With the announcement that the CTA would issue bids for the next generation of the CTA rail cars, talk turned again to the uncomfortable aisle-facing seats on the new 5000 series train cars currently plying the rails on the Pink, Green and Red lines.
The seating configuration is uncomfortable because many Chicagoans are simply too big to squeeze into the long rows of "scoop" style seats -- especially in the winter with passengers wearing bulky winter coats. Last week I rode on the new cars for three consecutive trips. I'm an average-sized guy, and even though I was sitting between two average-sized guys, I had to scoot forward to the edge of the seat to sit comfortably.
President Forrest Claypool has indicated he would conduct rider surveys about seating configurations for the future 7000 series rail cars. “This is the first design I am overseeing, and we are going to do the type of research to get it right,’’ Claypool told the Tribune.
That's great to hear. However, I submit that the CTA only has to look at the current 3200 series cars running on the Brown Line to find a car that allows more standing room but eliminates the longitudinal seating. Those rail cars have a "1-2" seating configuration, where a single seat sits across the aisle from a pair of seats. This opens up more standing room.
In fact, on a couple of Brown Line runs I tool last week, I saw two people standing abreast in the aisle between the 1-2 seats. That's something I haven't really seen in the wider aisle of the 5000 series cars.
I suggest that the CTA look to the past to inform the seating design of the future.
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