drivers in a study by a personal finance website.
While festival organizers encourage people to bike, predicting the number of cyclists and managing a flood of Divvys is still a challenge.
Commuters looking to spend even more time with their mobile devices are increasingly taking the Metra and public transit, according to a study.
An engine caught fire as a Southwest airplane took off from Midway Wednesday night; luckily the flight landed safely and no one was injured.
A woman busted previously for trying to sneak aboard an airplane was arrested while trying to do it again at Midway Airport a day after she was released from jail.
Drivers no longer need to scramble to stand in long lines to get a city sticker before the deadline after the City switched to year-round sales.
Misuse of cards issued to low-income seniors and people with disabilities is costing the CTA millions.
Bike safety enforcement events will target cyclists who blow through red lights and motorists who park in bike lanes.
While late-night commuting on The 606 is technically allowed, police have been clearing all traffic from the park after 11pm.
The number of pedestrians killed is up to 18 so far this year, including a person killed in West Pullman yesterday.
A map of ghost bikes shows where the memorials commemorate bikers killed across the city.
Restoring old police cruisers is more than just a hobby for some Chicagoans.
A fake honorary street sign marking "Dirty's Way" in Logan Square was taken down by the city, but its origins remain a mystery.
Gas detectors mounted on Google Street View cars found hundreds of methane leaks around the city that aren't dangerous but do contribute to global warming.
Chicago ranked second on U-Haul's list of destination cities for moving truck rentals, with many of them ending up in the Wicker Park/ Bucktown area.
Commuting by helicopter will be an option for those who can afford to fly into a new heliport on the Near West Side.
A muslim Northwestern University chaplain says a flight attendant refused to give her an unopened can of soda because it could be used as a weapon.
Ads shaming commuters for leaving bags on seats, eating on the train, and committing other faux pas are aimed at inspiring better behavior on the CTA.
Chicago could actually make money from its maligned parking meter deal through realistic changes like introducing new pricing models, writes Whet Moser.
Iron Heart Chicago will bring live music to El stops around the city in June, highlighting traditional music from Chicago's many cultures.
Look: over a million people are heading through O'Hare over the next few days, and the roads are going to be packed, so take your time.
Police hope speed bumps will keep people from racing illegally on Lower Wacker Drive.
Spending 24 hours in O'Hare sounds like the worst vacation ever, but writer Jeff Ruby dedicated a whole day to documenting life in the world's busiest airport.
Service on the CTA Yellow Line is suspended after an embankment gave way near the tracks in Skokie.
Summer means more bike rides -- and more bike thefts. The Chainlink has some tips for keeping your cycle safe.
The diagonal runways at O'Hare have begun to be dismantled, despite several state bills aimed at saving them and an earlier promise that they wouldn't be touched until next spring.
See which red light cameras issued the most tickets on a map assembled by DNAinfo.
A 63-year-old serial airplane stowaway, was caught loitering at O'Hare without a ticket recently.
For many Divvy users, biking is actually faster than taking the CTA.
Once upon a time, owning a taxi medallion was a great investment. But now that Uber and other car-sharing companies are "disrupting" the industry, medallion owners are finding themselves underwater.
The Illinois House passed a ban on red light cameras in some areas -- just not in Chicago.
RedEye's transportation columnist Tracy Swartz shares lessons she learned about getting around the city as she departs for the entertainment beat at the Tribune.
A Loyola campus cop busted out his baton to stop a runaway golf cart from turning endless loops on the Loyola campus.
Streetsblog suggests some steps to make Chicago's red light cameras more transparent and fairer, including maintaining them properly and removing them from low-crash intersections.
It's actually illegal to tow a car from a private lot if the owner shows up, reports DNAinfo's Paul Biasco.
The man who drove his jeep off of a tow truck says he jumped into his car as it was being taken away because his English bulldog was inside.
CPD raided a recycling facility which authorities claim bought and resold hundreds of catalytic converters stolen from cars across the city.
The Illinois Tollway is adding "Safe Phone Zones" with wifi to oases, hoping distracted drivers will get off the road if they need to text or check the Internet.
The City is owed $1.5 billion in unpaid tickets and fines, more than the
debt owed to New York City and Los Angeles combined, reports The Expired Meter.
A Wicker Park man bikes 20 miles each way to his job in Glenview through rain, snow, and sleet. What's your excuse?
Mayor Emanuel floated the idea of renaming either Midway or O'Hare after President Obama, saying that "we have airports named after battleships." (Um, not exactly, Mr. Mayor.)
A video shared by DNAinfo shows an extreme case of road rage in Rogers Park where one driver kicked and punched the other's car while it repeatedly rammed into his car.
The CTA warned of service cuts and fare increases should the governor's proposed state budget go through -- it would cut $170 million from Chicago-area transit services.
Six clever people wrote computer scripts to flood the FAA's Airport Noise Management System complaint form with nearly 25,000 complaints in January -- around two thirds of the total complaints for the month.
If you're flying out of Midway on Tuesday, watch parties in honor of Southwest Airlines' 30th anniversary at the airport.
On Friday, mayoral candidate Chuy Garcia announced that if elected he'd shut down all the red light cameras in the city. On Sunday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that the City would turn off 50 cameras at 25 intersections.
The International Business Times reports Mayor Emanuel's former top congressional aide became a lobbyist for a firm representing Xerox State and Municipal Solutions days before the company was awarded the contract to build the City's red-light cameras.
After her fellow commuters seemed to ignore a man confronting Mary Mitchell on the El, she wonders if we're too distracted to watch out for each other.
The City seems particularly attentive in plowing side streets ahead of April's runoff election.
Despite costing the City over $400 million and counting, the Block 37 superstation sits unused downtown, a remnant of abandoned plans for an airport express train.
Fivethirtyeight's Data Lab runs the numbers on Chicago's yellow lights, and finds them coming up a bit short.
Did you know you can rent your own two-car El train? Although there's no booze on board, live music and food are allowed, leaving plenty of party possibilities.
The City is looking to use self-releasing boots for cars with unpaid parking tickets, although drivers would still have to return them after settling their debt.
A series by ABC7's Roz Varon takes a look at how Chicago's streets got their names.
A Logan Square woman found her car "essentially bombed," apparently by someone upset at her for violating dibs.
Despite the occasional trip down Lake Shore Drive, Divvy riders may actually be safer than other cyclists, reporting only 18 crashes since the program started.
The City will begin clearing anything left behind to reserve a street parking spot on Friday.
The CTA is going to test sending the Purple Line on one more run to the Loop and back, leaving Linden at 8pm, for six weeks this summer.
Watch how snow plows made their way through the blizzard with a heat map animation by the team behind clearstreets.org.
Uber makes a lot of claims about how UberX benefits drivers and passengers alike, so Touchvision checked the facts in a series of short documentaries.
A Ukrainian Village woman says someone cut her car's brake lines after she parked in a spot marked with chairs.
Contrary to videos circulating on YouTube, rocking a car back and forth to get it unstuck probably won't cause it to start on fire, reports DNAinfo's Mina Bloom.
Pedestrians tired of slogging through sidewalk snowdrifts filed hundreds of complaints after Sunday's storm, but the City hasn't issued any citations yet.
Student reporters with Real Chi Youth followed the epic two-hour commute of a high school valedictorian.
Dibs skeleton pic.twitter.com/ekzabwX2CS— Mitch Dudek (@mitchdudek) February 3, 2015
Chicagoans started claiming recently-cleared parking spots with folding chairs, sawhorses, and other random items during the Big Snow of 1967, according to DNAinfo's Ted Cox.
Countdown clocks may be coming to stoplights with red light cameras after Mayor Emanuel endorsed the idea as a way to prevent rear-end collisions.
Bike messenger Nico Deportago-Cabrera strapped on a video camera and went head-to-head with a cab driver to see who could cross the city faster. [via]
DNAinfo found out what happens to all those rusted, abandoned bikes fastened to racks and street signs.
CDOT will repave at least 300 miles worth of city streets, including Lake Shore Drive from Grand to North, King Drive from Cermak to 37th, and Cicero from Division to the Eisenhower.
The CTA is retiring the last of its 2400-series train cars, and to commemorate, it's giving them a farewell tour Wednesday. The trains will be dressed up in their original 1976 decals.
Why is a Cermak Road exit on the Ryan labeled as "22nd Street?" One man is on a quest to get the City to remedy its many signage indiscretions.
Whet Moser shares how biking through the colder months helps riders resist winter depression.
Uber introduced a "safety checklist" for users to make sure they're getting into the right car with the correct pre-screened driver.
Nearly half of all drivers pulled over in Chicago last year were black, according to the ACLU.
A Ventra app for Metra riders, bus rapid transit in the Loop, and 4G networks on the Blue and Red lines are among the transit improvements planned for 2015.
The City shared videos of car crashes caused by drivers running red lights to encourage safer driving, although they left out clips of accidents caused by red light cameras.
Chicago's streets would be easier to navigate without all those pesky cars; John Greenfield suggests a few ways to clear the lanes.
Red light cameras lead to more rear-end accidents at intersections while decreasing the number of T-bone collisions, according to a study.
The Damen Blue Line stop reopens this morning after two months of renovation.
Major progress has been made on the 606 (aka Bloomingdale Trail), with most of the road paved and bridges raised along the 2.7-mile route.
A calendar of scantily-clad (and one full-nude) cabbies is raising money for a federal lawsuit against the City to make it treat cab drivers more like city employees.
Getting to the Museum Campus using public transportation is pretty tough, but a trolley service, private busway, or light rail system could be used to make the trip easier, according to a mayoral panel.
Cab drivers will receive as much as an $8,000 increase in annual income -- without a taxi fare increase -- under an ordinance passed by City Council yesterday.
"Rahm vs. Nature" tracks how the City is faring in its never-ending war against potholes.
Over 200 cars were towed when the winter overnight parking ban went into effect Monday morning.
While you were sleeping, the annual Winter Overnight Parking Ban began early this morning and runs through March 31. Parking on designated arterial streets from 3-7am (regardless of snow) will get your wheels towed ($150 and an additional daily storage fee), plus a $60 ticket. Additionally, a second (but not as strongly enforced) ban that tickets (or relocates) cars parked on designated streets when snowfall is over 2 inches goes into effect today.
Hope your car is where you left it.
The security line at Midway Airport was reportedly 1.2 miles long this morning.
Chicago's worst Thanksgiving traffic is between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Wednesday, while Saturday is the second worst day to drive, according to the Tribune.
This year, the CTA isn't just doing a Holiday Train (whose schedule was just announced) -- there's also a Holiday Bus, a reticulated model coated in Christmas decor, running Dec. 2-23 on various routes.
Lyft and Sidecar both received the first city ridesharing licenses yesterday, certifying that the companies' drivers meet certain training and safety requirements. Uber is still working on their license.
A small cargo plane that flew into the side of a house near Midway Airport missed the elderly couple inside by a couple of inches. The pilot was killed in the crash.
A video by the CTA gives an engineer's-eye view of the Red Line's entire route. [via]
It's not exactly the best time for the cast and crew of superhero flick Batman v. Superman to be filming exterior footage, but that's fall in Chicago for you! Several streets in Uptown are already closed, and will be until Friday. Let's hope those super and bat suits are well insulated.
Graffiti removal requests to 311 are the densest along the Blue, Pink and Orange Lines of the CTA, tracing diagonals through the Northwest and Southwest sides.
Strong wind gusts knocked over light poles and carried lake waters onto northbound Lake Shore Drive -- so avoid it if you can.
RadPad maps the rental price of apartments near different El stops across the city.
The CTA will soon randomly search commuters' bags for explosives and swab them for bomb-making residue.
With Hailo no longer available in Chicago, the City is planning to launch its very own taxi hailing app.
While aldermen are reviving the idea of an express train between O'Hare and downtown, that money would be better spent speeding up the Blue Line, says RedEye's Tracy Swartz.
Buses bunching up on the streets is inevitable, reports Curious City, as delayed buses give more people time to make it to a stop and leave less passengers for the next bus.
Metra claims it already meets a state mandate to accept Ventra cards because tickets can be purchased using them as debit cards.
The Active Transportation Alliance used crash data and community input to identify the 10 most dangerous intersections for pedestrians.
Officials will take the temperature of passengers arriving at O'Hare from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea starting Thursday.
The FAA radar center in Aurora that was damaged by fires allegedly set by a worker reopened today.
Metra officials want to raise fares by more than ten percent on average, the second largest increase in Metra's history, in part to raise funds for new cars and engines.
The Daily Mail compares snapshots of workers' commutes from around the world, and while commuting via water taxi isn't typical here, the normal traffic definitely beats riding on the outside of a train.
Renovations of the Wilson Red Line stop, viewed by many as the worst in the entire system, begin this month.
Mayor Emanuel's new plan for taxis doesn't increase fares, but it does propose a centralized dispatching system to help them compete with ride-sharing companies.
A top official at Chicago Carriage Cab, the city's largest cab company, was indicted for utilizing fake "clean" titles to use previously wrecked cars as taxis.
Planned transportation improvements downtown include a bus rapid transit system in the Loop.
Despite the radar problems, O'Hare just regained its title as the world's busiest airport -- in terms of operations -- for the first time since 2004.
The skies above Chicago were eerily quiet this morning after an intentional fire at an Aurora radar facility closed O'Hare and Midway to flights for several hours. Flights have resumed at a "reduced rate."
More parking tickets are left on cars with Indiana license plates than any other out-of-state vehicles.
Passengers will be able to ride from Chicago to Madison on restored rail cars meant to recreate the golden age of train travel.
A "shared street" on Argyle in Uptown will bring the sidewalk and street to the same level, providing more space for cyclists and pedestrians.
Cyclists tired of bike thefts are taking matters into their own hands, searching for hot rides online and in markets, and setting up sting operations with police.
A United flight was forced to make an unplanned landing at O'Hare after two passengers clashed over a device that keeps seats from reclining.
Gov. Quinn vetoed a bill that would have imposed new regulations on ridesharing services like UberX, Sidecar and Lyft.
Divvy announced a 175 station expansion to take place in Spring 2015, giving Chicago the most bike share stations and largest service area in North America with a total of 475 stations that cover 87 square miles.
A thief cut down a tree in Wicker Park in order to steal the bike attached to it.
A video of what appears to be bedbugs crawling on a Red Line train seat is circulating on social media. The CTA says it hasn't received any reports, but would pull train cars for decontamination if notified. [via]
A judge told city officials he has been dismissing 70 percent of red light camera ticket cases, saying cameras or lights are often set up incorrectly, including yellow lights taking less than the three seconds required by law.
Major renovations of the Damen, California, and Western stations on the Blue Line will force them to close for several weeks starting in September.
A study found people who talked to strangers on the train were happier, so why not look up from that smartphone and say "hi?"
Many people in Cook County are spending excessive amounts of time traveling to low-paying jobs, according to a study, with about one in ten lacking fast and frequent access to buses and trains.
Congress approved a $35 million grant for the CTA to rebuild the Red and Purple lines.
Chicago Magazine takes a look at the many visions of the future of transit in Chicago, including light rail, a bicycle superskyway, and expanded El lines, which Craig Berman once envisioned with a CTA Map for 2055.
Design company Minimal and frame builder Garry Alderman teamed up to build the "ultimate bike for Chicago," the BLACKLINE.
Plans for the city's first barrier-protected bike lane place it along Clybourn Avenue in Old Town.
Mechanics from area bike shops are posing as buyers to help police catch bicycle thieves.
Aldermen are calling on the city's top watchdog to investigate unexplained spikes in ticketing by red light cameras uncovered by a Chicago Tribune investigation.
Thieves target cars parked in Lincoln Park and Humboldt Park for more smash-and-grab robberies than other neighborhoods, police statistics show.
While it's illegal for anyone over 12 to bike on the sidewalk, inconsistent laws across the state and the country might explain why some people think it's acceptable behavior.
A Tribune investigation of 4 million tickets issued by red light cameras found some cameras recorded violations in "wild and inexplicable spikes," and a class action lawsuit is demanding the City pay back tens of millions of dollars.
Two men boarded the Orange Line in broad daylight and held up commuters at gunpoint, robbing them of their wallets, phones and jewelry.
After yet more glitches caused delays for people who waited till the last minute to get their city sticker yesterday, those people now have until today to purchase them.
You can see how Chicagoans make their way to work on a map put together by the Sun-Times.
A cyclist somehow found their way on to the Kennedy during rush hour Thursday evening, though there are no reports on whether they were riding a Divvy or not.
When construction on Milwaukee Ave. crept out into the street, drivers, cyclists, the City, and reporters at Streetsblog were forced to sort the whole mess out.
Curious City looks at Chicago's role as a transportation hub for Amish people living throughout the Midwest.
Hundreds of people who paid for parking using the ParkChicago app were ticketed despite having time left on their meters.
A cyclist stopped a thief from stealing a bike wheel in Logan Square last night, and shared his photo on TheChainlink -- where the community ID'ed him, found his Facebook page and discovered a pattern of bike theft.
The police and CDOT began a series of crosswalk stings yesterday, ticketing drivers who cut off pedestrians in marked crosswalks.
If you didn't get your new city sticker in time, you now have a little more time. The city clerk extended the deadline to buy a sticker until July 7, and the grace period for not having a sticker until July 15.
The CTA's full transition to Ventra starts on Tuesday, when old transit cards will no longer be accepted.
Heads up: The Division Street bridge will be closed today for demolition; the new bridge will open in October.
Find out which mode of transportation is the fastest for getting from where you are to anywhere else in the city on a map by the You Are Here project. [via]
A power outage shut down a Blue Line track between LaSalle and Western, forcing trains in both directions to share a single track and delaying some commuters for two hours.
Construction on the Ohio Street bridge continues this weekend, but this time northbound lanes on the Kennedy will be closed heading into the Loop, causing trouble for drivers coming from the South Side.
A Southwest flight attendant delivered a funny, surprisingly memorable speech to kick of a flight from San Francisco to Chicago.
Companies across the city will compete to see whose employees are most willing to pedal their way to work between June 13 and 20 as part of the Bike Commuter Challenge.
Hearings held by the FAA on runway changes at O'Hare weren't actually held in areas that will be impacted by increased airplane noise, a Sun-Times investigation found.
A revamped TSA checkpoint at O'Hare adds couches, wall art, and soothing music to make passing through security more comfortable.
A public-interest group continues to challenge Chicago's parking meter deal in court, even though the City itself is defending the agreement.
Divvy posted a loss of $148,000 last year, but the City picked up the tab per its agreement with Alta Bicycle Share Inc.
Chicago is one of the safest cities in the country for pedestrians, according to a new study.
Blackline shuttle service promises a faster trip from the North Side to downtown while offering leather seats, A/C, and WiFi to commuters.
In order to extend the Red Line to 130th, the City may have to seize hundreds of parcels of land to make way.
TSA agent Eddie Palacios will receive an Award for Valor from the Department of Homeland Security for stopping an El train before it hit a woman who fell on to the tracks at the Chicago Ave. Blue Line.
Around 1,120 flights were cancelled yesterday when the evacuation of a radar facility halted all flights through Midway and O'Hare.
All flights in and out of O'Hare and Midway were halted after smoke forced workers to evacuate a radar facility in Elgin. UPDATE: The smoke was caused by a bathroom fan, and flights will slowly resume at both airports.
The number of people who rode a bike to work in Chicago more than doubled in recent years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Still, only 1.3 percent of workers said they rode a bike to work between 2008-2012.
No, Uber X can't pick you up at the airport, the City decided yesterday after the company sent a message to drivers telling them how to accept pickups at O'Hare and Midway.
While Mayor Emanuel stressed the necessity of speed cameras to keep kids safe, they also caught his own motorcade speeding or running red lights almost two dozen times, according to ABC 7.
The Reader's Ben Joravsky broke out a stopwatch to fact-check Mayor Emanuel's claims that a $320 million Red-Purple Line bypass would save commuters three to four minutes.
Amtrak will be testing out allowing small dogs and cats on trains between Chicago and Quincy.
City Hall is looking to push through new regulations for pedicabs in Chicago, but owners of the pedaled people carriers say new rules and restrictions on where they can go downtown could put them out of business.
As part of the massive Circle Interchange reconstruction project, IDOT is currently rebuilding the Morgan Street bridge. UIC's Urban Transportation Center has installed a webcam so you can watch it happen. [via]
The CTA announced plans to rehab the Purple and northern Red Line and extend the southern end of the Red Line yesterday, but a proposal to speed traffic at Belmont by creating a Brown Line overpass have Lakeview residents up in arms because it will mean as many as 19 buildings will need to be demolished.
Bridges are going up again as sailboats head upriver towards Chicago's harbors like (very expensive) birds returning for the summer.
Part of Lake Shore Drive was shut down yesterday after reports of a "suspicious object," but a police robot found nothing dangerous inside the abandoned duffle bag.
A pothole in Logan Square revealing a piece of metal track beneath the street is like a concrete window into the past, when streetcars shuttled people through the area.
Wider sidewalks and other changes are coming to a stretch of Devon Avenue previously found to be the most dangerous for pedestrians on the North Side.
Divvy is bringing bikes out of winter storage, starting with 700 cycles for the 300 stations around the city.
Transit Future, a joint project of the Center for Neighborhood Technology and Active Transportation Alliance, have announced a vision of a massive public transit overhaul and expansion for the Chicagoland region. It has the support of many civic leaders; now to secure funding.
Yesterday the CTA sent out a notice warning that the Addison Red Line stop would be closed northbound for repairs today, just in time for the Cubs' home opener. Fortunately, it was just a "clerical error" -- the station will be open from 10:50am to 2:45pm.
Over 1,100 claims of vehicle damage caused by potholes were filed at this week's City Council meeting.
A man jumped in the path of a Blue Line train and got it to stop before it reached a woman who fell on to the tracks at the Chicago Avenue stop.
Police suspect that dozens of cars at a South Side salvage lot lot may have been stolen by people connected to a towing operation.
Tribune photographer Bill Hogan followed artist Jim Bachor as he filled a pothole in Jefferson Park with a work of tile mosaic art.
CPS is now accepting suggestions of what to do with all those empty school buildings.
While many saw Chicago's red light cameras as an attempt by the City to make money, revenue from them continues to decrease as less and less people are caught by their flashing lights.
A study observing Chicagoans behind the wheel found one in five of them was using an electronic device, violating the state's ban on talking or texting while driving more frequently than anyplace in Illinois.
Just a guy out for a casual drive on his Segway, on the street, having a nice chat on his cell phone while heading towards Lake Shore Drive.
The CTA's overhaul of the Blue Line starts this weekend, interrupting service between the Logan Square and Western Avenue stops from 10pm Friday until 4am Monday.
Crain's shares some of the lessons learned by jet-setting business types who fly out of O'Hare as they travel around the world.
Construction of the much-needed Navy Pier Flyover will start next week. While the lakefront trail is supposed to remain open throughout construction, check out the detours and closures page for updates.
A man who says he was conceived at the Des Plaines Oasis after his parents went to a Phil Collins concert protested the freeway-spanning stop's permanent closure by chaining himself to the door.
Yesterday's standoff on Lake Shore Drive led to chaos on the streets as motorists found ways to get off the road. A fire at Hollywood and Kenmore this morning closed the Hollywood entrance to the Drive during rush hour.
Facing pressure from legislators, Uber and Lyft have announced "enhanced" insurance policies for their non-taxi drivers.
Over the weekend, a demolition crew removed the Bloomingdale Trail's Western Avenue bridge so that it can be replaced with the Ashland Avenue bridge in a few weeks. Check out additional photographs on Twitter.
Like Ventra, Vancouver's new Cubic-built Compass Card will cost more than many low-income riders and social service agencies can afford. Unlike Ventra, Vancouver agreed to sell discounted-ride packs to agencies last September.
Three hundred new CTA buses will begin hitting CTA bus stops in May, each fully equipped with 10 surveillance cameras and better safety features. The new buses, priced at about $493,000 each, will feature cleaner diesel fuel, bigger windows and "a sleeker body design."
Drivers whose cars are damaged after thunking into one of the city's 600,000 potholes can get money back from the City if they're willing to work for it.
Cyclists are donning cameras on their helmets and handlebars as they travel around the city as insurance against bad drivers.
The first phase of the CTA's $492 million Blue Line renovation will begin in March with track improvements between the Damen and Logan Square stops.
With most of the roadside snow melting, garbage collectors and other city workers are going to begin throwing away any dibs items left on the streets.
A Metra Union Pacific North line train was forced to stop near Rogers Park after passengers noticed someone running around on top of the cars and jumping between the inbound and outbound trains.
The average weekly commute of African American low-wage workers took 70 minutes longer than their white counterparts in 2011, according to a new study.
Marketplace takes a look at the tech keeping Metra trains running on time (or at least just running), much of it state of the art- back in 1932.
"Sneckdowns," the areas where the wintry mix on the streets isn't worn away by traffic, can serve as guides for where bike lanes and sidewalks should go, say some activists.
The CTA is moving forward with a plan to boost phone and data service by installing 4G service in the subway tunnels of the Blue and Red lines later this year. The infrastructure currently in place throughout the 24 miles of tunnel space between the two lines was installed in 2005.
There's an accident every 36 hours on the Kennedy, not to mention major congestion, so state officials are recommending another lane in each direction between I-190 and Harlem Avenue.
In December Midway Airport ranked last among U.S. airports for both on-time arrivals and departures, with O'Hare not too far above it in both categories.
Active Transportation Alliance wants to close parts of 20 streets to make them more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly, with proposals including a protected bike lane on Clark Street downtown, closing Humboldt Drive in the summer, and turning lightly-used streets into dead ends.
Divvy has released a dataset of the first 750,000 bike rides, and wants you to make something with it. Entries in by March 11.
Valet operators with counterfeit parking slips are parking cars in paid spots, causing some drivers to get surprise tickets in the mail.
A water main break on the North Side encased a row of cars parked on the street in ice.
A North Center resident got a bit carried away in marking their "dibs" on a parking spot, tacking a sign on to some chairs reading, "I will break your windows if I see your car in this spot."
CTA is satisfied enough with the performance of Ventra that it is going to stop holding back payments to the vendor behind it all, Cubic Transportation Systems Inc., and start to move towards an all-Ventra system.
A new study found Chicagoland mass transit systems are doing a poor job moving people throughout the region, with commutes often taking over 90 minutes due to a lack of planning and coordination between the RTA, the CTA, Pace, and Metra.
An NBC5 investigation found at least one block in the city apparently has not been plowed all winter.
Ald. Ed Burke introduced a proposal to ban horse drawn carriages in Chicago, even while admitting it probably won't go anywhere.
Mayor Emanuel is proposing new regulations for ride-sharing companies like UberX, Lyft and Sidecar, requiring companies to keep closer tabs on drivers, pay a licensing fee, and be more transparent about fares.
An NBC5 investigation into which El stations have the most crime found the Red Line stop at 95th and Dan Ryan led in the number of violent crimes, while the Red Line's Jackson and State stop had the most thefts, mostly of smartphones and other gadgets.
A record 20 million passengers traveled through Midway last year, an increase of 5 percent from 2012. O'Hare's passenger traffic grew only slightly.
