What would you like to ask CTA Prez Claypool?

If you had the undivided attention of CTA President Forrest Claypool for one hour, what would you ask him?

CTA Tattler will get that chance next week, and I want to ask him some questions that are on your mind, too.

So fire away in comments. And as I noted in my earlier post today, let’s be thoughtful and respectful.


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    I'm interested in the CTA's plans for BRT. So far, they've proposed two lines--one along Jeffery Blvd. and another in a Western-Ashland study are from Howard to 95th. In their current plans, the Jeffery corridor would only have dedicated lanes during rush hour, and only in one direction--and no pre-paid stations. As a result, the time savings are tiny. Is the CTA considering pursuing more ambitious BRT plans that would actually make crosstown transit service competitive with driving? If not, why not?

    I wrote about this at greater length on my blog here: http://wp.me/phx7y-19.

  • I'd like to know what the CTA will do to increase passenger safety and reduce crime and vandalism on and near trains. I'm sick of feeling unable to even visit some stations, especially later on in the evening or early in the morning. Theft on the trains is out of hand too.

    Will the CTA ever post electronic train arrival signs outside of station entrances?

    Many locations on the cta system, such as elevators, are regularly dirty and vandalized, what can be done about this problem?

    Will you promise to consider the entire system when making decisions about modernizing specific trains? For example when discussing changes to the Red Line, the effect should be considered in combination with possible changes to other lines, not only viewed with blinders.

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    Ask him why one of the nicest neighborhoods in the south side, hyde park, doesn't have an L station, and what can be done about it.

  • In reply to Seth Blumenthal:

    Hyde Park doesn't have an L station because Hyde Park doesn't have an L line running through it.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    the implied statement was to build a line, perhaps a branch off the green line at garfield, ending at the 59th st metra station. or, maybe do something to extend the line where it (now) terminates at cottage grove.

  • In reply to sblument:

    Well, what is now the Green Line at one time did go all the way to Jackson Park. IIRC, when the Green Line was rebuilt in the mid-90s they actually had to dismantle the line east of Cottage Grove because the residents complained that they didn't want it.

  • In reply to sblument:

    Never happen, as it was torn down because poeople in the nieghborhood considered it a plite to the area.

  • In reply to sblument:

    In addition to what Leo says (which I assume refers to Woodlawn, and blight), there is no point to this. As far as people in Hyde Park are concerned, they have the Metra Electric (making that question more relevant),or 2 or 6 express buses, and basically have no use for the Green Line. The 174 bus was a failure, and one can use the 55 bus to either the Green or the Red.

    In that there is apparently no money to build the 130th extension, which would at least relieve congestion at the 95th bus terminal, this sure isn't a priority, and I bet isn't wanted.

    By the way you said Hyde Park was "one of the nicest neighborhoods." Extending the L over Midway Plaisance won't keep it such.

  • In reply to sblument:

    To amplify Leobaz's comment, the L used to run above 63rd St, east to Stony Island Ave. When the bridge over the 10 track wide, IC Mainline at Dorchester Ave., was found to be in need of replacement, the CTA cut the line back to Dorchester rather than pay for a new bridge. Then, in the 1990s rehab, the line was cut back further to Cottage grove.
    The Woodlawn Organization has wanted the entire line above 63rd removed for decades.
    What would be nice would be putting that line into a subway under The Midway & ending it at the Museum of Science & Industry. That's the largest tourist attraction in the city that doesn't have nearby L service. There would also be a couple of stops & Cottage & Woodlawn for the hospital & the university.
    I'm sure none of it would ever happen, it makes too much sens & would cost too much.

  • I see this is now working.


    What are you going to do to implement service coordination, including implementing the Auditor General's report that CTA should not be competing with the other service boards, and, for instance, eliminate overlap with Pace in Evanston, Oak Park, and Berwyn, and talk to Mike Payne about coordination with the Metra Electric?

  • In reply to jack:

    No offense intended, but it seems like this software is similar to the last one in that sometimes a post doesn't show up, but when I post again both show up. If you want to take down the duplicate and this, it is fine with me. Anyway, you get the drift.


  • In reply to jack:

    Thank you jack, I did get to ask him about the Gray Line at a recent CTA Board meeting.

