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Answers to your questions to Ron, Part 1

Before our second Coffee with Ron, I asked you to share questions you wanted me to ask Ron. And boy did you respond. I got more than 80 questions/comments for Ron. I asked many of them, and sent the rest to his staff for them to answer. Here's the first in a series answers to those questions.

When is the CTA store reopening? (From Rhiakell.) The CTA announced today they are outsourcing the former Gift Express program to Image Exchange, who is running CTAGifts.com. The Tribune reported:

In the deal with Image Exchange Inc., a New York company, the CTA will be paid royalties based on a percentage of sales, officials said. The royalties will be 10 percent the first year and 12 percent in subsequent years, officials said.  "This is not a huge revenue source, but we are not overlooking any source of raising funds," said CTA President Ron Huberman.

When three-tracking is over, will the Purple Line return to being routed around the inner Loop? (From Paul.) Simple answer: Yes, said Huberman. The three-tracking will end before the end of this year.

Will the CTA please start using their Twitter account to announce system problem? Will the CTA please update their website and/or Twitter account QUICKLY when there is a customer alert? (From Bryan.) In this case, it's CTA Tattler and my brother Dan who stepped up and created the Twitter account -- ctatweet -- with help from Harper Reed. The CTA contributes alert information through our Upoc group, and we port that over to Twitter. So all you have to do is monitor the Twitter ctatweet feed or check the site.

"I recommend permanently shuttering the Wellington Brown Line stop." (From the Doc.) Won't happen. Ron said the stop will reopen as scheduled by Dec. 31, 2009.

More to come. . . .

Comments

The original Transit Tee was created by a cool company called Tattooed Tees. They are local (Chicago) and created the first subway shirts back in 2000.

"The original Transit Tee was created by a cool company called Tattooed Tees. They are local (Chicago) and created the first subway shirts back in 2000." Little Steven

Sorry, Steven, transit tees have been around for years - even before the CTA started selling them again in October 1997.

Thanks for asking my question. Ron's answer was not unexpected, but I'd like to hear the rationale behind keeping it open, considering:

1)There are stops within 2 blocks in both directions, and I can't imagine any reduction in ridership numbers for a sliver of the population that will be required to walk an extra 1/8 mile to arrive at Belmont or Diversey. Considering the gaps between some stops, which exceed a mile at some points, it's a head scratcher.

2) Fewer stops means faster travel times, and perhaps even additional runs over the course of the day. While the net gain might be nominal, it's still something.

3) Elimination of personnel, maintenance, and utility costs associated with this stop.

I understand that the Wellington stop was historically more significant, perhaps due to its proximity to Advocate Medical Center. But it seems less relevant now, and if there aren't any other compelling reasons for the station, Ron's answer needs to address the rationale for keeping Wellington in operation.

Doc: The reason he stated for keeping Wellington open is because the hospital is right there.

[Ron said the stop will reopen as scheduled by Dec. 31, 2009.]

This is not actually "as scheduled." All of the customer alerts regarding the Wellington station, including the one put out just yesterday, say the station is closed thru "Summer 2009."

http://tinyurl.com/brownline

Thanks for asking my question. I did feel a little dumb when I checked the CTA site on Monday and ctagifts.com was up and running. I am a bit bummed that the system maps the display in the trains are no longer for sale, I guess I should have bought one when I had the chance.

When it comes to merchandise with CTA-generated artwork, what's the rule on someone using it? I would think it would be prohibited since the signage and stuff was created inhouse at the CTA. I wondered about it when I read this story on Chicagoist (http://chicagoist.com/2008/09/26/cta_your_face.php) It was obviously not a recreation but an actual piece of a CTA map. Are the Transit Tees authorized by the CTA? As a designer, even for the CTA, I'd be a little pissed if someone were taking my work and making money off of it. Is the CTA losing out on some much needed cash or is it that they don't care?

