Weekend news pickup: CTA Wilson construction to close businesses; Grand Ave. "prison" stairs; free rides remain

Here are a few CTA news stories and transit notes I didn't have a chance to report earlier.

Grand metal stairs.jpg

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.


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  • With regard to whether there are US deferrals for New Flyer other than CTA, in effect Orion announced that stimulus or not, its order books were full and stimulus bus production will not be sped up. Similarly, Peoria has posted minutes saying that they won't get their Gillig stimulus buses until mid 2011. No one has seen the Pace El Dorado stimulus buses (ordered in Aug. 2009) yet either.

    Hence, there must be something more going on behind the scenes at New Flyer. I remember having a go around with joe the chicagoan about secret bus contracts, when the answer apparently was that New Flyer announced that it had a contract with CTA when it didn't. At least now they are acknowledging that.

  • In reply to jack:

    BTW, I don't read "a significant U.S. order deferral" as meaning other than the CTA, as New Flyer itself did not say who the customer was, only that it involved 140 buses to be funded with state money.

  • In reply to jack:

    I am really shocked and surprised that Ottawa would need that many buses. That's more than one bus for every 80 people. I wonder what they are doing down there.

  • In reply to jack:

    I think the Ottawa mentioned may not be the downstate town but the capital of Canada.

  • Correct glg. Sorry for the confusion, eBob.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    Ack! I realized that you must have meant Ottawa, Canada mere moments after clicking the post button last night. I have relatives near Ottawa, IL, so when I hear or read "Ottawa", that is often my first thought.

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