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Blue Line slow zone work; not a CTA sign

Weekend service alerts over the next few months certainly will contain these words:

"We are making track improvements to prevent slow zones and improve rail service along the Blue Line."

From 10 pm Friday till 4 am Monday, trains will operate on one track between Grand and Damen. Folks will board and exit on the Forest Park-bound side of the platform. The slow zone work is being funded by federal stimulus money. More on this here.

Lots of running, parades, and a helicopter. Buses are being rerouted around the Wrigley 5K Run, the Ravenswood 5K Run and the Chicago Día de Los Niños Parade. Plus, another exciting helicopter lift, this one at 2 N. Riverside Plaza. All the details are in the CTA Weekend Service alerts.

Not a CTA sign. But funny nonetheless. Courtesy of Pophangover. and hat tip to Erin.



Did you see that NABI is recalling the articulated buses? http://cbs2chicago.com/local/cta.articulated.buses.2.993232.html

Do you think that:
A. The CTA will get a refund OR
B. If the buses are fixed, the CTA will return them to the street?

Also noteworthy is the claim that crimes on the CTA have skyrocketed in the past 2 years. CTA says they are working on a powerpoint presentation to better illustrate the situation...

Clever New Yorkers!

So today is Daley's birthday. Is it Talk Like Da Mare Day? I haven't seen a proclamation yet.

Well, that's good news that they are recalling them. I would say, just cancel the contract and be done with them. We don't need more headaches. But, I don't know if this is possible or not... Maybe we can get a refund and just buy some more hybrids. That would save us a lot of fuel as well.

They make it seem like a huge deal that the buses are not in service. I barely notice the difference with all the extra hybrid articulated buses that have been delivered.

"Graeber said CTA thieves often travel in packs of three and go from car to car looking for victims. A common practice is for a couple of the culprits to make noise or create a diversion while the other picks pockets -- the most common crime on the CTA."

Yet another reason to limit the movement from car to car... Even they say it is used for nefarious purposes.

It can also be used to get away from "nefarious purposes," chris. What's your point?

I've certainly noticed the difference caused by the loss of the NABI buses -- in fact, earlier this week I was wishing they were still on the route because it felt like any extra buses that might have been assigned to the 147 route when the NABIs were originally pulled had been taken away again, after a stretch of days of packed, infrequent buses. I generally start up the Tracker's map to watch 147 buses at about 4:30, and I'm confident that I've seen fewer running during afternoon rushes this week.

Well, chris, it appears that you are getting your wish. The CTA says that the NABI artics are not coming back:


I just hope that the CTA and the taxpayers aren't left holding the bag. The CTA stopped making payments on these $102 million lemons back in 2004 when they first discovered defects then. I wonder if the CTA would have been better off keeping those ugly Seattle hand-me-downs that they were running before the NABIs arrived.

That's a clever sign, but it seems dumb to be complaining about crowded trains in New York. I'd expect this kind of thing from someone who just moved to New York and is having problems adjusting.

With regard to the main post, the original source says that the subway service alert is from New York. Thus, it indicates that the new style of CTA Alert (including "How does this affect my trip") was not original.

With regard to those noting the NABIs are off the street, remember I said that chicagobus.org had indications of that at the beginning of 2009, and now the Tribune states that Huberman was negotiating with the FTA about their disposition in about September 2008. So, apparently those at chicagobus.org had some inside information that only came to light yesterday. But, I am sure that simple will find some way to excuse Kruesi and put the blame on Belcaster, even though the Tribune article says "The CTA conditionally accepted the buses based on assurances from the manufacturer that defects previously identified had been corrected before delivery of the $102 million order." The conditional acceptance was surely during Kruesi's tenure, and instead of "conditionally accept[ing] the buses," the administration then should have insisted on them passing mandated federal Altoona testing before accepting any of them, and definitely before exercising options for the last 146 of them.

As far as who pays, while there is the outstanding lawsuit, I'm sure that the real reason that CTA said it was using $172 million in STATE capital bill funding to buy more articulated hybrid buses (which will buy between 175 and 200 at estimated current prices) is for replacements (either directly or to buy the buses that were supposed enter the kind of service that Huberman originally represented when justifying the lease for the 150 buses currently being received and which have been placed on routes formerly covered by NABIs), meaning that state taxpayers will pay through whatever tax backs those bonds.

