Monday, February 16, 2015

Cover Story: Blacktop Over Granite?

April 2014.  Photo courtesy of the
Numinous Wilds Photography Tumbler page
This is a shame.

Back in 2006, the CTA did an upgrade of its stations' signage.  Part of that project included installing intricate granite compass rose designs into the sidewalks in front of the doors of the Argyle Red Line station (among others). They were intended to help people exiting the station find their way, as well as provide station branding and add beauty to the street.  At left is a photo of one of the Argyle compass roses as it appeared less than a year ago, courtesy of the Numinous Wilds Photography Tumbler page.

February 2015
But now.... ugh.  Recent work on the Argyle sidewalks led to the "fix" shown in the second photo. A reader noticed and said, "Kind of sad that they laid down blacktop directly on top of this, presumably ruining it ... right outside the Argyle L stop."

Not only ugly, but we imagine the granite inlaid sidewalk markers cost the CTA a pretty penny of taxpayer money in 2006. Now it's ruined.  What a waste of money and craftmanship.


  1. It's even worse. The blacktop isn't over the compass, it's in lieu of. It appears that the sidewalk was sawed out, and the gap later filled with asphalt. There's no saving this. It can't be scraped off or refinished, it's missing 75% of itself. The good news is that this probably would've been replaced with the upcoming shared street concept coming. Maybe that was the plan all along? I would like to think that CDOT, CTA, and the utilities all communicated previously, but we all know that doesn't happen.

  2. You want to worry about waste of taxpayer dollars, look at Truman College. Remember all the trees they cut down around the main building a decade ago? They planted new ones and had to replace a lot of those after they died from lack of care. They tore out a lot of sidewalks and poured new ones in the same footprint, apparently to just have a new pattern in the pour. The new steps and entrance on the south side of the main building were poured and torn out no fewer than three times before they settled on something that has lasted longer than a month--and that stuff isn't cheap. The original planters, bike racks, and seating on Wilson were torn out along with the trees, done over with "low-maintenance" plantings that died from lack of maintenance, re-planted, then re-worked to keep skateboarders off the low walls...and the bike storage has gone to plywood platforms in the old plaza between the main building and the EL tracks or to storage rooms in the McKeon Building that are inaccessible because they face SUNNYSIDE (and the College pretends there's nothing on Sunnyside). So, as the Truman website said, Wilson was re-worked AGAIN because a few students wanted a gathering place--never mind that the old plaza I mentioned is sitting forlorn with weedy planter seats and plywood bike storage, or that the space between the main and McKeon buildings was supposed to be a "student gathering area" (albeit with absolutely no seating)--Truman got a couple hundred thousand in TIF funds, so they just HAD to re-do the Wilson frontage and toss in some pergolas that are just begging for some wisteria (which will die) and fountains to keep the gangbangers and street people comfortably seated and thinking that they are in an urban paradise. The people living west and south of Truman had asked repeatedly for some minor fixes to make it easier and safer to get past their parking garage to the CTA, but their tax dollars had to pay for pergolas instead of a bit of new sidewalk and a bit of fence adjustments.

    THAT'S a waste of taxpayer dollars...and why hasn't anyone else noticed the hundreds of thousands of dollars that Truman has whizzed away on "landscaping on the fly"?