CTA President Rodriguez gets his say on his last day on the job

Today is the last day on the job at 567 W. Lake St. for CTA President Richard Rodriguez- assuming he's not taking a final vacation or furlough day,

Outgoing CTA President Richard Rodriguez. (Tribune photo)

As I wrote Wednesday: I think Rodriguez did about the best he
could do given the economic conditions he ruled under.

On Wednesday, I also rated him overall as earning a total average of 2.8 stars out of five on those key mission values printed on every Chicago Card and
Chicago Card Plus: Safe - Clean - On-Time - Courteous - Efficient.

Meanwhile, also on Wednesday, Rodriguez got his chance to share with the CTA board what he calls the "highlights" of his two years tenure. "Despite the financial constraints, together we have accomplished a great deal in a relatively short period of time," Rodriguez told the board.

On his last day, I'm going to give Rodriguez the opportunity to share those accomplishments. We might not have always agreed with Rodriguez, but there's no denying the fact he did have a number of popular accomplishments.

Rodriguez's remarks to the CTA board. And here's a list of them:

  • Completed the Bus Tracker rollout.
  • Added two-way texting functionality to Bus Tracker, thus expanding usage to even more riders.
  • Rolled out Train Tracker.
  • Installed at least one camera at every rail station.
  • Secured $241 million in federal stimulus funding to eliminate blue Line slow zones; rehab existing bus and rail cars; and buy 58 new hybrid articulated buses.
  • Renovated Cermak/Chinatown Red Line station
  • Finished the Brown Line expansion project.
  • Ink a deal with Apple to refurbish the North/Clybourn station on the Red line.
  • Broke ground on two new rail stations: Morgan Street on the Green Line. and a new Yellow Line stop at Oakton.
  • Completed alternatives analysis for the Red Line extension to 130th Street, and for the proposed Orange and Yellow line stations..,
  • Increased non-farebox revenue by increasing the number of ATM machines, brought in new concessions, tested specialty vending machines, and leased office and commercial space in the headquarters building.
  • On the safety front, instituted a zero-tolerance policy for cellphone use by bus and rail operators.

Thank you Rich Rodriguez. And good luck.

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  • Impressions I got looking at the pdf and text report (in addition to what I mentioned a couple of days ago):

    "Secured $241 million in federal stimulus funding to eliminate blue Line slow zones; rehab existing bus and rail cars; and buy 58 new hybrid articulated buses.
    Renovated Cermak/Chinatown Red Line station"

    As far as securing the funding for that, those were formula funds. The credit (whatever that be) goes to President Obama and the 2009 Congress. The work needed to be done, but there is nothing that indicates that he did any more to secure those funds than Pace did to get 58 buses and 190 paratransit vehicles. In the meantime, Scooter will point out that they belatedly discovered problems on the North Main, and say there is no source of funding to fix them.

    Now, CTA apparently did secure discretionary funds for electric outlets to charge hybrid buses, Jeffery "BRT," and the two electric buses, but nothing mentioned about that.

    "Broke ground on two new rail stations: Morgan Street on the Green Line. and a new Yellow Line stop at Oakton."

    Isn't Morgan a CDOT project?

    "Completed alternatives analysis for the Red Line extension to 130th Street, and for the proposed Orange and Yellow line stations."

    The "preferred local alternative" for the Yellow one was effectively shot down by the locals at the scoping hearing.

    I seem to remember a few more things, but can't document them at the moment.

    And, I'm sure, the rest of you will point out that he didn't include a metrics chart, especially on "clean" (urine) and slow zones, both of which must have red squares.

    So, basically I'll give this administration credits for getting the Trackers to this stage, and construction to the extent indicated in the Monthly Construction Reports.

  • In reply to jack:

    The Oakton station is a Village of Skokie project. Skokie designed , funded, and is building it.

  • In reply to leobaz:

    That's what I thought, although there may be grants.

    In any event, in both station cases, apparently RR was taking credit for some things that were not CTA projects, except in a peripheral sense.

  • In reply to leobaz:

    Also, according to the 3:30 WLS 890 news, Rahm took care of RRod by making him environmental commissioner. I guess he wasn't "unemployed" long, and compared to Huberman and Weis, didn't have to look in the private sector.

    So, stuff isn't that different.