A Chicago man was among three people killed in a massive pileup on I-94 near Michigan City, Indiana, involving around 46 vehicles, including 15 semi-trailer trucks.
A former employee of red light camera company Redflex is blowing the whistle on the company, which the City fired amid a bribery scandal last year. (Redflex is still contracting for some of the city's cameras, though, while Xerox ramps up.)
United Airlines is laying off 685 flight attendants as part of a plan to cut $2 billion a year from the airline's budget.
A new proposal would make it easier for drivers to get any tickets for not having a city sticker dismissed, so long as they can provide a proof of purchase showing they bought the sticker before the ticket was issued.
An online step-by-step guide shows how to attach your Ventra card to a keychain, so you don't have to fumble with your wallet to get it out.
A Southwest flight that left Midway airport heading for Branson, Missouri landed at the wrong airport.
The speed cameras near schools and parks fell short of revenue estimates in their first year of operation, bringing in just 2 percent of the $15 million predicted. The City says it's because installation was delayed and the cameras issued warnings for longer than originally planned.
Over 500 people spent the night on Amtrak trains stranded by ice and snow outside of Chicago.
The CTA says the majority of problems with Ventra cards not being read is due riders not knowing where to tap their cards. So they're adding decals to readers to guide you in.
Mayor Emanuel appointed CTA planner Rebekah Scheinfeld as Chicago's new transportation commissioner.
You're out of luck if you wanted to use a Divvy bike today. As of noon, the bike sharing program is closed until further notice.
CTA train operator Michael Powell, loved by Red Line commuters for his friendly comments, announced his retirement over the train's intercom today.
CTA officials said Ventra's equipment issues gave free rides to over 930,000 people, costing more than $1.2 million in free fares, and the City is seeking reimbursement from Ventra's parent company.
Two consecutive Blue Line trains had mechanical problems this morning, leading to huge crowds on platforms during the morning commute.
Last week, the Tribune ran a letter to the editor about Ventra customer service. This week the call center worker who took the call in question wrote a letter, sharing that she'd been fired for giving correct information and garnering the service "bad press." [via]
The blog Nerd Stew talked to local bike store workers for their tips on how to stay safe and warm while biking in the winter.
Get that public transportation lover practically anything from the CTA in its online auction [click "Chicago Transit Authority"]. The bizarre range of items includes train speedometers, fare counters, clocks, train driveshafts, a bus stop and even whole L cars.
A small yoga room at O'Hare will give travelers a place to downward dog while they're waiting for a flight.
Some aldermen and businesses say the deal Mayor Emanuel made to make parking meters free on Sundays is hurting local businesses because people are leaving their cars in one place longer.
After CTA cuts eliminated morning and afternoon cleaning positions often held by ex-offenders, L train cars will now only be cleaned during the midnight shifts.
Divvy is taking your suggestions for where to put the next 175 bike stations they're adding in 2014.
The Blue Line is next in line for a major upgrade. Mayor Emanuel announced a four-year, $492 million renovation project that will cut the time it takes to get to O'Hare and add 4G Internet service along the entire route.
The bike lane on Dearborn tops one ranking of the country's Best Protected Bike Lanes of 2013, while Milwaukee Ave. came in at #7 on the list. [via]
Undocumented immigrants can take the driver's license test and get a temporary license anywhere in Illinois starting today.
As you'd expect, Chicago ranks in the top 10 worst cities for Thanksgiving holiday traffic, though Weather Channel says it'll be only slightly worse than last year. (Thanks, Dee!)
Ventra is granting a temporary reprieve to CTA riders with negative balances on their cards during the transition, letting them still get access to trains and buses, but will eventually send collection agencies for the outstanding amount.
The long wait is over: the Wells Street bridge is open again downtown. You may now move on with your lives.
DNAInfo's Alisa Hauser chronicles yet another dooring incident on Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park, a crowded corridor where the dangerous car door vs. cyclist accidents seem to be increasingly common.
Red Line trains were briefly delayed on Saturday by a nude woman calling herself the "goddess of the train." She verbally and physically attacked riders until police removed her from the train at Granville.
As Chicagoist noted, "maybe these incidents are happening because people aren't getting the quality mental health care they need." Artist Justin Younger took the incident as inspiration for a new painting.
Ventra stations malfunctioned at 60 train stations during last night's evening commute, apparently due to a "server failure," adding to the pile of problems with the system. In Mechanics, Jason Prechtel gives an overview of the troubles Ventra parent company Cubic has had with systems in other cities. Meanwhile, the Chicago Reporter dug further into Cubic's military and intelligence connections.
CTA has released surveillance footage of a woman who boarded the Blue Line Nov. 1 with a baby alligator who was found later that day hiding under an escalator at O'Hare. At least, I hope it's the same baby alligator.
Cyclists securing their rides to road signs or "sucker poles" are easy prey for thieves, who pull these anchors out of the ground and ride off on the bike, lock still attached.
When CTA turnstiles accidentally charge your debit card instead of your Ventra card, double-charge you or any number of errors, Metabank earns interest on the collected cash. Just one of several ways the company is making money off the more than fares.
A federal grant will help the City build 75 more Divvy stations next year, potentially making it the largest bike-sharing program in North America.
Rumors are swirling that CTA will announce today that riders will not be required to transition to the error-plagued Ventra system, and can continue to use the current Chicago Card Plus/farecard system.
At the Beachwood Reporter, Natasha Julius offers some suggestions on how to re-do public transportation in Chicago. Step one, kill Metra. (Craighton Berman's CTA map for 2055 is also worth another look.)
Today at 1pm, the section of Clybourn Avenue near Larrabee will be renamed Bobby Cann Way, in honor of the cyclist who was hit by a drunk driver and killed in May. Tonight is also Critical Mass, and the route will likely swing past to pay respects.
A new two-mile stretch of South Shore Drive, through the old US Steel South Works site, opens to the public this weekend. If Dave Matthews ever brings his Caravan back to Chicago, it'll now be easier to get to. [Previously]
Deadspin shares a note left by a Chicago driver on the windshield of his neighbor's truck, telling him he's "parking like an a-hole," but in a nice way.
Aldermen are playing with the idea of making bicyclists buy a $25-a-year license and take a safety course to ride in the city.
WCIU put together a short documentary about the history of Wacker Drive, from its inception by Daniel Burnham to the movies filmed on the two-tiered road. [via]
Is ridesharing like prostitution? That's the allegory made by a writer in the Chicago Dispatcher, the city's paper for cabbies.
A truck crashed through the median wall on the Dan Ryan and landed on the Red Line tracks near 68th Street last night, damaging the third rail less than 24 hours after the southern portion of the line reopened after months of construction. Trains are being routed around the accident on the single northbound track.
The CTA's Red Line South project is nearly complete, and the line will reopen on Oct. 20 -- on time and on budget. Meanwhile, a construction manager has been chosen for the 95th Street Terminal reconstruction.
Enthusiasm for trains seems to be high in Chicago, with 3.5 million people taking Amtrak last year, but Steve Rhones says amidst ongoing controversies, Metra should be done away with (the organization, not the trains).
Starting October 27, you'll be able to travel from Rainbow Beach to 92nd Street on the brand new US-41 extension through the former United States Steel site. The Trib has a great aerial photograph of the road, and an earlier aerial is embedded after the break.
The nine speed cameras the City has installed so far have already caoght nearly 205,000 speeders since Aug. 27. They're giving out warnings for now, but those busts would have netted $13.9 million in fines.
The CTA announced today that it will continue to allow passengers to add money to the old Chicago Cards and magnetic strip passes while they fix the many, many problems with Ventra.
With a revised price tag of $60 million per block, building a park over the Kennedy Expressway on the Near West Side may be a bit too expensive for the City.
Today's a significant milestone in the transfer to Ventra cards: CTA Tattler reports that magnetic stripe cards will no longer be sold at CTA stations, and Chicago Card users will no longer be able to put money on their cards. (Chicago Card Plus users still have some time to auto-load their cards.)
Officials finalized locations for the first 11 100-feet-tall electronic billboards Mayor Emanuel touted as a new source of revenue for the City.
There won't be any need to put down that smartphone during your commute -- unless you're driving -- once 4G wireless service comes to underground El lines.
The City announced it is pulling 18 red light cameras from intersections around the town, just as the new speed cameras start issuing tickets instead of warnings.
City officials hope their wavy, modern vision of a CTA stop at Washington-Wabash will encourage more people to take the El downtown.
State troopers pulled over people texting while driving on the Kennedy during Monday's morning commute. Between 7am and 9:30am they ticketed 135 people.
A 3-year-old lawsuit challenging the legality of Chicago's red light cameras will be heard by the Illinois Supreme Court.
The fall bridge lift schedule commences Wednesday; be ready for morning delays as sailors bring their boats in for storage. Meanwhile, the Grand Avenue Bridge is closed for the next two weeks for emergency repairs.
The City estimates riders pedaled over a million miles on Divvy bikes since the program launched a couple months ago- far enough to pedal to the moon and back, twice.
Illinois State Troopers will soon be carrying video-capturing Tasers when they make traffic stops.
The CTA is reminding commuters to stay off the tracks following an increase in on-track fatalities and reported cases of people jumping down from platforms, often to retrieve their phones or other belongings.
Yesterday, Kevin O'Neil detailed the steps you need to take to activate your new Ventra card (carefully read the emails that the CTA is sending you!). More concerning is RedEye's report that Ventra readers can also read your ATM card, so don't be keeping your Ventra card in your wallet!
Ridesharing services like Sidecar and Lyft tout $1 million insurance policies that cover their drivers, but actually seeing a copy of the policy is practically impossible -- and participating in the services could put drivers' own insurance coverage at risk.
United Airlines' online ticketing system was letting customers book free flights yesterday afternoon, due to an error on the part of some employee who is no doubt now fired. United says it hasn't decided yet whether to honor the free flights.
Buses will now make a special stop at the new super Walmart in Pullman, after Mayor Emanuel and Ald. Beale criticized the CTA for not extending service to the store in time for its grand opening.
A new ordinance passed by City Council increases fines up to $1,500 for throwing trash from car windows and gives police the ability to impound vehicles of drivers caught littering.
In an effort to reduce sidewalk collisions, a City Council committee advanced a proposal to raise fines for cyclists caught riding on sidewalks to $200.
The latest version of the Cobra iRadar iOS app has been updated with the locations of the 50 speed cameras around town.
A man claiming to be a member of the Board of Trade recently got into a fight with another passenger in a Metra quiet car after talking on his phone. Not sure how being a trader qualifies someone to "cut you in half."
NSFW audio, so put your headphones on.
A proposal aimed at reforming local public transit amid ongoing scandals would merge the Metra, CTA, and Pace planning departments, potentially saving millions of dollars.
Wondering why your bus stop started beeping? It's a feature, not a bug.
The Illinois Tollway Authority posted a list of 157 "super scofflaws," individuals and companies that have racked up the most non-payments on Chicago-area tollways. Eight have more than $100,000 in unpaid tolls and fines. Not surprisingly, the list is generating some complaints from those on it.
The Illinois Tollway will begin publicly shaming the "Top 100 Toll Violators" who owe the most in unpaid tolls by listing their names on its website.
City Hall closed on a $288 million federal loan to begin upgrades on O'Hare Airport's "people mover system." The $800 million project, slated for completion in 2016, will include a consolidated rental car facility, parking garage, Metra transfer station, automated transit system station, and bus plaza.
Kinsman sustained significant injuries to her arm, although no broken bones. She was told by police that they are considering the case a hit and run. If you have any information that would be helpful to the investigation, call 311 or text the tips line at CRIMES (274637) and reference case number HW415248, on Beat 1412.
UPDATE: DNAinfo has surveillance video footage of people coming to the aid of Kinsman after she crashed into a parked car. A GiveForward fundraiser has been established to help Kinsman with medical expenses. As of 1pm on Aug. 21, it has collected more than $4,000.
Here's a Storify by one of Kinsman's friends, collecting her tweets about the attack.
The planned speed cameras near schools and parks could net the City hundreds of millions a year, based on results of the 30-day test run conducted earlier this year. The first permanent cameras will be rolled out later this month, with 50 planned by the end of the year.
The CTA seems to have learned its lesson after introducing its 5000 series L cars to widespread complaint and is going to make its next order more "customer-friendly." View the diagram comparing the cars for a quick review of the changes.
RedEye reporter/punster Tracy Swartz writes that chairman Terry Peterson rode the system eight times from the start of this year to the end of June.
Today is the last day to buy a city sticker without paying a late fee -- and the last day to get one on your windshield without getting a ticket.
Ever wonder why some CTA buses tend to bunch together? So had Transitized, so he took a look at the data. The top three worst bunchers are the 66, 49 and 134. While population density is part of the equation, it's not the only factor.
The meter machines in the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 11th, 12th, 14th, 15th, 20th, 22nd, 23rd and 25th wards will be switched to the new free Sundays -- and pay till 10pm every other day -- configuration starting this weekend. The rest will switch over on July 1, assuming the change isn't repealed sooner.
Crain's got a visit to the CTA's Block 37 superstation, construction of which was shut down in 2008.
Today the Active Transportation Alliance released its co-authored report [pdf] of user perceptions of the lakefront trail. In a surprise to no one, trail users are most frustrated by the sections between Fullerton and Division and over the river. How's that Navy Pier flyover coming along?
Allegiant Airlines is moving to O'Hare, which will leave Gary-Chicago International Airport without a commercial airline yet again. Allegiant's last flight out of GYY is Aug. 10.
Tonight at 5:30pm at the Cultural Center, George and Sarah Aye of Greater Good Studio (previously) host a discussion of the future of bus rapid transit. It's free, but space is limited; register here.
I-GO CarSharing, the locally grown, nonprofit alternative to Zipcar, has been purchased by Enterprise, and will be incorporated into the rental company's care share program. Zipcar was bought by Avis in January.
Heading to O'Hare tomorrow for a long weekend out of town? Crain's shares some tips from frequent fliers on how to kill time during the inevitable delays.
Don't forget (and if you're affected, how could you?), the Red Line South Reconstruction Project begins on Sunday. If you haven't figured out an alternative route yet, the CTA's trip planner might help.
The first female flight attendant flew the friendly skies 83 years ago today on a Chicago-bound flight.
The Chicago Inspector General's office released an audit of the city's red light cameras and found that CDOT is not evaluating whether the cameras are effective, and can't prove that cameras are being installed based on safety concerns.
A Red Line train derailed near the Armitage stop, injuring one rider and halting CTA train service in both directions between Grand and Belmont.
The CTA is hiring customer service workers in-house and ending contracts with most of its private security companies.
Sundays will be free parking out in the neighborhoods once again thanks to a settlement between the City and Chicago Parking Meters LLC, announced today. On the other hand, metered parking hours will extend to 10pm -- or midnight in some areas -- to offset the move.
Don't forget, the second half of the Wells Street Bridge reconstruction project begins tonight at 10pm. The bridge and therefore Brown and Purple Line service will be closed until May 6; prepare for extra-crowded Red Line trains next week.
The City will launch a bike share system, called Divvy, in June. It'll cost $75 for an annual membership or $7 for a 30-minute ride. It'll start with 75 locations in the Loop and River North; suggest locations for more on the bike share website.
The CTA's Red Line South Project, which gets under way May 19, will close three stations in Englewood for several months, but there are other projects that aim to bring more transportation options to the neighborhood and hopefully boost the local economy.
Peoria Street turns into a pedestrian bridge over I-290; here's a plan to make it pedestrian-friendly for another block, north to Harrison.
Inspired by the New Yorker's map of median income along subway lines, Moacir P. de Sá Pereira made one for the CTA, and did a little digging into why the Sedgewick stop is so complex when looked at through this lens. [via]
Steve Vance has updated his Chicago Bike Map app into a full Chicago Bike Guide chock full of new features.
Streetsblog Chicago has created an "Irreverent Guide" to Chicago planning highlights and lowlights to go along with the Complete Streets Chicago plan released last week.
The city is proceeding [pdf] with the proposed realignment of the Elston, Damon and Fullerton intersection to improve safety and traffic flow. Visit Alderman Waguespack's website for details he posted last year [pdf].
Chicago is one of four cities to receive funds from the Rockefeller Foundation to develop bus rapid transit.
The second half of the Wells Street Bridge replacement project doesn't start until April 26; which gives you plenty of time to watch this time-lapse video of the bridge leaf being floated down the river.
Under a new scheme approved by City Council yesterday, motorists parking in garages could pay as much as $10 in taxes, up from $5 now.
It's Potholepalooza for CDOT this weekend, and tickets are free! Just call/type in a report on your neighborhood pothole(s) to 311, SeeClickFix and you're in. (It's worth reading the press release on this, for all the music-related puns.)
This year's Burnham Prize challenges you to develop innovative designs for Bus Rapid Transit stations in Chicago. [via]
IDOT wants to add another lane to either side of the Kennedy out near the River Road toll plaza in hopes of relieving the bottleneck there.
Two of the service fees -- including the $10 one for calling to dispute a charge -- have been dropped from the controversial Ventra debit card the CTA is introducing alongside its new payment system. But they could sneak back in anytime, according to the contract.
City Council approved the sale of 105 vacant city lots in Englewood to Norfolk Southern so the railway company can move forward on the expansion of its 47th Street Terminal. The expansion will eliminate an existing neighborhood, as documented in The Grid earlier this year.
One driver wounded another before their vehicles collided in the Jefferson Park neighborhood this morning. Police are blaming it on some early morning road rage. Both drivers are hospitalized with injuries.
Robert Bacon created a Super Mario Bros. 3 version of the CTA 'L'system map.
While some are singing the praises of the CTA's new Ventra payment system, it looks like there is a good amount of nickel-and-diming in the fine print on the system's prepaid debit card, not to mention in its Ventra transit card. (Jason Prechtel dug into the costs of the private-public deal in Mechanics back in February.)
A man was beaten to death on a Green Line station on Saturday, while five gang members assaulted passengers on a Red Line train Friday night. One man was arrested in the latter incident; police are still investigating the former.
There's a right way to secure a bike to a bicycle rack, and there's a wrong way to do it. This is the wrong way to do it.
The CTA is going to all manner of lengths to pretend that it's not increasing ride costs with its new Ventra system. How far? Even directly engaging Twitter users complaining about the increase.
After trouble keeping new protected bike lanes clear of all manner of debris, Mayor Emanuel announced that future plowing duties will be split, with CDOT taking the new responsibility of plowing the lanes.
The recent bribery scandal involving Redflex Traffic Systems prompted Alderman Waguespack to ask the city to stop the search for a new red-light camera contract.
Though it didn't quite arrive on time, today's snowstorm has already ruined many plans: nearly a thousand flights at O'Hare and Midway have been canceled. That number should climb.
Don't forget: the Wells Street L bridge is closed, so plan ahead.
We've reported before on the questions as to whether the CPD's "blue light" cameras in high crime neighborhoods actually reduce crime (short answer: doesn't look like it), so this news doesn't come as much of a surprise.
Yet another potential effect of the sequester: more delays at O'Hare and Midway, says outgoing Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
If you've ever wanted to know what it takes to put together a major auto show, you can check out Cars.com's time lapse video of the installation. (But turn off your sound; the music is terrible.)
The CTA will begin repair work on the Wells Street Bridge in March, seriously messing up Brown and Purple Line riders' daily commutes. Disruptions will occur March 1-11, then again April 26-May 6. [via]
WBEZ's Curious City tackles several questions about Chicago's trains, bridges and streets.
According to a new Urban Mobility Report, Chicago-area drivers should quadruple the amount of time it would take to get somewhere in free-flowing traffic, because "If you plan only for average traffic conditions... you are going to be late at least half the time."
If you get doored while riding your bike, you could get a ticket depending on whether the police know about an obscure state law that puts responsibility for the accident on the cyclist.
Illinois received nearly $29 million in federal funding for bike and walking trails in Chicagoland, including several within the city.
A Pritzker scion plans to build an ultra-modern parking garage on Sheridan Road in Rogers Park, on land currently occupied by the Shambhala Meditation Center (which is moving to the West Loop). Residents are split in their support.
O'Hare will offer 29 "Minute Suites," small rooms equipped with a daybed sofa, television and desk, for $30 an hour or $120 a night. The suites have proved popular at the three other locations, and are a fine alternative to sawing through metal armrests to make your own bed.
The city wants 2,000 more cab drivers, so Olive-Harvey College is hosting a free taxi driver recruitment day Feb. 7. Interview with cab companies and learn what's entailed to get licensed.
Pullman Rail Journeys will launch luxury rail service from Chicago to New Orleans in restored Pullman railcars attached to Amtrak's City of New Orleans beginning March 29. Prices range from $500 to $2,850 per passenger, each way. [via]
It's not too cold (especially this year) to ride your bike to work. Celebrate that fact this Friday with Winter Bike to Work Day. Get free Eli's cheesecake and Caribou coffee, tea and hot chocolate in Daley Plaza from 6:30 to 9am if you're on your bike.
The service won't be getting any better, but most CTA fees are higher today; the last price increase was in 2009.
Undocumented immigrants will soon be able to obtain temporary drivers licenses, once Gov. Quinn signs the bill that passed the House yesterday. The law makes Illinois the third state to provide undocumented immigrants licenses.
The new Illinois Virtual Tollway site allows you to sneak a peek at current traffic conditions by viewing live snapshots of the road from 15 cameras. Unfortunately, it's only for toll roads, so 290, the Edens, Ike, Kennedy and Dan Ryan aren't covered.
While a recent study demonstrates that most people in the U.S. don't know much about electric cars, Chicago residents are the second most likely to want one.
A new set of CTA bus ads by Council on American-Islamic Relationsaims to promote a more positive interpretation of "jihad," the Arabic word that means "struggling in the way of God," not just holy war.(Previously.)
ETA Chicago is a new web app that tells you what the closest CTA options are for your current address (assuming it can be pinpointed) and when the next bus or train on that line will arrive.
A new study commissioned by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce suggests that unless Chicago's public transit systems invest $2 billion a year for the next decade, things could really start falling apart.
Massup.us now hosts more than two years worth of Critical Mass GPS ride plots, including an an interactive compilation of the rides. If you want to see routes earlier than that, you can still see route flyers going back to 1998.
Fare increases, management reforms and a new union contract mean the CTA's doomsdays are all behind us, says Forrest Claypool.
The CTA Tattler reports that the Holiday Train is making its only trip on the Pink Line today, starting at 2:45pm. Make your plans quickly, Pink Line passengers!
On this day in 1895, Chicago hosted America's first automobile race. The course ran from Hyde Park to Evanston, and the winner -- one of two cars to complete the entire race -- clocked in at seven hours and 53 minutes.
Warning: mute your speakers or be subjected to awful midi music.
With the demolition of Chicago's Lake Street Interlocking Station approaching, railfans are lamenting another area loss. GB flickr pool contributor Duanne Rapp was on hand for the last photograph of the suburban Deval Tower. Its impending demolition was noted back in 2007.
Handy for the holiday season: you can now follow (separately) the four tollways on Twitter for real-time information on traffic, incidents, road work and lane closures. Follow @I_90_Tollway, @94_294_Tollway, @I_355_Tollway or @I_88_Tollway.
Here are the approximate addresses of the cameras:
• 2223 W. Pershing Rd., next to McKinley Park
• 6541 N. Western Ave., next to Warren Park
• 6340 S. King Dr., near Dulles School of Excellence
• 1446 W. Division St., next to Near North Montessori School
The CTA Tattler crunches the numbers to figure out which options are cheaper under the price increases for passes.
Chicago will be the first city to start using electric garbage trucks -- the city has signed on for 20, to huge future savings in both cost and noise.
CTA fares will stay the same, but monthly and daily passes will get more expensive in the 2013 budget announced today. Single-ride tickets from O'Hare will also increase to $5, because hey, why not soak the tourists?
The CTA has released the schedule for this year's Holiday Train. First run is next Friday, Nov. 23, on the Brown Line.
The parking meter deal can't be nullified because the city is benefiting from it, a judge ruled in a lawsuit. Despite Mayor Emanuel's bluster about the deal, City attorneys sided with Chicago Parking Meters LLC in the case.
Wacker Drive between Jackson and Adams will reopen for traffic today at 2pm, and Jackson will reopen between Franklin and Canal. The whole Revive Wacker Drive project is expected to finish by the end of the month.
Negotiations between the CTA and two of its unions have stalled, and CTA President Forrest Claypool is threatening layoffs as part of his 2013 budget.
Need to ride your bike to a L station, then transfer from the CTA to Metra, then grab a Pace bus? The Regional Transit Authority's got a web app a for you. Based on the RTA's website, your route options come complete with weather forecasts, turn-by-turn directions, and attractions near your destination. It'll even calculate your carbon footprint for you.
The Active Transportation Alliance launched Drive Less, Live More today, a rewards program encouraging Chicagoans to use public transportation, cycling, walking, carpools and other greener methods of travel in order to reduce traffic congestion.
Two co-workers from the ad firm Starcom Worldwide recently broke the record for riding the entire L train system in one day. Grid Chicago has posted a suspenseful play-by-play account of their journey, which took 9 hours, 12 minutes, and 39 seconds.
Plans continue for a Peotone airport despite Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s continued absence. Meanwhile, the City is spending millions on practically empty Gary/Chicago International Airport. [via]
Hurricane Sandy's effects are being felt throughout the Great Lakes as high winds kick up waves as tall as 33 feet. A flood warning has been issued for the lake shore from 1am tonight through 4pm Wednesday. Meanwhile, more than 500 flights have already been canceled at Midway and O'Hare. Whet Moser passes along a couple ways to see Sandy's effects on local weather.
The Illinois Department of Transportation is trying a new kind of scare tactic: saying that a seat belt protects you from any unexpected scenario - including a zombie attack.
The TSA is now denying you the momentary thrill of being seen sort-of naked by a security guard every time you get on a plane at O'Hare. They're being pulled from the nation's busier airports because they take too long -- radiation and blurry nudity notwithstanding. (The scanners will remain at Midway, though.)
Vehicle stickers may soon be available for purchase year-round from the City Clerk's Office, in a system similar to the state's license plate renewal process.
The Chicago Tribune reports on a plan to add dedicated express lanes for buses on Ashland and Western Avenue, which may be the closest we're going to get to a "circle line" for a while.
CMAP has introduced a plan for congestion pricing on Chicago area tollways, in which the cost of driving on the tollway would vary based on vehicle type and time of day.
In the latest chapter of the parking meter drama, Mayor Emanuel has ordered that Chicago Parking Meters LLC be independently audited to make sure it's living up to its side of the bargain.
Noyes Street Station, one of the northernmost stops on the CTA Purple Line, will be closed for repairs this weekend. Commuters traveling to or from Evanston will not be able to access the station between 10pm on Friday until 4am on Monday.
Ticketing for a lack of a current city sticker is up 58 percent this year so far, The Expired Meter reports.
WBEZ producer Robin Amer shares the five scariest things she learned from Chicago's new Pedestrian Plan during today's edition of the Morning Shift. "As a pedestrian...you can be doing everything right and still be hit and killed. Which I find terrifying, frankly," says Amer.