Also, the Wellington station serves about a million people a year (when it's not under construction, of course) - a number comparable to the Sedgwick stop and not much less than the Western and Kimball stops, for that matter.

I'd like a set of the "Don't be Jack" posters myself.

Besides, if you want a map, I think that the current way to get one is to remove it from a train :)

I bought mine at the CTA store when they had them, BTW :)

KevinB

I agree that we need to close Wellington. Belmont isn't nearly crowded enough.

[Considering the gaps between some stops, which exceed a mile at some points, it's a head scratcher.]

I'm not sure how this is relevant. Should we use the Dan Ryan or O'Hare extension branches as a model for Lincoln Park/Lakeview? Those places are much less densely populated than the Diversey/Wellington/Belmont stretch.

If there are places that are as densely populated but with L stops a mile apart, that's an indication that we need to add stops in those places - right now - not that we need to remove them from other places.

How about a set of Customer Service Assistant Inaction figures for the gift store?

They could be completely rigid and unbendable and you could push the Securitas logo on the inaction figure's arm to hear the following statements:

1) "It must be your card. Something's wrong with your card. It's not the machine."

2) "They didn't tell me anything about a track fire."

3) "Are you arguing with me?"

NB: Apologies to the customer service assistants at Montrose and Adams. Who were very helpful in the past 6 months. Unfortunately, they're the exception not the rule.

I was also someone who thought that the Wellington stop seems a bit extraneous. That was until I had to go to the ER on Sunday and walked from Belmont to the hospital. That was a long walk to be in pain and scared.

Oh my God, Martha, yes! I want those action figures. Can we get the ones that are able to be thrown against walls and such without being damaged? That would be heavenly.

Get your CTA maps (gently used) from the Illinois Railway Museum:

http://www.irm.org/about/ctasigns.html

Wellington's proximity to the hospital is a good reason to keep it. But it's more than just that.

Anytime you decide to close a stop, whether it's an El stop or even a bus stop, you either change the way people move around in the vicinity of the stop, or you're reacting to changes that have already occured.

Stop closures should be in reaction to changes, not the cause of change.

It's basically the same principle as we've been discussing about converting parking and traffic lanes to lanes that allow buses to speed through the neighborhood. Speeding people past a neighborhood shouldn't take precidence over the well being of the neighborhood.

There's no pressing need to eliminate the stop at Wellington. Providing marginally faster service to people from the neighborhoods beyond Wellington is not sufficient justiication, especially when only one of three lines stop there already.

There have been plenty of stops eliminated from the Ravenswood branch in the last 40 years. Lots of neighborhoods that are no longer served. Some of those stops were eliminated in response to changes, but others caused changes in those neighborhoods. The Ravenswood branch was never intended to be an express train. It was originally built to serve *all* of the neighborhoods it passed through. Poor urban planning changed that.

And while I can understand why people who don't care about the neighborhoods the line passes through would want a faster ride past these neighborhoods, that's not a good enough reason to snub those neighborhoods.

um, yeah. don't close wellington. i do quite a few things at the hospital, and it's really nice not to have to walk the extra two blocks, esp. when winter's coming. drat.

yeah, the illinois railway museum!! i bought a huge red line sign, a cta map, and a washington sign. lots of people ask me if i stole them. nope, they're legit!

also, i hope the cta just leaves well enough alone with the other crafty people who do stuff with their stuff. i haven't been to the new cta store, but i've seen more cta stuff at craft fairs and such over the years than the cta ever had available.

and 'don't be jack!' i always said they should sell a set of those. i have a few from a cta employee, but i know i'm missing some.

Personally, I think they should sell the steel pipe railing around the South East stairs to the Clark/Division subway station.
If they don't, some metal picker will just be able to lift it up by next spring & put it into his pickup truck, as most of the pipes are rusted away at the base. One more winter of city salt dumping should finish the job.
Of course, I'm sure the CTA will replace this, probably after someone leans against it, the railing collapses & a couple of people fall into the stairway & get hurt.

