Chicago Sun-Times

What's your three-track game plan?

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Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard by now that the CTA is planning to shut down one track at Belmont and Fullerton as early as Monday.

The number of rush-hour trains will be reduced dramatically, resulting in more crowding and bigger delays until late 2009, when the Brown Line reconstruction project is scheduled to wrap up.

Between the Red, Brown and Purple lines, approximately 185,000 people use the North Side rail corridor that will be hardest hit by three-tracking. Are you one of them?

If so, how do you plan to avoid the gridlock?

The CTA has suggested using alternate bus routes, taking Metra or the Blue Line and timing your trips to avoid peak hours, but is that a reasonable option for you?

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13 Comments

THE CTA SHOULD BE TAKEN OVER BY THE MANAGEMENT OF BNSF/METRA STAFF! THEN CTA RIDERS WOULD HAVE TOP QUALITY SERVICE AND LESS OF THE MONUMENT OF BS EXCUSES! GO BNSF!

The site looks great ! Thanks for all your help ( past, present and future !)

I switched to the Lake Shore Express buses from the north side. What I see happening later is everyone will adjust to taking buses and then once the rail system is up (lord knows how long that will really be, but if you believe 3 years then you will believe the sky is falling!) no one will take the trains because we'll already be adjusted to the buses themselves!

Is there a link or something that shows the detail plan step by step or are we just going to hear about this as each phase comes out one by one? I would much rather hear about it now so I can plan accordingly rather than change plans on the fly!

Why do so few CTA riders understand the great benefits that will come from this project? Why is everyone so short-sighted and impatient? Yes, it's painful. No, I don't like adding a half hour or more to my commute each way. But there's a reason for this project, and it's a good one. When it's done, we'll have longer trains that will hold more riders. Platforms will have elevators so that people in wheelchairs will be able to board the trains in more places. People pushing strollers will benefit from the elevators. Drivers must suffer through endless highway projects. We transit riders have it better, because once this is over, it's over. In case you're wondering, I don't work for the CTA, nor do I know anyone who does.

I've been taking a bus to the lakefront, then a Lake Shore Express bus (whatever comes first) to work. I've been doing this since they closed my train station. The station has re-opened, but with the three-tracking announced I didn't see any point in switching back to the train. The lake shore bus I got on today was packed, but other than that, I don't see any big change in my commute until me lease is up and I can move to somewhere that I don't have to take two buses and an hour plus to get back and forth to work.

I can walk to my Metra station as easily as I can walk to my CTA station. I'm switching to Metra.

The CTA is clever to start this on April 1 when a lot of schools are on spring break and people are away for Passover or Easter. Wait until about April 15 and see just how bad it can be.

Why not add the inner-city Metra stations to the CTA
network? This could be accomplished easily simply by
giving Metra conductors portable CTA farecard readers.
This would add greatly to the CTA rail capacity at zero
infrastructure cost.
If Metra simply ran an every half-hour shuttle train
from Wilmette to the Loop and let CTA riders board,
this would add at least 10,000 seats per day capacity
(assuming just 2 car trains), also, such an arrangement could
allow reduction or cancellation of Purple Line
express trains during construction, freeing up more
room for Brown and Red trains.

If the Ashland, Damen, and Western buses were extended to the
Howard L station (both Ashland and Western have rush-hour
expresses, by the way) and the California bus extended to the
Western Brown Line, and run more frequently, that could
help divert traffic off the Red and Brown Line to the Blue Line
as well. Right now, all 4 of those bus lines terminate at old
trolley car turnarounds that haven't seen a trolley car for 50
years... one of the reasons for getting rid of trolleys was that
bus lines are more flexible, and can be easily extended in
this kind of situation.

Why not set aside 2 lanes of Lake Shore Drive for express
buses? There's no good reason that only CTA riders should be
inconvenienced by the Brown/Red Line service work.

This is all common sense stuff, no one at the CTA or RTA
thought of any of it?

The Toronto subway system, despite only having 2 major lines,
carries 100,000 more passengers than the CTA L.
( see the statistics for Toronto)
Some of this is due to more frequent service and better connections,
but a lot has to due with the CTA not bothering to apply some
grey matter to doing some some elementary planning and problem solving.