    My question would be about if and when the availability of the $560 Million IDOT and RTA Local Matching Funds for the Red Line Extension (especially in light of recent Springfield transportation funding issues).

    And if they are considering any alternative until - or if - the Red Line extension is operating?

  • In reply to mikep621:


    I think you are giving him the Hilkevitch out by putting in the "until" qualifier.

    Also, the problem is not just Springfield's money trouble (caused, in part by an unconstitutional capital bill), but also that Congress can't come up with a coherent transportation bill (the Car and Driver article is online, and note the surprising stance, for C&D, at the end, that car centric cities have to build mass transit.

  • In reply to mikep621:

    Note, also, that I am more interested in the specifics of the general question raised by the Auditor General, including overrunning Pace. Kevin, if you want to go into more detail, you can point out that competition in near suburbs results in more inconvenient service in outlying areas; for instance the trip on 422 is 20 minutes longer because Pace rerouted it to avoid 205, and riders from Brookfield on 304 are inconvenienced because of an additional transfer at North Riverside, and this may end up killing both routes. In any event, the taxpayers are stuck subsidizing such obvious inefficiencies.

  • What are you going to do about service coordination, including implementing the Auditor General's recommendation to end competition between service boards, including with Pace in Evanston, Oak Park, and Berwyn, and talking with Mike Payne about coordination with Metra?

  • Hi Kevin,
    I would like to know if there has been any reconsideration of the Red and Purple line modernization project on the North Side. I am specifically wondering Mr. Claypool's thoughts of the Chicago Reader article (found here: http://m.chicagoreader.com/chicago/how-to-fix-the-el-cta/Content?oid=3473194). It appears that there are more fiscally sound and efficient options available that could impact the entire Red Line, not just the line north of Belmont. I understand that the politics are complicated, but I'm curious on his take. The options presented in the article seem to save the system in the long run.

  • What is going to be done to enable the CTA to communicate promptly, intelligibly and effectively with passengers currently on the system in the event of emergencies and service disruptions (not just media outlets and the general public who are not actually riding at the time)?

    What is going to be done to clarify how passengers may communicate problems while they are being experienced, such as equipment malfunctions and violations such as aggressive panhandling, to someone at the CTA who can do something about them (not just the vague boilerplate that fails to address who and how)?

  • In reply to CCWriter:

    Extremely good one, especially the last parenthetical clause.

  • In reply to jack:

    Thanks. Not expecting he'll have instant answers, but I'll be happy if he sees that the questions make entirely too much sense.

  • What about trying to pass a law where taxpayers could designate a portion of their state income tax to be used only for their chosen purpose ?This would lessen the chances of the state not sending promised money to public transit,health care providers or schools.Transit riders,unions and environmentalists could all work together on their common goal of improving public transit by putting their money where their mouth is.You already can designate that a portion of your tax can go to selected charities.So you should be able to decide how your tax dollars ( or at least a good portion of them ) are spent instead of Quivering Quinn and the corruption kids.

  • In reply to JamesReyes:

    I'm sure Claypool has control over that {gross sarcasm}. He can't get Quinn to pay what the state owes the RTA already.

    You will note that I asked something that was at least partially in Claypool's authority. I didn't ask him when he was going to abolish his position or why he doesn't recognize that he was appointed contrary to the law.

    Anyway, if this came up, I certainly would direct it away from CPS.

  • While Pres. Claypool has stated that they are looking at every way they can to reduce operating costs - But CTA, Metra, and Pace continue day after every day to waste HUGE amounts of supposedly "scarce" taxpayer provided Operating Funds running parallel, adjacent, and overlapping bus and rail services in many locations throughout the Chicago and suburban areas (i.e.: South Halsted St., South Western Ave., West 95th St., West Cermak Rd., North Milwaukee Ave., Harlem Ave., in-city Metra Electric Lines, etc...)

    This is one reason many State Legislators want to dissolve all the Transit Boards, and create one new Agency to oversee Public Transit in NE Illinois.

    In light of the FACT that the present 4 Transit Boards CANNOT be made to "play well together" - what does he think of the Legislators Transit Board Reorganization ideas?

    Please ask him if anything is being done by the present Board Administrations to eliminate this costly service duplication and competition.