Many of you bring up salient points, and I'll state for the record that I do live in the neighborhood of the Wellington stop. Foremost in my mind is the notion that the adjacent stops, Belmont especially, are quite crowded.

But is that a function of the Wellington station's closure, or the notion that there are fewer train runs due to three-tracking? Belmont would be hit especially hard since both the Red and Brown line serve this stop.

Closing the Wellington stop will certainly not affect the neighborhood in any meaningful way, considering that it's very well served by transit irrespective of the Wellington stop.

I'll reiterate that access to Advocate via the Belmont or Diversey stops would mean, in a worse-case scenario, that an individual would need to travel no more than 1/8 mile to the hospital. I'm not advocating (pun intended) for those who are injured or ill to walk any more the absolutely necessary, but if your situation is such that that extra 1/8 mile would exacerbate your health, perhaps calling 911 instead of using the CTA is the right call here.

I'm not suggesting wholesale changes of the Brown Line station network. We all know that's beyond impractical for a myriad of reasons. But considering the agency is under immense cost operational pressures, in addition to aging equipment, crumbling infrastructure, and severly underfunded pension obligations, the return on investment may be well worth it.

[I'm not advocating (pun intended) for those who are injured or ill to walk any more the absolutely necessary...]

But ... that's exactly what you're doing!

Besides which, the point is also that the hospital is a major employment center.

And also that, as noted, it's a busy stop! And surrounded by two other busy stops, no less.

Again, the issue is NOT that there are two other nearby stops. The point is the large number of people who live, work, and otherwise commute in the area. If no one used it, no one would be arguing with you. There need to be more stops because there are more people!

Rusty - First, I agree with your reasoning here on this one. The north side's density means that getting people onto the train and to their destination trumps getting people who live farther away to that destination as fast as possible.

And lots and lots of people use Wellington every day and millions were just spent completely renovating it. Wondering whether it should just close is kind of a moot point.

That being said, I want to correct your facts: No stations on the Ravenswood branch have been closed in the last 40 years. Only one stop closed, and that was 60 years ago in 1949: the stop called "Ravenswood" at Ravenswood and Wilson.

But maybe you were talking about the whole brown line? In that case, you'd be correct. 1949 also saw the close of stations at Wrightwood, Webster, Willow, Halsted (replaced by North/Clybourn), Larrabee/Ogden, Schiller, Division, Oak and Grand.

Again, I'm not disagreeing with you, I'm just being a smarty-pants :D

But can you imagine having, e.g. a stop in-between Armitage and Fullerton? Three in-between Chicago and Sedgwick?? That must've been a maddeningly long commute, even with express trains. But, that was when the El was new, and most people didn't own cars and had to take the El anytime they wanted to travel anywhere.

The time that people should have been debating whether Wellington should be elimated was well before the brown line contruction project began. Obviously they are not going to eliminate a stop just after reconstructing it (or in the middle of doing so). I absolutely agree it should not have been reconstructed. That is the one and only station on the line that the CTA should have just demolished and not rebuilt. The money saved could have been used to build a station somewhere where there actually is a strong need to do so, such as the green line between Ashland and Western or in the South Loop around 18th street. There is so much density in those places that it is pretty unbelievable that there is not stop nearby. Wellington is within a two to three minute walk from both of its neighboring stations. So what if the hospital is right there. Those people can walk two to three minutes too. If people think that somehow this would prevent very sick people from getting transportation after they are discharged, bear in mind that hospitals don't generally even allow patients to use public transit when they leave after being treated for anything remotely significant. So that argument doesn't fly. Yes, it would do damage to the businesses around the stop (of course, there are only around two or three of them). I have been one of the people who has argued many times here for taking into account the effects of policy on businesses. However, it goes way too far to not make a change simply because some businesses would be hurt. And a new CTA stop in the south or west loop would spur business development around there. Of course, all this discussion is academic since I don't think anyone seriously debated it until it was way too late.