  • In reply to leobaz:

    Isn't anyone baffled that rahm emanual's Forest Claypool get's rubber stamped by the cta board before he is inauguarted?

  • In reply to ibilldavis:

    Well, I predicted it 3 or 4 days in advance.

    Heck, when Brown, Zagotta and Leonis were on the board, at least they did something. This board is nothing but sheep.

  • In reply to leobaz:

    Isn't anyone baffled that rahm emanual's Forest Claypool get's rubber stamped by the cta board before he is inauguarted?

  • In reply to ibilldavis:

    No. That's what the Board has been trained to do.

  • I love the "Broke ground on the Yellow Line station".
    They had a groundbreaking ceremony in May 2010 & then didn't do a damn thing until this year!

    Renovate the Cermak, Red Line station. It had to be done after that truck driver destroyed it after he fell asleep!

    And the Yellow Line extension to Old Orchard was shot down because the loons at the CTA decided that the Old Orchard station should be on the old North Shore Line right of way, next to Nile North HS.
    Why?
    I'm not sure, but my guess is that some politician from the county wanted it as near to the Skokie courthouse as possible. So the CTA thinks that putting it midway between Old Orchard & the courthouse is a comprimise.
    The flaw in that thinking is that the courthouse is open five days a week & never on holidays & basically shuts down by 2PM, while the mall is open 365 days a year from 9AM - 10PM.
    The station should have been right above where the buses now stop at the west end of the multistory parking deck, with a short walkway to the stores. Buses would then go to the courthouse, as they do now.

    As for all the slow zones on the North Main, I'd like to know if they're due to the trackwork or the bridges. I don't see any crosstie deterioration, so I must assume it's the bridges. But the CTA allowed Northwestern U's engineering dept. install strain gauges to see if there was any movement, & there isn't any, due to the fact that the structure was designed for Class 1 railroading, not the extremely light weight CTA cars.
    So why all the slow zones, especially the 5MPH one between Granville & Loyola, which is shown as a 15MPH SZ on the map, but if you ride through there, the trains crawl at 5MPH?

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    On Cermak, I suppose they could have kept in in a state of disrepair if they didn't get the ARRA money, but I don't think that anyone disputes that the only condition for getting the ARRA money was that it was "shovel ready" to the necessary extent.

    As far as the Yellow Line, I agree on the loons (or previously said that while city residents don't push back, those in Skokie do), but just think that that was the cheapest place (they thought) to put a station, compared to, say Skokie's plan about 10 years ago to run a subway around the shopping center. I remember the debate I had here with someone about a year ago, who thought that the main justification for the extension was so that people from Lakeview could take the L to shop at Macy's Old Orchard, and would be willing to walk, even in winter, to Skokie Hospital from Niles North. I argued that it would never work without a Shuttle Bug system.

    Obviously, though, one of the arguments that was made by the Skokie people is that they didn't want charged criminal suspects getting off at Niles North to walk to the Skokie Courthouse.

  • In reply to jack:

    One question hasn't been answered: How was the Swift going to go under/over the Edens?
    The reason the Edens goes up from slightly below grade to over Church & Golf Rds. is that the North Shore Line ran at grade & the highway had to go over the catenary. Were they going to make the extension at grade from Dempster to Old Orchard?
    That's what really infuriated me when the CTA rebuilt the Dempster station at grade & far in from the street. Since they knew they wanted to extend to Old Orchard, the station should have been an elevated island platform so the extension would avoid that grade crossing.
    Once again, zero planning for the future from the CTA.
    I hope Claypool understands that & is able to change the culture there!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    According to the cta website, the extension was turn at golf road and run parrellel to the Edens.
    Also the extension would be elevated.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Basically, they were proposing the "modern type" of one track L (on concrete supports) from south of Dempster to Old Orchard. On the Orange Line, they proposed about the same on Cicero from south of the railway to about 76th.

    Also, I think the thing you are missing is that if the station were on the r.o.w., that would be west of Edens, while Niles North is EAST of Edens. Basically, the one-track L structure would have been just east of the embankment.

    So, no it wouldn't have been at grade, nor would it have crossed the expressway. Of course, elevating it would have meant that they would have had to demolish the Dempster station (completed about 1994) and bus shelter (completed about 2000?).

    The Yellow Line AA page is still on the transitchicago.com site, if you want to peruse it.

    Anyway, as we both acknowledge, it isn't going to happen.

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