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Happy Fourth! And no bikes on the trains!

That's the key message from the CTA for the big fireworks night -- which is actually July Third, not the Fourth. Don't bring any bikes on trains on July 3.

In my carefree youth, I actually used to go hear the Grant Park Symphony play Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, and watch the fireworks with a million other people.

And then I got wiser. And older. And lost patience with CTA neophytes who clogged stations so that lines to the Red Line were spilling up the stairs and onto State Street.

But hey, don't let me stop you. Just don't bring any bikes on the train.

The other big news to remember is that starting Tuesday, July 8, the CTA closes the Rosemont to O'Hare leg of the Blue Line for three weeks of slow zone improvements. Shuttle buses will be available.

Oh, and the Tattler will be resting independently on Friday. Check in again Monday for more fun!

Comments

So, I'm sure everybody here has their fingers ready, waiting to type out the latest OUTRAGE that the CTA has committed when it comes to transporting gigantic crowds of people all gathered in the same spot. When things get slow, it'll obviously be the CTA's fault -- I can't wait to see what you guys come up with!

If you time it right, you can actually make it out alive and onto a train with limited anguish. It's an amazing sight though watching hoards of people swarm west into the loop. If you're anywhere higher than street level facing the lake, it looks like a scene out of a doomsday movie.

I'm tentatively planning on starting my Brown Line trip home at Washington/Wells. I wonder how many people have the same idea. If it's totally swamped, I've also thought of hitting Merchandise Mart going south.

Why is it that the only days I actually want to bring my bike on the train I can't?

So, any predictions as to what will go wrong tonight? Come up with your best ideas! I am predicting that a train will stall or maybe just stop for no apparent reason somewhere, causing people to self-evacuate after waiting a half-hour or so with no communication from CTA staff. It'll be a glorious mess that'll make headlines around the country and maybe the world. Hopefully, it'll torpedo the Olympics bid once and for all.

As always we can be sure that it will only be a "minor inconvenience" like last year, so take heart and "In Ron we Trust".

I'll be watching the festivities from my roof and forgoing the mass mess over the weekend...

Happy 4th everyone!


KevinB

No, ebob, we want the Olympics, as that will force Little King Richie to fix the CTA.
Nothing else will, except for the possibility of $10 gas!

Aw, c'mon guys, wouldn't it be a swell deviation from the recent norm to wake up tomorrow and see a headline that read: "CTA carries largest passenger load of the year and nothing: a)derailed, b)stopped unexpectedly on the tracks, c)crashed, d)hit someone"?

If you're anywhere higher than street level facing the lake, it looks like a scene out of a doomsday movie.

Cloverfield

So, any predictions as to what will go wrong tonight? Come up with your best ideas!
Something involving the subway I'll guess. Power outage, broken train holding up everything, maybe even a shooting (there was one on the July 3 celebration near the Taste grounds a few years ago, wasn't there?). The trains will be backed up in either direction and the CTA will "rush" to get shuttle buses to move the rest of the people. There'll be mass confusion, heightened tempers, rampant rumors of a derailment in the tunnel, cats and dogs living together... oh, sorry.

>>cats and dogs living together... oh, sorry.

this city is head for a disaster of biblical proportions!

mass hysteria!

real old testament stuff :0


I actually don't think much will happen. I think by now Ron knows that if he has another fiasco the Mayor will have his head on a spit (or the Picasso) in Daley Plaza.

CTA: Feel free to prove me wrong :)

KevinB

Not only no bikes on trains, but I was shot down trying to park my bike on the racks inside the Bryn Mawr Red Line stop today (as I do almost every other day of the year).

The attendant was quite rude about it. When I asked for some clarification as to why I couldn't park my bike here when they're worried all of the people far away in the Loop, she treated me as if I'd been acting unruly.

KevinB - maybe we can located the Stay-Puft Man to bail us out... just in case

Lackadaisy - it's this kind of unexplained rule enforcement that really needs to be worked on at the CTA. Fine, I can't park my bike here or board this particular train, etc. but at least f*cking tell me why. YOu're not some army colonel on a top secret missing. YOu're a public servant. So start SERVING.

FYI- There is a Sox game tonight that will probably end around the same time the fireworks end. It's not going to be pretty...