Well, the "Brown Line" is something new. I said the "Ravenswood Line" because that's what it was called from the Loop all the way out to Kimbal.

I guess you were right, it was all the way back in '49 that the stations I was thinking of were closed. Through so much of my life that area was a wasteland that there was no need to stop in, but at one time (as they're once again becoming) they were vibrant neighborhoods, not just an area that no one wanted nor needed to stop in.

Remember the old A-B stop system? I know it was confusing to the brain-dead, but I think it was a good idea, and a fairly easy way to give some relief to long-distance commuters without being an adverse impact on the neighborhoods served.

As times and traffic patterns changed, some rebalancing needed to be done, but it didn't need to be tossed away completely.

You know, even though from some perspectives, the whole purpose of transit, including the CTA, is to rush people to the Loop in the morning, and to the outer fringes of the city in the afternoon, there are plenty of people who's start and end points don't fall into that category.

Good urban growth policy doesn't encourage sprawl by auto or by mass transit. From both an environmental and an economic standpoint, comuting uses up resources, and creates polution. Wouldn't it be better if people thought about either working closer to where they live, or living closer to where they work than thinking up ways to speed through the multitude of neighborhoods that may fall between the two places?

MK, I like reading what you have to say, but have you ever considered paragraph breaks in your comments? It would make your thoughts a lot easier to read.

Thanks for the suggestion. I don't do very many paragraph breaks because I generally assume that I will write less than I end up doing. By the way, I meant Clinton and Ashland on the green line rather than Ashland and Western.

Hospital or no, if the brown line were being designed today and the decision had been made to put stops at Belmont and Diversey, no transit planner would ever put a station at Wellington.

If you had money to build a station from the ground up (which is more or less the task at this point), surely putting a station somewhere in the middle of the 1 mile stretch between Sedgwick and Chicago would generate more ridership than putting a station in the middle of the 1/4 mile stretch between Belmont and Diversey. The area is certainly at least as dense, population-wise.

But then again, those people between Chicago and Sedgwick only have to walk an extra 1/2 mile to get to the train, so yes let's put a new station at Wellington.

Let's be real: Inertia and a desire not to rock the boat is the only reason the CTA is keeping a station at Wellington.

The southern tip of the Belmont platform will be, what, 500-600 feet from the northern tip of the Wellington platform?

Sorry, it's 1/2 mile between Diversey and Belmont, of course. Still.

Well, the A-B skip-stop pre-dates my tenure in Chicago, but I'm skeptical. I've never seen any data comparing whether it was faster than current service (i.e. making all stops) or not. It seems like skipping stops would make travel times feel faster once you'd get on the train, but you'd also have longer wait times at your station if only every other train stopped there. To say nothing of running up the stairs to the platform only to find that that train's skipping you :-)

And I agree with you re: sprawl. Chicago's ability to expand in three directions has made suburban sprawl easy and as such, plentiful. New York was lucky in some ways in that it had to expand up instead of out, and so it stayed really urban and has a pretty dense and comprehensive system of trains while those of us in Chicago who don't live close to El stations are stuck in traffic, whether in cars or on the bus. Sucks.

I am just old enough to remember riding the A-B skip stop trains. If you were lucky, your origin and destination stations were both ALL stop stations. In those cases, such as Loyola to Washington (yes the destoyed stop) was almost always less than 25 minutes. You could ride either an A or B train and skip maybe 5-6 stops in route. It helped quite a bit with travel times on the north branch of Red since all the close spaced stops slow the trips down. I remember the trains really picking up some speed passing stations like Berwyn or Argyle. I remember slowing down to maybe 25mph going express past a station then quickly going back up to full speed. YES I would fully support bringing back A-B rush hour service on the North red line.