  • I've never understood this burning desire some have to make hundreds or thousands of people (usually someone else) wait to change buses, and pay the transfer fee, to go a mile or two because they're horrified to see CTA and Pace buses on the same stretch of street.

    To use Cermak as an example, why make Pace riders who want to get to the Pink terminal at 54th Ave., or CTA riders who want to go to the North Riverside Mall, change buses?! The L terminal is a logical terminus for the Pace 322 (suburbanites going to the city/city dwellers going to suburban jobs) and the mall is a logical terminus for the CTA 21 (city residents going to work or shop at the mall).

    While I'm not personally familiar with the 95th Street situation, a few seconds looking at the RTA map shows a similar situation and dynamic as Cermak, with the Pace 381 to the Red terminal at 95th and the CTA 95W to the Evergreen Plaza mall substituted.

    I'm not saying all the overlaps are as logical as those two, and I'm not taking the time from work to check each one named. But it does seem to me that the hubris that animates some posters on this board -- I can't see a solid reason for doing X, so there must not be one -- is present on this issue of "wasteful" overlapping.

    Taking the dread of parallel and adjacent lines to its extreme, should the Metra UP lines end at Evanston, Jefferson Park, and Oak Park, with the Metra passengers transferring to the Purple, Blue, or Green lines respectively?! Or do the Metra and L lines serve different purposes and different markets?

  • In reply to jbredin:

    I think Mike missed a point that Pace riders should be able to transfer to the nearest CTA L station.

    However, the problems I mentioned in my "Note, also, that I am more interested in the specifics of the general question raised by the Auditor General" post still exist, including CTA, in effect, forcing Pace to retreat, making bus service even more untenable in more outlying areas.

    There is also no political justification for CTA providing local bus service in Evanston, if, in fact, it is not an independent municipal corporation, but works for Mayor Emanuel.

    Finally it gets back to the Auditor General's original point that it is a waste of tax money for the service boards to compete with each other.

    Now, I have said that all 4 boards should be abolished, but I also said that Claypool doesn't have the authority to do that. He does have the authority to cut the overlaps and resultant waste, though, instead of CTA's former policy of basically ignoring the existence of Pace when making these decisions.

    I hope I explained it adequately to you.

  • In reply to jbredin:

    I can give you examples from personal sub-zero experience while servicing copiers on 99th & Western.

    Waiting to go North on Western to 95th after the call, the first bus that came was a Pace bus (but could not accept the CTA Card or Pass I had at time).

    Eighteen -5 degree minutes later the CTA S. Western bus came; same thing going East on 95th St. (Pace cannot accept CTA Pass - nor p/u any passengers East of Western Ave. Eastbound to State St./Red Line, or discharge Westbound).

    It is the same stupid setup many places where CTA and Pace overlap, causing many riders to have to stand there (at -5 below) and watch an empty Pace bus that they can't get on go by, to wait for a CTA one that they could get on, but is too crowded to accept anymore passengers - then repeat the same chorus 20 minutes later. Hmmm, let's see - how much C4 would it take.......

    VERY inconvenient any time of year

  • In reply to mikep621:

    So your argument is that it's frustrating to see a Pace bus go past when you can't get on because it **isn't going where you're going**?!

    Well, a person standing at Grand and McClurg waiting for a westbound 66 Chicago bus to go home after a long day of work has to watch an uncrowded 124 Ogilvie/Union bus go past because it's not going where he's going either. That doesn't make the 29, 65, 66, and 124 duplicative or redundant because they share the stretch of Grand between Navy Pier terminal and Columbus. Ditto in spades for someone waiting for a particular bus on Michigan or State when several buses of other routes are going past her; it may very well be frustrating, but nothing's wrong.

  • Well, I really have two. Kevin knows what the first one is....when will the Washington street redline station be reopened and the damage done be repaired. It needs to be done immediately.

    Second, one the the most frustrating things for people is having non-functioning escalators that are taken out of service for long periods of time without any working being done on them for "remodeling" for months at a time, especially during peak tourist and stations. Also, the escalator repair department in my opinion needs to closely looked at and seems a prime candidate for outsourcing...they always seem to be "waiting for parts" and most commercial services seem to have sufficient spare parts on hand and can actually do repairs with some sense of urgency.

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