WHY THE CTA FAILED TO SEND EAST 63RD TRAINS VIA THE STATE STREET SUBWAY TO WILSON AVE WHERE THEY COULD BE TURNED TO BETTER SERVE CUSTOMERS AT SHERIDAN,ADDISON,BELMONT AND FULLERTON IS STRANGE. WITH TASTE OF CHICAGO AND THE BASEBALL SEASON AND OTHER SUMMER EVENTS DEEP DO DO IS COMING SOON! ONE SICK RIDER OVERCOME BY THE HEAT FROM ONE OF THE LACK A/C WILL MAKE TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND PEOPLE LATE FOR WORK DELIVERING A DEATH BLOW TO THE CITY! CFD WILL NEED TO PLACE AN EMT AT BELMONT AND FULLERTON ALL DAY LONG AND CPD WILL NEED EXTRA OFFICERS WHICH CAN BE PROVIDED BY PULLING OFFICERS FROM DESK DUTY AND VALET SERVICE PATROLS IN CUPCAKELAND SECTIONS OF THE CITY TO CONTROL TRAFFIC AND TO KEEP THE RED LINE FROM BECOMING PICKPOCKET HEAVEN! THANK GOD FOR METRA WITH SMART LEADERSHIP! DURING THIS TIME PASSENGERS WHO WANT TO USE UP NORTH LINE OF METRA AND ARRIVE AT WORK BEFORE LUNCH SHOULD BE ABLE TO USE THE CTA MONTHLY PASS BETWEEN ZONES A AND C. A COUNT OF CTA PASSES USED ON METRA MUST BE KEPT AND A REVENUE SHARING PLAN PUT INTO PLACE! I SAVED THE CTA MILLIONS OF DOLLARS WHEN I WORKED THERE WHICH IS WHY THEY WILL TELL YOU THAT I'M SOME KIND OF NUT! I WELCOME ANY E MAIL OR PHONE CALLS I'M AT 630 995 9943

Dear CTA,

"WHAT THE HELL!!!" With travel times on the Brown Line already at an all-time high, now we get this!
A perfect example of bureaucratic planning at it's best! I can safely say that the rider doesn't have any outlet. It's either move closer to downtown, or just MOVE!

Oh, I'm sorry. Wrong blog. I'm in Hawaii! My bad guys.

Good Luck Guys!

I am going to continue to commute to work on my bicycle. I can make it down to the loop from Edgewater much faster when I bike than when I take bus or train.

I take the red line from Addison to my job in the Loop. I am going to stick with the train in the morning, but I am going to switch to the bus for my afternoon commute home.

If the commute proves to be unbearable, I will consider looking for another job that allows me to work from home or I may even consider getting a car.

Joe Moore submitted this statement at today's CTA board meeting:

STATEMENT BY ALDERMAN JOE MOORE (49)
CALLING ON THE CTA TO DELAY "THREE TRACK OPERATION" CONSTRUCTION
UNTIL PUBLIC SAFETY CONCERNS ARE ADDRESSED AND ADEQUATE ALTERNATE SERVICE IS IN PLACE.


Where is the Public in this Public Transit System?


I am joined by many community leaders as we call on President Frank Kruesi and the Chicago Transit Authority Board to delay the planned construction project at the Fullerton and Belmont stations. If this project commences without a serious plan for public safety and alternative methods of transportation, it will have a devastating effect on the lives and livelihoods of my constituents in the 49th Ward.


This "Three Track Operation" is off on the wrong track.


In the last nine months, residents in my community and communities across the city have experienced a precipitous decline in the quality, safety and reliability of both train and bus service on the CTA. Derailments and mechanical breakdowns are becoming the norm for most CTA riders. And the impending track closures to accommodate the widening of the Belmont and Fullerton "L" platforms will only exacerbate this already intolerable situation. I have said it before and I'll say it again, Rapid transit, it ain't-and it isn't safe transit, either, I fear.


Make no mistake, we want reconstruction. We agree that the CTA needs to move forward with this project, but not until the public is satisfied that they will still have an adequate means of transportation and that our commuters will be safe.


The CTA's advice thus far has simply been that commuters "Leave Early. Leave Late. Alternate."


Frankly, this is insulting to the many working women and men who do not have options in their schedule, particularly when no viable alternatives have been put in place. A couple extra buses are not going to cut it.


My constituents are already leaving an hour early to ensure they arrive at work on time because of the many service disruptions. Now we are asking them to leave earlier and face greater safety risks? This is an unacceptable.


Residents in my transit-reliant ward are calling my office on nearly a daily basis complaining about the decline in service and with fears about what is to come. My constituents in Rogers Park, West Ridge and Edgewater also fear that public safety is at risk .


XX Trains and platforms are expected to be overcrowded and no plan is in place to prevent this or to deal with emergencies that might arise as a result.


XX Commute times and wait times are expected to double or triple, with no plan for keeping people safe in extreme temperatures.


XX Vehicle traffic from the north shore suburbs through our residential communities is expected to significantly increase, at times when school children are crossing our already busy streets.


We want assurance that all platforms have been recently inspected, that they can handle the extra loads and that someone will be there to enforce maximum loads on the platforms as well as on the trains and buses as determined by the Chicago Building Department and the Chicago Fire Department.


The Chicago Building Department has asked property owners across this city to have their porches inspected, and often rebuilt to an extremely high standard out of fear of collapse. It should ask no less of the CTA at a time when we may be experiencing record crowding on our neighborhood platforms that don't normally experience that capacity.


We want to know what added resources will be in place during extreme heat and cold to assist people who may be affected by the weather.


We want traffic studies conducted and additional streetlights, crossing guards and other security precautions in place to protect our children.


In January, I called for Public Hearings on the CTA's declining service. We are still waiting for these hearings to occur. Until they do and until a comprehensive plan for getting my constituents to work safely and on time is in place, the CTA must delay this decision to commence construction.


Joe Moore, Alderman of the 49th Ward

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Monifa Thomas published on March 28, 2007 10:00 AM.

Enhanced bus service was the previous entry in this blog.

Need to vent? is the next entry in this blog.

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