What an outrage the the system wasn't built specifically to handle fireworks night. They knew this would happen every year, so why they didn't plan better for it I don't understand.

All the lines should go closer to the lakefront, and there should be a huge train yard built there so they can park enough trains to just load them up, one after the other, and then head express to those stations with park and ride lots for all the suburbanites to use.

Hopefully tonight will teach them a lesson, and they'll rebuild the whole system to serve the Olympic games because after all, they last longer than one night. They'll need that infrastructure for a couple of weeks!

I'm sure there's plenty of money for it, too. They can always take it away from projects that only are needed every day by people going about their normal lives. Normal lives should never take priority over these special events.

(I sure hope the sarcasm came out in my last post. But if anyone's brain is only on half-speed today, maybe I should explicitly point out that I was being totally sarcastic.)

Rusty:

Finally an idea we can get behind! What a system that would be!!
I think the CTA should invest all money into matter transporters, like on Star Trek. That sure would be more
1. On Time
2. Clean
3. Safe
4. Friendly

Screw the matter transporters, I just want a holodeck, so then I won't care about getting to work anymore and I can live in my perfect world until I starve to death cause I was having so much fun I forgot to eat :)

KevinB

I'd have you know that teleportation is one of the potential solutions for three-track delays. just thought you'd be interested to hear. :)

I'd prefer some sort of private transportation tube that connects my home to wherever I want to go. Yeah, a series of pnuematic (sp?) tubes. Can the CTA come up with enough colors for all the private tube lines they're going to have to build?

Anti-social: that's how I roll

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Anti-social: that's how I roll
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Nothing like the thought of trains packed with once-a-year riders to stir-up those anti-social feelings, heh?

I don't know if they'll actually be doing this, but it would be quite easy for the CTA to stage a number of 8-car Red Line trains and not interrupt operations. Since there are 2 entrances to the subway, 1 is always out of revenue service. Looking at Google Maps, I'd estimate 1 or 2 trains could be stored on the 18th street curve, with another 1 or two stored on the alley portal under the Green/Orange. Sure, it would require some unusual switching, but nothing that the CTA hasn't been doing every weekend with the Red running over the top.

Actually, what they should do is stage a Brown Line train (or two) on the 18th street curve, and a Red Line train (or two) in the alley portal. Then after the fireworks end, these trains can immediately go into service empty, where they're needed most, and weren't disrupting any revenue service while staged.

How would trains staged south of downtown help all the people going to 95th? Or do only northsiders matter?

You know, Rusty's comment just inspired me to look at a map of the city, and he's right! There's a whole bunch of it south of downtown!

Is this where the 'White Sox' (sp?) play?

You caught me, lol. However, I never said which direction the trains were to run in once going into service. Though that is a cop-out, and I did forget about Southbound trains initially. However, NB trains will probably be the most crowded downtown, considering the ill-timed ending of the Sox game tonight.

Actually, I suppose staging trains isn't really necessary off-peak...they can just send more trains in service from the yard. I retract my comment.

Actually Rusty only Northsiders do matter.

Northside Sox fans rock!!! But seriously.... Earlier today I was positing to a friend who lives in Schaumburg and never uses transit that CTA management and operations staff probably held some sort of seance and/or Romans-going-into-battle thing this afternoon where they sacrificed stuff, burned things and prayed to the rail and bus gods to ensure that they will be victorious tonight. My friend thought I was nuts. Maybe I am; maybe I'm not.

Martha:

I heard that one of Rons new hires is a Voodoo Priestess who also does Powerpoint. It seems she is able to target an individual by doing a Powerpoint presentation about them.

I've been worried ever since Kevin put my picture in the Tattler...

KevinB

Sox fans are kind of lame in general. North Side Sox fans are even worse..

I was somehow completely oblivious to the fact that no bikes were allowed on July 3. However, the station attendant at the Damen blue line actually unlocked the gate at about 11:30 pm to allow my bike through, so I thought I was good to go. However, when I tried to transfer at Clark/Lake to the orange line, the cavalry came out to get me, so I rode home instead (Pulaski orange line). Oh well, my husband took the train and I still beat him home.)

one more thing--the thing that kills me about the "no bikes on july 3" policy is that it seems to me that a million people with double-wide strollers, lawn chairs, and coolers has to be more dangerous than a couple of bikes...

