Exclusive: Alderman calls for council hearings on CTA system failures, slow zones
Alderman Joe Moore (49th Ward) today is calling for City Council hearings on the general CTA nonsense we all experience every day in our commutes to work, school and play.
In a resolution released first to the CTA Tattler, Alderman Moore notes that "in spite of . . . rampant and unabated system failures, and the pervasive disrepair of many neighborhood "L" stations, CTA management is pursuing large-scale borrowing to undertake the Block 37 Super Station project, and is proposing "mega projects" such as construction of the "Circle Line."
Moore's resolution calling CTA President Frank Kruesi on the proverbial Council carpet further notes that "construction of the Super Station project and pursuit of the Circle Line Project in the face of the rampant failures in day-to-day operations call into serious question the CTA’s spending priorities."
The resolutions asks Kruesi "to outline the CTA’s plan to address and resolve the ongoing transit service crisis," and to give Council members "an outline of the parts of the system that are in greatest need of repair and a specific budget and timetable for eliminating all "slow zones" and bringing the entire track system into a good state of repair."
That's a great start. There's a mayoral election on Feb. 27. While I don't expect this one issue to derail the "Daley Express," I do hope we can at least get the mayor's attention to these problems that he's virtually ignored for many years.
UPDATE: Here is the Sun-Times story on this.
Click on continuation below for full text of the resolution.
RESOLUTION CALLING FOR HEARINGS ON THE INCREASING NUMBER OF MECHANICAL FAILURES AND SERVICE DELAYS ON CTA TRAINS AND BUSSES
WHEREAS, A safe, reliable and efficient public transportation system is the lifeblood of Chicago’s economy; and
WHEREAS, Hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans depend upon the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) to get to work, shop, attend school, visit the doctor, socialize with friends and family, and attend to the other day-to-day necessities of life in our city; and
WHEREAS, In the past year, CTA passengers have experienced a precipitous decline in the quality, safety and reliability of both train and bus service, with derailments and mechanical breakdowns becoming the norm for most CTA riders; and
WHEREAS, CTA trains have experienced significant increases in the number of “slow zones” on almost every train line in recent months, with 35% of the Red Line route and over 25% of the Blue and Purple Line routes falling within a slow zone; and
WHEREAS, Chicago’s daily newspapers alone have recorded no fewer than 15 major system breakdowns since April, 2006, some of which caused serious injuries to CTA passengers, and these reported incidents are increasing in frequency and only scratch the surface of the number of service delays and interruptions that take place on a daily basis; and
WHEREAS, The impending track closures to accommodate the widening of the Belmont and Fullerton “L” platforms on the Red and Brown Lines will only further exacerbate an already intolerable situation; and
WHEREAS, The train derailments, power outages and mechanical failures routinely inconvenience thousands of Chicago transit passengers and cost the City’s economy untold millions of dollars in lost wages and productivity; and
WHEREAS, Many neighborhood “L” Stations are in severe disrepair with leaky roofs and stairways reeking of urine; and
WHEREAS, In spite of such rampant and unabated system failures, and the pervasive disrepair of many neighborhood “L” stations, CTA management is pursuing large-scale borrowing to undertake the Block 37 Super Station project, and is proposing “mega projects” such as construction of the “Circle Line;” and
WHEREAS, The CTA plans to spend in the next five years over $385 million in financing costs alone for the Super Station and other unspecified capital projects, while spending only $62 million in that same five years for track repairs, structure defects, and other infrastructure safety and renewal programs; and
WHEREAS, The CTA has assumed the aura of a third world transit system, bringing shame upon our great City; and
WHEREAS, Federal funding cutbacks and the State’s unfair funding formula contribute to the current service crisis, but gross managerial incompetence plays an even greater role; and
WHEREAS, Construction of the Super Station project and pursuit of the Circle Line Project in the face of the rampant failures in day-to-day operations call into serious question the CTA’s spending priorities; now therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED, That CTA President Frank Kruesi, CTA Board Chairman Carole Brown, and other appropriate CTA management officials appear before the City Council Committee on Transportation to outline the CTA’s plan to address and resolve the ongoing transit service crisis; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That CTA officials provide the members of the City Council with an outline of the parts of the system that are in greatest need of repair and a specific budget and timetable for eliminating all “slow zones” and bringing the entire track system into a good state of repair; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That CTA officials provide the members of the City Council with detailed information on each of the CTA’s capital improvement projects, including individualized detailed project descriptions, specific funding sources, start and end dates for each project, and the total project cost for each project, including amount spent to date and amount unfunded.
JOSEPH A. MOORE
Alderman, 49th Ward
Alderman, 22nd Ward