Catching up with CTA news: Jury award in Blue Line derailment; mobile garden gets green light

I can't believe how far behind I've gotten with CTA news other than service cuts. I found these story ideas squirreled away in my "future posts" folder. Except they are all old news, though certainly still relevant. So I still wanted you to know about them in case you hadn't heard.

Victim in 2006 Blue Line derailment wins $135,000 jury award. In the first jury award stemming from the derailment that injured 152 passengers, a jury in December of last year agreed with Eddie Martinez that he had suffered post-traumatic stress syndrome because of the accident. The NTSB cited bad management and a weak safety program by the CTA in its investigation.

Mobile Garden gets CTA go-ahead. Joe Baldwin's plan to put a mobile garden on a flat-bed CTA rail car got the green light late last month from CTA brass. Now he has to raise some real green to make it all happen. The idea for the rolling flower bed was part of a graduate seminar Baldwin took.

mobile garden crop.jpg

"CTA's construction Catch-22": I liked this report from Chicago Current in December, and it's still current. It summarizes the problems the CTA has with getting and spending capital dollars.


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  • I wonder how much verdicts for smoke inhalation will be.

    What's the point of the mobile garden? Some food desert protest? If he wants to grow native plants, as his blog says, there are plenty of vacant lots in the city where he can do so. If he thinks his flatcar isn't going to incrementally add to the CTA's electric bill, nor that the cost of paying the CTA is going to be less than asking a bank to rent him some foreclosed house's back yard to grow plants, he has another thing coming.

    With the construction Catch 22, the article recognizes that CTA has been unwilling to set priorities, and the 5 year old debate about how can it talk about New Starts when it can't fund current operating and maintenance, but, again doesn't address the TIF issue, nor the estimated somewhere between $330 million to $440 million of someone's capital funds that it blew on things that have no current benefit to riders. I'm sure I don't have to repeat what they are.

    BTW, I remember that someone asked about whether there was a free transfer between Washington Blue, and Lake Red, and I saw that Jon Hilkevitch had that answer yesterday, which currently is no.

  • Let's say Joe Baldwin raises the private cash to get this down and to pay some amount to CTA(which is sure to be more than the incremental electricity cost) to let this trail behind a train set as planned.

    When people actually see this, I don't think I can bear with the complaining from the misinformed about how much CTA is "wasting" on this. At least it won't be in the same seasonal as the complaining for the Holiday Train and Holiday bus.

    I like how the graphic uses the "Green" line as the train set carrying mobile garden.

  • I doubt it will be quite that pretty after being dragged around by a train all day.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    Since the reference is to "dragged," I have another thought.

    Unless the train line has a loop at both ends, it will be at the front of the train on the way back. I doubt that the operator will want to have to look past the flatcar to see if there is anyone or anything on the tracks.

    To my best recollection, the only places where there is a loop at the terminal are Howard and Forest Park.

  • Have the objectors ever seen the Chicago River Fish Hotel? That is even harder to justify according to some people's standards. These are both about trying something different. That is what we do in the big city. If it doesn't hurt you and doesn't cost you any money, what's the problem?

  • In reply to CCWriter:

    If it didn't cost anything, why is he fundraising?

    Wasn't the Fish Hotel picketed by SEIU? ;-)

  • In reply to jack:

    I said it didn't cost YOU any money. Unless perhaps you would like to sponsor a flower.

    I think it's the carp that are picketing the fish hotel ;)

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