Umm, who said anything about danger? What on earth makes you think that is why they ban bikes on July 3rd? I always love when people try to argue something by pointing out the falseness of the other side's supposed reasoning when in reality it is not their reasoning. Obviously, bikes are banned on July 3rd (just as rush hour) because of the huge amount of passengers who are using the system. When you take a bike on the train during times when they are at capacity, you are preventing around six people from boarding the train. And when you take it on a bus you are delaying the huge amount of people who are riding it. When there are hundreds of thousands of people riding the system in just a few hours, it is important for it to operate
efficiantely.

While it's true that strollers, coolers, picnic baskets, and a lot of the paraphanilia brought by the revelers takes up extra room just like a bike does, the difference is that when they refuse someone passage, if they have a cooler, they can't use it as an alternative to riding the train. Nor are there cooler racks where they can park the cooler, and come back for it at the end of the night.

Also, all that paraphanilia brought by the revelers only looks like a lot becuase usually one unlucky guy gets to carry most of it. When you divide the load over the whole party, it's usually less than a bike.

And frankly, it's one night. If someone can't plan around it for one night, that's a pretty inflexible stand for someone who lives in the city. After all, a lot of living in the city is about making compromises to keep from killing all those other idiots who are always in close proximity.

And frankly, who really wants to take their bike on a crowded train? Not necessarily because you don't want to accidently hurt someone else, but because you don't want people that close to your bike!

I could do a Powerpoint presentation to demonstrate how to sacrifice a goat so that baseball team could actually win a World Series more than once a century.

So I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but nothing seems to have gone wrong last night, CTA-wise.

Instead, some people got shot.

>>Instead, some people got shot.

Yeah, that's sad.

I'm sure that somehow the Mayor will spin this on his legal gun ownership ban crusade.

Ever notice how the logic breaks down?

Criminals don't buy guns legally...that's why they are criminals. I'm not an NRA guy, but don't you think a thief would be less likely to break into a house if he's knows the owner is likely to be packin?

KevinB

I'm sure that relatively handgun owners constantly keep their guns within reach and possess Jack Bauer-like reflexes and presence of mind. In reality, I assume that the majority of personal firearms amount to yet another thing for the robber to steal.

relatively FEW

My first summer in Chicago, 2001, I was doing intern work with the Grant Park Symphony. Coming from small city Canada, I didn't know what to expect on July 3rd. The music and fireworks were so exciting, I was tears (I have this weird thing for fireworks to begin with). I couldn't believe I was one of 1 million people out to take in the festivities. The closest I'd ever come to being close to 1 million people was visiting Montreal and Toronto. Then, after finishing up my work after the concert, the adventure started- getting home on the redline. For me, it was just that, an adventure and thankfully a safe one. Walking to the station and waiting and finally getting on a train with thousands of other people trying to do the same thing made me feel like I belonged in Chicago. Years later, I don't know if I'd necessarily want to repeat the CTA ride home again, but at the time it was part of the overall experience of being in the big city.

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don't you think a thief would be less likely to break into a house if he's knows the owner is likely to be packin?
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In a word, no.

1. A burglar doesn't want to bump into the resident, armed or unarmed.

2. Someone breaking in to harm the resident is just going to escallate their preperation.

And what are the chances that your average resident walks around their house with their gun on their person, ready to defend themselves? Who does that besides people who are *expecting* someone to break in to harm them. (Examples: Drug dealers, and parinoid schitophrincs.)

I don't think gun control works for the same reasons why prohibition didn't work: There's too big of an underground culture, there's too many people who'll aid and abet that culture, and law enforcement is largely ineffective in enforcing the laws.

On the other hand, it is sometimes easier to prosecute a gun violation than the crime committed with the gun. Sort of like getting Al Cappone on violating tax laws rather than on the crimes committed that precipitated the tax law violations.

The problem is that for some people, gun laws have become such a polarizing issue that they refuse to even consider any logical compromises. Too many people are locked into a all-or-nothing position that it doesn't matter how many moderate people want to have unemotional, logical discussions on the issue.