Just curious... does the Google News feed report soybean futures prices because of those hybrid buses?

CTA also stands for Commodity Trading Advisor

It's entirely possible, however, that NABIs may have been made from soybeans.

am i mistaken, or isn't the work that was done last summer on this part of the blue line tracks? (i know it was also done out more irving park-ish, but i thought it was division-area as well...)

Yeah, hopefully we get most of our money back. We probably won't get it all back since we used them for a few years.

Bob S.,

My point is that criminals are using the doors between cars to look for targets for robberies, etc. I think it's very clear what my point is!


We all thought the same thing, but they didn't replace the stretch in the Dearborn subway. They sort of implied that they did (many on here thought the work was done), but I guess we were all fooled.

Replacing G with Brown line and L with Red line, I think the sign is hilarious!

I think the compolaint about the train being crowded is valid. I have fond memories of waiting 20 minutes for the Brown Line late at night and when the train shows up it's only four cars long and packed to the gills.

In D.C. very loud alarms go off if you try to pass between cars. If you do it for no reason other than to be lazy or a degenerate, the police will be after you. If they did this in Chicago, people would stop passing inbetween cars when they're not supposed to. But rules are not enforced in Chicago, so people break them at will.

Now's when all the old timers chime in. "What's da big deal? Dose stickers are new ... We usedta do it all da time. Guys useta smoke cigarettes inbetweenda cars." For every person who passes between cars for a legitimate reason, there must be a couple hundred who don't.


i asked a CTA construction crew union worker the same question and he just chuckled and said, "well ya know, its always good to double check" and kept laughing.

i should have known better.

On the subject of short trains... Why on earth are they running *4-car* brown line trains most of the time? The train should not be physically difficult to board at 11am! They have enough cars to run 8-car trains during rush hour, so one would imagine that they could do the same during other busy times of day when headways are greater.

Wasn't the point of spending a few hundred million dollars on the brown line to make it possible to run 8-car trains? Perhaps the CTA has realized that waste of taxpayer dollars on the brown line was below historical standards, and so they've decided to scale back the usefulness of the project???

I waited for somewhere around a half hour for a west bound blue line at Jackson today. Was that because of single tracking?

yes. They had some single tracking going on north of Jackson all weekend. It is a drag

"Wasn't the point of spending a few hundred million dollars on the brown line to make it possible to run 8-car trains?"

Not really. Federal dollars paid for that. The point was to spend money and enrich friends. The stations are fantastic and ADA-compliant, which is great. But the project was never meant to improve the frequency or reliability of the Brown Line. If anything, they are running fewer trains now. My a.m. commute is a total crapshoot. I can get off the Red at Belmont and board a waiting Brown ... or I can get off and watch two or three more Reds go through as I wait ten minutes for a Brown.

The point about distractions is a good one. I try to keep my radar tuned in, so that when there is a distraction-- especially one that doesn't seem entirely logical--I consciously say to myself "A pickpocket is trying to distract me from keeping my bag secure. I'm going to pay extra attention to it instead." It's not necessary to confront or accuse anyone--just be extra alert to when a situation doesn't feel right.

One such maneuver is when two or more people traveling together create a pretext to sandwich you in between them, make it seem OK and at the same time focus your attention on something else. This was done to me once on a bus. A girl went up and once she was up to the fare box she started to ask the driver some complicated question. I had already gone up behind her, then it turned out there was a guy with her who was behind me and he chimed in to her complicated question, coming up close behind me. It didn't seem logical for him to have hung back and let me move between them, and I think I was supposed to be focused on listening to the supposed question. I clamped down on my bag with my hand. He apologized. But he knew he was busted.

Similar thing happened once when several people came up to me on the street and showed me a piece of paper supposedly with directions on it and started asking me questions about where to go. The piece of paper and question made no sense whatsoever so I thought "the only point of this is the distraction", grabbed tight to my bag, said I'm sorry I don't understand this and I can't help you, and moved on.

Also limit the amount of cash in your wallet. I try to keep my cash below $20 and do many transactions with plastic. Credit cards and such can easily be canceled and replaced.

Anyways, if I had remembered that the blue line would be experiencing major delays, I would have used the 126 bus last weekend.

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