Chicago Sun-Times

May 2009 Archives

A group of Indiana atheists recently posted ads on the sides of CTA buses which say "In the beginning, man created God." I spotted one on the #56 Milwaukee last Friday, while I was riding my bike. See the story


These kinds of ads started some controversy when they ran in Britain. A spokesman for the Indiana atheists said they wanted to give people something to talk about. Did it work? If you saw the ad, did you talk about it?

And now for your weekly Blue Line closing...

Rail service will again be temporarily suspended on the Blue Line this weekend from Clark/Lake to Western/Milwaukee, starting at 10 p.m. Friday through 4 a.m. Monday.
Crews will be replacing track.
Bus shuttles will substitute for rail service making stops at Western/Milwaukee, Damen, Division, Chicago, Grand and Clark/Lake. Riders should allow extra time. Both the Western/Milwaukee and Clark/Lake stations are accessible to customers with disabilities.
Seven miles of track are being replaced using $88 million of federal stimulus money. Crews are replacing deteriorated wooden half ties with concrete half ties, and replacing both running and contact (third) rails to improve train speeds, according to the CTA.

The CTA promises the Blue Line interruptions won't happen every weekend -- for big traffic weekends, like July 4, work will be postponed.

The CTA is promoting the #19 United Center Express route for getting to the Blackhawks NHL playoff games.

The Hawks return to the United Center for Game 3 of the series on Friday beginning at 7 p.m. Game 4 is on Sunday at 2 p.m. and Game 6 (if needed) will take place on Saturday, May 30 at 7 p.m.

Buses leave every 10 minutes from Michigan and Randolph beginning 90 minutes before the start of each game until the game begins, according to the CTA.

When the game ends, #19 buses will depart the United Center about every 15 minutes for one hour. #19 buses no longer make stops along Michigan Avenue north of Randolph, but continue to make all stops on Madison from Wabash to Clinton. From Clinton, #19 buses run express to the United Center.

After each game, #19 buses will wait for customers on the north side of the United Center eastbound on Madison near Gate 3. On the return trip, #19 buses will operate east on Washington to Wacker, then head south to Monroe and east to Michigan, making all stops from Jefferson to Michigan before turning north on Michigan and making the final stop at Randolph, according to the CTA

There are now over 1,200 residential parking zones in the city, restricting parking to local residents. Last week's trivial question was, "Where was the first? The answer is the area around Northeastern Illinois University, in the North Park neighborhood, which used to not have the big parking lot it has now. This is according to City Clerk Miguel del Valle, a Northeastern alum. No one got the answer, so we'll try again next week.

To replace track on the Blue Line Dearborn subway, rail service is getting shut down again from Clark/Lake to Western/Milwaukee from 10 p.m. Friday, May 15 until 4 a.m. Monday, May 18. So get ready to transfer to shuttle buses, or else just get on the Milwaukee bus to start with so you won't have to do the shuttle bus shuffle. Find this and other CTA news here. This is going to go on for months, on most weekends. The reward is a smoother, faster ride when it's all finished, according to the CTA.

Today's CTA story told how the agency has prevented further fare increases or service cuts this year, but can't rule it out for 2010 and 2011, depending on whether it can get more funding and/or find more fat to cut. No one likes a fare increase, but is one kind preferable to another?

Would people feel better about having higher fares at rush hour, as opposed to mid-day? How about the idea of charging more for zones farther away from the Loop (which would require exit turnstyles and other big infrastructure changes)? How about an increase in cash fares - which would encourage more people to get passes or Chicago Cards?
Is a fare increase always preferable to service cuts?

Check out this fascinating New York Times story about a suburb in Germany that gets along without cars. Kids can play in the streets without worrying about getting run over. A similar experiment is being considered in California. It's hard to imagine car-crazy America trying something like this. But German, after all, is the home of the VW and the autobahn -- they're car-crazy too.

Monday, the Ride featured a story about Cobra's line of red light camera detectors. Taft High School driver's education director Michael Hionis said he thought they were a waste of money -- people need to just look ahead and be prepared to stop for traffic lights. Anyone out there try one of these detectors? How did they work out for you?

I-Go Car Sharing now offers an I-Go location in the Irving Park neighborhood. A red 2008 Toyota Prius is located at Independence Park, 3945 N. Springfield, in a space provided by the Chicago Park District.

I-Go is a non-profit, locally-based car sharing service in Chicago with 200 vehicles available in 30 neighborhoods. Users don't pay for gas, insurance or parking spaces, but pay for the cars by the hour.

For more information, here's the I-Go website. The other, for-profit Chicago car-sharing service is Zipcar, located here.

The Secretary of State's office is offering "Rules of the Road" review courses for all citizens in the Chicago area. The courses are free -- and judging from some of the antics we see out there, a few people could use a refresher. Yellow means slow down, not speed up. Pedestrians have the right of way. And use your turn signal!

The classes are at:

9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., May 18, at the Northeast Regional Levy Center, 2019 W. Lawrence Avenue

11 a.m. to 1 p.m., May 19, at Olympia Park, 6566 N. Avondale

9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., May 22 at the Evanston Levy Center, 300 Dodge Avenue, Evanston

In this Slate article, "Traffic" author Tom Vanderbilt writes about the growing number of websites where you can complain about bad driving. With all the bad driving out there, you can see why people want to complain about it to more than just their spouses and co-workers. But you have to wonder, what kind of unsafe driving is being caused by people who feel the need to write down the license plate of someone who just cut them off, and then post on the Internet about it? Do you think they're all waiting until they get home?

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

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