When Wellington was built, it made perfect sense planning-wise, because there was also a station at Wrightwood and Webster and Halsted, meaning stops every 2 blocks. When those others was closed, now Wellington is an anomaly, but a busy and well-used anomaly nonetheless, which probably won't be closed.

They should replace the Division station though, IMO. But South Loop definitely has priority.

I agree that south loop has priority - where the Brown Line crosses Division (at Orleans), there is a Red Line station at Clark/Division only four short blocks to the east, and so a LOT more development will need to happen (and some is indeed happening) west of the Orleans and Clybourn area to justify another El stop.

And as I said in an earlier comment, almost a million people a year use Wellington, which is more than most of the Brown Line stations north of Belmont, and pretty extraordinary considering that there is no Wellington St. bus for riders to transfer to. So, it's here to stay, and for plenty of good reasons.

Closing stops is a non-starter after the fiasco that was the Green Line reconstruction.

Think Wellington is egregious? How about Kostner on the Pink Line?

While we're on the subject of Brown Line stations, I wonder if there was ever any talk during the reconstruction's planning stages of moving the Paulina stop to Ashland. Paulina's awfully close to both the Addison stop and Ashland Ave., and Ashland makes a lot more sense as a transfer point than Lincoln - which street also crosses Addison near its station, as well. Oh, well, champagne wishes, caviar (pipe) dreams, the deed is done.

====
Hospital or no, if the brown line were being designed today and the decision had been made to put stops at Belmont and Diversey, no transit planner would ever put a station at Wellington.
====

I'd suggest that if they were designing it from scratch today that Belmont and Diversey would be eliminated, and all three lines would stop at Wellington.

But we'd both be guessing, because if the lines and their stations had not been there influencing the neighborhoods for the last 100 years, who knows what would or wouldn't be in the area.

While 20 or 30 years ago, transit planners were inclined to space stations much further apart, they also weren't giving much consideration to the neighborhoods being (dis)served. The mathematics of station spacing became more important than the social-economic factors.

====
Closing stops is a non-starter after the fiasco that was the Green Line reconstruction.
====

The Green Line reconstruction took place as we were reaching a turning point in urban planning. While many of the protests hit at the emotional aspects of station closures, they were very right.

It almost reminds me of how so many small towns in America had to fight to get an exit off the Interstate highways that destroyed their farmland in the 60s, and were originally planned to not even serve the people making the sacrafices.

Maybe in a few more years people will start to understand that it wasn't WalMart that destroyed the small towns, but rather it was a badly planned Interstate system that didn't respect the towns it zipped past.

Likewise I think it would be a big mistake to close El stations that serve their neighborhoods just because a few people on the train want a faster ride to some far-flung location.

Wellington serves an important purpose. If it's too close to Belmont, then maybe Belmont should be closed.

If that doesn't make any sense, I'd have to agree -- even though someone put Belmont too close to Wellington.

Of course the real answer here is that Wellington's proximity to Belmont is irrelevant. Unless it's close enough that they could join the two platforms, and just stop the trains halfway between the two, it's not "too close". What is relevent is that they serve two distinct, seperate purposes, both valid.

Why does the purple line need to stop at wellington? The line was meant to serve areas far to the north, yet crowds of people getting off on the near north side take up all of the seats during the peak of rush hour.

=============================
Unless it's close enough that they could join the two platforms, and just stop the trains halfway between the two, it's not "too close".
===========================

Hey why not? Medical District exits (almost 2000ft!)are well beyond the distance that Belmont-Wellington (~1200ft)would have to cover; Logan Square even, while not quite that far at its exits, may be a comparable distance (~900ft). Each of these stations serves a very different neighborhood and purpose however. That post just caught my eye...

[Why does the purple line need to stop at wellington? The line was meant to serve areas far to the north, yet crowds of people getting off on the near north side take up all of the seats during the peak of rush hour.]

Kind of answering your own question, aren't you?

