Chicago Sun-Times

March 2009 Archives

Today's question asked about an early Chicago settler, who has a "cave" named after him and owned a steamship which sank in a terrible Great Lakes' disaster. the question was: Who was he, and what was his ship?

The correct answer is Gurdon Saltonstall Hubbard ("Hubbard's Cave") and the ship was the Lady Elgin. Paul Lockwood had the correct answer and if he can send me via e-mail or through the blog his address and T-shirt size, I can send him his prize.

The Lady Elgin sank in Lake Michigan off Chicago after being rammed by an unlit schooner, the Alberta, September 8, 1860. The sinking resulted in the deaths of hundreds, and led to the requirement that sailing vessels carry running lights.

Hubbard was a fur trader, an insurance underwriter, a land speculator, and later the 7th Ward alderman. His name is also on a Chicago street and school. He is buried in Graceland Cemetery.

More Express Buses

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Riders who want to go express will be getting more service on three CTA bus routes this coming Monday. Frequency of express service will be increased on the #X49 Western Express, #X55 Garfield Express and #X80 Irving Park Express routes. This is on an experimental basis -- to see if this works better for customers, so let the CTA know if you like it, or don't.

Western is the third busiest route in the system with over 36,000 customers per weekday in the corridor. Irving Park routes - both local and express - carry 17,500 people per weekday. Garfield routes carry 16,000 individuals per weekday.

Today's "Ride" column talks about how rides on Metra can be cheaper than rides on the CTA for city dwellers. But before I start sounding too rosy about Metra, I have to complain about some Metra riders and their unwillingness to make room for people getting on the train from stops in the city.

Everyone who rides the CTA knows the problem with seat hoggers -- people who leave their bags on the seats next to them so others can't sit down. As someone who rides both Metra and the CTA, believe me, when it comes to sharing space, CTA riders are all charm school graduates compared to Metra riders

There must be something about the agony of riding all the way from Fox Lake that make people think they're entitled to spread all their stuff out. If you ask them to move so you can sit down, some of them look at you like you're begging for spare change. I notice a lot of people who get on at city stops are meek about this, and just stand until the end of the ride so they won't have to go to the trouble of asking Mr. Suburban Corporate Windbag to move his &*%$#! briefcase. Not me. I'm tired in the morning, and I want my seat. I channel my inner Sister Harriet and firmly, politely ask people to move their gear so I can sit down. I consider it a teaching moment. If Mr. Suburban Corporate Windbag gives me any grief, I ask "So, did you buy two tickets?"

The other problem of boarding a train at city stops is that people don't want to move in. Often there are empty seats on the upper level, but jerks prefer to sit on the stairs, so late-boarding passengers can't get to the seats, and have to stand. Again -- it's a teaching moment. Tell them to move. I wish Metra conductors would pay more attention to this.

Anyone have any theories about why some Metra riders hoard territory and cling to it like junkyard dogs?

The Ride Trivia Quiz
What 1988 movie featured a dastardly plot to wipe out public transit and build a freeway? Mike Fearon was the first with the right answer -- it was "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" If Mike can send me, by e-mail or blog comment (I won't publish it), his shirt size and address, I'll send you a T-Shirt. And for those who don't know this movie -- it gets better every time you see it.

Today is the day the typical Chicago-area household has earned enough to cover transportation costs for a year, according to the Illinois Public Interest Research Group and the Center for Neighborhood Technology. New findings by IPIRG show a typical Chicago family pays about two months of their salary to pay for transportation costs -- a bigger chunk of the budget than food or health care. In far outer-ring suburbs like Plainfield which are dependent on cars, households spend nearly three months of their yearly income to get around.

Both IPIRG and CNT want more money spent on public transit, to bring down those costs so people could some of that transit money for paying for groceries. Or college. The American Public Transportation Association figures that a driver in Chicago could save $10,491 annually by switching to public transit.

Illinois is getting $414 million in funding for transit from the Recovery Act, and another $935 million in flexible "Surface Transportation Program" funding. "We encourage Gov. Quinn to use as much flexible transportation funding as possible on public transit," said Alexandra Lozanoff for IPIRG.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from March 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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