Starting next summer, CTA and Pace will begin switching over to Ventra cards, a smart card that can also be used as a prepaid debit card. By 2014, Ventra will have replaced all existing cards, and most trains and buses will be able to handle (microchip-equipped) personal credit/debit cards and cell phones as means of payment.
As if the north Lake Shore Drive repaving project and Fullerton ramp reconstruction wasn't snarling traffic enough, on Monday CDOT will begin reconstruction of the northbound on-ramp at Oak Street, at the north end of Michigan Avenue. CDOT also began work on the intersection of South Shore and 79th today. (It's not any better on the trains.)
The CTA is looking for artists to create public art work for seven soon to be rehabbed North Side Red Line stations. Proposal submissions are due by 3:30pm Oct. 10. Architecture Chicago Plus has rounded up some examples of current public art on the CTA.
Getaround is an app that lets you take car sharing to the personal level by putting your car up for rent by the hour. So far, 104 cars are available in Chicagoland, for between $5 and $25 an hour.
American Airlines canceled an unusually high number of flights Tuesday as pilots mounted a "sick-out" in advance of a strike; 100 pilots are expected to picket at O'Hare on Thursday. Meanwhile, United is being investigated by the US Dept. of Transportation over 14 flights stuck on the ground for longer than the legal limit on July 13, which was due to the big storms that nearly shut down the first day of the Pitchfork Music Festival.
The CTA is looking for artists to create work for seven rehabbed north side Red Line stations. Local, national and international artists are encouraged to apply by Oct. 10, though there will be community meetings to discuss the project both tomorrow and Thursday. [via]
Nine companies submitted bids for "Chicago's speed camera automated enforcement program" on Monday. The contract to place 300 cameras around Chicago is a lucrative one, but not without the possibility of technical and legal issues.
Preliminary redesigns for the CTA's station at Wilson in the Uptown neighborhood contain ideas for utilizing solar energy and radiant heating, among other green initiatives, to help not only the station's energy needs, but those of the neighborhood as well.
John R. Schmidt shares pictures and details on a 1958 CTA plan to create subways and bus-ways throughout the city.
CDOT released the Chicago Pedestrian Plan, a document aimed at "improving all aspects of the pedestrian experience and increase pedestrian activity."
Two sections of Lake Shore Drive, from Sheridan to Foster and from Belmont to North, will be resurfaced beginning tomorrow, Sept. 5. CDOT promises not to obstruct any southbound lanes during morning rush hour (6-10am) or northbound lanes in the evening (3-7pm), but all bets are off at other times, day or night till they're done with all eight lanes -- which should happen sometime in November.
View North Lake Shore Drive Resurfacing in a larger map
The mess that is the Circle Interchange might be getting a $375 million fix-up, pending a few design and funding decisions. (un)Fun fact: the Circle Interchange is home to three crashes per day, as well as 25 million hours of delays every year.
The first commercial flight for Boeing's 787 Dreamliner will be a United flight from Houston to O'Hare on Nov. 4. Meanwhile, Ron Akana, a United flight attendant, retired this week after 63 years in the air.
Tonight at 6pm at the Universidad Popular at 28th and Hamlin, there's a bilingual discussion of biking issues in the Little Village and the City's new bike plan, as well as the anti-violence marches in the neighborhood this month.
The CTA will provide free rides to students on the first day of school next week, thanks to a $150,000 donation from the Sun-Times. And 500 students at five high schools will get free CTA fare all year through a $50,000 grant from philanthropist Wendy Abrams.
As you may have heard, Lake Shore Drive was shut down between Grand and North avenues for about three hours last night due to flooding during Sunday night's storms. Portions of Western, Roosevelt and Ashland were closed as well.
John Kass proposes a toll system for bicyclists in the city, complete with a "Rahm-PASS" electronic toll thingy. Folks at the Chain Link bike forum are suitably bemused and dismissive. (Meanwhile, the Sun-Times' Mark Konkol doesn't hide his feelings about cyclists behind parody.)
Megan Nolan was forced to pay $810 for allegedly removing a Denver boot from her car -- except it was a car she didn't own. She fought back and managed to win despite harrowing odds.
Crain's breaks down the $49.7 million dispute between the City and Chicago Parking Meters LLC in a handy infographic.
Eric Martin, a Columbia College film student and a cab driver, is working on a documentary, Cab Slaves, about the exploitation and corruption he sees in the city's taxi industry. He's raising money on IndieGoGo to help fund it.
An unmarked police car went around the gates at the Kedzie Brown Line crossing after a Loop-bound train passed -- and was hit by a northbound train. The car's driver and the conductor were taken to the hospital, and are reported in stable condition. The CTA is running a shuttle to take passengers between the Kimball and Western stations.
Photo by redditor Dookster
The police have been writing fewer parking tickets this year, but revenue is up... because LAZ parking attendants are picking up the slack.
The launch of Chicago's bike share program has been postponed till next year, in part due to software glitches in Alta Bicycle Share's system. The same problems have delayed a similar program in New York. CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein told WBEZ yesterday that it will be better anyway to wait until next year to launch all 400 planned share stations at once, rather than just 50 this year.
The CTA has decided that, since it's already ripping up most of the stations on the north portion of the Red Line anyway, why not eliminate the slow zones in the area too, while it's at it. That work was originally planned for 2015.
The RedEye's Tracy Swartz wants to know which CTA station is the worst, Division on the Blue or Sheridan on the Red?
It's been a tough week for MegaBus, first with a tragic accident on I-55 that killed one passenger and injured 38, and now with a bus striking a 76-year-old pedestrian who later died from her injuries.
GB flickr pool contributor Zol87 spied a new CTA train car winding its way through the streets on a truck bed.
A Yale University study showed that commuters will go to great lengths to keep strangers from occupying the neighboring seat -- "pretending to be busy," putting on an iPod, claiming the seat's being saved, even making a "'don't bother me' face." Obviously this study didn't include the CTA.
Parking.Chicago.com aims to serve all your parking needs. Meanwhile, ChicagoStreetSweeping.com is another site (in addition to SweepAround.Us) that helps remind you when to move your car for street sweeping.
The map of the city that could potentially be covered by cameras under Emanuel's "Children's Safety Zone" ordinance was obtained by the Sun-Times, and it's as bad as everyone thought it might be. Fortunately, only 50-300 of the possible 1,500 cameras will be installed -- for now -- under the agreement City Council made with the mayor.
WBEZ reports on the ongoing saga of City Parking Lot #47 at Devon and Rockwell.
The Chicago Department of Transportation recently contributed an unlikely product to the Lincoln Park Zoo: food, in the form of bamboo from a Chinatown roadside. [Thanks, Chris!]
Do you peek into apartment windows and backyards as you trundle past on the train? You're not alone.
The CTA plans to overhaul its maintenance facilities, to the tune of $205 million.
Ever wonder where they're measuring from when a highway sign says it's X miles to Chicago? Grid Chicago explains.
The elevated train system is outdated, and Rails to Car Trails has a plan to update the El for the 21st century: replace those rails with asphalt for a road system in the sky!
Last night Greater Good Studio's George and Sara Aye launched a Kickstarter to develop a new, innovative CTA app, and they want your help to create it. Read more about the project in our exclusive interview with the Ayes -- and see more interesting Chicago-based projects on our curated Kickstarter page.
How much would you pay for Illinois license plate 1? Gov. Quinn wants the plate, which has been out of circulation for a decade, up for auction, with the proceeds benefiting programs for veterans.
Racially segregated neighborhoods on the Red Line, as illustrated by time-lapse video.
The Lakefront Trail gets pretty squeezed around Navy Pier, where cyclists, joggers, pedestrians and tourists on Segways all come together. But is a $45 million "flyover" the best solution? Steve Vance proposes a cheaper alternative on Grid Chicago.
CDOT installed mid-street "Stop for Pedestrians" signs on Clark Street in Andersonville, and more are on the way across the city.
Are you a Mac user? Do you use Orbitz? If so, the Chicago-based company probably didn't steer you to the best deals.
CTA thefts are up -- and also down.
Installation of electric vehicle charging stations in Chicago is months behind schedule, and the City is investigating "financial irregularities" with the contractor.
Today marks the beginning of the fourth and final stage of the Wacker Drive reconstruction project, which brings another handful of closures, detours and bus reroutes.
Tonight the CTA is holding the first of what will surely be quite a few public forums discussing the planned Dan Ryan reconstruction project, which will close the Red Line south of Chinatown for five months next year. There's another meeting on Thursday.
Groupon will be offering a deal on CTA three-day passes sometime this summer. The passes will be $9 instead of the usual $14, and will be limited to four per person.
The Purple Line is closed starting tonight at 8:30pm so a new bridge can be installed at Greenleaf Street in Evanston. Shuttle bus service will be available at Howard. (Thanks, Dee!)
Two Sun-Times reporters decided to test the CTA's planned shuttle route for next summer's Red Line South renovation to see how the commute time compared.
If "Forrest Claypool made me do it" is a defense, that is. The Mayor speaks up at a press conference about the decision to close the southern portion of Red Line for five months in 2013.
Crowd-sourced website CTA Station Watch ramped up recently in order to help document all of the work now underway on the north end of the CTA's Red Line improvement project. Check out photos and posts from various stations slated for work this summer, or contribute tidbits of your own.
Illustrator Aaron Krause has a friendly PSA for all you bus riders. Hopefully the CTA will be hanging these soon.
The CTA will be shutting down the Red Line south of Chinatown/Cermak for five months next spring, so as to replace the tracks along the Dan Ryan portion of the line. Shuttle buses will take commuters over to the Green Line during the closure. Full details about the project are on the CTA's website.
Remember the Kinzie Street protected bike lane? Yesterday, it was the site that national nonprofit Bikes Belong Foundation chose to announce their new Green Lane Project: a two-year initiative to create dedicated, inviting bike lanes throughout Chicago and four other cities.
For those interested in braving the downtown area the next few days, the Tribune has a full transit guide featuring motorcade delays, parking restrictions, waterway delays, etc. (RedEye put together a CTA-specific guide a few days ago)
The RedEye's Tracy Swartz has tips for how to get around the city on public transit while the NATO Summit and protestors are in town.
Driving with a dog in your lap seems at least as distracting as being on the phone, but Illinois legislators disagreed, voting down a bill that would have made a ticketable offense.
CDOT released its "Chicago Forward Action Agenda" today, which maps out a vision for the city's transportation needs over the next two years. Grid Chicago talked with CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein about the plan.
By the Expired Meter's back-of-the-envelope calculations, Chicago will pay back all of the $1.16 billion it received in the parking meter privatization deal over the course of the lease. Emanuel's refusal to send a check for the latest bill is only a drop in the bucket.
Are plans to privatize Midway back on? Looks like it might be, despite Emanuel campaigning against it.
"When it comes to rail traffic, Chicago is America's speed bump." NYTimes reports on Chicago's rail freight problem, and the federal-state program aiming to fix it.
American Airlines used to sell a ticket for unlimited travel for life. As it got expensive, the company shut it down -- and started investigating some of its most active users.
Remember that "hometown discount" Allstate was giving to Illinois residents? Yeah, those days are over. The company's increasing insurance rates by 3 to 5 percent later this month.
The Active Transportation Alliance's Bike Commuter Challenge is coming up next month, and you can sign up now as a team leader or participant for your office. Over 500 companies throughout Chicagoland took the challenge last year. Even a partial commute counts towards participating, so you can give it a try by riding your bike to the CTA or Metra, too.
Chicago Parking Meters LLC is asking for yet another $14 million in "lost" compensation, putting the total at $28 million. This time, though, the City is fighting back.
Of the 20 most dangerous intersections in Chicagoland, only four are within Chicago city limits. But those four... watch out.
Steven Vance's Get Lit campaign wants to encourage more cyclists to use lights when riding at night. Vance is running a contest to garner more donations to help fund its June light distribution event -- donate by May 31 and be entered to win a set of Monkeylectric spoke lights.
A map of Chicago drug possession charges overlaid on the CTA rail system, which manages to be fascinating, terrifying and depressing all at once.
Early warning: The first raising of the bridges over the Chicago River occur at 9:30am next Wednesday, May 2.
The awkward intersection at Milwaukee, Wolcott and Wood will get a makeover in September, causing far fewer pedestrians to wander into traffic.
Today at 12:15, the Chicago Architecture Foundation hosts a discussion of bus rapid transit as part of its Wednesday Lunch Talks series -- and this one is being streamed online in case you can't make it in person.
Chicago magazine's Jeff Ruby commissioned a sculpture made out of parking meter receipts, and got a certain Star Wars villain.
Image courtesy of Chicagomag.com. More photos here.
This year's revised city stickers were finally released yesterday, simply featuring the logos for the CPD, CFD and paramedics. (Previously.) City Clerk Mendoza says she's not decided whether the high school design contest will return next year. You can buy yours online on the City Clerk's website.
City Council will be considering the speed camera ordinance tomorrow, and CDOT has provided some ward-by-ward accident data for them to review. The Expired Meter got hold of the report and provides some analysis.
The Tribune has a hopeful update on the Congress Parkway construction project/situation/nightmare/disaster (you pick). The trifecta of congestion-causing construction operations should be letting up over the next few months.
A City Council committee met yesterday to consider the proposal to install speed cameras near schools and parks. The Expired Meter reports that many aldermen have gotten calls opposing the plan and Geoff Dougherty shares study data indicating the cameras are a poor means of curbing speeding. Meanwhile, the Active Transportation Alliance has come out in favor of speed cameras. UPDATE: The ordinance passed out of committee and will go before the full Council next week.
The Tribune Co. and DirecTV hugged it out, so you'll be able to watch the Cubs home opener on WGN today -- but if you are coming in from
the suburbs, out of town for the game, the CTA Tattler has some recommendations for your Red Line ride to the stadium.
Though electric vehicle owners can charge for free at multiple-hour 'Level 2' stations, 26 quick-charge stations have been installed in the Chicagoland area, asking $21 for three 15 minute sessions. Full list of stations, fast and slow, can be found here.
Would you drive a pedicab from Wrigley to 11th and Michigan in blazing summer heat? You might if there were $200 in it for you.
When the last trolley bus ran in 1973, it might have seemed like a step forward -- but in 2012, its all-electric system wouldn't be a bad step backward.
For those who deal with the wreck that is the Wilson red line stop -- good news! Quite a few of the upcoming improvements were discussed at the 46th Ward Town Hall meeting (purple line stop?). The Uptown Update has a summary.
In an effort to make a few extra bucks, the CTA is seeking formal bids for corporate naming rights to a few major untapped assets including the CTA Bus Tracker, Train Tracker, the Holiday Train, New Year's Eve Penny Rides, and a program offering free rides on the first day of school to CPS students.
Details of the speed camera revenue plan are starting to roll out of city hall, including that the cameras would be in operation by the end of the year.
You might have noticed the disappearance of the new 5000 Series CTA cars -- they were pulled in December after a handful of dangerous defects were discovered on the undersides.
A bill being considered by the state senate would lengthen yellow lights by one second at intersections with red light cameras, which studies show would reduce the number of red light violations. Interestingly, IDOT is opposing the bill.
In our monthly classical music column, Pulling Strings, you can check out upcoming affordable concerts from composers around the world, performed around Chicago from grand concert halls to the Adler Planetarium. Read about it all in Transmission.
John Greenfield and Dany Resner rode the rails to visit every CTA station in just nine hours, 30 minutes and 59 seconds, beating the previous record, set last year by a visitor from England.
A new city ordinance promises to hold cab companies liable for repeat-offender drivers. The law will go into effect in the summer and is expected to make current laws surrounding cab drivers, which are typically circumvented, easier to enforce.
Newcity takes a "subterranean safari" through the city's underground pedway network- an odd, sprawling area littered with shops where the city's own map is out of date. (Our own two-part pedway tour could probably use some updating, too.)
A CTA survey asks travelers to voice their opinions on over 200 possible — and randomly generated — fare scenarios.
Amtrak's City of New Orleans train from here to New Orleans is delayed 99 percent of the time thanks to freight traffic.
The Chicago History Museum's YouTube channel has some pretty great short videos, including this recent post showing the installation of their L car.
The City has decided to pull the winning city sticker design amid concerns that its imagery includes gang symbols. No word yet which of the other designs will be substituted, nor whether the 15-year-old student who designed the winning sticker will be forced to give back the $1000 bond he received.
Overwhelmed by the 2012 Chicago Auto Show? The Tribune has put together a short list of must-sees for those feeling underprepared.
WBEZ history blogger John R. Schmidt explains why some Chicago streets are roads, others avenues or boulevards, and where there are some anomalies.
Are there gang signs hidden in this year's city sticker design? Police blogger Detective Shaved Longcock makes a convincing argument that the sticker features symbols for the Maniac Latin Disciples. A gang member source of the Expired Meter corroborates.
The RedEye considers a few different red/purple line renovation proposals- much needed, as both lines had 20% of their track under slow zones last month.
Researchers at Purdue conducted a "sentiment analysis" of riders on Chicago's "L." They found no one really says anything positive, but negative comments spike during delays. (Tweet to @CTA if you're currently stuck on the "L" or want to say something nice for a change.)
The intersection of the Edens and the Kennedy will soon be known as the Gerald J. Roper Gateway, after the CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. But everyone will continue call it the Junction or Montrose.
Here's a version with the MTA lines in white for comparison.
The fuel surcharge on taxi service will be permanent if the City Counsel passes an ordinance that made it out of committee yesterday, but that doesn't mean cab drivers are making any more money. Drivers continue to protest the taxi industry overhaul proposed by Mayor Emanuel.
If getting rid of your car was your New Year's Resolution, the Center for Neighborhood Technology has an offer to sweeten that deal: if you sign up for a Chicago Card Plus/I-GO card before February 29th, you'll get a discount on the I-GO application fee and a $50 credit towards CTA fare.
Uber customers in Chicago and elsewhere got a bit of a shock if they used the private car service on New Year's Eve: "surge pricing" that drove the cost of a ride up as much as 6.25 times the regular price. Not surprisingly, the reaction was uber negative.
Now until Feb. 29, you can get a year's membership to I-GO car share for just $15 -- and receive a $50 CTA fare credit when you sign up for a Chicago Card Plus I-Go.
The CTA added SMS service to its Train Tracker -- starting today you can text "ctatrain" and the station code (here's a list) to 41411 and it'll text you back an estimate of when the next train will arrive.
Chicago's Department of Transportation filled more than 600,000 potholes in streets, highways and alleys in 2011. That's a new record.
On Monday, street parking rates will increase again. Parking will cost $5.75 an hour in the Loop, $3.50 in other business districts and $1.75 in neighborhoods.
All CTA train and bus fares become one measly penny from 10pm to 4am tomorrow. Celebrate that!
Starting Sunday, passengers in the back seats of vehicles will be required to use seat belts, too. Taxis are exempt.
PETA has requested to erect a monument to 16 cattle who were killed in a gruesome truck accident on I-80 near suburban Hazel Crest. In their efforts, they cite a 2007 law allowing family members to request the installation of memorials for drunk driver victims. IDOT says it's not going to happen.
Apparently there is a publication that is "The source for convenience store news online," and it recently featured a road trip story surveying convenience stores between Chicago and Phoenix, Arizona.
Never thought about it before: the CTA Holiday Train goes through the subway, not just up on the elevated tracks. CTO John Tolva caught Santa arriving in the Blue Line tunnel this weekend; he'll be jingling down the Red Line tracks today and this weekend.
LAZ Parking sent the City a $13.5 million bill for lost revenue due to people using disabled parking placards or plates to park for free at meters.
Don't forget that vehicle peril can come from above, particularly if there are birds around.
When Santa's not in a sleigh, he's totally a bike winter fan. Don your fuzziest of red hats or your elfiest of shoes and head out to the Santa Rampage bike ride on 12/17 starting at the Twisted Spoke downtown. Only fully-dressed Santas, elves, or dreidels are allowed (homemade costumes are completely fine). Details in Slowdown.
The CTA has provided developers, and those with "some computer savvy," the tools to create their own CTA arrival screens. Great for businesses who want to create a waiting area inside their warm establishments, or others who just want to shelter public transit users in a storm.
Parking tickets are up 30 percent this year compared to last. Booting is down 2 percent, though.
Thanks to the power of the Internet, you too can paint your own Boeing Dreamliner for (delayed) delivery.
Three tow-truck drivers have been arrested and more are being sought by police after an investigation found multiple cases of drivers stealing cars, often selling them for scrap.
I-GO will add 36 electric cars and 18 solar-powered charging stations across the city. The stations will consist of a 4-space canopy with 44 solar panels- the whole project capable of saving 17,000 gallons of gas annually.
A parking enforcement aide was recently charged with taking a $20 bribe to make a ticket "go away" -- in 2009.
Visitors to Buckingham Fountain will be pleased to know that they can once again walk across Lake Shore Drive without redirecting to the nearest intersection.
The CTA posted a video highlighting its shiny new "5000-series" railcars. They have hydraulics -- but not the exciting kind.
O'Hare is first and Midway is seventh on The Daily Beast's list of the worst airports in America
Michael Salisbury takes a ride around the Loop.
Trips to and from the suburbs are getting more expensive: Metra approved a roughly 25 percent fare hike today.
The newest L cars went into service at 2:30 yesterday. You can see video of the cars if you weren't one of the few to ride it.
The proposed speed camera program could net the City several times more revenue than the red light cameras, according to research obtained by the Expired Meter.
QuickTrain is another iPhone CTA tracker app, with the distinction of being very good looking.
Well, sort of. The City is looking to knock down four buildings surrounding Midway to create "runway protection zones" -- buffers at each end of the runways in case a plane overshoots.
Air travel may not be particularly environmentally friendly, but the Chicago Department of Aviation is greening its airports with everything from aeroponic gardens to solar panels.
Just as the state is thinking about expanding the abilities of Chicago traffic cameras, Naperville is eliminating the cameras a year early.
The City is looking at overhauling taxi regulations for the first time in 20 years with an eye toward "greening" the fleet. Coupled with continued high gas prices and a City Council proposal to add a buck to fares, the upshot is taking a cab is getting much more expensive soon.
Mayor Emanuel wants to add speed cameras to the city streets in addition to the red light cameras. Aldermen are just as upset by the idea as most of you probably are.
The News Cooperative notes that the city's planned bike paths are mostly in affluent neighborhoods, while only one is planned for a lower income area. Christopher Gray touched on this issue in his June Tailgate article about cycling on the South Side. UPDATE: Steve Vance reports at Grid Chicago that community meetings about bike plans are now in the works.
A recent NY Times article mentions Nickey Chevrolet, a Chicago car dealership that became one of the most important in the muscle car era. Among its products was the famous Purple People Eater Corvette.
The CPD is trying out a new "quick ticket" device that speeds up the whole traffic ticket process.
You can't ride a bicycle and text at the same time anymore.
In Mechanics, Ramsin Canon and John Fitzgerald share a proposal for three new CTA lines by 2020. It's so un-crazy, it just might work. Further reading: Craig Berman's 2055 proposal from back in '05, and Chris Gray's more recent report on the impact of the Red Line extension plan.
City Council will consider an ordinance tomorrow making it illegal to text while on a moving bicycle.
If you've been paying attention, you've noticed a bunch of contradictory rankings of how bad our traffic is. Whet Moser explains.
Exactly what it sounds like -- and it only took 2,500 hours.
Domu takes a crack at explaining Chicago's many traffic landmarks and terminology. You might also like our own guide to Chicago traffic reports, or traffic reporter Sarah Jindra's handy PDF (previously). Meanwhile, apparently road congestion is improving a little bit.
Michigan Avenue from Illinois Avenue to Oak Street will be among Streeterville streets under construction starting Wednesday. The Mag Mile will be torn up through mid-November -- but hopefully done before Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
Some major renovations are in the works by the CTA, including updating the Red Line's Clark/Lake station, consolidating two stops at a new Washington/Wabash station, and more.
Uber a private car service you set up via web or phone app, officially launched in Chicago yesterday. Now, for a minimum of $15, you can press a button and a black car will show up out front to pick you up.
The Circle Interchange (the what?) is the worst trucking bottleneck in the country, according to the American Transportation Research Institute. The 90-94 junction got on the list both northbound (#8) and south (#32).
Apparently the Trib thinks we can't cut it in the new job market, so they've selected their favorite bank robbery getaway cars for us.
Unlike CTA and Metra riders, users of Pace won't see price increases or service cuts for the 2012 year.
City Council's proposing to extend the cell-phone ban to cyclists, under the logic that the "common-sense ordinance" should apply to drivers of any vehicle.
A South Side man recently got a red light ticket in suburban Willowbrook for a car that was supposedly in an impound lot for months. When he checked at the lot, he was informed that the car had been destroyed, despite the fact that he was paying off fines on a payment plan.
Gas prices in Chicago are the highest in the country, which may curtail Labor Day weekend travel.
Ford and Zipcar announced a partnership yesterday that brings the hourly car rental service to Chicago colleges. Ford is pitching in a discount on Focus and Escape rentals, and the first 100,000 new Zipcar members will get their annual membership for $20 instead of the usual $30. I was asked to offer some ideas of places to go (click the CHI tab) -- and they've offered up a contest for Gapers Block's readers.
Zipcar is offering a free Zipcar membership for one year, and Ford is offering $250 worth of driving time. To enter,
send an email to contests-at-gapersblock.com with the subject line "Zip it" by 5pm today -- make sure to include your full name in the body of the email. Good luck! UPDATE: We have a winner! Congrats, Margaret!
Disclosure: I was paid for my time on the video.
HowIAlmostDiedToday.com is among the projects created for Moving Design's Call to Action's Our Road, a multidisciplinary gallery exhibition and public engagement campaign on the advancement of bicycle safety showing in the Comfort Station on Logan Square this Sunday.
In Mechanics, Christopher Gray takes a look at the impact on neighborhoods near the proposed Red Line extension on the South Side.
The Active Transportation Alliance just launched a new advocacy program called Riders for Better Transit as "a voice for riders who want to boost transit funding and encourage transit-related projects that will benefit your community." Fill out a a survey about your transportation desires for a chance to win a $100 gift card and to learn how to get involved.
Imprint also recently took a look at the Green Hornet and other vintage Electroliner trains in Chicago. (Thanks again, Dee!)
Sweep Around Us tells you when your street is scheduled for sweeping next, and can send you an email to remind you to move your car. It was created by FoGB Scott Robbin, who also built Was My Car Towed (previously).
Nearly nine months after an investigation showed significant dry rot on recently renovated Brown Line platforms, nothing appears to have been done to address the issue. Residents are rallying the troops on EveryBlock. (Thanks, Shylo!)
A new commuter bus initiative will allow express buses to utilize the Stevenson's shoulder when traffic is moving slower than 35mph.
The last 72 electronic parking meters were installed earlier this summer in nearly deserted parts of the near South Side, to the tune of at least $430,000. The Expired Meter spot-checked three of the meters at random and found that literally nobody had used them in five weeks.
According to data compiled by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 32 of the most frequently delayed flights in the past year departed from or arrived at O'Hare. Newark has the most of any airport with 40 flights.
President Obama will be in town later today for an early birthday party/fundraiser at the Aragon Ballroom. As a result, you won't be able to enter or exit at the Red Line Lawrence stop between 5:30 and 9:45pm.
