Wilson station and #156 LaSalle bus: Redeye's Crustiest and most Rotten

It was no contest for the Crustiest train station, but a tough call for the most Rotten Route by the Redeye’s Going Public blog.

Red Line riders from Uptown know the Wilson stop is just this side of awful. So naming Wilson the Criustiest station was a complete no-brainer for Redeye readers:

“The station reeks of urine, riders complained, and it’s tough to
navigate for disabled riders. The poor conditions prompted one Uptown
rider, Lindsey Simon, 24, to haiku: “decades of decay / peeling paint,
crumbling marble / signs that no one cares.”

Meanwhile the CTA responded to the “award” by saying:

In the past 18 months, the CTA has replaced
structural steel platform decking, main doors and door frames and
installed new platform canopies, among other improvements, which cost
more than $3 million. “President Rodriguez is in complete agreement that Wilson is in need of
extensive work. But while we are trying to identify funding to do all
that needs to be done, he agrees that basic maintenance needs to
improve,” [the CTA’s Noelle] Gaffney told “Going Public” in an e-mail.”

Also, Going Public reports today that CTA President Richard Rodriguez wants more frequent station inspections and better coordination between cleaning crews.

The Rotten Route was a tougher choice though. But in the end, the #156 LaSalle came out on top. Or bottom, I suppose.

“This bus is like Russian roulette as far as I am concerned,” Ebony
Daley, 27, of Old Town wrote to “Going Public.” “This bus doesn’t only
come in twos, it has come five at a time and four of those not even
stopping because they have no more room.”

Other routes in contention were the “usual suspects”: #22 Clark, #36 Broadway, #72 North, and #81 Lawrence.

What did Redeye miss here? Any other stations or routes that could top these as the worst?  


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  • Ask Richard why I have to run the gauntlet of pigeon crap on the North end of Howard St Red line station, you know, the one they just spent millions of dollars renovating so that the pigeons could have a nice place to roost under the underpass and crap on people as they try to enter the station. The sidewalk looks like a minefield. I thought about calling up the city and reporting it as a health hazard.


  • I really don't understand how the 156 is though of so poorly. When I stand on LaSalle at rush hour waiting to go home, I see at least (3) 156 buses go by before I see my 136. Who cares if 4 buses go by at the same time that are full if you can get on the 5th one??? As long as you get a ride in a timely manner, that's what counts isn't it? I really don't see the problem.

    As for the Wilson Red line stop. It's close to where I live. Now, they have made improvements in the last year or so, but there is a lot of work left to do. They should move the gates to the lower level so that there is nowhere to loiter for bums in the ground floor. I assume this would get rid of the urine problem and bums/loitering that the station has issues with. They also have the auxiliary platform that is very rarely when there is track construction going on. It might be low priority, but it looks awful. Rusted roof and ugly warped wood boards make it look dangerous. The sad thing is that this is and still could be one of the most beautiful stations on the Red Line, but it's experienced years of neglect. The station was originally designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, but most of that has been demolished in renovations over the years. They should also do a better job of managing the stores that rent in this station. Most of them don't help the station's appearance either.

    Kudos to them for painting some of the exterior, moving the Popeyes sign lower to allow viewing of the "Uptown Station" building signage that was previously hidden, and addition of new canopies and platform recently. But they have lots more work to do.

  • The Main Street stop in Evanston is in pretty poor condition. Especially awesome is the green puddle that accumulates on the south end of the ground floor every time it rains. I have heard that the station is planned for replacement, but like everything else is awaiting funding.

  • That's why I refused to give my vote in their survey. I could see this coming.

  • @MK's comment:
    "I cannot believe how many idiots there are in this world."

    We 'idiots' are just trying to get from point A to point B in a reasonable amount of time; if the CTA knows about 'bunching' why don't they do something about it? Those are the true 'idiots'; the ones who let these problems continue with no solution. Your explanation makes some sense but it happens ALL THE TIME; an occastional bus bunching episode is fine in a huge city, but ALL THE TIME??? I would call something that happens consistently with transportation (i.e., waiting for a bus to get to a train to get home and consistently missing the train because the bus is so unreliable)A PROBLEM which the CTA gets big bucks to fix. Sincerely, Frustrated um, 'idiot'.

  • In reply to kasiababe:

    As MK mentioned, bus bunching on a route set on intervals of 3-5 minutes will bunch at rush hour. You can't do anything about it. You don't ride enough buses if you think every bus bunches on every route all day long. I assume that is what you mean by "ALL THE TIME".

    As for missing a train because the bus is unreliable, this makes it sounds like you think these 2 are set up to have a transfer schedule. Your expectation that a bus get you to a station at the exact time a train arrives is unrealistic.

    Also, the CTA does not get big buck to fix anything...

  • In reply to kasiababe:

    The 156 runs on a 2-4 minute headway in the PM rush hour. it is next to impossible for the buses not to bunch as it has already been said. If we all observe the traffic on LaSalle Street in the afternoon, especially a Friday, I don't think much has to be said about this. CTA buses are subject to the same traffic as everyone else.

    I've heard complaints about bunching on the 22 also. One thing I've been asked before is why five 22s come before a 36 does. Simple. The 22 is basically 10 minutes apart from Howard to Devon, 5 minutes apart from Devon to Belmont, and about 2 minutes on from Belmont.....whereas the 36 is 10 minutes apart...not running as frequently as the 22 does. Basic math: 2 X 5 is 10, five buses on the 22 in ten minutes compared to one on the 36. Clark historically has always been a busy line, and as a bus operator keeping on schedule is easier said than done.

    This may also be observed on the 151 also, which is unique foreso for it's service variations, Union Station to Belmont/Halsted, Belmont/Sheridan, Foster, Devon/Clark, and Howard Station.

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