A primer on CTA's rules for behavior
A reader last week who recently moved to Chicago asked me where she could find rules for behavior on the CTA. I couldn't find them on the CTA Web site, so I asked the CTA for them. Noelle Gaffney sent me a copy of the 1998 ordinance spelling out what we can and can't do on the CTA.
"Some of these rules are not posted because, as you will see when you read through them, they are common sense and widely understood in terms of behaviors that are not acceptable in a public place," Gaffney wrote in sharing them with me. (Clarification: Gaffney later today asked me to clarify that "many of these rules are posted and conveyed through announcements. In my first email response to you I explained that the rules were generally posted at the location where it was most logical to place it.")
Fair enough. But some of them are interesting to know. So here goes:
Medicine only. It's illegal to "consume any food or beverage, excluding medicines." Keep the Tylenol handy in the slow zones.
Turn it down! It's illegal to "use an entertainment appliance, radio, musical instrument or other sound-emitting device, which is clearly audible to others." This was passed in 1998, but I gotta believe it covers the walkie-talkie-like Nextel and other squawking phones.
Those hazardous sleepers. It's illegal to "sleep or doze where such activity may be hazardous to such person or others or where such activity may interfere with the operation of the CTA's transit system." I'm not sure if that covers the "egregious sleepers" whom I have complained about.
Keep it in your mouth. It's illegal to "spit saliva, food, gum, tobacco or any other substance." Hmmm. You could be ticketed first for eating, and then spitting food.
La Leche League thanks you. You can't "expose one's breast, buttocks, or genitals on ... the CTA; provided that breast-feeding of infants does not violate this ordinance."
No cunnilingus or fellatio. It's illegal to "perform sexual intercourse or any other sex act, including but not limited to cunnilingus or fellatio." That was just a puerile excuse to use those words twice in one paragraph on this blog.
Gamblers begone! You can't "use any shell game, sleight-of-hand or juggling trick (?!?), or any other game to cheat, defraud, or unlawfully obtain money." Has anyone seen a juggling trick?
No tracts or rave notices. And don't try to "post, stick, stamp, paint, or affix any sign, notice, circular, handbill, placard, poster, card, advertisement or other device calculated to attract the attention of the public."
Pepper spray is OK. It's illegal to possess or carry any pistol, revolver, firearm, dagger, stiletto, billie club, knife, stun gun, taser, mace, bludgeon, explosive device or other weapon." But this section does not apply to cops or jail and military personnel, or pepper spray.
And here's what happens to you violators: "A fine of not less than $100; a period of supervision; restitution; community service for not less than 30 and not more than 120 hours."
Download the PDF of the ordinance below.