A cyclist named Carly was involved in a hit-and-run accident with a Nissan 350z this morning at Milwaukee and Ogden, and has set up a site to collect information about the fleeing driver. (Seems like this could be a service, as often as it happens...)
Chicago officially completed its first protected bicycle lane on Kinzie Street between Milwaukee and Wells on Monday. The lane separates cyclist traffic from vehicle traffic by using flexible posts and painted pavement signals; read about early reactions to the lane in Tailgate. Next continuation plans are expected for Jackson Street between Halsted Street and Damen Avenue.
Parking your car, that is--Logan Square alderman Rey Colon was able to introduce and successfully pass a new ordinance that allows for free parking along Kedzie and Logan Boulevards for up to 16 hours each day that will go into effect in the coming weeks. Residents aren't happy.
Today's the last day to get your new city sticker for your vehicle. The Parking Ticket Geek has a guide to avoiding the long lines to get it done today.
There were once more than 227 miles of elevated train tracks in Chicago. Forgotten Chicago digs up what remains of several train lines demolished by the CTA over the years.
Starting January 1, 2012, all Illinois car passengers, regardless of age or where they're seated in the car, have to buckle their seat-belts. Not a requirement just for drivers and front seat passengers anymore, you back seat drivers better get used to buckling up (except in buses, cabs, and emergency vehicles). Gov. Quinn signed the legislation into law today.
Grid Chicago is a new blog by frequent GB contributor John Greenfield and transportation planner Steven Vance, covering "sustainable transportation in Chicago and Illinois." They recently answered the question of what happens when a bike lane disappears.
A new bridge is being built from 57th Place to 69th Street, but it's not for pedestrians or cars. It's for trains.
A Southwest pilot's rant about having to work with a Chicago-based flight crew composed of "gays, grannies, and grandes" was accidentally transmitted over the air traffic control frequency in March. The pilot was temporarily suspended and required to take a diversity education class, which I hope was led by an overweight, older lesbian.
Gold Coast drivers, watch for pedestrians tonight; the CPD is planning a sting to enforce crosswalk rules. (It's illegal not to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk, you know.)
A new specialty license plate reminding drivers to share the road with bicycles has been approved, and will be printed as soon as the state gets 1,500 pre-orders. The Illinois League of Bicyclists currently counts 1,185 reservations. [via]
Got an extra parking space? SpotHero is a new startup that'll help you rent it out -- or help you find one to rent if you need one.
WBEZ's Kate Dries was surprised when handed a bus delay slip from her bus driver Wednesday morning, so she looked into the practice.
In Tailgate, John Greenfield reports on cyclists' and neighbors' reactions to the new Kinzie Street cycle track.
Two Metra trains collided at Union Station this morning, injuring 12. A passenger on one of the trains shared live updates on Reddit. Meanwhile, a "blue flash and boom" possibly caused by a blown fuse, filled the Red Line tunnel with smoke and sent riders into a panic.
Wicker Park will be the first neighborhood to get dedicated on-street bicycle parking this summer.
The Expired Meter looks into the thriving black market for guest parking passes in Wrigleyville.
It's time once again to sign up for the Bike Commuter Challenge from the Active Transportation Alliance.
A new, sadly unofficial sign greeted CTA riders at the Wellington stop this morning.
Yesterday Illinois was awarded nearly $200 million in federal high-speed railroad construction funds rejected by Florida's Republican governor. The bonus will go to the Chicago to St. Louis high-speed rail initiative.
AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report puts average Chicago unleaded gas prices at $4.387, the highest they've ever been. For comparison, the average price was $3.112 a year ago.
Our Lady of the Fullerton Underpass may have just granted her first miracle. Damen-Elston-Fullerton, that most frustrating of intersections is finally on it's way to an update, and it's a big one. Expired Meter has the details on a reroute that might actually work and appears to keep the hallowed Elston Ave bike route intact.
The NY Times recently reported on a developer in far north suburban Richmond who's giving away cars with his homes. Grist's Sarah Goodyear couldn't help but note the irony of enticing folks with a car for the 50-mile commute when gas is so expensive.
I wish that title was sports related. Unfortunately, it's a record I'd gladly give away, we're paying the most for our gas.
...is apparently lines of people standing on the sidewalk down the block from Union Station, waiting for a cheap ride to Des Moines.
The Art Institute has installed a throne (sort of) in certain CTA cars to promote its exhibit "Kings, Queens, and Courtiers: Art in Early Renaissance France." Snap a photo of yourself sitting in one and post it on Facebook to enter the "Royal Treatment" contest.
If you live in the 1st Ward, you have a weapon against street sweeping tickets: AntiTow.
The Reader's cover story this week takes a look at the CTA's Red and Purple Modernization Plan and how those train lines could be improved today. (You might also be interested in our own CTA Map for 2055, back in 2005.)
The Red Eye's Tracy Swartz has been riding the CTA's many bus lines since 2009, and this Friday will be her 100th run. To commemorate, she's giving away 100 single-use fare cards -- follow her on Twitter for clues where to get them.
Joseph Askins is riding the Red Line with a video camera, profiling each station for YoChicago. First off is Sox-35th.
46th Ward aldermanic candidates James Cappleman and Molly Phelan hold a joint forum on pedestrian, biking and transit issues in Uptown tonight at 7pm in Gill Park, 825 W. Sheridan Rd.
We mentioned it last year, but the Atlantic digs deeper into the first car race in America and finds an interesting angle: it was also pitted gas versus electric. The magazine shares a first-hand published account of the race, too.
BLDGBLOG's recent interview with Greg Lindsay identifies Chicago as an exemplar of a city that reflects its railroad heritage, in contrast to contemporary cities which may soon be direct responses to their airports.
Ideas for the long-term overhaul of the northern section of Lake Shore Drive range from reworking the S-curve at Oak Street to consolidating as many as three interchanges.
Today we release the second feature in GB's short film series The Grid. "Congress Conducts El at Cal's" explores the construction congestion at Congress Parkway through the music and activity at Cal's, a nearby hangout and liquor store.
The 1950s were an important era for transportation in Chicago.
A plane crash at Midway, 1955:
A Rock Island Line promotional film from 1950:
Street scenes in the 1950s:
If you biked through the winter, you deserve to celebrate -- and even if you didn't, the 14th Annual Bike Winter Art Show, opening this Friday, promises a good time. Chicago Freak Bike makers will be on hand to demonstrate some of their delightfully impractical creations, and more than 50 artists' work will be on display. Check out Slowdown for more details.
The Active Transportation Alliance has started a new Twitter feed just perfect for cyclists who want to know what to expect on the lakefront paths. Follow @activetransLFT for the latest information, or send them your own observations to help out others.
Peruse UIC's collection of IDOT Chicago Traffic Photographs from the 1930s and you'll find shots of Lake Shore Drive under construction, Sheridan and Irving Park and a very snowy South Shore and 67th.
When it comes to flights landing at O'Hare and Midway, the O'Hare's planes usually get priority. Midway and Southwest Airlines are testing a new navigation system that'll hopefully eliminate some of the delays. Meanwhile, Chicago Rockford International still hopes to take some business away from both Chicago airports.
What, you don't know where that is? That's because 22nd has been Cermak Road since 1933. Someone should probably tell IDOT.
The five-minute grace period on parking tickets is set to expire April 1 -- but Ald. Scott Waguespack has introduced an amendment to make the ordinance permanent.
The Chicago Department of Transportation is testing a new type of bike lane; you'll be heading down to Stony Island Avenue between 69th and 77th streets to try it out once it debuts... in 2014.
The CTA Tattler checked into the major mayoral candidates' positions on public transportation, and found Gery Chico strangely silent.
The Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center is showing a different kind of vehicle at this year's auto show: the Clandestine Extended Range Vehicle.
Streets & San will start disposing of old chairs, cardboard boxes, plastic penguins and whatever else you leave in your parking space on Friday.
If you're a lady who likes to bike, and want to meet up with like-minded women, check out Let's Go Ride a Bike.
If United is really hurt for business, they might consider bringing back this men-only "club in the sky" from the 1950s -- though a women-only version would most definitely be in order as well.
City clerk and mayoral candidate Miguel del Valle believes the parking meter deal violated the city's ethics ordinance, and has asked the attorney general's office to investigate.
The warm and fuzzy feeling of parking wherever you can has ended now that the snow is (somewhat) under control; enforcement begins tomorrow at 9am in the central business district (the area bounded by Roosevelt, Halsted, Oak, and Lake Shore Drive), and everywhere else in the city by 9am on Tuesday.
GOOD has released this infographic that compares the country's five largest transit systems. Where does the CTA rank?
Crain's reports that American and United Airlines think plans for an O'Hare expansion amount to a "bridge to nowhere."
Dmitry Samarov tells his own blizzard story from behind the wheel of a cab.
Motorists whose vehicles got stuck on Lake Shore Drive last night won't be charged for towing, the City says. If you were one of them, call 311 to find out where your car is.
The Tribune gives you a sense of what to expect regarding transportation, utilities and hospitals today.
You know those signs that say "No Parking When Snow is Over 2 Inches"? Well, don't ignore them today: the City has put that rule into effect in advance of the blizzard.
The maritime prelude to the Chicago Auto Show, Strictly Sail Chicago, is at Navy Pier all weekend.
That guy who got a parking ticket while being filmed paying for parking? His ticket has been dismissed.
Lawrence Avenue between Ashland and Western will be narrowed to three lanes (one in each direction and a shared left turn lane) in a trial to reduce the size of the city's streets.
A.V. Club's Marah Eakin explains how not to be a dick to and on the bus.
The Chicago Rapid Transit Coalition aims to "argue and advocate for the expansion of subways, elevated lines and light rail throughout Chicagoland." They've got a few ideas to propose. (We have one of our own.)
GB flickr pool contributor cmraseye posted some photographs of the Museum of Science and Industry's 727 en route to the museum in 1992. Here's a news clip from the day for video of the landing and some additional background.
If you're a little short on details for the new car and pedestrian routes around the latest Wacker Drive construction in the Loop, then this helpful video by WBEZ traffic reporter Sarah Jindra is for you.
Yet another proposed Chicago-to-Wherever passenger railroad line may not get built. This time, it's the connection to Iowa City.
As Brown Line riders already know, its $530 million renovation has had some significant problems, among them the wooden planks that started deteriorating as early as August 2008.
Get ready to pay extra to cab it in 2011. If the price of gas prices average $3.20 or more for seven consecutive days, Chicago cabs can add a $1 fuel surcharge onto fares. Gas went above $3.20 on Dec. 22 and has stayed above that mark ever since, so that surcharge could kick in on Monday at midnight.
Why Monday? Well, the 24th and 31st are considered holidays, so they don't count for the seven business days. Which means that, assuming gas prices don't drop below $3.20 before Monday, the surcharge will trigger at 12:01am Tuesday, Jan. 4. According to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report, which the City uses as the official record for the surcharge, the average as of today is $3.304; ChicagoGasPrices.com puts it at $3.324 and stable.
A spokeperson said the City was "98 percent sure" the surcharge would go into effect, and was preparing for it. Cabs are already tacking on a 50-cent surcharge because the price of gas is above $2.70; this lower-tier surcharge has been in effect since Oct. 29, 2009. The new surcharge adds an additional 50 cents, and will remain until gas prices dip under $3.20 again for seven consecutive business days.
Dmitry Samarov, an artist and writer who documents his experiences driving a cab, doesn't like the surcharge. "There are several problems here: when drivers add extras to the meter, many riders get suspicious and our tips suffer, [and] the surcharge is unfair to riders going short distances, as they're charged the same as longer fares." He said most drivers would like to see a fare increase enacted, "but the recession gave the city cover to kill that." In November aldermen Ed Burke and Carrie Austin proposed a $1 surcharge to help correct city budget shortfall. But none of that fee would go to taxi drivers, ignoring months of lobbying by drivers for a 22 percent fare increase.
Parking meter rates are set to increase by a quarter or more on Jan. 1, cementing our position as the most expensive city to park in.
Holiday travel may have been hell this weekend, but people with disabilities faced extra challenges.
Remember that misreporting of traffic delays from Canadian National trains? The federal Surface Transportation Board just levied its first fine ever for the violation: $250,000.
A couple alderman are encouraging the CTA to bring a bus line back to Elston Avenue to support the burgeoning commercial district east of Western.
Thought you'd stick it to the city by taking a cab instead of feeding a meter? Aldermen Burke and Austin are one step ahead of you. The Finance Committee's considering a dollar-per-cab-ride surcharge that "could generate upwards of $70,000,000 in much needed [sic] annual revenue for the city."
Time to vote on next year's city sticker design. Voting ends Dec. 12.
The City snagged 215 vehicles in the first night of winter overnight parking restrictions.
And in other driving-related events happening tonight that you should know about, the Halsted Street bridge at Division is closing tonight at 7pm. The bridge will be replaced with a new structure, but the work means that the bridge will be closed for a year. At the WBEZ blog Justin Kaufmann is soliciting suggestions for alternate driving routes.
The RTA's "seniors ride free" program is being abused by people using borrowed or resold passes, sometimes originally held by dead people, FOX Chicago and the Better Government Association found.
Should you need to, you'll be able to mail banned items to yourself from O'Hare, rather than having to throw it out.
Another cyclist was attacked by a group of thugs in
Humboldt Park near the United Center this weekend, but managed not to lose his bike. The MO of the attackers sounds exactly like one from last summer.
Learn how to fight parking tickets (and avoid them in the first place) at a free seminar next week, presented by The Expired Meter and Ald. Scott Waguespack.
The remodeled Grand Red Line stop has a ramp along the steps for bikes, but it might not be ideal.
Mapnificent shows you where you can get to in a given amount of time (say, 15 minutes) on public transportation.
The Kennedy Expressway turns 50 years old today at 11am. Back then it was the Northwest Expressway and was both "the greatest highway in America" and "a scar 400 feet wide and 16 miles long that tore up one home after another."
Think there are too many permit parking zones? You're not alone, and now you have champions in the City Council.
Give a Minute is a new site asking, "What would encourage you to walk, bike and take CTA more often?" Answers so far range from filling potholes to cleaning up CTA trains to "a million hairy babies."
Photographer Ian Merritt has launched Shiny Side, a site devoted to automotive photojournalism. Car porn, basically.
If you've ever thought that Chicago garage parking rates seem high, you're right. A new study shows that Chicago is the second most expensive U.S. city for first-hour parking rates and a top four member for other measures of cost.
The new Apple Store at North and Clybourn opens tomorrow at 10am, and the first 4,000 people will get a free t-shirt. One of the benefits of the new store? A renovated Red Line station that includes new public space.
You're less likely to get a ticket this year, but if you have a couple on your record, you're more likely to get the boot.
Harold Washington's name will appear in one new place just as Mayor Daley's name will begin to slowly fade from signage.
So far in 2010, 30 percent of flights have left Midway Airport more than 15 minutes late, according to the USDOT. That's more delays than any other airport, even O'Hare. Congratulations?
City Council may soon consider the recommendation of the Inspector General to require all Chicago taxis be trackable by an integrated GPS network.
How much do you spend on transportation? Abogo from the Center for Neighborhood Technology shows you what the monthly average is for your neighborhood.
WBEZ's traffic reporter, Sarah Jindra, has put together a very useful guide to figuring out what traffic reporters like her are talking about. Gives me a convenient excuse to link to our own explanation of the traffic report terminology.
The CTA issued an RFP for a new payment system, ideally one that will let riders pay fares with RFID enabled credit and debit cards, as well as proprietary transit cards.
The Blackstone Bicycle Works has been a victim of a fire for the second time in 10 years [right side of screen]. This time their building was spared, but they lost 400 bikes. If you'd like to help them rebuild, you can make a donation to the group through their website.
How many are there now? Anyway, TreKing Chicago is one for Android users, available in free and $3 versions.
Oak Park is currently considering making some changes to their taxi ordinance, including a ban on drivers wearing "tank tops, swimwear, jogging suits, body shirts and sandals without socks" or "underwear as an outer garment."
There's no truth, however, to the rumor that DHH bought an Italian villa just so he can drive the Zonda HH in Italy. He will, however, have to travel to Italy to drive it: the car isn't street legal in the US.
Dmitry Samarov's recent blog post documents what taxi drivers have to go through after getting into a traffic accident.
It's the last Friday of the month, which means Critical Mass hits the streets for tonight's commute. Kirstie Shanley examines the cultural phenomenon in Tailgate.
Greenway Parking Garage, at Clark and Kinzie, is seeking LEED certification. The parking garage features twelve helical wind turbines, but might still have trouble shaking the irony of their slogan "Chicago's first earth friendly parking garage."
Make sure you pay the meters: the CPD was just told to get cracking on parking tickets.
@ChicagoCyclists is a Twitter account where cyclists in the city can share tips, alerts and other bike-related info. Just tweet at the account and it automatically retweets to the list. (Thanks, Clint!)
The Sun-Times reports on the parts of the city you're most likely to get ticketed for using a cellphone while driving.
If you missed seeing the new CTA cars zooming on the Red and Green lines, now's your chance. Today the ten prototype 5000-series train cars will be tested on the Blue Line, and they'll be equipped with security cameras, door sensors, and electronic display maps.
If you haven't yet gotten a city sticker for your car, you have until Friday.
United Airlines gets poor marks in childcare at O'Hare, but is the real story here that 9-year-olds are cool enough to be self-proclaimed vegetarians?
The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning's draft of Go to 2040, a plan for the Chicago area's next three decades, is available to read online. You can leave your comments for CMAP on the plan's site through August 6.
The next time you slip and fall on an icy L platform, remember the CTA has no official obligation to keep it clear.
Transformers 3's screencraft carnage has crashed-landed on Michigan Ave. If you're navigating downtown this weekend, keep in mind that some streets and sidewalks in the area will be closed and 22 bus routes will be disrupted. (The shooting tumbles into Wacker Dr. next week.)
Following the weekend's LSD lane closures, the city had to close two southbound lanes for additional buckling yesterday. Maybe it's time to look at a certain pavement contract.
Carfree Chicago is developing a crowdsourced map of restaurants, shops and activities near each CTA, Metra and South Shore Line stop in the city.
A sinkhole opened up across
four two southbound lanes of Lake Shore Drive between Roosevelt Road and McCormick Place, closing the road to southbound traffic. Expect major traffic headaches to come. UPDATE: OK, the Sun-Times got a little hyperbolic with its initial report. The road has simply buckled, and crews expect to have it fixed by Tuesday morning.
Haven't gotten your city sticker yet? For once, you're not too late. Due to an adhesive issue, the City is extending the deadline for getting a 2010 sticker for your vehicle until July 15, and bumping the grace period to July 30.
The Software Craftsmanship Conference will be in Chicago this October; registration just opened.
B-Cycle bike sharing service is launching in July with 100 bikes in six locations around the city. Like I-Go or Zipcar, you buy a membership and then get access to a bike when you need one for an hourly fee.
The CTA train that derailed today was apparently just a simulation (no wonder we didn't hear much about it). It's not the apocalypse; there have just been eight disaster simulations over the last five days.
The weather may not cooperate, but the Active Transportation Alliance has tips and resources for your two-wheeled trip to and from work.
Whether or not you're going to the Blackhawks parade this morning, if you're going downtown, be aware that a number of bus routes will run detours from 10am until 1pm.
The Bike Lane, a new bike shop in Logan Square, offers a handy service: if you get a flat tire between Addison and Chicago, Kedzie and Halsted, call the shop and they'll send someone out to fix it for you.
In the Reader, Robert Loerzel takes a look at the era when Chicago's public transit services were in private hands. Do you think Chicago should privatize the CTA? Share your thoughts in Fuel.
Another transit app for your consideration: ChiTransit. (
The red light cameras installed around the city might actually be increasing accidents rather than preventing them, one study claims.
The red light cameras installed around the city might actually be increasing accidents rather than preventing them, one study claims.
The Active Transportation Alliance has teamed up with the Tawani Foundation and Pritzker Military Library(!?) to produce an updated Chicagoland bike map. As a result, there's now a map of area military sites.
The Cook County Board voted to boycott Arizona businesses in response the state's new immigration law -- but not before signing a contract with Scottsdale-based American Traffic Solutions for 20 more red light cameras.
The Federal Highway Administration deemed three Chicago area junctions to be in the top ten trucking bottlenecks in the country. The FHWA hopes the trucking companies will use the information when planning routes. Here's to fewer trucks!
Millennium Garages has new electric charging stations for fancy electric cars like the Tesla roadster and the Chevy Volt. The charging stations will be free until Aug. 1, excluding parking cost. The cost to charge will be $1 to $2 per hour after the initial free period. Not a bad deal -- "filling up the tank" for say, six to 16 bucks. [via]
The removal of many of the Eisenhower's traffic travel sensors has caused IDOT to seek a new way of measuring traffic speed: Bluetooth.
After more than a decade of legal battles, Vulcan Materials Company, the operator of the mine that spectacularly closed Joliet Road, is to pay $40 million to the Illinois Department of Transportation.
If you've filled up lately, you're not imagining things: Illinois gas prices are the highest in the nation.
Guess who's got his own Facebook page? That's right, Ike — the Eisenhower Expressway Dog.
Crain's and other sources are saying United and Continental will announce plans to merge on Monday. Chicago would likely remain the headquarters.
Getting stuck waiting for a freight train to pass sucks. And it sucks a lot in Chicagoland: an independent audit found that Canadian National trains caused more than 1,400 delays of 10 minutes or longer in the last two months of 2009. CN's own audit reported just 14. They've got some explaining to do.
Check out this United Air Lines ad from the good old male chauvinist pig days. Trapped on a plane with a bunch of drunks, all smoking cigars and pipes and stuffing themselves with steaks? Uh, I'll take the train.
The first draw bridge day along the Chicago River is tomorrow; expect delays on both the roads and the El lines that cross the river starting around 9:30am.
The Illinois Toll Highway Authority needs $2 billion to fix I-90, and it's not clear how it's going to pay for the improvements.
The CTA is about to rollout its new fleet of L cars which sound pretty snazzy.
New electronic meters are starting to be installed in park district parking lots. The good news is, they're much cheaper than street parking.
The Red Eye's Tracy Swartz is on a mission to ride every CTA bus line in the city. She just hit 50.
In too good to be true automotive news, Hummer supporters will supposedly converge on Da Coach's steakhouse for meat and a press conference in hopes that doing so will save their trucks.
If your commute involves the Eisenhower Expressway, expect things to get even slower than usual starting April 1, when resurfacing begins on a 27-mile stretch of 290. The construction will cut lane counts from eight to four in some places. The work includes badly needed strengthening and reinforcing of the ultra-busy Congress Bridge.
The new "grid" based street sweeping plan would mean dirtier streets and more difficult parking, Aldermen Joe Moore and Vi Daley say. It also takes the sweepers out of aldermanic control. A special City Council session is scheduled for Wednesday to discuss the plan.
Chicago police may soon patrol the expressways within the city if 450 state troopers are laid off due to budget cuts.
Fourth busiest airport in the world, that is. London's Heathrow and Beijing's Capital International.
The CTA and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 241, the bus worker union, are fighting over the length of time busses should be cleaned during their fortnightly "deep cleaning." The time for 40-foot busses will be halved to two hours, while 60-foot busses will be cut a third to four hours.
Those of you flying out of O'Hare today may be in the first group of those subjected to full-body scanning.
The newest feature on Google Maps provides bicycle directions for many US cities, including Chicago. While some features like helping cyclists avoid steep inclines may not be particularly useful here, an instructional video does point out some helpful tidbits.
The red light cameras were hotly debated in today's City Council meeting. Ald. Ed Burke called the program a "money machine" that does little to improve safety. Meanwhile, there's a proposal to increase red light camera fines to $125, in part to pay for driving classes for violators. Share your thoughts on the red light cameras in Fuel.
Activists against red light cameras are headed to Springfield this week in support of a bill that would ban the devices in Illinois.
The rubber speedbumps the City has installed in some alleys apparently have a tendency to come apart -- in some cases putting metal spikes into tires and the bottoms of cars.
Paul McAleer finds it frustrating that Metra's train schedules are so hard to get to online, so he created a set of Bitly shortURLs for each one -- for your convenience as well as his.
Sick of waiting in the cold, only to be overcharged and/or harassed by a sketchy cab driver? Here are some tips to help you get where you're going quickly and safely.
Yesterday City Council passed Mayor Daley's proposal for a one-time five minute grace period on a parking ticket -- but only through April of next year. Meanwhile, one alderman is trying to make it so every parking ticket comes with photographic proof of the violation.
Recent U of C grads Max Shron and Luke Joyner mapped and analyzed CTA travel times given the existing system and the proposed service cuts. Particularly interesting is that while most neighborhoods see slight reductions in service, some neighborhoods see significant changes, particularly late at night.
Illinois has been awarded $1.23 billion to improve train speed. The money is from the $8 billion earmark set aside for high speed in last year's stimulus package.
The north-south leg of Wacker Drive will get an overhaul over the next three years, after which automotive and pedestrian traffic should move more efficiently. The state estimates 4,000 jobs will be created by the project.
With the 24 recently installed cameras at Green Line stations, the CTA now 1,657 cameras at 73 stations with more on the way!
Tesla Motors officially opened the doors on its Chicago dealership over the weekend.
Chicago is the only major city that wouldn't meet new standards for nitrogen oxide emissions under new anti-smog regulations proposed by the Obama Administration.
Here's some productive tagging for you: CTA Stop ID is crowdsourcing the placement of informational stickers or signs on all the CTA bus stops, to help people take better advantage of the SMS-based Bus Tracker service.
Always-opinioned local blogger Mike Doyle takes on the CTA union (who are fighting against personnel cuts) and explains why they deserve no one's sympathy. How strong are his feelings? He posted them in text AND video form.
Chicago Current confirms what you'd already forgotten about: The CTA superstation underneath Block 37 is still mothballed, and there are no plans to revive it.
CDOT says they've filled 12,000 fewer potholes so far this winter compared to last year. With the weather warming up, however, that gap seems likely to narrow.
If you're still in search of a 2010 calendar for your wall, the CTA has a free one for download. It's chock-full of pictures from throughout the CTA's history, plus lots of glorious Helvetica.
Ever wonder what it'd be like to travel the entire CTA train system in one day, from terminus to terminus? Wonder no more.
A man on a bicycle was hit by a southbound Brown Line train tonight near the Francisco stop. He was transported to the hospital in serious to critical condition. There are shuttle buses operating currently. Please be safe out there!
CTA Tattler notes that this week marks the end of the Brown Line expansion project, finished on time and on budget by the CTA.
It's New Year's Eve, so it's worth a ride on the CTA from 8pm until 6am. Get the details from the CTA, as well as which routes will be extended.
AP travel writer Beth Harpaz includes the pair of Blues Brothers statues at the House of Blues store in Midway Airport as the sole notable attraction in Chicago's airports. I would have chosen the Terminal One Tunnel at O'Hare, myself.
Don't forget, from this Friday onward, you'll get a ticket for texting while driving. (Then again, how many people actually get tickets for using their phone while driving?)
If you're still trying to figure out a gift for that special someone, the Parket Ticket Geek has a rather specialized gift guide for you -- as well as an appreciation of the automated parking meters' better attributes.