Oh, and by the way, if I were to want to get myself an unregistered gun, if I knew someone owned a gun, I'd break into their home while they're out in order to steal their gun. So I would be MORE likely to break into a house if I knows the resident owns a gun! (For the record, I don't want an unregistered gun, so you're safe from me. But there are others out there who do want one.)

And you'd think an armed policeman would be able to use his gun to protect himself from an unarmed woman too, right? Yet there's a dead Chicago cop who lost out in just that situation this week. So why do people think they'll be able to protect themselves from a burglar in the middle of the night when they're groggy and the burglar probably has a lot more experience with a gun than the homeowner? My opinion: there's going to be a lot of people shot with their own guns as a result of the recent (not-so-)supreme court decision.

"And you'd think an armed policeman would be able to use his gun to protect himself from an unarmed woman too, right? Yet there's a dead Chicago cop who lost out in just that situation this week. "

Umm, that was the first time a cop was shot to death while on duty since 2002. Don't you think that six years of armed cops completely deterring people from killing them with guns might count for something? Not to you apparently. Instead you take one incident and act as if it is the norm. Somehow you draw the bizarre conclusion that because one cop got killed a few days ago it means that it is not effective for the police to carry guns. I think even the most ardent supporters of gun control would find your conclusion insane. Even they are not against the police being armed. I don't know whether the supreme court decision will increase or decrease crime. I don't live in the inner city so I really would not be able to have an informed opinion about that. But to suggest that it is not effective for the police to have guns is truly insane.

Segue from the gun discussion (pretty atrocious and stupid for someone to bring out a weapon in front of a million witnesses), but did anyone else see Ron Huberman at their train stops? I got off the Red Line at Jackson and he was helping direct passenger traffic there.

moby, you're just going to have to learn to be more negative around here. The correct way to tell that story is "The signage directing people to the lakefront was so bad that I spotted Ron Huberman in the station directing people!"

Yeah! I think I spotted him with his laptop showing people Powerpoint presentations. If I'm not mistaken, they did a great job of explaining why the view of the fireworks would be so much better from within the subway tunnel thanks to all his hard work. Of course there were some mispellings, and some of the clip art was flipped so it looked trains travel on the left track, and there were occasionally slides that looked like they were recycled from a different theme, but you have to give the guy points for everything he does.

"And you'd think an armed policeman would be able to use his gun to protect himself from an unarmed woman too, right? Yet there's a dead Chicago cop who lost out in just that situation this week."

That entire story seems pretty unusual -- methinks there was something more going on than, "Cop sees woman, woman takes gun, woman kills cop." You don't see anything funny about that story?

So, everything went pretty smoothly, I take it? Where are the horror stories?

Wait...where are the notes of praise? Not nearly as much fun as writing ridiculous complaints over and over?! I see!

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Wait...where are the notes of praise?
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That's like expecting praise for the LA Clippers if they ever made it out of the bottom of the standings.

You get praise for being exceptionally good. You don't get praise just for meeting basic expectations no matter how much you try to lower the bar by getting people to expect you to screw-up as a default action.

Does anyone know if there will be a CTA Bus/Train Tracker program for the iPhone soon??

You can already get bus schedules through the web on there, but its slightly burdensome, it takes about 2 minutes.

To that CTA Supervisor who came into a police station slapping a ticket book because a police car was parked in a bus stop on the same day we learned that one of our own was killed after being flagged down by a CTA Bus Driver. If I ever see that guy come back into our station to do that again, I will personally stick that ticket book up his ass. You have some gall. You didn't even say anything. You just came in slapping the book in your hand. It's like you were slapping the falling officer. What a disgrace of a person you are.

Um, CPD? Unless it was the same CTA person, I don't think your argument has much weight.

So not to be insensitive, but are you saying that any time an officer is killed, you get to park in bus stops all day? Which other ordinances and laws do you get immunity from as well?

Unless he was ticketing the squad car left behind by the fallen (not falling) officer, it was not just like slapping the fallen officer.

I'll grant you that he could have been acting insensitive, and that was annoying to you, but if you can't put aside such a minor annoyance, then maybe you're in the wrong job. I'd hate to see how you react to something that really matters.

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