"I agree that south loop has priority - where the Brown Line crosses Division (at Orleans), there is a Red Line station at Clark/Division only four short blocks to the east, and so a LOT more development will need to happen (and some is indeed happening) west of the Orleans and Clybourn area to justify another El stop."

Division is not in the south loop.

Where the brown line crosses Division is about 1/3 of a mile from the red line Division station. That's considerably more than the distance between Wellington and Belmont. Aside from the significant density near Division, there's significant development in the area. Does anyone see them tearing down those pretty little buildings around Wellington to build taller, denser ones? Not likely.

"And as I said in an earlier comment, almost a million people a year use Wellington."

Yes, you've repeated that several times now as if it's impressive. Even assuming that that's entirely on weekdays, that's less than 4000 people per weekday.

Oh yeah:

"And lots and lots of people use Wellington every day and millions were just spent completely renovating it."

For all the millions they've spent renovating it, I must say, it doesn't look all that impressive at the moment!

"Likewise I think it would be a big mistake to close El stations that serve their neighborhoods just because a few people on the train want a faster ride to some far-flung location."

I don't think that the argument is all that strong that Wellington should be closed in order to create a faster commute. However, the reality is that is not the argument. Wellington, like most of the brown line stations, was closed anyway and completely rebuilt (or in this specific case, it is currently in the process of being rebuilt). This costs money. The question should have been asked whether it really would have been worth it to rebuild Wellington. Or would it have made more sense to have used that money to build a station some place that is dreamatically underserved? For example, there is the area between Clinton and Ashland on the green/pink lines that have an enormous gap without a station. This is a very dense area, probably more dense than anywhere on the Brown line north of Fullerton. There is currently some discussion about adding a station there but it appears that it will be a few years at minimum before they find the money. Yet they are spending the money to reconstruct a station that obviuously they would never have built if they were starting from scratch today. If you are going to build the best transit system as possible, sometimes you have to make sacrifices. Yet this idea was apparently never considered because the CTA had a stratagy of wanting everything and not giving anything up.

"Wellington serves an important purpose. If it's too close to Belmont, then maybe Belmont should be closed.

If that doesn't make any sense, I'd have to agree -- even though someone put Belmont too close to Wellington.

Of course the real answer here is that Wellington's proximity to Belmont is irrelevant. Unless it's close enough that they could join the two platforms, and just stop the trains halfway between the two, it's not "too close". What is relevent is that they serve two distinct, seperate purposes, both valid."

I don't understand what you mean. Wellington and Belmont (and Diversey) both serve the purpose of providing transit service to the people who live, work, and shop in the area. Wellington is within two or three blocks from both Belmont and Diversey. The people who use the station do not have a major inconvenience walking to the other two stations. It adds at most three minutes to their commuting time (and only that much if they live exactly halfway between Belmont and Diversey). The money being used to rebuild Wellington should have instead been used for something else.

I don't think we should eliminate any stops at this point, just add them. Hopefully we can figure out a way to do so.

I think the South Loop station is more needed than the green line one being mentioned, since the Green line area is less dense and is mostly built up on the north side of the tracks. Although the area is coming around and one will be needed there eventually.

On a related note, I think the Green line has some perception issues. I have heard from several people that they don't like taking the green line to work since they think it is all bums and unsavory types. I can understand this rationale, but I hardly feel this is the case during the weekday rush periods. I'm not sure which line is the least used but I have to think it is the Green Line (not counting the Yellow) since it doesn't service an airport, has lost a # of stations in the recent past, and the neighborhoods it serves are no longer as dense or as prosperous as they used to be.

[Kind of answering your own question, aren't you?]

Huh? The purple line is called the Evanston Express for a reason, and not because it's express. (track 4 is mostly slow zones) If the purple line skipped stops between sedgewick and belmont, then there would no issues finding seats on purple line trains.