There are some interesting CTA tech tidbits in this article, including a not-so-satisfying explanation of why we don't have a "train tracker."
Red Hen Bakery and eight other shops along Milwaukee Avenue are displaying CTA Bus Tracker arrival times for the 56 bus on in-store screens, so you don't have to wait outside in the cold.
Bike racks don't have to be generic metal brackets simply bolted to the ground, or even now-useless parking meters. The Village of Algonquin is looking for artistic types to design new bike racks for the community. Get the info here.
Super-cheap travel purveyor Megabus is currently offering free fares for the first 100,000 people to book trips between Jan. 6 and March 10, 2010, using promotional code "GETAWAY." Even with a 50 cent booking fee, you could get across the country for less than a CTA ride. [via]
If you can get your boss to let you off a little early today, you might want to: the snow is already coming down, and with wind gusting up to 35 MPH, it's going to be a fun one on the roads and CTA.
The winter overnight parking ban has been in effect for just two days, and the City has already towed 398 cars -- 234 the first night and another 164 yesterday. In case you're wondering, here's a list of streets to steer clear of.
The A.V. Club Chicago's Andrew Reilly creates a very North Side-centric list of El stations the CTA should close. Predictable comment flamewar ensues.
As we posted in Transmission last week, the Chicago Music Commission is asking for new local music to play at O'Hare and Midway. What's more, you can browse O'Hare's entire track list by terminal, time and date on their website. For example, here's what was playing in Terminal 1 on April 29, 2009.
To entice shoppers to Andersonville this holiday season, the Chamber of Commerce is offering reimbursements for parking or CTA rides up to the neighborhood if you spend $20 in a local store. Details online.
When Becca's iPhone was snatched from her hands on the Green Line, she posted about the incident on her blog and quickly realized she wasn't alone. According to a few of the comments and an employee she spoke to at the Oak Park AT&T store, iPhone theft on the Green Line may be a growing trend. As always, stay alert.
Electric cars and plug-in hybrids are beginning to make appearances on city streets, and Carbon Day Automotive launched Chicago's first electric charging station this summer.
With days getting shorter, the evening commute is getting darker. The Active Transportation Alliance is giving away free bicycle headlights from 5pm to 7pm tonight at the Milwaukee/Damen/North intersection. The catch: You have to be on a bike to get a light.
Unsurprising news of the day: the city's privatized parking meters have been lucrative. And since rates go up Jan. 1, they're the gift that keeps on giving.
The Village of Bensenville has reached a $16 settlement with the City of Chicago, clearing another obstruction to O'Hare's expansion. If you want to hear it from the horse's mouth, here's the village's press release [PDF].
We know Route 66 "officially" begins at Buckingham Fountain, but it's recently been decided that it ends at Santa Monica Pier... which is fudging, actually, though fans of the "Mother Road" aren't complaining.
Parking tickets are up 26 percent this year thanks to the new meter boxes -- and possibly to someone other than the CPD being in charge of ticket-writing.
Train fare could rise to $3 and bus fare to $2.50 ($3 for express buses) as the CTA once again tries to close its budget gap.
Greg Krause arrives home in Chicago today after using JetBlue's 30-day All You Can Jet Pass to fly around the world raising money for a school in Zambia.
In the "sick and wrong" files, one in five cab drivers in Chicago have been physically attacked on the job. It's commonly accompanied by ethnic hostility, reports the University of Illinois at Chicago.
The Sun-Times does some digging into contemporary views of future transportation, noting we're less likely to think about floating cars and more likely to think about high speed trains than in days past.
Record-high public transit ridership in 2008 (along with, no doubt, all the bikes I see streaming by on Milwaukee everyday) saved Illinois nearly 260 million gallons of gas. In the new report from advocacy group Environment Illinois, the group says that's equal to the amount of gas from over 450,000 cars.
CTA employees who clean busses typically need to turn on bus engines to provide light, temperature controls and other power while they work in them. That will change for 80 busses thanks to a new $1.5 million federal Recovery Act grant.
Speaking of driving... Even if you can't go car free, maybe try car pooling. Chicago has the lowest rate of car pooling of any major US city, according to IBM's annual "commuter pain" survey.
Tomorrow is Chicagoland Car-Free Day, a day when people pledge to ditch their autos and try an alternate form of transportation. It's sponsored by the Active Transportation Alliance, who's partnered with local communities and public transportation systems, and is all part of World Car-Free Day. Take the pledge on their website, and you'll get a $1 coupon off a large drink at Caribou Coffee.
Tomorrow is Park(ing) Day, a multi-city event that turns parking spaces into temporary public parks. This year, Chicago's entry is on Southport near Addison, and is sponsored by architecture firm moss design. Hear architect Matt Nardella explain the event and its new connotations after the parking meter scandal on WBEZ's "Eight Forty-Eight."
Chicagoland Car-Free Day is a week away! Take the pledge not to drive on Sept. 22, and you can print out a coupon for a dollar off a large drink at area Caribou Coffee locations.
LAZ's parking meter machines don't always tell the correct time, despite supposedly being updated every night -- meaning your meter receipt might not show the correct time. Clock experts say something doesn't add up in LAZ's explanation of the discrepancy.
If it's been a while since you've been on a water taxi, here's a reminder about how great they are.
Behold, the power of the intertubes, Metra riders! Starting today, Metra's 312,000 commuters can use the new website to buy tickets and monthly passes. Not only that, but those riding the rails can plot out their trips and receive e-mail alerts when trains are running late.
Whether you're heading to Oprah's big Michigan Avenue bash, or trying to avoid it altogether, Chicagosphere and the Parking Ticket Geek have the lowdown on the best way to get around downtown as you head back to work tomorrow.
Sex sells, right? That might explain the unexpected image Transmission staffer Liz McLean Knight noticed on an iGo brochure bearing her likeness.
Today's best headline: "A meter culpa from the mayor" reads the Sun-Times' scoop that Daley will admit the City "totally screwed up" the parking meter privatization deal due to its desperation for money.
I've had photos of this sitting in iPhoto for more than a month, but Chicagoist finally posted photos of an awesome storefront anti-parking meter protest in Lincoln Square.
Taking the bus to classes in Hyde Park? Maybe not anymore. The CTA has eliminated two bus routes to the U. of Chicago, and cut hours on two more.
The CTA Tattler has sliced and diced the stats behind calls to the CTA's customer service line. 2009 is shaping up to have a lower volume of calls thanks to the end of 3-track operations on the northern L lines and the wider implementation of CTA Bus Tracker.
CitySpokes maps out the city's bike paths, with a convenient trip planner to help you take advantage of them.
Local writer and editor Robert Burnham writes Tales from the Commute, slices of life on the Metra rails.
Yet another unexpected fall-out of the parking meter privatization: meter receipts are no longer motorcycle- and scooter-friendly after LAZ cut costs by switching away from sticker-backed paper.
The CTA has been providing "company cars" to 68 employees, including 38 managers, and has decided to cut the program by the end of the year to save money. Sounds like a good idea.
Speaking of railroad infrastructure, Wisconsin just ordered two high(er)-speed trains that will run on the Hiawatha route between Milwaukee and Chicago. They have a top speed of 110mph, but tracks will need to be modified to reach the capacity. The current limit of the line is 79mph.
Create has taken one step closer to reducing freight train delays in Chicago. In the end, perhaps items won't be taken off of trains on one side of Chicago and then put trucks to be taken to another train on the other side ... just to save time.
Today's breakthrough study based on research on Chicago commuters, among those in three other cities, is that exercising while commuting is linked with better fitness.
The Sun-Times reminds us that the deadline for purchasing your city sticker is this Wednesday. After that, you face a $40 late fee and a $120 ticket. For information on where to get your sticker, see the City Clerk's Website.
The Parking Ticket Geek suggests some ways you can remove last year's city sticker from your windshield.
The NY Times did an analysis of the transportation stimulus money and determined urban centers receive far less than their share of the GDP. As of July 2, Chicago has received 2.57% of the overall funds while contributing 3.68% to the country's GDP.
While the Chicago 2016 Olympics campaign revs up, a South Side coalition is pushing for a new CTA line for the games and after. The Gold Line would connect the Metra and the CTA, and serve key Olympic venues.
The CTA just got a little bit greener with the addition of five hybrid articulated busses, bringing the hybrid fleet total to approximately 200. I hope they turn out better than the last publicized articulated busses...
BestParking.com is a handy site that lets users compare daily and monthly parking rates based on neighborhood, address, cross street, or attraction. Previously only available in New York, Boston, Philadelphia and D.C., the site recently added Chicago to their system.
The U of C's Main Quad will be undergoing a dramatic transformation this summer, including converting its streets into pedestrian thoroughfares. A map is also available through the Facilities Services site.
At least 17 cars were set on fire in Humboldt Park and Ukrainian Village early this morning.
FoGB, designer, (and frequent festival photographer) George Aye snapped a pic of his special Lollapalooza edition CTA transit cards which are showing up in station vending machines now. He snagged his at Logan Square.
The ongoing battle between (some) taxi drivers and their customers who want to pay their fare with a credit card might be a thing of the past, thank to some new technology.
The Reader's Ben Joravsky and Mick Dumke continue their outstanding coverage of the parking meter privatization scandal this week with a report on who actually benefits from the deal. Read their previous stories here and here.
There's a rally against parking meters at Alderman John Pope's office tomorrow morning. Protesters want to make sure some new meters don't go into their neighborhood, in light of the meter deal debacle.
The most interesting thing about the Tribune's story about best and worst CTA stations is the chart of ridership changes at the end. Roosevelt (Red) up 165 percent, Clinton (Green) up 157 percent, Rosemont (Blue) down 22 percent.
The CTA Tattler reports that the CTA is hoping to work out some glitches in the screens displaying next train times at six El stations. No word if fares need to be increased to help fund the fix.
The rodeo's in town this weekend--the Rail Rodeo, that is. As part of the American Public Transportation Association's annual conference, rail operators and maintenance teams will compete to see who's the best in North America. The competition takes place tomorrow morning on the Yellow Line, which, of course, means that the permanent weekend Yellow Line service announced earlier this week won't be happening until Saturday afternoon. [via]
The CTA Tattler celebrates five years of reporting on Chicago transit.
AT&T service will soon be available in CTA subways. Gmail in the station!
The CTA is holding public meetings tonight and tomorrow regarding the long-discussed Red Line extension south of 95th. You might want to take a look back at Craig Berman's CTA Map for 2055 here on GB.
Business honchos in Green Bay are pushing for an Amtrak rail link between that city and Chicago, with an eye toward getting some of those possible 2016 Olympics bucks. And it will make it easier for Bears and Packers fans to deliver the hate personally.
The nifty bike valet at Millennium Park is in jeopardy of closing this summer due to chief underwriter Chase Bank's "refocusing on business matters."
Not really. Due to a rash of parking meter payboxes not working, Police have been instructed not to issue parking tickets in the loop today.
Your downtown commute may get a little more interesting around 6:30 this evening thanks to the throngs of participants and spectators expected for the 28th annual J.P. Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge. Detours are being considered for 19 CTA bus routes that run in the general vicinity of Grant Park.
Chicago's Circle Interchange makes an appearance in part 2 of The Infrastructurist's collection of freeway interchanges (part one). Don't know the Circle? Read about it and other local road jargon here.
In the seemingly endless barrage of transportation news is a another change to the way the city handles cars. Among other changes, the main city vehicle sticker will be combined with resident permits and will include a license plate number.
One of O'Hare's runways was shortened by 4,000 feet in just one 8 hour shift last week, as part of a project to cut down on planes cutting across each other's paths at the airport.
Chicago Critical Mass aficionados likely already know about the collection of route maps on the CCM site, but Andrew Bedno recently created another directory that includes selected flyers from early as 1998, set up gallery style.
We already know the parking meter privatization deal was a bad one -- but three months later we're still finding out just how bad. And in the meantime, Ald. Ed Burke canceled planned hearings on the meter deal. Great.
... the Trib for its coverage of Chrysler closing 789 dealerships, 44 of which are in Illinois: "No-haggle end for hundreds of Chrysler dealers."
On May 18th the CTA Bus Tracker project will be complete!
With so many broken parking meters out there, it's important to know that you can't be fined for parking in a spot with a broken meter. Just in case, take an extra step and print out a few of these flyers explaining the law to whoever's handing out tickets these days.
LAZ Parking officials have come to the oh-so-surprising conclusion that it wasn't ready to acquire the city's 36,000 parking meters in February.
One of the approximately 60 WWII era aircraft remaining in Lake Michigan has been recovered for inclusion in a New Orleans museum. The plane crashed on Nov. 24, 1944 while attempting to land on an aircraft carrier during a training mission.
You'll never be able to ride again in that scary-yet-exciting accordionish corridor thingy again. UPDATE: Actually, only one type of articulated bus is being decommissioned; the CTA just recently leased new articulated buses from New Flyer. (Thanks, Rob!)
Vote for the worst pothole in Chicago Public Radio's Adopt-a-Side-Street project. The winning pothole will be the subject of a news story.
Eight Midwestern states have united to reinvigorate plans for the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative as a way to increase their odds at getting federal funding. If the plan succeeds, you know who will be in the center.
The Reader's Ben Joravsky and Mick Dumke take a look at how Daley and friends managed to push the parking meter privatization deal through City Council with such ease.
A protest about road conditions in Englewood was foiled by a Department of Transportation road repair crew who, following months of complaints, showed up by "coincidence" minutes before the demonstration was to begin. Right.
The Paulina Brown Line Stop reopens tomorrow morning (if you're counting, that leaves just the Wellington stop closed and Fullerton and Belmont still under construction). All weekend long, various businesses in the area, including Frasca, Fizz, Finley Dunne's, Dinkel's, Sam & Willy's, and The Shire, will have specials to celebrate.
Progressive Railroading.com (and it's OK to admit it's your favorite website) reports that Amtrak is reintroducing sleeper cars to the Chicago-to-Boston route. So if you had plans to head to Beantown anytime soon, you can now do it flat on your back.
WBEZ wants to know -- and wants you to photograph it in all its pockmarked glory for the Adopt a Side Street project.
There are a lot of bridges over the Chicago River -- but there used to be a few more.
It's not a competition, but if it were, the L would be beating the Metra in which one is the more high tech train service.
Oh, here's a surprise... Apparently, people aren't particularly pleased with the recent parking meter changes or the transition process.
Thousands of potholes on our city's streets, and the parks are getting repaved first. Thank the Olympic bid for your smooth ride to see the duckies.
The CTA might have some new local competition. A Sun-Times story says it's actually cheaper, in some cases, to take Metra to the Loop rather than the L or bus.
Since December, the city filled more than 200,000 potholes, leaving -- supposedly -- a surplus of 7,000 unfilled potholes.
Tesla Motors, the company behind the electric Tesla Roadster, is opening its first dealership outside of California here in Chicago. [via]
Besides not mentioning the CTA Daley still hasn't revealed much of his wish list from the stimulus package. Not that it mattered since Illinois has yet to submit any project for funding. With all the distractions in Springfield its easy to forget there is work to be done.
Chicago continued to rank third in the US for traffic congestion on INRIX's annual National Traffic Scorecard. Cook County has 26 of the worst 100 bottlenecks in the country. Throw in thousands of potholes, and we've got a whole lot of lousy driving.
Apparently complaining about red-light cameras actually does something.
Red light runners aren't the only ones whose tickets come with photographic evidence anymore.
Developing Story: The CTA has pulled 90 articulated buses from this evening's rush hour commute after a structural crack was discovered. Right now, there's
nothing some affected route information posted to the bus status page at the CTA's site. UPDATE: the Trib reports more than 200 buses will be affected immediately.
Yesterday, 5,000 DePaul students' U-Passes were deactivated by mistake, leaving more than a few students a little less confident about the CTA.
The lightning-quick towing of Chicago drivers who defy the overnight winter parking ban has been cut in half, thanks to the city's 2009 budget eliminating nearly all of the field vehicle investigators whose job it is to seek out and ticket illegally parked cars. Of course, this also means that the city's losing out on a lot of fast revenue over the winter months.
Pedestrian deaths rose from 49 in 2007 to 56 in 2008. Prevention funding is also up, but it doesn't seem to be helping.
Thanks to the economy, the now-annual CTA doomsday call may be even more dire than usual.
More bus trackers are on the way, according to CTA Tattler. As things are now, about 75% of all the CTA bus routes will be on the bus tracker system by the end of March.
Jon Hilkevitch reports that Chicago's Olympic bid book doesn't include an overhaul of the CTA -- only shuttle service between train stops. You can review the whole bid book by downloading it here. Let us know what you think of the Olympic bid in Fuel.
It's taken a while, but the new parking rates will start to take effect tomorrow.
The city's ticket amnesty program, which gets you reduced or waived fees on certain outstanding parking and red-light tickets, ends on Saturday. Check the Department of Revenue site for a full list of eligible tickets, as well as an option of paying online. (tip from The Expired Meter)
The City has discontinued its free trolley service due to budget cutbacks. Navy Pier will continue to run its own trolleys to and from the Grand Red Line stop, but otherwise the only trolleys you'll be seeing from now on will be full of drunk wedding attendees.
InterContinental's new O'Hare hotel is part of a wave of high-end design sites replacing no-frills airport hotels. It has amenities like an art gallery with in-house curator in adddition to an overall contemporary design.
Top CTA managers did pretty well last year income wise; nonunion executives got 6 percent salary raises before 2009. Ron Huberman says it was necessary to keep the high caliber of talent. Hmmm, so how much does it cost to get executives that get the trains to come on time?
The CTA's Red Line disruption of service alert hinted at a particularly unsettling kind of delay.
Dorval Carter will be the acting head of the CTA until a permanent successor to Ron Huberman is found.
Every time a CTA bus driver gets caught running a red light the taxpayers pay for it.
The City is cracking down on the "dibs" tradition, asking residents to remove junk or have it removed for them. The Expired Meter has a handy note you can print out and give to your neighbors if you'd like.
The Parking Ticket Geek reports that although the sale of the city's parking meters was pushed through quickly, the actual lease deal is taking a lot longer. Don't expect the switch-over till around March.
CTA ridership is breaking records this year. According to a press release:
The CTA today announced that 2008 combined bus and rail ridership increased by 26.8 million rides, a gain of 5.4 percent over 2007 ridership, for a total of 526.4 million rides. It is the highest ridership level since 1992 and the highest single year ridership gain in 34 years.
Southbound Metra riders, be warned, your trip home will be slow. An Amtrak train derailed near Union Station this afternoon, cutting off three Metra lines.
Perhaps it's one of those Jerry-Lewis-is-big-in-France deals, but for some reason the CTA Bus Tracker is popular in Norway, receiving 15,000-plus hit from that country, more than any other country outside of the U.S. *Incidentally, the headline translates to "Was that a 22 or a 36?", a pretty popular phrase among CTA users.
The Expired Meter finds no evidence of rate increase two weeks into the leasing of the city's parking meters. Meanwhile, the Trib reports that there will be fewer coin meters on the streets in the near future.
Power to the southbound tracks on the CTA's Blue Line downtown has been shut off after a woman was struck and badly injured by a subway train at 8:15 this morning. Blue Line customers are being advised to use alternate service into the Loop.
Following a federal appeals court decision, it looks like 330 more red light cameras are on our way.
Our city's freaky up-and-down weather has one bone-jarring side effect: potholes. As of Monday there were more than 1,100 dotting the city landscape and threatening to bust axles. The city says it's on it and you can file a claim for any damages. Incidentially, if you're driving east past the Heart 'O' Chicago motel, don't let that shallow looking puddle on the right side of the road fool you. Trust me.
Chicago Carless follows up on his story breaking the CTA's homeless ridership crackdown with a late-night ride with the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.
The CTA returned the Belmont station to four-track service on Saturday, much to the relief of commuters. Meanwhile the tunnels got some glow-in-the-dark paint.
Unfortunately sometimes public indecency is a fact of life on public transportation. CTA Tattler has a good post exposing one particular lowlife and some suggestions on what to do if you become a victim.
First they sold off the parking meters, now City Council is weighing a proposal for a "congestion reduction fee" on parking spaces downtown. Proceeds would theoretically go to the CTA for service improvements.
The CTA debuted a completely redesigned transitchicago.com today (you may need to hard-refresh the page if you've been there lately.) The site is a big step forward in the agency's effort to standardize messaging and streamline information. Service alerts are made clear and are available by RSS.
The Chicago Journal reports that in 2009 the CTA will begin construction to add a new stop to the Green Line at Morgan Street. This will help close the massive gap that goes Clinton to Ashland with no stop in between. Construction is expected to be completed in late 2010 or early 2011.
Just when you thought that parking meter privatization deal couldn't get any worse, someone read the fine print: all parking holidays will be off, and no free parking on Sundays, either. City Council votes today; call your alderman. UPDATE: The deal passed City Council 40-5.
The CTA unveiled new hybrid buses today that plug into an electrical outlet at night and run on battery power for most of the day. The move is estimated to save the CTA almost $7 million annually in maintenance, labor and fuel costs by retiring aging buses.
The good news: some downtown bus shelters are going to have warm air piped into them over the winter. The bad news: it's not part of a CTA improvement program, it's an ad for stuffing. More details in Drive-Thru.
The CTA appears to be cracking down on homeless ridership -- just in time for winter weather -- by posting signage at train terminals reminding passengers that they must pay for another fare to ride a train board a train going the opposite direction. The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless has begun tracking any ejections of homeless people by CTA employees.
Tired of dodging the city tow trucks thanks to that fistful of parking tickets you've collected? The Department of Revenue is giving you a break.
The CTA is once again mulling offering naming rights to individual CTA stations. The RedEye's Kyra Kyles has some suggestions; I always thought Dunkin' Donuts should sponsor Library -- where the Pink, Orange and Brown lines stop. GB readers had some other good ideas in Fuel back in 2005. (By the way, if you're interested in discussing the proposed Red Line extension below 95th, there are a couple meetings this week.)
Crain's examines the linkages between Chicago and Detroit and the effect the current calamity with U.S. automakers could have on us.
Hopefully you remembered not to park on snow routes tonight, because whether there's snow on the ground or not, Chicago's winter parking regulations go into effect at 3am Dec. 1 -- very late tonight or very early Monday morning, depending on your perspective. Hope you don't wake up to a missing car!
Believe it or not, you can get gas in Chicago for less than $2 a gallon. Not in a nearby suburb, not across the Skyway in Indiana, but actually within the city limits, specifically at a BP and Mobil station at 76th Street near the Dan Ryan Expressway.
Whether they're called HOT (High-Occupancy Toll) or Green Lanes, four (to be determined) Illinois toll roads are going to be changing in 2010. Aimed at reducing congestion, commuters will be rewarded for driving with a buddy (or 2, or 3), or taking the bus, with access to a designated lane for vehicles with more than one passenger.
Looks like the trusty Chicago Card may become obsolete in the near future. The CTA is claiming that a new "smart" version of credit and debit cards will be accepted for payment of bus and train fares in about a year. Seems like a rather bold prediction, but it could mean more money for other improvements if it pans out.
Because I'm going to need it when the CTA raises fares by 25 cents starting in 2009. An unrelated upside to this news is that the gas surcharge for taxi rides ends today, as oil prices have declined; however, cab drivers are lobbying for a 16% raise in their base fare.
It looks like CTA is going to vote to raise fares as much as 50 cents today.
"Chicago Geek Girls is a network of groups devoted to supporting the work & play of women who identify as geeks."
The blog Hyde Park Progress explores the transportation options available to the area from a U of C (ex)undergrad perspective.
A pool report of President-elect Obama's ride to his first intelligence briefing highlights what many of us already know about downtown traffic.
Construction shortcuts on the new brown line stations result in splintering wood in the platforms and rust on canopies and railings. Expect things to look uglier as winter sets in.
While it's running short on funding, Metra says it won't raise fares in 2009 or (probably) 2010. That said, if it doesn't get some cash soon, service will be "slower, bumpier and less reliable."
Starting today, CTA riders can sign up for emails from the agency to alert them to construction, delays and changes in service. OMG.
The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning found an interesting paradox in its recent transportation study: Chicagoans are driving 5% less, but congestion is actually worsening.
iGo car sharing and the CTA have signed a deal where iGo members will be able to use one smart card for both their iGo and CTA rides. Pending board approval, the program should be in place by the end of this year.
City Council has banned texting while driving. It'll be a $75 fine, rising to as much as $200 if you get into an accident.
In an effort to balance the city budget, Mayor Daley announced today that Midway Airport has been leased for $2.5 billion to an outside group who will operate the airport on a 99-year contract.
Want to show some love to your favorite El stop (and if you have favorite El stop that might be a sign of something altogether different)? The CTA unveils its new online gift shop with items featuring various city stations. And who doesn't need a train system shower curtain?
If you use Twitter, you can now follow your favorite El line, buses or the CTA as a whole, and send updates to the group thanks to CTA Tweet, created ex-GB staffer Dan O'Neil, who also created the cellular CTA Alert System and works at Everyblock. More details on CTA Tattler.
Add another voice to the debate over a third airport for the Chicago area: the FAA chief who says another airport is needed in addition to the $15 billion expansion at O'Hare.
Fortunately, today's CTA cuts hit administrative staff and not service. But that doesn't mean we won't see that later this year or next.
We've mentioned it previously on GB, and here's another reminder/warning: to help ease overcrowding, seatless train cars will start showing up on rush hour El trains starting in late October or early November.
There's some disappointment with the Sundays Parkways plan for car-free streets in October. John Greenfield traveled to NY to experience their version of 'ciclovia' and offers some tips on why New York's worked where Chicago stumbled.
For the third year in a row, Hotwire.com declares Chicago the top destination for the Labor Day weekend. And if you do choose Chicago as your vacation destination, a New Zealand travel site tells you the best way to spend 48 hours here.
Speaking of nightmares, four buffalo escaped from an area just outside of Joliet and found their way onto 55, which ended up being a bad move.
The good news: Lake Shore Drive north of Irving Park is finally being resurfaced, saving countless tires. The bad news: it'll be shut down to one lane in each direction for hours a day for the next few months.
The Expired Meter is passing around a petition to get the City to reverse its decision to start booting cars after two unpaid tickets instead of three.
Does the little smudge in the sky in this photo look like a UFO to you? Read a report by the National Aviation Reporting Center on Anomalous Phenomena on the infamous 2006 sighting here [PDF].
The Sun-Times reminds drivers to use their turn signals. Why don't they? Well, 7% said they want to "add excitement" to their trips. Hm.
The Windy Citizen launched a new blog on Thursday to cover Bensenvile's plight in the O'Hare expansion. Particularly interesting is a google map highlighting the places discussed on the blog.
Want to figure out how much your next cab ride should be (or want to make sure you're not getting ripped off when cabbing it in other large cities)? TaxiWiz estimates fares for a handful of cities, among them Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. I calculated some standard trips I take, and was very surprised by the resulting accuracy.
The Chicagoland Bicycle Federation is launching a new program called Sunday Parkways, which will give riders and pedestrians in Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Garfield Park, North Lawndale and Little Village the opportunity to bike through their neighborhoods on streets without cars.
A new study says that congestion and gridlock in the Chicago area is costing us more than $7 billion in lost time and wasted fuel.
