Here are a few CTA news stories and transit notes I didn't have a chance to report earlier.
Wilson construction to close four businesses: Four stores under the Red Line's Wilson station will be forced to close when the CTA begins a $3 million station renovation project later this year, ChicagoTalks.org reports. The businesses were operating under month-to-month leases. The renovation will be paid for from TIF funds.
A tale of two Grand staircases: And speaking of station rehabs, southbound commuters at the Grand and State Red Line station have a choice between the nice new granite stairs at the south end or the temporary metal stairs further north. Matt over his Spudart blog says, "Everytime I walk up the metal staircase for the rear riders, I swear I think I'm in prison." Here's hoping your prison stay is short Matt. The construction project is in phase 2 now, with completion scheduled for late 2011. (Photo by spudart.)
"Chicago loss is Ottawa's gain": Bloomberg News reports that "Ottawa (Canada) will buy 226 buses from New Flyer Industries Inc. at a 19 percent discount after Chicago delayed an order when funding didn't come through." And the CTA is not the only U.S. transit agency adversely affected by the economy, as New Flyer has experienced a "significant U.S. order deferral."
Free rides remain for seniors: In case you missed it, our state senators once again showed fiscal irresponsibility by voting last month to keep free rides for senior citizens, regardless of their income. The House had voted earlier in the year to apply income limits of $27,610 a year for a single person, and $34,635 a year for a household with two people.