The CTA year in the review, Q2: Blue Line work begins, Bus Tracker rollout ends

This is the second installment of the 2009 CTA news in review, focused on the second quarter.

April: When April opened, the CTA announced
slow zone work in the Blue Line Dearborn tunnel – funded by federal stimulus
funds – would create 400 jobs. The CTA and RTA came to a meeting of the minds
and agreed the
2008 deficit was just $56 million, not $87 million. Meanwhile, the state came
up with
almost $500 million in capital funding. Just in time for Opening
Day, the CTA put
digital signs displaying next-train info. And we heard that crime jumped on
trains and buses.

May: The CTA explained
how this year’s Blue Line slow zone work differed
from last year’s. The CTA finished
its Bus Tracker rollout this month – and announced
email and text alerts would soon be available for Bus Tracker.  And once again, the CTA transferred
capital funds to the operating budget to fill its 2009 budget gap. CTA Tattler joined
the Chicago Tribune’s network of blogs at

June: I started the month reminding readers about the
behaviors that are illegal
on the CTA. CTA Tattler celebrated
its fifth anniversary
in June, plus I learned the Tattler was named
one of Chicago‘s top niche new
sites. We learned how the recession
was affecting
CTA ridership, and how technical
glitches shut down
next-train arrival times on CTA’s digital screens. The
Grand station reconstruction on the Red Line moved
into Stage Two
. Harassment
of women
on the CTA got more notice in a Sun-Times story. We got yet more news
of budget shortfalls
for 2009, this time for $35 million.


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  • Of course, getting back to the "half of a story" issue again, the State may have announced the Capital Bill when it did, but the CTA, nor apparently anyone else got anything, supposedly due to the Wirtz law suit noted this month. That was only revealed in late July when NF announced that the CTA order it thought it had wasn't, because of the lack of state funding. But it appears that there are those who give the legislature and Quinn credit for passing the bill, even though it appears that while it was a bill for 2009 capital projects, it did not create Job 1, either here, in Minnesota (the bus manufacturer) or Japan (the Metra carbuilder).

    But I guess I am a critic and revisionist. I suppose Quinn should get credit for all the ARRA asphalt, too (or at least the signs saying that it was courtesy of ARRA and TIGER).


    Zoning and Planning put out a new guide for Transit Friendly Development in case anyone is interested...

  • In reply to chris:

    Actually, this was interesting. It seems to do a good job of addressing what TOD is in the urban setting, as most of us think about it as being near a Metra suburban stop.

    However, I'll classify two issues, one recognized in the draft, and another that wasn't:

    Recognized: that many of the rapid transit right of ways are in the middle of an expressway. This would seem to be a real deterrent to TOD, especially on the Red Line south of say, 35th, since a pedestrian not only departs in the middle of the bridge, but has to cross expressway entrance ramps and frontage roads (the latter being officially denominated as State, Lafayette, Wells, or Wentworth). For instance, I doubt that the Garfield Red Line stop does much to generate business at the Grand Boulevard shopping center across the street. The O'Hare Blue Line does not present the same obstacle, as the Irving Park and Jefferson Park stations are integrated into the neighborhood.

    Unrecognized: While all stations are categorized, there is a world of difference between 51st-Green Line and Kedzie-Brown line, even though both are classified as Urban Neighborhood. The latter is densely populated and any development would require displacing existing persons and structures, while the former, to put it mildly, is certainly in need of development.

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