Just got notice from Drive-Thru Editor Robyn that the Grand Blue Line stop is closed due to a fire in the area as of 4:45pm. Details as we get them. While we're at it, the southbound Blue Line tracks will be shut down between Racine and the Medical Center from 9pm to 4am tonight. Southbound trains will run on the northbound tracks -- won't that be fun. UPDATE: No details ever emerged. I assume it's back to normal.
If you'd like to learn more about what the city is doing to improve bicycling, attend a discussion at the Chicago History Museum this Tuesday. Titled "In the K/Now," a representative of Chicagoland Bicycle Federation and the Chicago Cycling Club will pass on tips for Big City Biking as well as tell you more about what to expect as more Chicagoans move on two wheels.
The CTA added its popular Bus Tracker to more routes last week, and a little birdy (FoGB George Aye, now working at the CTA) let us know that they plan to roll it out citywide by the end of the year.
The city has 104 red light cameras. They plan on installing 25 more. They expect to collect more than $50 million in fines because of them. If gas prices weren't enough to make you ditch the car, this might do it.
The work on the CTA Blue Line track between Rosemont and O'Hare is finishing four days early. Starting tomorrow, Blue Line riders will get to experience the thrill of Blue Line trains going to O'Hare at 55 mph. Yee haw!
We just got notice that the Red Line is currently shut down
southbound from Howard to Argyle Addison for "an emergency situation" at the Argyle stop. We'll keep you posted. UPDATE: Here's the current alert from the CTA. UPDATE 2: Service down to Granville has been restored, and shuttle buses are running between there and Addison. UPDATE 3: As of 5:50pm, according to the CTA, Red Line service has resumed.
Good news for bike riders who use the trains: the CTA is building bicycle parking structures at 4 of its El stops where demand for bike parking has exceeded supply.
Don't forget, today's the day that the CTA is starting shuttle service between the O'Hare and Rosemont Blue Line stops, so that the CTA can work on the track between the two. Train service to O'Hare is expected to resume July 28.
O'Hare continues its stellar rankings among large airports, this time placing last in on-time departures and third to last in on-time arrivals. As usual, Midway fared better.
On Monday, an Air Nippon jet dropped about 1,450 gallons of its fuel into Lake Michigan. The Trib asks about the event and what's happening to the fuel.
Attention all "playas": You may want to think about removing the tint from the front window of your "hooptie" (do they still call it that?). The city is considering raising the fine for having a tinted front car window from $25 to $250. Now as for that booming bass...
The Expired Meter is a blog devoted solely to Chicago parking tickets. And yes, there's plenty to say on the topic.
Beyond calling the taxi company, if you lose something in a cab, you might want to put a listing in the Chicago Dispatcher, the weekly newspaper for the taxi industry. The paper's Lost & Found service covers all your bases.
GB staffer Jenni reports that there's been some sort of accident at the Wilson Red Line stop. Rumor on the street below is that someone jumped in front of a train. We'll keep you posted as details come out --
this might affect the evening commute. UPDATE: Still no details on what happened, but the CTA reports that service has resumed. Tribune has details about the accident.
Today, United Airlines announced it's following the trend set by American Airlines a few weeks ago, and will start to charge you $15 for that first checked bag. Analysts expect other airlines will follow suit with similar fees, as well as some others popping up for luxuries like selecting your seat ($10 for a window, $5 for a middle).
Due to rising project costs the CTA is looking to private companies to develop the airport express project that will originate at Block 37.
5:106:44pm today, the Red Line is shut down up and running again between 47th and Grand after a train hit killed someone a robbery suspect (who was fleeing a store he had just tried to rob) on the tracks near the Chinatown stop.
Clinton Miceli was killed last night when he was doored by an Xterra and thrown into oncoming traffic on North La Salle. This morning, a cyclist was struck by a CTA bus in Lakeview. Please, please, please be careful out there, drivers and cyclists alike. This week is Bike to Work Week, so let's be extra vigilant.
The Sun-Times profiles Elmhurst resident Maureen Sullivan, who runs her car off of vegetable oil.
Yesterday, 101 cars were ensnared in a police sting designed to remind drivers they need to stop for pedestrians at all crosswalks.
Well, it really began on Saturday, but if you're a Monday-Friday commuter, now's your time to shine. Get information about bicycle commuter stations and events at the Chicago Bicycle Federation's website.
Unlike other cities, Chicago is showing no special preferences to owners of hybrid cars by giving them a break on feeding the meter and providing them with free parking spaces to encourage their use. Should we really be surprised?
A CTA train derailed for the second time in a week -- this time on the Red Line, near 95th.
Drivers looking to get the "lowest reported gas station prices" can call the city's new hotline at 312-742-4427 or look online. The website is also where the city asks users to report gas station prices.
Planning on flying to Buenos Aires or Honolulu before the year is over? Better move that date up. American Airlines announced it's cutting flights from Chicago to those two cities on September 3 and January 5, respectively.
A Green Line train derailed on the South Side this morning, injuring about 10 people.
Apparently fewer people are taking limos to O'Hare and Midway, thanks to rising fuel costs and shrinking pocketbooks.
In case you've forgotten since the last time this article was rolled out, the Sun-Times would like to remind you that decibel levels on the CTA can sometimes be dangerous. (This time there's video.)
If you're trying to get to work today via the I-80, you're already well aware that a semi carrying 10 tons of Oreo cookies crashed near Morris, IL early this morning. Although crews had successfully brushed the last of the crumbs to the side of the road by 6 am, the morning commute for those going eastbound is still totally dunked.
Currently holding the top spot in the country for gas prices: Chicago. Personally, I'd like to know where to find gas at the city's average of $4.07/gallon.
From the Chicagoland Stolen Bike Registry, a project to help understand patterns in comes this unfortunate report: "I locked my bike up very well to a metal pole/street sign in front of my friend's house... When I came out at midnight, the pole had been sawed through and thrown into the alley and my bike was no longer there." (Note: if you own a Specialized, be careful. They seem to be very "hot" lately with thieves.)
The CTA Tattler has a rundown on the CTA train reroutings this weekend. Due to work on the elevated tracks there will be some serious re-routing in the Loop. You might want to check out the details if you're planning to be downtown.
The publishers of Grand Theft Auto 4 are suing the CTA over those GTA ads that were pulled from buses in April. The ads were originally supposed to stay up for six weeks between April and June.
This Wednesday is Crossing Guard Appreciation Day! Safe Routes to School and the Chicagoland Bike Federation want your help thanking the crossing guards who keep kids safe as they walk or bike to and from school. So buy the crossing guard in your life something sweet or a new whistle this Tuesday.
IDOT is so overwhelmed by the volume and severity of potholes that it's hiring contractors to help catch up on the repairs. Meanwhile, CTA buses will soon get dedicated lanes, prepay kiosks at busy stops and other upgrades to help reduce congestion downtown.
The federal government will likely give Chicago a grant to study innovative traffic reduction techniques in the city. Among the options to be considered are increased parking charges in specific locations and congestion pricing, which notably recently went out in a blaze of glory in New York.
Beginning today, taxi drivers will be adding a $1.00 surcharge to cab fares to compensate for rising fuel costs.
A semi-truck hit the north stairwell of the Chinatown/Cermak Red Line station around 5:20pm today; reportedly two people have been killed and many more injured. If you're heading that way, take an alternate route, as the area is swarmed with emergency response and the trains are delayed. Very sad.
If you haven't been to the Chicago Stolen Bike Registry in a while, it's worth visiting even if you haven't lost a bike. While you're there, check out the stolen bike statistics and theft map to help you know what to look out for and where to be particularly careful. Given 99.34% of the listed thefts were unrecovered, being careful is probably the way to go.
Carfree Chicago has launched a new line of L Stop buttons for fashionistas who are interested in displaying neighborhood pride, support for public transit, or both. The buttons' bright, bold colors are perfect for springtime.
Amtrak says a Chicago-to-Iowa City rail line would carry 187,000 round-trip passengers a year, for a $55 million investment. National security and energy efficiency concerns have made rail lines an increasingly attractive alternative to flight for regional travel.
Remember yesterday's blue line snafu? Check out images of the passenger revolt with some additional details via the NYTimes.
The city has put together a helpful web page about where you can recycle/donate your old unused bike (with some helpful suburban locations too) as well as link to a company who's willing to recycle bicycle tires. Since tires aren't supposed to go to a landfill, this is a huge help!
In July 2006, after the Blue Line derailed and started a small fire near the Clark/Lake stop, 85-year old Elfa Lari suffered major injuries. Today, on the same day that the Blue Line once again had to be evacuated near the Clark/Lake stop, the agency reached an agreement to settle the case for $1.25 million.
Hope you didn't need it today: there's a train stuck at Clark & Lake, and it's shut down the line. Read a first-person account after the jump.
Shylo Bisnett reports: "My morning commute was cut short just outside Clark and Lake. The stuck-train issue was complicated by anxious passengers, some who waited more than 90 minutes or more, who opened the trains doors and took to the tracks. After a lengthy wait, the conductor of my train finally let us out onto the catwalk. We all emerged, dirty from the handrail, via a Fulton & Jefferson emergency exit. Best quote from the conductor: 'This is what happens when you have 40-year-old trains.'" Time Out has yet more firsthand coverage.
CTA announced that digital screens that announce real-time arrival information for trains will soon be added to more stations; the signs will also display advertisements, which the CTA expects could earn millions in revenue for their coffers.
Popular Mechanics listed the Circle Interchange and O'Hare as two of the "10 pieces of U.S. infrastructure we must fix right now." Not sure how you'd fix the Circle, but Daley's right on top of it with O'Hare... right?
Today begins the CTA Bus Tracker program for a handful of routes, with more to be added in May.
The CTA permanently added two cars to all brown line trains yesterday, though no one seems to have noticed yet. Sounds like you might score a seat if you head for the ends of the platform.
The CTA has successfully sent a 24-year old to jail for two years for spray painting the outside of an El car back in December. I think vandalism sucks and all, but couldn't time and money have been better spent hiring some cleaning crews for the inside of the cars instead?
CTA will be soon be unveiling the selected bus routes that will have GPS tracking ability, with riders able to track routes online by April 7. ChicagoBus.org already has a list of the majority of the routes on hand, among them the Western 49/x49 line.
...by plane, anyway. A week after they started flying to Gary-Chicago, SkyBus Airlines cut its service to Greensboro, NC (its only service) in half. Not to be outdone, AirTran is stopping flying between Midway and Minneapolis on May 5.
The CTA will be eliminating the Blue Line service to 54th/Cermak for six months beginning April 27, claiming that Pink Line service to the same terminus has gobbled up the rider share and made the 54th/Cermak Blue Line the least-used in the CTA network. Along with making several experimental bus lines (78, 170-174, 192) permanent additions to their schedule, CTA claims that it will increase operating hours and service on several bus lines, and up the Forest Park and O'Hare Blue Line train service as a result.
The CTA is recruiting riders for its Mystery Shopper program. Good observational skills are required; trench coats and spy glasses are optional.
Due to rising fuel costs, ATA will discontinue its domestic service at Midway Airport on April 14 and international service on June 7. If you have a flight that will be impacted by ATA's departure, you can visit the airline's website for refund information.
The city is about to install as many as 220 new red light traffic cameras. They've only announced six locations, but two are likely regular intersections for driving GB readers: Belmont and Lake Shore Drive along with Belmont and Halsted.
And what does Phase 2 mean, I hear someone ask? The CTA Tattler has all the details; 20% reduced capacity on the Red Line (boo!), larger trains on the Brown Line (yay!), and the southbound trains will start to share a single track, while northbound trains will have access to two tracks (boo! yay!).
Once again helping provide cheap posts for city-focused blogs all over the country, US News and World Report published a list of America's Most Miserable Airports, with O'Hare coming in at #1 (lots of delays & very full flights).
Wednesday, Mayor Daley, who has given "salutes...in the Chicago way" to motorists who have perhaps dangerously impeded his progress as a cyclist, proposed raising fines to as much as $500 for turning right in front of a bicyclist, opening a door into the path of a cyclist or passing too closely.
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, the League of Illinois Bicyclists, and Trek Bike Corp. are sponsoring a bicycle safety essay contest for Illinois fourth- and fifth-graders. Winners will receive Trek 820 mountain bikes and helmets for submitting the best essay. All entries must be postmarked no later than March 31, and must be 100 words or less.
The 100th annual Chicago Auto Show opens Friday, so we here's a couple things to get you ready: Jalopnik's newness cheat sheet, Showlopnik, the derivatively named intern blog, and the 8th annual Auto Show Shutdown. After the jump, links to car blogs' CAS category archives.
That beautiful fog that swathed the city in film noir magic last night? It also canceled about about a thousand flights at O'Hare and Midway.
CTA art isn't usually all that interesting, but this work by Jonathan Gitelson looks amazing, at least online. We'll have to wait for the Armitage stop to reopen to be sure.
The REI Bicycle Friendly Communities Grant Program has awarded the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation with a $15,000 grant in recognition of its mission to make Chicago a more bike-friendly city. The Federation will use the grant to fund Sunday Parkways, a program that provides traffic-free biking on selected city streets during weekends and holidays.
CTA announced yesterday the purchase of 400 new rail cars that will roll into service in 2010. The cars feature live video security cameras, flat-screen monitors that display the train's current location, state-of-the-art diagnostic systems, and stain-and-smell resistant seat fabric. The new trains can run up to 70mph, unless you're in a beloved slow zone. Sadly cattle prods to move doorway loungers into the cars during rush hour will not be included.
ChicaGO, a new mapping service developed by two Loyola students, tries to give you an idea of how long it'll take to get from one point to another using the CTA.
The Senate and the House just approved a long-term plan to aid the CTA. Relief is in the air - provided Blago doesn't veto. If you'd like to give the Gov your two cents about transit, call (217) 782-6830 or email, asking that he sign the bill.
How bad is the CTA's budget crisis? Bad enough to catch the attention of The Economist. (Thanks, Jill!)
Wired reports that all the major airports suck in terms of delays, but Midway is the ninth least sucky of them all. (O'Hare is toward the back of the pack, naturally.)
If you're planning to go out tonight for your New Year's Eve celebration, keep in mind that the CTA will be increasing the frequency of some downtown bus lines and all train lines. Full details over at the CTA Website. And if you're saving up your pennies for those famous "1-cent fares," you might want to read this post at the CTA Tattler for the startling truth about penny fares!
A little birdie told me about this shindig, especially if you're into bikes and bike people. Ring in this New Year in high style at Holy Roller's New Year's Eve. This dance party benefits West Town Bikes. The evening's entertainers include Matt Roan + E, DJ Andrew Foster and DJ Coyote DG. Enjoy a midnight dance-a-long with Chicago's own Team Band. There's a secret location that you have to RSVP for, as well as some other fancy spy like stuff. Details in Slowdown.
Senator Dick Durbin earmarked some cash for a few local projects in the big Federal spending bill this week. Included were millions for CTA Circle Line development, Brown Line reconstruction, Metra expansion and bus and train service statewide. (Thanks, Sarah!)
The CTA's Holiday Train will be finishing its 2007 run this weekend, so if you haven't caught the train yet, it's your last chance! The train will be running on the Yellow Line today, and on the Orange Line this Saturday. See the CTA site for a schedule, and check out the Holiday Train photos on Flickr.
A new study sponsored by AXE (a male grooming brand) finds that flight delays can lead to romantic connections. Thanks to its poor on-time percentage, O'Hare places a respectable 13th on the list of major US airports; Midway limps in at number 31. The best matchmaker? Philadelphia International Airport. Start rearranging your connecting airports, people.
Frequent flyers take note: O'Hare and Midway will be offering flu shots near the gates this year.
As if the city could predict the arrival of the first winter storm of the season, the December to April winter parking bans go into effect tomorrow morning. Check your street (or these maps) for the snowflake-emblazoned signs, and don't count on any leniency from the tow truck drivers if you're car's in the wrong zone come 3am.
Parking rates at O'Hare and Midway airports are moving on up as of tomorrow. You'll feel the biggest hurt parking in the international lot at O'Hare, where the daily rate leaps from $30 to $50 per day. Other increases are more modest, unless you roll big and valet, which will run you $45 (as opposed to $32). All this plus proposed city and county tax hikes? 'Tis the season!
A mere 12 days after the latest near-miss of two planes near Chicago, Lewis University announced Tuesday in timely fashion that it will be the first Illinois school to offer an air-traffic controller degree. What a great job: "marked by high stress levels, bad work hours, little glory and the fear never far from a controller's thoughts that one mistake could kill a lot of people."
Apparently, it's national news when travel goes smoothly at O'Hare, a.k.a. "the hub that has been the scene of so many traveler nightmares."
Facing a $4 million shortfall, Metra ratified a proposed budget containing a series of 10% fare increases along with a weekend rate jump to $7 a pop. The RTA still has to sign off before the rates are set.
Illinois drivers' understanding of traffic laws ranks 45th out of the 50 states.
Well, there's one cut the CTA hasn't made (yet): the Holiday Train. Get your fix of twinkle lights, garlands and Santa all while moving down the tracks on your favorite CTA line. The Red and Purple lines get the train first, starting this weekend. Check the CTA's website for a full schedule of when the train'll be at your station.
The Beachwood Reporter is asking what the Mayor and the folks in the Hall are doing to prevent a CTA meltdown -- besides, of course, hiring a guy plucky enough to come up with a show-stopping number like rolling "doomsdays."
Although it's reportedly unlikely, Delta Airlines is thinking about buying United in an effort to deal with rising jet fuel costs.
ParkingAnyTime.com, is "a free community generated parking guide that connects motorists with on and off-street parking". Somewhat useful, especially in finding garages and getting the actual parking restrictions on a street, but areas covered are severely limited thus far.
According to New York magazine, the fastest flight from NYC to CHI is on ATA from Laguardia to Midway. The worst? Kennedy to O'Hare on Delta.
The newest CTA doomsday date: January 20, according to a CTA press release. 81 bus routes eliminated, 2,400 employees laid off, 3 garages closed, and new fare pricing structure.
The now annual Sadie Hawkins' Day Race & Style Ride is back again, November 10th. What is it? "Sadie Hawkins Day Race/Style Ride is an on-street, in-traffic, point-to-point bike adventure for couples or pairs... There are prizes for the fastest couple, fastest tandem team, fastest out of towners, best dressed, and more." Last year's inaugural event drew people from out of town, generated a ton of missed connections and suffice to say, there were a few couples that are still together to this day.
A pitiful email from CTA President Ron Huberman with the subject line "Please Prepare for Next Week" appeared in my inbox tonight. "I ask that you take the time to prepare for next week's commute," he begged me, asking that I review the service cuts and fare increases expected to begin this Sunday and create a new transit plan, if needed. Given the media blackout on this topic, I'm grateful for the update. Someone get that guy a copy of this book!
USA Today reports that screeners at O'Hare missed about 60% of hidden bomb materials that were packed in everyday carry-ons. LAX did worse -- missed 75% -- while SFO missed only 20%. The head of the TSA says the the high failure rates stem from increasingly harder tests.
Dmitry Samarov blogs about his experiences as a Chi-town cabbie over at HACK. He even draws his passengers. The Sun-Times recently profiled this Soviet immigrant turned driver, including some fun quotes about getting propositioned.
The City of Chicago just launched a new six-month in-car parking meter program. Drivers pre-pay an initial $15 either at City Hall or online and they get the device for free. The rate will depend on what zone the meter is located, and you have to call which explains all the recent zone stickers. It's a pilot program limited to 1,000 people.
The FBI is investigating the removal of a dozen spikes from Metra tracks near 100th Street and the Bishop Ford.
GB alumni and fellow teammate Luke Seemann recounts a hit-and-run during the team's weekly Saturday morning ride up to Highland Park and back on his excellent Chicago Bike Racing. Clearly an attack on the riders who were paying attention to the rules of the road, the culprit turned himself in and is now facing felony charges in court. Luke has further details on Thomas Lynch.
Maybe the reason the CTA changed its mind on the Chicago Card is because its president, Ron Huberman, rides the rails, too.
If you want to check out the undeniably nifty Smartcar then you've missed your Chicago chance for a test drive -- the Smart Team came through in June. But next week they'll be in Louisville if you fancy a roadtrip, and St. Louis on Oct 3rd.
When it takes you a half hour to get from the circle interchange to Roosevelt you may not need a national study to tell you Chicago traffic is one of the worst in the nation. Well here it is anyway.
Since pinching pennies is the rule of the day with the CTA, make sure your pennies stay right where you put them on your Chicago Card. If you ran out and got a card when they were first offered four years ago, your card might be expiring as early as October 17th (note: this doesn't affect Chicago Card Plus users). To check the status of your card, and to replace it, talk to a customer service agent in person, go online or call 888-968-7282.
The Tribune sent a reporter and photographer along with two Chicagoland Bicycle Federation employees to ask the question in an article with video. Of course, they find out what most of us already know: cars mean trouble. Go ahead and take the poll, if you're so inclined.
The juggernaut-like O'Hare expansion plan won another victory when the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the notion that relocating 1,600 graves in 158-year-old St. Johannes Cemetery in Bensenville, IL, to make room for more runways violated the Illinois Religious Freedom Restoration Act. "We are very excited about this decision," said our not-at-all-ghoulish mayor.
The plan to increase sales taxes in Cook and neighboring counties to raise funds for Chicago-area mass transit systems failed in the Illinois house. Supporters hope to build more support for the plan in the days to come, but service cuts and fare increases loom on September 16. As GB reported earlier, it's probably a good time to get your Chicago Card.
Given the pending fare hike, the CTA is waiving the $5 fee for the Chicago Card and Chicago Card Plus until Halloween. The cards will make riding 50¢ to $1 cheaper, depending on the time of day and location, so it's worth the effort to find a sales location [pdf] or use the separate online ordering sites for the Chicago Card or Chicago Card Plus.
The Block 37 project is millions over budget, to the surprise of nobody. Crain's reports that the city is now in talks with the same firm that leased the Skyway to privatize the CTA station below the block.
Tonight's Critical Mass bicycle rally ended with police action, including some arrests. Bikers were turned away from the planned route to 12th St. Beach by police, who came by paddywagon, ATV, Segway and even bike to stop the throng. Visit CCM to upload your personal ride report.
Chicagoist answers a question I've been wondering the last week or two: What's up with the new "Zone #" stickers on all the parking meters?
If you've ever been down Ravenswood near Wilson, you might have seen the rather large stickered and logoed truck with bright red, yellow and black graphics that say, "On the Fly." The Chicago Traveler has the scoop: On the Fly is a mobile bike mechanic shop. Joe Ebervein and Rich Kwaitkowski will go where you are to get you on the road again.
A new state law signed by Gov. Blagojevich this past weekend gives bicyclists something to be happy about: more room. The law allows bicyclists to move further into the travel lane to avoid getting cut off by right-turning cars. It also requires drivers to give bikers three feet of room when passing. To aid in communication, the new law allows bike riders to signal a right turn with the right arm (effectively letting you point to where you're going).
The Sun-Times' Transportation section features a fun little article about some of the more random stuff found in the CTA's lost and found. So, if you're wondering where your porn, bicycle, or prosthetic breast (all items mentioned in the story, btw) ended up, now you know.
I found out about this transit change the hard way this past weekend: on the weekends of July 14 and 21, as well as August 11 and 25, CTA trains will not run between the O'Hare line's Western/Milwaukee and Clark/Lake stations (on August 11, the Jackson/Dearborn station will also be closed). Instead, a bus shuttle will run between all closed stations to substitute for the faster, more convenient train service.
The September 28 celebration of the 10th anniversary of Chicago's Critical Mass ride may also be the marking of its end, as reported in the Sun Times. The large draw of participants dedicated to showing the benefits of cycling is apparently causing more problems than displaying productive transit solutions; apparently no one likes a group of loud, drunk folks on bikes (but if you've seen a Critical Mass ride, you know that hardly describes the majority of riders). Before you start crying in despair, note that no formal plans have been made to shut down the ride, which is scheduled for the last Friday of every month at 5:30 p.m. in Daley Plaza.
Amtrak and GrandLuxe have teamed up to bring high-end GrandLuxe Limited service on regular Amtrak routes that primarily involve Chicago. Of course, a luxury train ride isn't cheap; routes start at $789.
Lee Bey of The Urban Observer directs our attention to a CTA study I've not heard of before. The Chicago Central Area Transit Plan made a case for tearing down the Loop's elevated lines and replacing them with subways that connected with the existing lines in the rest of the city. Unfortunately the project ended up $500 million short so it died before it ever got off the ground. But I think Lee is correct in asking if the city will ever dream that big again.
Hope you didn't try to fly out of O'Hare on United yesterday. Nearly all of the Chicago hometown's computer system crashed, bringing the fleet to a screeching halt. In today's Crain's, UAL COO Pete McDonald blamed it all on one guy. Wonder if his last name is "Bartman."
As of today, Cheikh "Bamba" Dione is the first fleet-based hybrid taxi driver in Chicago. Oh, and if you attend the formal unveiling, you may be lucky enough to watch David Hudson receive CCC's Cab Driver of the Year award and then witness his hand print and signature rendered in wet cement for CCC's "Walk of Fame."
The CTA may suck in a lot of ways, but at least there's one employee willing to retrieve the walkman you dropped on the tracks.
The Methods Reporter site has pointed out an article by Taryn Luntz that reveals the city paid as much as $7 million last year settling lawsuits for police car accidents. Especially mind-boggling: $6 million of that went toward settling two separate accidents in 2001 and 2003.
The Department of Streets and Sanitation has a special treat for Bucktown and Wicker Park residents -- and, no, it's not the usual orange one. The city is testing out a new light program that will signal when it's ok to park on a street after it's been cleaned.
Car, that is. A couple of weeks ago, IIT's Armour College of Engineering entered a car in the student 2007 Formula Hybrid competition. They finished in 5th out of 6th in overall points, but more than doubled their previous speed record. They have their eyes on first place next year.
The Chicago Water Taxi Company is offering two weeks of free service starting June 4th. The service runs from roughly the opera house to just past Columbus Ave on the North side of the river, with stops at LaSalle Ave. and Michigan Ave. too. (Of course it isn't free, but the kayak tour of downtown is pretty amazing too.)
As part of the Bike 2015 plan, the City of Chicago will be adding several green colored bike lanes at several new locations this summer, including at Dearborn and Chicago, Elston and Division, Halsted and Roosevelt, Lincoln and Webster and more. Get more info at Chicago Bikes.
A revolt is underway in the suburbs. The target: new sidwalks. After all, with sidewalks, "who knows what you'd be encouraging to come through?" The Trib's online readers are having none of it, with approximately 90% saying sidewalks in neighborhoods are "a positive addition."
The Chicagoland Bicycle Federation needs your help in making Chicago biking a little more friendly. On Wednesdays, when you encounter a fellow biker on the road, give a wave. It's that simple!
Check out this mini-photo essay documenting the Belmont L station house move [window resizes].
Even if riding bikes downtown on a Friday isn't your thing, Chicago's Critical Mass is also a dance party, delightful freakshow, a showcase for taking bikes out of the trash and doing really cool things with them. Like this beauty from one of Chicago's more innovative bike designers.