Any discussion of the green line (no matter what about it you are discussing) has to seperate the western branch from the southern branch. They go through two very different areas of the city. The fact that the same equipment operates through these areas should not cause people to generalize it as the same line. Nobody ever refers to the red line to mean both the northern and southern half (unless they are talking specifically about the line).

If anybody thinks that either branch of the green line is "all bums and unsavory types" most likely is pretty simple-minded. They may also have some issues with classism or racism. The western branch of the green line goes through an area with many condos, through some low-income neighborhoods and then to Oak Park, an upper middle class suburb. The southern green line goes through areas of all income levels. And contrary to what some people believe, not everybody who is poor is a bum or unsavory type. In fact, it is a pretty small minority.

"Huh? The purple line is called the Evanston Express for a reason, and not because it's express. (track 4 is mostly slow zones) If the purple line skipped stops between sedgewick and belmont, then there would no issues finding seats on purple line trains."

Reuban,

Are you really as clueless as you are making it seem? Each purple line train has around one-fifth the amount of passengers as each brown line train. This is despite the fact that it runs around one fifth as often, has two fewer cars, and not all of the brown line stations are even open right now. You might be aware that the there is millions of dollers currently being spent to allow each brown line station to accomadate the amount of passengers that use the line. Someone who is riding the purple line should not be complaining about not finding seats. Imagine if you actually commuted on the brown line, red line, or blue line. You would probably be having a heart attack since you are complaining about crowds on the purple line. It is pretty bizarre to suggest that they skip stops on a line that isn't remotely close to capacity in order to encourage people to use a line that is at capacity. It never ceases to amaze me how it doesn't occur to so many people that the best thing to do is not always what benefits them.

Reuben-

You asked why the Purple Line stops at Wellington. Then you mentioned the "crowds of people" that get off at Wellington. The presence of "crowds of people" is precisely the reason why the Purple Line stops at Wellington.

Hope that clears things up.

It seems to me the whole discussion of whether or not to add a station is beside the point. Good urban planning creates many flexible transit pathways (see New York Subway) with transfers to different endpoints. The ideal answer to this is yes, kill wellington and then create another subway line running through the community with transfer points at Belmont. Of course thats a pipe dream, but thats the real answer.

"Why does the purple line need to stop at wellington? The line was meant to serve areas far to the north, yet crowds of people getting off on the near north side take up all of the seats during the peak of rush hour."

Ah, Reuben's one of those Purple Line riders who would like to see it go express from his stop in Evanston to the stop closest to his office. Life isn't fair sometimes Reuben. But hey, at least take heart in the fact that your train bypasses all of us dirty people in Rogers Park and Edgewater. Unfortunately, Chicago has no real express trains -- and never will.

Were the brown line stations that bad that they needed to rebuild all of them? Belmont and Fullerton are a joke. Only difference is that they now include elevators and poorly designed heat lamp areas. Waste $$$

irk said: "Division is not in the south loop."

Clearly. I was, perhaps, unclear. I meant that a new station in the south loop should get priority over a new station on the Brown Line at Division. I don't believe that area is dense enough to warrant a second station, and it's close enough to Clark/Division, that the red and brown lines would be competing for the same passengers, who'd be going in basically the same directions (north side or loop).

And I do think Wellington's ridership numbers are impressive. It's busier than most brown line stops north of Belmont despite its proximity to the Belmont station, and despite the fact that it's not directly served by a bus route. I think that's fair to point out when people are talking about closing it. So :-P

Perhaps Rueben would prefer riding Metra, since it will never stop at Wellington.

While I too would prefer to have a subway stop in the basement of my building with a train that arrives when I go down there that runs express to my workplace, I understand that this isn't a cost-effective way to get massive numbers of people to their workplaces.

The main problem with transit in Chicago is that the rail lines were built thousands of years ago when transit needs were very different than today and the system hasn't been updated to reflect the changes that have occurred over time. If the rail lines were being built today, the system would probably look far different that what we have today.

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