The Tribune has an interesting list of Chicago transit facts (with an inexplicably capitalized headline).
Starting this summer, the CTA has announced that it will expand its GPS-enabled bus tracking system to all North side buses that come into contact with the three-track operations on the Red, Brown and Purple lines.
If you've had your eye on a Zap Electric Car, it seems you're among friends. Today, Zap announced a $79 million deal with Northbrook-based Electric Vehicle Company. According to Zap, it's the largest order for a consumer fleet of electric cars in history. (Thanks, Jeff)
After years of feet dragging, it looks like the CTA, Metra and Pace will finally create a unified fare card.
This is a real-life flesh n' blood forum discussion about the proposed Sunday Parkways — a community effort to give communities safe spaces to interact with neighbors. Inspired by Columbia and Mexico, in essence they are traffic-free times on weekends and holidays for pedestrians and cyclists to interact on selected streets. This Wednesday, April 11th from 6:30 to 7:30pm at Richmond Hall in St. Sylvester Church, 2156 N. Richmond St.
The CTA will be holding two southside meetings to discuss the possibility of extending the Red Line from its existing south terminal at 95th Street to a new terminal at 130th Street. For more information contact, DCP: 773-928-2500 or LVEJO: 773-762-6991 and here are more details about the April 10 and 11 meetings.
Instead of mindlessly kvetching about the CTA construction on the North Side, four intrepid WBEZ reporters did an experiment as to which mode of transport is the fastest: car, bike, Metra or CTA. Not surprisingly, the car won, but the bike came in second. Read or download the full story.
A great reminder of the possibilities of regional travel at an affordable rate, Megabus.com recently announced that starting on April 2 you can go to 5 additional cities in the region. The company known for its sliding scale and often very cheap tickets will now take Chicagoans to and from the cities of Ann Arbor, Mich.; Columbus, Ohio; Kansas City, Mo.; Louisville, Ky. and Pittsburgh. This makes 13 total regional cities accessible via the express bus line, joining the previously serviced cities of Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, St. Louis and Toledo, Ohio.
Speaking of the NYT, the Grey Lady turned her attention to our glorious transit system this weekend, and noted its "precarious" funding situation and crumbling condition.
IIT is about to boost the Chicago Department of Fleet Management's Green Fleets Action Agenda [pdf] with a prototype plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. The city will decide whether it wants more of the cars after a four to six month trial.
The CTA will be installing Flight Departure Info Displays at the Clark & Lake station for flights leaving from both O'Hare and Midway. Precisely what you need to stay calm and relaxed while waiting for the train.
It seems that the Millenium Park Metra Station (nee Randolph St. Station) is now complete. To celebrate, Metra's giving free coffee to commuters at that station on Friday.
Love biking? Want to advance the cause? And get paid or valuable work experience? The Chicagoland Bike Federation wants you to know about a few key opportunities. Apply to be a bike ambassador, design and marketing intern, bikeways planning intern, and more. Put your wheel where your, um, mouth is.
O'Hare and Midway now offer a service that will email or text you with up-to-date flight information. That'll help, right?
CTA Brown Line renovation update: the Francisco stop re-opens tomorrow morning one week ahead of schedule, and the Southport station will close on April 2 for up to one year of work.
Or so recalls Mary Wallace, the CTA's first-ever female bus driver, who has just retired after 33 years of keeping people on the go. Thanks to Wallace's trailblazing, today 24% of the CTA's bus drivers are women.
The Chicago Police have a new weapon in their arsenel: the automated license plate reader, capable of scanning thousands of plates an hour and checking them against stolen vehicle reports. And, one would imagine, expired plates.
Awesome story at CTA Tattler of someone kicking three drunk, obnoxious guys off the Brown Line.
The Tribune's Kyra Kyles recommends that instead of pissing and moaning about CTA problems, you call write and email Governor Blagojevich and tell him to support the RTA's budget requests. Here are his numbers: 217-782-0244 or 312-814-2121. You could take it a step further by looking up your local, state and federal reps at Civic Footprint and bugging all of them. (Thanks, Will!)
ZAP!, a company that specializes in designing alternative and fuel-efficient automotive systems, will release its electric XEBRA car at the Chicago Auto Show. Priced at $10,000 with an operating cost of one cent per mile, it could certainly be a high-value commuter car.
Now that Kenosha, Racine and Milwaukee are seriously considering feeding into Metra, a Milwaukee historian has summarized the interesting transportation history we have with our neighbors to the north.
On February 4, 1977 there was a terrible crash between two CTA trains in the Loop. Eleven people were killed and at least 250 passengers were injured when the trains crashed near the train track curve at Wabash and Lake. The CTA Tattler has the roundup on the terrible day in CTA history.
If you have visited a friend in Oak Park or happen to have a friend who lives in Oak Park, then you probably know that Oak Park has some major rules about parking on the street. The law that prevents people from parking on the street in front of their home was passed in 1929 and some folks are finally considering repealing it, starting with this survey. And since Oak Park is only distributing this survey online (boo! hiss!) go fill it out for yourself, your friend, or mine. Thanks, eep.
Subway Knitter knits one and purls two in Boston, but one of her projects, the Amazing Charlie Card Mitten might suit frigid users of the CTA's Chicago Card. Keep your hands toasty warm while taking the first steps toward your inevitable Borg conversion. Resistance is futile.
Thanks to Neighbors Project, you don't have to get off of the train or bus to meaningfully express your frustration with the CTA. Power up your phone and text cta[your zip code]@npjt.org to send the message featured here to Mayor Daley, as well as your alderman, state representative and state senator. Their website also offers the means to spread the word.
Second City Cop, a lively anonymous weblog maintained by a Chicago police officer, asks "Are We at War? ...with Streets and Sanitation?". In typical SCC fashion, the copious comments pile on details about the post (unmarked police cars being ticketed and towed)-- naming names, giving locations, mentioning companies-- and also fly off into a bunch of rewarding off-topic directions. It's like being an invisible man in a cop bar. Careful, though-- there's no way to know that the commenters are bona fide People in Blue. SCC also reports that upwards of 40% of their traffic comes from outside the state of Illinois most days and there are "a number of remote computers that seem to monitor the site for inordinately long amounts of time, one of which is based in Springfield and another at Champaign-Urbana". Wonder who that could be...
Why, lots of things! Crain's offers some explanations in an in-depth feature..
Tell your friends and family overseas: Oasis Hong Kong, a no-frills, low-cost airline, has applied to make Chicago one of its departure points. Right now Oasis offers a nonstop flight between London and Hong Kong for as little as $150 (plus tax and fees) one way, so it's fair to expect highly affordable tickets.
After last year's small success in Chicago, we've heard word that the Bicycle Film Festival will be back again. Currently, founding director Brendt Barbur and co are looking for new submissions for the 2007 round of film festivals set to take place in up to 15 cities: "We are looking for films with a strong theme or character of bicycles. This includes all mediums and styles such as animation, experimental, narrative, documentary and music videos." The deadline is February the 17th so you have about a month to get going or fine-tune that piece you've been working on. Details at the site or take a look at the flyer here.
Like it's sibling in the summer, the Winter edition of Bike to Work Day coming up features hot beverages and goodies at Daley Plaza this month on the 19th (Friday) from 7 to 9am. The Chicagoland Bicycle Federation hosts activities, a raffle with prizes and the chance to congregate and meet up with your fellow cyclists.
A group of Chicago cyclists (myself being one of them) have organized a ride to raise awareness of the growing number of cyclist fatalities in the Chicagoland area. Named the "Fallen Rider Memorial Ride", the ride will start at the Thompson Center at 6pm tomorrow, January the 3rd and will ride to Diversey and Pulaski at an easygoing and respectful pace. The goal? To highlight how important driving and cycling are to Chicago and how the two require attention and respect. A PDF flyer can be viewed, downloaded, printed and passed along from here.
Some United employees saw a UFO at O'Hare on November 7th, but the FAA's having none of it.
As in past years, you can ride CTA busses and trains for one cent until 6:00 AM New Year's Day. (Also note extended hours on some routes.) Happy New Year!
ParkWhiz is another site to help you find a parking spot, with a rating system and distance gauge -- find a parking garage within a five-minute walk of your destination, for instance. They're rolling out a new "marketplace" early next year, which will allow drivers to reserve and pay for parking spaces in participating garages online, well before they arrive at the ticket box.
Expect trouble tonight if you're heading out on the Orange Line train to Midway, or the Green Line. Around noon today, an Orange Line train derailed on the northbound tracks near the Roosevelt Road station. Around 150 people were safely evacuated via the fire department's "snorkel basket" (who knew?), and no one was seriously hurt, but commuting is not going to be pretty tonight.
Anybody else spot these anti-war posters mimicking T-Mobile's "Fave 5" campaign on the Red Line this weekend?
Following the recent sentencing of an Urbana woman who killed a cyclist while driving and downloading a ringtone to her cellphone, the parents of Matt Wilhelm the deceased, have started a coalition to lobby for a law and education to reduce distracted driving. Looks like that cellphone ban hasn't been working out too well.
A reminder of something we've posted before: the CTA, Pace, and Metra have teamed up to request more money from the state for public transit infrastructure at movingbeyondcongestion.com. They've announced the public meetings where citizens can provide feedback on the effort; here's the calendar. (Note to CTA et al: It'd be nice to have at least one "community dialogue" at an evening time too, not just from 1 - 2 pm.)
Jennifer Stark of Urbana kills a cyclist while downloading a ringtone on her phone while driving. She gets the maximum penalty... for improper lane usage! Six months probation, $1K fine and traffic school.
Oh yeah, she has a myspace. A bizarre, tragic and ridiculous event.
While you were asleep, it snowed. Then it snowed again, and it's still snowing. The Illinois Department of Transportation has asked Chicago area residents to not get on the roads if it's not necessary. Many schools are closed and most flights from O'Hare are canceled. Stay home, Chicago, but if you cannot, the CTA and Metra are running mostly on time.
Don't forget that as of 3am on December 1 (tonight), Chicago's Winter Parking rules go into effect. Some streets sport the complete ban on parking from 3am–7am Dec. 1–April 1, regardless of snowfall. Other streets let you park as long as there's less than 2 inches of snow on the ground, but if it snows enough, you can get in trouble any time of the day. Take care, check the snow-filled weather forecast, and move your sweet ride before the city does it for you.
Attention there, Loop commuters. As of 3:51pm this afternoon, the CTA is alerting customers to a rather sticky problem with the northbound Red Line at the Jackson station which is rippling north. Northbound Red Line trains are (as of this posting) being rerouted onto the elevated structure between Roosevelt and Fullerton, with no additional shuttles running. The current Loop stops are as follows: Roosevelt, all stations along Wabash and Lake, Merchandise Mart, then trains will run express to Fullerton to resume regular northbound routing to Howard. Southbound Red Line service is not affected. [UPDATE: As of 5:24pm, Red Line Northbound service is running normally, but still expect some delays.]
Should the proposed Peotone airport ever get built, Metra is ready to provide service.
Some shots of this year's CTA Holiday Train, courtesy of the Chicago blog Looper. Keep your eye on the "holidaytrain" tag on Flickr for more shots, and your other eye on the CTA's Holiday Train schedule to see when to catch the train.
But Chicago vehicle stickers are mandatory, so it's nice that you can have some say on what will adorn your windshield. "Green Scene Chicago" is the theme of Chicago's 2007-2008 sticker, and you can vote for your favorite of the student-designed contenders between 9 AM and 5 PM today at the City Clerk's web site.
The Sun-times reports that the CTA can't afford to fix the problems that create the slow spots on its train lines. CTA president Frank Kreusi puts the figure at fixing all of the problems at $500 million; as a comparison, the amount of money in next year's CTA budget for fixing some Red and Blue Line slow spots is a mere $35.7 million. So expect delays for several years.
Apparently the power to the CTA Red Line was shut off this morning, a move prompted by a defective Red Line train that had damaged about 100 feet of the third rail. The CTA Tattler has an eye-witness account that should give you some idea of what to be prepared for in the event of a shut-down train.
An organization called Smarter Government aims to fix the city's ills -- but first they might want to fix their website. Only two pages are available right now, but one is a pretty darn useful to cityfolk with cars: sign up here and get an email alert letting you know when the street sweepers are coming by, so you don't forget to move your car. (Thanks, Atul!)
Each month, I look forward to another 30 minutes of CTA propaganda in the form of Connections. I say "propaganda," but that's tongue-in-cheek: the show has actually taught me a lot. It runs nightly on several municipal channels, but if you don't have cable or you want to watch it "on the move," download or stream it from podcastchicago.tv. [via]
Here's a downside to those parking meter kiosks that are popping up around the city: Where do motorcyclists affix their receipt to prove they paid?
Sadie Hawkins is a fictional day from a L'il Abner strip. However, it is now also a bike race organized to encourage women of all kinds who ride bikes to come out and race for fun, as well as to benefit the Chicago Women's Health Center. There's a pre-race fashion party on Friday, Nov 10th in the Fulton Markets with the race happening on Nov 11th, followed with a post-party the same day. Want to race? Want to have fun? Check out the myspace.
How else would railfan Tony Coppoletta say "Happy Halloween" but an 'L'-o-lantern?
Yesterday, discount airline Jet Blue announced that they will start flying out of O'Hare no later than January 2007. They've been trying to get into the airport since 2002, and now have FAA approval, but haven't yet announced destinations for their four daily flights. (At that time of year, I'm hoping that all their planes go someplace nice and warm.)
Looks like the Chicago Bike Federation has a new website for their Drive With Care campaign. At first, I thought it was real, but then I knew that any memorial like "The Brittany" had to be too good to be true. Well done, chaps.
It's almost time to say "goodbye" to the wooden bridge from the Roosevelt Metra station to Michigan Avenue. So break out your camera and sepia processing and take some old-time photographs this winter.
Rush hours in the Loop are gonna be a little tougher in a couple of weeks, as the Washington Red Line stop ceases operation in preparation for Block 37 Superstation construction. Starting October 23, there'll be no train access, and the Blue Line tunnel will also be closed (transfers will only be available at Jackson). The CTA says work is "expected" to finish in Fall 2008. For more details, see Tony Coppoletta's run-down on the shut-down.
"The Midwest's Greasiest Hot Rod Show," the Hunnert Car Pileup, is this Saturday at the historic Grundy County Speedway and fairgrounds. Fast cars, fast women and fast music -- if you like traditional hot rods this is the show for you. (Thanks, Christian.)
The renovation of the Fullerton El stop, already pretty conspicuous with all the new construction next to the existing tracks, becomes even more inescapable for commuters this Sunday, as the CTA closes up the Fullerton stationhouse (and opens up a temporary station entrance) on Sunday. Although the station will still operate as usual throughout construction, the main station building will be closed for renovations through December of 2008, so this weekend might be a good time to take some pictures of the structure, just so you can do some before-and-after comparison in a couple of years (or whenever it really does reopen). More construction bulletins are available, as always, at the CTA site.
Eisenhower a bit slow for you this morning? A car rolled onto the CTA tracks between the Western and Cicero stops, leaving Blue line without power. No word on injuries yet.
For a happier take on transit, we turn to today's Going Public column. You may have read the story about Joe Benarroch and Jason Fournier's love connection on the 146 on your own commute this morning. A surprised Fournier read it under different circumstances -- aloud over a breakfast with friends and family. The story's end is a sweet one: as the video captures, Bennaroch proposes, Fournier says yes. [Edit: The RedEye informs us Fournier remarks "this isn't a good picture" prior to reading the article; he does not comment on the paper as this item originally read. Apologies for the error.]
Forget about Denny; let's talk about Kruesi. The editorial page at Crain's says "off with his head" -- more politely, of course. To wit: "An outsider with proven expertise in repairing broken transit systems must be brought in with authority to overhaul the CTA from top to bottom, both financially and operationally." Too right. [via]
Capping off a day of North Side disruptions on the CTA, a woman was struck and killed by a Brown Line train at Wellington. Amid this morning's slow-moving chaos, a bemused customer offered the Trib a joking translation for the transit agency's acronym: "Certainly Takes Awhile."
Bikes are fun! Find out exactly how fun they can be at tomorrow's Critical Mass Bicycle ride. It's free, and gets underway at 5:30 at Daley Plaza. The theme is likely to be "Oktoberfest", so lederhosen are highly encouraged!
The RTA (CTA, Pace, Metra) have announced a new effort to improve the lot of the region's commuters. Their new site, Moving Beyond Congestion, lays out the case for why additional transit is needed and what their plan is to make that happen.
On Friday, Thrown for a Loop was hoping for an easy flight home. Because of bad weather at O'Hare, that didn't happen. Alas, nor did the alternatives...
If you'd planned your weekend around the CTA's scheduled closures of Brown Line stops at Kedzie and Rockwell, well, make other (other) plans. Due to forecasted heavy rains, the CTA's betting it won't be able to get its excavation work done at those stops this weekend. The stations will be open, and as a result, the free shuttle that was going to take passengers from Western to Kimball has also been cancelled.
On a day that saw part of the Red Line shut down by an electical fire in the middle of rush hour, the Beachwood Reporter summarizes the city's general dissatisfaction with the CTA, line by line.
Who needs a car when you have public transport, a bike or a fine pair of working legs? Today is World Carfree Day. Folks in more than 600 cities across the globe will participate in getting where they need to be, without getting behind the wheel. Give it a try!
The last line of John Hilkevitch's column on the misery that is the Red Line these days is nothing if not an indictment of CTA management: "It was assumed, perhaps incorrectly, that the CTA learned during its clumsily executed overhaul of the Green Line more than a decade ago that poor service begins the death spiral of plummeting ridership."
Starting tonight, Edens Expressway users will now get a taste of what the Dan Ryan commuters have been going through, as work begins this evening on a concrete patching project on the Edens from Lawrence Avenue to Lake-Cook Road. The project, which will cause a series of weekend and overnight closures on the Edens, runs through mid-November, so start getting used to having only one lane open on the Edens on the weekend. (As a reprieve for Northwestern football fans, the closures will not be in effect when NU plays some home games in the next couple of months.)
Ride a scooter? Or love someone who does? You best be headed to Slaughterhouse this weekend, then. The 12th annual running of the Vespas (and other scooters) is this Saturday, while a pre-party gets the ball rolling tonight at Liar's Club; details in Slowdown.
A Lincoln Park high school teacher has a lesson for you: Metra's bicycle regulations are more permissive than the South Shore Line's. He has a $150 taxi ride from South Bend to Lincoln Park to prove it.
Sandra Gray is a master's student in urban planning and public administration at UIC. Her thesis project discusses CTA customer service, particularly on the Red Line. If you're a regular rider and have something to say (who doesn't?), she sure could use your help. Take her survey here.
The CBF is looking for volunteers to help out with the 18th annual Boulevard Lakefront Tour on Sunday, September 10, 2006. You can help guide riders along the route, ride as a safety ambassador or feed hungry riders at our rest stops. Sign up today.
CitizenShay's 'L' sign artwork -- details available at his website -- seems like it'd make a great gift for a transit enthusiast. Or for someone who just likes this fair city. (If the onscreen images aren't enough, see the work in person at Sacred Art, 2040 W. Roscoe Ave. Or at the Renegade Craft Fair next month. Options. So many options.)
Farecast finally has predictions for ticket prices departing from O'Hare and Midway to major destinations around the country. The beta service predicts whether ticket prices are likely to rise or fall, and makes recommendations on whether to buy now or hold off on that round-trip to San Francisco.
Today the Sun-Times checks up on the Chicago History Museum's exhibit of the first Chicago train car built for public transit (previously mentioned on GB in January, when the museum was moving the car from Skokie to its building). In addition to the car, built in 1892 for the Chicago and South Side Rapid Transit Co., the museum will also have on display a replica of a late 19th century El train platform. The exhibit will be part of the museum's "City on the Make" exhibition, which will be seen by the public when the museum, completing a $27 million renovation, reopens on September 30.
The CTA needs to hire a proofreader. When they updated the in-train maps of the system to reflect the Pink Line, lots of mistakes crept in. Such as the wrong phone number for the CTA help line, and typos like Bemont.
ChicagoParkingMap.com maps all the private parking lots and garages downtown (from 1100 North to 2300 South). The Java is a bit clunky, but boy is it comprehensive.
Ben Husmann saw this "thingy" on the platform of the Oak Park Green Line stop. No telling what it is, but he's right: it sure looks like a Matthew Barney sculpture.
Now you can check out your vanity license plate ideas through the Secretary of State's Cyberdrive Illinois site. Just head on over to the "Pick A Plate" section, type in a prospective plate, and see if it's taken.
Who needs an airplane lavatory when there's space between train cars? Today's CTA Tattler recounts a reader's almost-impossible to believe story of sex on the 'L'.
If it's seemed like CTA trains have been slow this summer, the good news is you're not imagining things. The bad news is, not only are you not imagining things, it's actually going to get worse. (If you've got something to say about these recent developments, Carole Brown's blog entry is probably a good place to do it.)
Two semis apparently collided on the Northwest Tollway this morning, resulting in one overturned truck and a three-mile back-up during rush hour. Jon at the Reverse Commuter snapped some photos of the accident scene from his car in the midst of it all.
The CTA has rolled out a new Website for tracking buses called, not too surprisingly, CTA Bus Tracker. It only tracks the #20 Madison bus right now, but you can watch a street map updated in real time with the locations of various buses along the route. The Sun-Times reports that if this pilot program goes well, all other bus routes will get the same tracking ability in a few years.
If you're yearning for some travel (video), check out YouTube user Srovetz's atmospheric videos documenting his train and car travel throughout the country. There are too many Chicago related videos to post here, but some train segments include Kansas City to Chicago, Chicago to New Orleans, and Chicago to New York.
It's the news you've either been waiting for or dreading: US Cellular customers can now use their phones on CTA trains travelling in subway tunnels. An added bonus for Verizon and Sprint customers: 911 calls for those companies' customers will also work underground.
Ever walk through O'Hare and wonder what it's like to be on one of those planes bound for India instead of Indianapolis? The destination is surely more interesting, but do the ends justify the means? Ben Mutzabaugh of USA Today decided to find out, and he liveblogged the 15+ hours it takes for American Airlines Flight 292 to get from Chicago to Dehli.
This could come in handy, especially when you want to minimize your waiting-in-the-heat time: HopStop helps find the quickest route between one address and another on public transportation. [via] (Thanks, Jenni!) [Matt updates to add: Chicagoist isn't impressed, but it mapped my trip from home to work just fine. In other words: it's new; results may vary.]
Friend of GB, scooterist, designer and vegan guide making extraordinaire, PJ Chmiel hits the open road on his scooter on a tour he calls the 2006 R.A.M.B.L.E. Ambitious in scope, it should be quite a ride. Follow along when he kicks off tomorrow.
The Chicago bicycling community is up in arms about a possible white van that is stealing bikes in the Loop. Craigslist's bikes section has a lot of the details. In the meantime, if you ride on two wheels, remember to use two U-Locks, not a cable lock, and if you can, register your bike with the Chicago Police. Mr. Bike also recommends putting your name and address in the seat-post tube since some unsophisticated thieves might not look there. Also, add stickers, duct tape, and other markings to make it distinctive and thus less attractive to thieves.
You may have used the CTA Google Map developed by Ed Knittel in the past. But, now that you can search by address, it's probably worth another look.
The Oak Street Curve on the northbound side of Lake Shore Drive is a notorious accident spot, but people keep speeding into the curve and hitting the wall or each other. So the city is planning some new measures to alert drivers to slow down, including some optical illusion paint lines. The Trib has a nice graphic explaining the changes.
Been to Midway lately? Seem like Southwest has every gate in the airport? Well, they nearly do.
Transit buff extraordinaire Tony Coppoletta is playing skipper to the "Soul of Chicago Express" next month: he, with help from Chicagoist, has chartered a private 'L' train to take passengers on a Sunday afternoon tour of five CTA rail stations. Interested in participating? See the site for details on registration.
What, Carole Brown asks, can the CTA do better when it comes to communicating with customers?
Despite the recent uproar at foreign ownership of domestic ports, non-US firms seem poised to dominate the bidding for Midway. Subject, of course, to aldermanic approval.
With gas prices so high, Vespas and other scooters have shot up in popularity. There's only one problem: the only Vespa dealership in Chicago has gone bankrupt. (Little tip for the guy in that article who needs a tune-up: Scooterworks.)
Just a reminder to drivers (or, more accurately, parkers): if you haven't purchased your 2007 Chicago vehicle sticker, you've got but three days until the old one's expired and you become an outlaw-although you probably won't get ticketed until after July 15, the end of the official renewal period.
You know those cars with the crazy springs or dolls glued all over them? Well, reader Lotta writes in about her heading out to Cartopia 2006, held in Berwyn, last week where she took photos of all kinds of cars just like that.
Recent changes on the CTA have the chicago_el LiveJournal community hopping with discussion: new announcements (including the initially jarring addition of the cross-street to some stations; no more "This is Grand," for example); new maps (subway lines are no longer indicated; rush period lines are); new phone service (yes, US Cellular now works underground); and, not new, but a useful reminder: no bikes on trains on July 3 (when the system carries its highest daily passenger load of the year). [More: today's "Pop Goes The World" picks five favorite films that feature the 'L'.]
A CTA Tattler reader has called for a sort of neighborhood watch on North Side Red Line runs, describing a public masturbator she and her roommate have encountered repeatedly. "If we all take care of each other," she says, "we can catch this guy and stop him before his exposure fails to excite him anymore and he has to go to further extremes."
I only recently learned that it's allowed (and depending on your traveling companions, encouraged) to drink alcohol on Metra trains. But it's worth noting, as my conductor did this morning, that Metra restricts carrying alcohol and/or glass bottles at night and on weekends during the big downtown festivals, including this weekend's Blues Fest. Here's the calendar of blackout dates (pun intended).
Just in time for Bike To Work Week next week, the Millenium Park Bike Station has been renamed the McDonald's Cycle Center. That doesn't mean the facility is any less handy than previously, but seriously, McDonald's?
CTA Chair Carole Brown talks up soon-to-come enhancements to West Side transit options and shares a photo of the winners of the contest that will, in a matter of weeks, give us the Pink Line. More information, including a Polish language run-down of coming attractions, available at the CTA site.
Speaking of airports, designated "cell phone lots" opened at both Midway and O'Hare today. The idea is to ease congestion at the arrival gates by allowing drivers a free place to wait for a call once passengers have retrieved their luggage (whether this will work is anybody's guess).
On 10 June, the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation kicks off Bike to Work Week, to encourage more Chicagoans to commute on two wheels. If you haven't biked to work before, it's a great time to get started. Next Monday, CBF is offering a class for novices, and during Bike to Work Week CBF is hosting Bicycle Commuter Stations through Thursday morning, the 15th, with free refreshments and bike chain lubes. You can find out more here.
The CTA has posted a PDF version of a PowerPoint-ish presentation about its forthcoming 5000-series railstock. There are all sorts of details, but one of the more interesting (and possibly reassuring) is that operators will be able to shut down the ventilation system in response to, among other things, a "biological incident." [via]
Simon Garber, president of Chicago Carriage Cab Co., definitely wins this week's Good Boss award: he distributed $50 gift cards to all 637 cab drivers that work for his company. The gift cost Garber nearly $32,000.
After the death of a very young pedestrian at the intersection of Belden Ave and Lincoln Park West this weekend, Eric Zorn features a proposal for improving safety for walkers and drivers. He also points to the website for America Walks, which has a number of affiliated groups if you're interested in (foot) traffic safety activism.
Friends and Chicagoans Andrea and Ira saved money for a year, resigned from their jobs and left for the open road a little over a week ago. On their bikes. They're riding around the country for a year. You can keep up to date and check up on them as they post on the road from the weblog. Earlier posts are informative — lots of information on prepping for such an adventure. I'm jealous too — they look insanely happy.
Couple of quick bike-related items I just noticed: forums.bikechicago.info is a new site for Chicagoans to discuss cycling issues and a useful local outlet for discussion if you don't like mailing lists; Aspire To Inspire's Stephen Wagner is about to begin a trek around the world again on a bicycle, perhaps you'd like to make a donation to help him?
Reader Marge Simpson (!) wrote to ask where to buy a used bike. As the weather has gotten nicer, it's a prescient question. I have a few recommendations...
If you're looking for an affordable bike for getting around, local charity Working Bikes on South Western is the place to go. You can get a decent bike for $50 if you don't mind it being a bit older. And if you want something nicer, I'd recommend Uptown Bikes in Uptown. It's a little more money, but they have new bikes as well and one of the best repair shops I've worked with. If you're looking for something closer to home (whereever that is), there's also a database of bike shops in Chicago at www.chicagobikeshops.info. Chime in with your own recommendations in Fuel.
In 2001, the Center for Neighborhood Technology developed Transopoly, a boardgame-like tool for examining transportation and other needs in a community. They've recently created an online version of the game, in which you can allocate a $2 billion budget toward such things as building new train stations and bike paths.
As those who have ridden the metros in just about any of the world's other major cities know, the front-to-back seating on the 'L' is the exception to the longitudinal rule. But, with its new railstock order the CTA is embracing the industry standard, and, as this CTA Tattler poll and an accompanying post make clear, the change -- not scheduled to roll out for another few years -- has some people riled up.
Ah, Spring. When the weather warms, the days grow longer, and the daily bus commuters finally snap.
GB alum Craig Berman, who's given a lot of thought to Chicago's transit system, went to one of the CTA's community meetings about the Circle Line and collected some thoughts regarding the several potential routes currently on the table.
With spring on the horizon and in the wake of a pretty unfortunate Critical Mass last Friday (some discussion of that here), it's as good a time as any to reacquaint yourself with the rights and responsibilities of cyclists in Chicago. If you get arrested on your headlightless, brakeless fixed-gear, don't come crying to me.
The weather is getting nicer and Chicago will be filled with (even more) bicycles soon. If you're looking to purchase an old-school Schwinn or similar affordable ride, you might check out this post on Craigslist. If you can't make it, don't forget the good work that the volunteers of Working Bikes do as well, and they also sell vintage cycles. Don't want a used bike? This site has all of the bikeshops in Chicago, and feedback on what people think of the service.
Next week, the CTA is holding a series of public meetings to gather input on the proposed Circle Line. According to the news release, "The meetings are part of the Alternatives Analysis study — the first step in pursuing federal funding for major transit projects. The Alternatives Analysis study is designed to examine all the transit options available and determine a locally preferred alternative." The meetings are 6-8pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Fellow cyclist and friend Mayonnaise (a moniker) is having a Bike Day at the loading dock of 800 N. Michigan Ave from 1 to 3:30PM this Friday (4/28). Stop by for a quick in n' out bike tune up. He's doing it out of the goodness of his heart but he'll have a mayo jar for any donations to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. [Apologies for the date mix-up!]
The city has begun circulating the initial documents bidders must submit as they compete for naming rights to various aspects of the Chicago Skyway, including the road itself, in an auction budgeted to raise $3M. According to an announcement by World Business Chicago, this represents "a unique historical opportunity for a prospective bidder to be the first corporation in the United States to own the naming rights to a major bridge and roadway." Doesn't quite have the same ring as being home to the first skyscraper, does it?
Speaking of getting from one place to another, Tony Coppoletta has just launched Chicago Transit Status, a site consolidating information about CTA outages, delays and more. It's just the trains right now, but there are plans to deliver bus information soon. He's looking for volunteers to help update the site; check the contact page to get in touch.
The Wall Street Journal takes a look at how the "Dan Ryan Dig" is affecting would-be drivers commuting into the city. The attachment some people have to their cars is a little frightening.
Chicago is one of around a dozen locations selected by Bicycling Magazine for its BikeTown USA promotion, which will give away 50 bicycles in each "BikeTown." Just fill out this form and pay special attention to the box that asks you to explain "how you would use a BikeTown bike to change your life." Of course, there are strings attached: if you win you'll have to sign a rather extensive release (pdf)...
The planes won't actually go faster, but you may not have to arrive at the airport so darn early. The Transportation Security Administration is looking to add part-time luggage screeners at both Midway and O'Hare. The screeners, who would make for a larger work-force during peak times, could cut wait times substantially.
Speaking of our roadways, Eric Zorn checked in on Underpass Mary one year after the miraculous mineral stain appeared on Fullerton Avenue, and found she's mostly still intact and still receiving flowers.
Today, RedEye offers a reminder: a ticket to ride is not a ticket to eat. Rather, for CTA customer Matt Smith, it turned into a ticket for eating. Smith dug into his 65 cent bag of Cheetos after stepping on board a train and got smacked with an unappetizing $110 fine.
The Trib reports that there was a minor derailment on the Red Line tracks earlier this morning, and the CTA has cut power to the Red Line tracks between the Fullerton and North & Clybourn stops. There's an alert on the CTA Website that says they're rerouting southbound Red Line trains to the elevated tracks (i.e., the Brown/Purple Line route) and stopping at some downtown elevated stations (see the CTA site for a complete list of stops). Shuttle buses are also running between North & Clybourn and State & Lake. As always, expect delays on the trains. Update: trains are running as usual now, but you should still expect delays.
Apparently, this image of the Damen Blue Line station is not a photograph; rather, it's a "photo-realist painting" that took 2000 hours and 50 Photoshop files. Wow.
Can't the Dan Ryan Highway Reconstruction Project (which begins tonight) get a little love? Apparently not. "Our long, hot summer starts now," moans the Sun-Times, while the Trib decries cronyism at IDOT, and IDOT itself justs wants you to stay away from 90/94 altogether (especially you, Sox fans).
In an effort to lure displaced Dan Ryan drivers, the CTA has again extended the period during which Chicago Cards are available at no cost. Considering how often they run this promotion, the CTA ought to do away with the fee altogether and just be happy they're making interest on all the balances they hold in escrow. But, until they make it that easy, May 31st is the new deadline for fee-free switching to "the Go Lane." (In more sensible news, the agency's board approved a pilot program to offer passes to convention-goers, starting with the Gay Games in June.)
When the CTA asked Chicagoland area schoolchildren to nominate a color for the new West Side elevated train line, they should have known they'd get a pretty kid-friendly color. Pink was the winner, nominated by a K-8 student in an essay contest. The new line will run along the current Cermak branch of the Blue Line east and then connect via a current service track to the Green Line. Pink colored or not, the line change isn't without a little objection from West Side residents who'll lose some direct routes to UIC and to O'Hare.
The CTA has donated a lot of their outdated signage to the Illinois Railway Museum in Union. They're selling them to help raise money to fund this nifty museum in Union. This from the "Chicago" station seems cool, as do some of the system maps. (via ...pickhits...)
It's getting warmer, which means you may be traveling more, which means, you can already see an increase in gas prices. Word on the street is that the price of gasoline is already up 13% in Chicagoland, and you can expect it to only go higher as we near the "busy summer travel season". Better tune up the bike and the CTA card now, folks.
Micro Bits, a website dedicated to subway stations around the world, has a great page titled "Voices in the Deep," which compares station announcements in subways in dozens of international cities. According to the list, "in Kyoto, the subway plays beautiful guzheng (sort of an Asian violin) compositions for its door-closing tones," while Lisbon, Portugal, subway riders hear a "buzzing before the doors close." And in Chicago? "A very friendly, pre-recorded male voice is somewhat verbose and talks almost permanently to the passengers." Some city descriptions even include audio files. Check it out.
Who needs a Google map when you've got something as nice as this. Not sure where the nearest parking is? The Chicago Parking Network has you covered.
Via an article in the Cincinnati Enquirer, meet Megabus.com, a transit service that gives Greyhound a run for its money by charging a buck a seat from Chicago to several Midwest destinations. The shuttles start running in a few weeks; with prices so low, how long they can keep running is anyone's guess.
If leisurely cycling down Lake Shore Drive (that's the expressway, not the path) is your idea of a good time, registration for the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation's Bike The Drive (May 28) is currently open. (Check out some pictures of past years on Flickr.)
As the CTA Tattler points out, this week Mother Nature did what aldermen and citizens could not -- temporarily put off Brown Line closings for this weekend only, due to rain in the forecast. The Kimball and Francisco Brown Line stops will stay open this weekend. Enjoy!
Despite their Jenny Holzer/Barbara Kruger-like quality, those new CTA turnstile wrappers were placed as ads, not art. I'd been curious, so I asked John Blunda of CBS Outdoor -- turns out they're promoting the soon-to-open McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum.
In a developing story, members of the CTA's union local voted last night in favor of striking by an overwhelming majority: 1,029 to 11. The union's president will meet with the CTA's management on Friday; things are already not looking good as Frank Kruesi disputes the union's right to call for a walk-out. The Tribune notes the CTA hasn't experienced a strike since March 1979 -- whether another will happen in 2006 remains to be seen.
We've posted before about Archana Siriam and her unfortunate encounter with a Hummer. I recently discovered that I knew her peripherally and found out that she is recovering well and in good spirits but is unlikely to walk or get on a bike for about three months. Here are photos from one of her friends at the CBF news conference and an uplifting photo at the end of a bruised ndd beat up but smiling Archana. The driver of the Hummer is still unidentified and being sought after.
Remember the Silver Line? Well, don't get to attached to it -- the name, that is. We mentioned a couple of weeks ago that its color might change, and, sure enough, the CTA has announced a Name the Line contest for local K-8 students. Children are invited to submit a color and an essay explaining their choice; the winner will receive a $1000 savings bond.
Using the left-hand entrance ramps on the Kennedy downtown scares the bejeezus out of me. I'm always afraid someone's not going to be paying attention and nail me as I merge into fast lane traffic. It'll be a bit easier in the future, though: roadwork on that stretch of highway begins Monday, and the Monroe ramps — the shortest of the lot — will be closing for good.
Did you know that more than 160 bicyclists and pedestrians are killed in the Chicago metropolitan area every year? To find ways to combat hit-and-runs the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation is teaming up with the Evanston Bicycle Club to have a news conference tomorrow morning at 8:30 am at the intersection of Sherman and Lake Street in Evanston (1450 Sherman Ave). Not only will there be "bigger picture" discussions related to traffic calming and tips on getting info on hit-and-runs to give to authorities, but there will also be requests to help track down a yellow Hummer H2 which seriously injured Archana Sriram at the intersection on February 16th.
Inspired by London, Toronto and Amsterdam mass transit riders who have made up alternate maps of their cities' subway stops, local blogger Pete Anderson made up a map for two Metra lines where the station names are anagrams for the original names. This probably can't be done with the CTA map; what's an anagram for "63rd"?
Seen a yellow Hummer with damage to the front corner? If you do, flick them off, then call the cops: on Monday morning, Northwestern student Archana Sriram was hit while riding her bike to school by a yellow H2 that ran the light at Sherman and Lake in Evanston. The driver took off, while Sriram ended up in the hospital with a broken jaw, hip and leg. (Thanks, Mike)
Handy link for to keep around when the weather gets better: the route map from Chicago to Milwaukee by bicycle. Of course, taking Amtrak isn't bad either, and is even better since they added a stop at the Milwaukee airport.
Monday marks not only Presidents' Day, but also the start of the Brown Line expansion project. The CTA will be closing various stops for a varying (and sometimes unknown) amount of time over the next year, starting with Kedzie and Rockwell. Riders will have to walk to the closest open stop or make other arrangements. Think riding the Red Line will keep you safe? Because of switching and track upgrades, riders will see an increase in delays at Fullerton and Belmont throughout the year (and probably until the project is completed in 2009). Raise your hand if you're super psyched!
No, not Coor's. The CTA has unveiled plans to turn the Cermak branch of the Blue Line into the Silver Line, though the color may change. The plans call for a new section of line called the Paulina Connector, which will run the new line up to the Green Line tracks. Here's the press release.
You brag proudly about how you love not having a car. As your friends complain about scraping their car windows in the morning, you wave your transit card at them. But occasionally you want to go to the burbs or you just want to make a massive run on a grocery store. I-Go has been in Chicago for a while, but now they have a blog called Chicago Car Sharing. It's a great place to keep up on chicago transportation issues while keeping your carless pride. edited 2/16: I-Go doesn't permit pets unless they're in a carrier. Good news for the pet allergic, bad news for those with a Fluffy or Fido.
The Mac nerds are all over this CTA Tattler post with its shots of the new Jackson station signage gone, well, off the rails, really. That Windows XP -- if it knows anything, it knows you need anti-virus software and/or a firewall. One or the other.
If you're involved with local Chicago cycling happenings, you may well be aware of Boub vs. Wayne and the disincentive that the Chicago Bicycle Federation and other parties have been trying to elminate. The good news is that the bill passed 6-4 in the Local Government committee but is now facing tough opposition from the City of Chicago (which started on the 9th of this month). While it may be a little late, it can't hurt to voice your concerns to the Mayor. See what you can do.
On a day that has seen more than the usual amount of car crashes, IDOT has released its most recent list of dangerous intersections. Recent data shows the intersection of Higgins and Roselle in Hoffman Estates saw more crashes than anywhere else in the state in 2004. It seems malls and tollways are to blame.
Lake Shore Drive can be pretty dangerous, especially that cool curvy bit by Oak Street. The Trib's column about it (eerily timed on a morning with a pretty big crash on LSD at Irving Park Road) comes with a cool graphic [PDF] though. (Thanks, Dan!)
The Ghost Bike Project started last year as reminders and memorials to cyclists who had lost their lives tragically to drivers. The first Chicago Ghost Bike has been set up in memoriam of Isai Medina. Photos of the bike have appeared on Flickr taken by April Jacobs (here and here) and by Payton Chung, here. The driver was charged with vehicular homicide in mid-January. More photos from around the country of ghost bikes can be seen here.
We tied with Los Angeles in the rankings of most expensive cities, but we've got them beat (narrowly) with only five of the nation's worst traffic bottlenecks (LA had six). Our worst: the Circle Interchange.
There's a Metra fare increase scheduled to take effect next month (i.e., Wednesday). And although Metra officials would really like you not to, you can buy yourself some 10-ride tickets today and tomorrow even if you're not going to use them, because Metra tickets are good for 1 year after the sale date. For the full list of increased Metra fares see the Metra Website.
Starting in April, you can be among the elite to test what may become the nation's first commuter rail wireless service on the South Shore line. The service will use the train line's existing fiber optics, and technology created for NASCAR drivers. Still, the zone will be limited to just seven miles of track for now, while the problem of maintaining a wireless connection at 80mph is worked out.
Yes, the CTA Tattler confirms, train cars with longitudinal seating are still coming. Just not very quickly.
The first car ever built for Chicago public transit (for the Chicago and South Side Rapid Transit Co. in 1892) will be moved today from a CTA storage facility in Skokie to the Chicago Historical Society at Clark & North. In a moving project reminiscent of the 2004 move of the MSI's U-505 sub, the car will be slowly moved down Chicago streets, avoiding viaducts and overpasses, in a journey that should take at least 3 hours to complete. Once the car reaches its destination, it will be renovated and be put on display at the museum by late September.
Metra has suspended without pay a conductor on the line to Harvard, who added his own editorial to a warning that smoking would no longer be allowed on train platforms in the city. According to the Trib, "the conductor used a vulgar sexual epithet over the Metra train's public address system to describe the city officials who enacted the ordinance."
Western Avenue as I've known it, is a pretty fast street — the wannabe hot rodders streak their cars up and down Western and you're left playing chicken even if you've got a walk sign. Isai Medina, a 50 year old cyclist was struck and killed in a seven car accident last week. You might remember Chris Saathof's tragedy on Western as well. Be careful on Western. There's just something about the avenue that's like some kind of imaginary line drawn in the sand...
All you clever people out there who park your cars in garages and think you don't need a city sticker: the free parking's over! On Wednesday the City Council introduced an ordinance to require cars parked in garages to have stickers. However, the city is only allowed to investigate cars in garages that are open to the public, so all you car owners with private garages have been spared. For now, that is.
On Friday, Tiffany Chancellor was reported to have filed a lawsuit against the CTA because she was paying higher cash fares after unsuccessfully attempting to procure a Chicago Card. (Although recent fare changes were announced months prior to their implementation, presumably giving riders time to avoid the hikes, there's been an apparent rush on the cards; stores all over the city have experienced shortages.) Today, the Chicago Defender reports, the suit will likely be amended to a racial discrimination complaint.
The Citgo/CTA controversy continues, as several local politicians held a press conference yesterday to question the transit agency's decision. For his part, Frank Kruesi has gone on record to explain why the CTA didn't move on the proposal; he says the fuel wouldn't be compatible with some buses and would generate increased emissions in others.
One story we mentioned previously but that continues to make the rounds of many mailing lists is that the Venezuelan government offered cheap gas to the CTA if they gave away many free tickets to low-income riders. The CTA has reportedly turned down the offer. (And as someone has mentioned, it wouldn't matter much anyway - gas costs make up a small percentage of the CTA budget.)
The CTA is not the only one raising fares -- Metra's rates are going up in February as well. But Metra is quietly expanding too. In addition to allowing bicycles last summer, Metra is increasing service or adding new stations to three lines.
If you're one of those Metra to CTA commuters, you found out this morning that your express fare is no more. Instead of the buck you've been paying to go from Ogilvie and Union to the lake, now you're paying regular CTA fares. Thanks for keeping that under wraps in your fare chart, CTA.
If you're going out tomorrow night, know that the CTA is offering penny rides from 8pm until 6am on New Year's Day and some routes will see extended hours of service. Get it while you can; once 6 strikes, the new fare structure goes into effect (SaveChicagoTransit.com has an extensive rundown about that).
It's just a few days before the new CTA fare structure kicks in (happy 2006, Chicago!). If you rode it this morning, you probably saw this RedEye story that attempts to explain it all. If not, we can digest it for you in two words: Chicago Card. (Also, as pointed out in the chicago_el LiveJournal community, there seems to be an error in the article: although rail fares will increase a quarter for users of magnetic strip cards, they will still be able to transfer for $.25.)
If you're flying in the next couple days, you might want to check out the Chicago Airport System website. It provides flight information for O'Hare or Midway based on the same info as the arrival/departure screens in the terminals, and current parking conditions for both airports are listed right on the front page. (If you're a regular flyer, you might even want to sign up to receive parking status notifications on your cell.)
Today's the last day the CTA's Holiday Train will operate this year. There will be two southbound Red Line runs from Howard, one starting at 2pm and the other at 5:30, and two northbound trips from 95th, the first at 3:40 and the second at 7:05. Exact station-by-station itineraries are at transitchicago.com.
Much of New York's subway system runs underground, but some routes operate on elevated tracks not unlike Chicago's. As anyone who lives along CTA lines knows, the noise of the trains is a constant, if distracting, companion. Ironically, with the MTA transit strike continuing, some New Yorkers find themselves more distracted by the quiet. Which is just one more reason to hope Chicago's not faced with the "nuisance" of noise-free living any time soon.
Here's something cool: You know how you're not supposed to bring wrapped presents through the security check at the airport? Well, between now and Friday, you can take advantage of free gift-wrapping services on the other side of the x-rays from 2pm to 5pm at O'Hare and noon to 4pm at Midway.
Aww, you spent twenty minutes digging your car out of the snow last week? Get over it. The Tribune reports that, starting Monday, the Streets and Sanitation Department will start hauling away your lawn chairs, ladders, and other space savers. "The snowstorm we had is history," says the Department, and there you have it.
Starting next year, your booty will have a little more room on CTA and Pace buses. Both are are ordering wider seats for hundreds of buses, making our seats the widest in the country. The CTA and Pace are trying to couch the move in PC jargon, but face it--we're not just the city of Big Shoulders anymore.
The CTA has announced that those wireless communication points in the Red and Blue Line subways weren't just for better emergency response, after all. Within a few months, you'll be able to tell who's a US Cellular customer; until other providers get on board, they'll be the only ones yapping away underground.
CTA tattler reports that your favorite local transit authority dispatched this message via their wireless alert system Thursday night: "Due to airplane blocking 55th Street at Central, #55 reroute is WB: 55th -Cicero-Archer-55th - Central.EB:Reverse." Can nothing faze them?
I didn't even realize that the Chicago taxi cabs had been redesigned recently, but apparently in 2001 the lights on top of the cab that indicate whether or not the cab is available were changed. A veteran driver took an informal survey of his riders, and found out that they nearly all thought that the pre-2001 design was easier to see. So now what does he do with this information? Well, now that Mayor Daley is interested in putting rooftop advertising on Chicago cabs, obviously the lights are going to have to be redesigned again, so why not return to a design that people prefer?
The annual competition of world's busiest airport is heating up this year between Chicago's O'Hare and Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. O'Hare has had fewer flights flights this year, due to flight restrictions imposed by the FAA and rising fuel costs. O'Hare officials are hoping that December will pick up for Chicago; the holiday travel season is typically busier for O'Hare than it is for Hartsfield-Jackson. Check in at the end of the month to see if Chicago retains the title.
Today is the day to vote for the next design of the city stickers that we'll all have to buy next year. See the finalists' designs here, and vote for your favorite by this afternoon at 5:00. The winning design will be seen on windshields citywide in 2006-07.
Given that the CTA's fare structure is shifting to favor use of Chicago Cards in January, it's probably only fair that they're giving the things away for free again. Starting today and running through the end of March, the $5 fee will be waived.
First, there was I-GO; look soon for Zipcar. Today's Times has the story on emerging competition in the car-sharing market and the "free satellite radio, iPod connections and access to convertible Mini Coopers" that come with it.
Do you like to find your car still in the place it was last parked? Of course you do! Therefore, you might want to take note that the winter overnight parking rules take effect on Wednesday night at 3 a.m., unless you want to pay $150 for the tow and $50 for a possible additional ticket. Time to pull out those buckets, lawn chairs, and any other junk you have lying around that you can use for "spot saving"; the winter parking games are about to begin.
It's best not to mess with Mimi Smartypants. Or, at least, best not to mess with yourself while in her Red Line car. She's seen this kind of thing before, and she's not gonna put up with anymore nasty shenanigans.
If you thought that the city had finished work on the Chicago Skyway at the end of last year, you're in for a surprise; work on the Skyway will continue for the next two years, as a series of viaduct repairs that had been postponed in 2003 are now scheduled to occur. Said one transit official after hearing of the new construction, "Didn't the city just rebuild the skyway?"
Today the CTA approved a 25-cent fare increase for riders paying cash, starting in January. The CTA will also stop giving transfers to people paying in cash. Time to get yourself a Chicago Card, and make sure it's always got money on it!
ChicagoBus.org reports that the CTA today received its first New Flyer D40LF 1000 series, which may replace half of the current fleet. Twenty of the new buses will be diesel-electric hybrids. Here's a video (.avi) of the bus pulling away from this morning's press conference.
Tired of late-running buses, or buses that arrive in bunches? Take some action against the problem! The Campaign for Better Transit, a group of people trying to improve Chicago's public transportation, is starting a new study of the reliability of CTA buses. In 2004 the group released a study called The Late State of the Buses (PDF link) which documented the problems people have with the buses (late arrivals, bus bunching, etc.). This year's study will attempt to find out if there've been any improvements since the previous study. See this post at Chicago Indymedia for details on how to volunteer your time on the study to hold the CTA accountable for its problems.
New York taxis never die, they just ship out for Chicago... Follow their journey in text and images in today's Times. (Bonus fun fact: when it comes to cabs, yellow in the Big Apple is different than yellow in the Big Shoulders.)
While this was originally aired on WNYC's Studio 360, a radio piece produced by Jonathan Menjivar that features me waxing poetic about fixed gear bikes will air shortly on WBEZ's 848. If you miss it, I'm sure the archive will provide otherwise, listen in online.
If you're the type who wants every. little. detail. planned when traveling, you'll be happy to know that the regional airport system is now posting information about parking availability on its website, FlyChicago.com. And there's no need to worry about things changing after you've left the comfort of your 'net connection. Nope, register to receive mobile alerts, and you're all set.
Germophobes, take further note: the CTA won't introduce train cars with aisle-facing seats for another few years (assuming the plans are to schedule, at least), so you're probably not a rush hour straphanger just yet. But, once the switch happens, you may want to remember the TranStrap, which, if its makers are to be believed, "dramatically enhances the public transit experience" -- especially when you've forgotten your travel-size Purel. [via]
If high oil prices are making you think about trading in your gas guzzler for a two-wheeler and cycling to the office, you might want to attend Wednesday's Chicagoland Bicycle Federation lunchtime roundtable on commuting by bike. Details in Slowdown.
10/10: CTA Tattler posts an open letter to CTA management regarding lack of communication during outages.
10/16: The CTA responds.
10/17: The Tattler rebuts.
10/17: CTA board chair Carole Brown applauds the Tattler on her blog for "holding our feet to the fire."
Today was the Chicago-L.org tour we mentioned last month, but let's say you couldn't make it. While you won't be able to hear the attendant commentary, thanks to the interweb you can at least see the sights via this here Flickr photoset. Update: And another.
If you live or work within sight of a Chicago harbor, you may have noticed the sailboat population beginning to dwindle. Except for holders of "late leaver" permits (who can stay till November 15), boats need to leave their harbor moorings by October 15. Which makes for interesting viewing on Wednesdays and Saturdays, if you live or work within sight of a Chicago River drawbridge.
You can take your bike on Metra only till 30 October. If you want to be able to do so throughout the year, give Metra Chairman Philip A. Pagano a piece of your mind. The Chicagoland Bicycle Federation recommends you send him a thank-you letter if you took your bike on Metra this summer, and ask that Bikes on Trains be reinstated year-round.
The CTA announced 2006 budget recommendations which increase fares another quarter to $2 -- but only for people not using the Chicago Card. In related news, the CTA has beefed up security in response to the threat to New York's subway.
It's easy to complain about how bad certain CTA stations smell, but how many people are willing to go clean them up on a Saturday morning? The residents of Edgewater are tired of waiting for the CTA to fix up the Thorndale red line station, so they are taking matters into their own hands. From 9 to noon this Saturday, October 8th, they will be entering the station to clean, paint and fix up the North side stop themselves. If guerilla cleaning is not your thing, the Campaign for Better Transit also has a list of other ways you can take action.
With its station turnstile sponsorship scheme, the CTA takes another step toward plastering every available surface with advertisements.