Thursday, December 3, 2009

Better Late Than Never

There was a decent turnout last night at the CTA's Open House, to discuss the deplorable condition of Uptown's CTA stations. A reader sends in the following pics and notes that Ald. Shiller even showed up...40 minutes late. Any other readers attend the meeting? Add your impressions of whether this was legit, or a dog and pony show, in the comments.


  1. In fairness to Shiller, last night's CTA exhibition was an "open house." There was no presentation or public meeting to be late to, just a forum for residents and CTA riders to leave comments and ask CTA staff questions. At least Shiller showed up. Smith didn't even bother to show up at Edgewater's open house. I do have to say though, that the CTA staff seemed very "impressed" by Helen's expert knowledge of traffic flow, bus patterns and mass transit.

  2. I found the CTA's open house to be pretty informative and useful. I think they are genuinely interested in fixing up the red/purple line stations and the actually seem to have a plan about how to do it (I was surprised). I think one of their biggest problems (besides lack of funding) is poor PR/Marketing; people don't know that there are actually competent, thoughtful people working on fixing the CTA. The people with the CTA I spoke with were knowledgeable and seriously inviting comment from the community. Please consider sending your comments to and keep in mind they are at very early stages of planning, so comment accordingly.

  3. *people don't know that there are actually competent, thoughtful people working on fixing the CTA*

    Wow. You mean that not everyone who works for government is a bungling, cloutheavy idiot? What a revelation!

    You would never know it by reading the papers.....

  4. dmstarr is not incorrect when stating that there are good people at the CTA.

    Problem is that those people have to answer to higher ups who are not quite as good.

    There isn't a lack of funds to get this done - there's a lack of will and/or political creativity (note the architecture of Wilson Yard stated "political finangling" to get funding for WY).

    Truman College got $10M.

    Major, and I do mean MAJOR, corporations got tax-payer funded subsidies:

    Willis Insurance.

    United Airlines.


    Don't tell me there isn't money.

    Beyond that - I'm still curious as to how/why Jan Schakowsky can find funding for CTA projects around the city, but can't seem to find one red cent directed within her district when the need is so overwhelmingly obvious.

    The way I see it, the deteriorating red line stops are nothing more than a stark reminder of the failure of government at all levels: ward, city, county, state, federal.

    We're not asking for a moon-shot here, folks. We just want our transportation hubs to be clean and safe.

  5. I suggest you ask Gov. Quinn.. who solicited ideas on how to use the stimulys money from the Fed Government. I believe UU even had a link to the website where you could offer ideas..I know I put in the Wilson Stop..and never heard back on anything.

    So again, go to Gov. Quinn and ask his office..

  6. As for Shiller's tardiness, in her lack of experience with the el she accidentally boarded a purple line and ran express to Howard. Either that or bus bunching ;-)

  7. You would never know it by reading the papers.....

    Because the papers only pull out the bad things. That's the only way they get people to read.

  8. God bless Lorraine Swanson.

    In Lake Effect News, she pens this caption for a photo of Helen pointing at a large aerial photo of the Red line at the bend near Sheridan Road...

    Ald. Helen Shiller (center) demonstrates her expert knowledge of mass transit issues to CTA mass transit experts at the Uptown open house at Truman College Wednesday evening, one of four community forums held by the CTA for its Red and Purple Line vision study.

  9. Some nursing homes smell; others don't. It all depends on whether the budget includes money for functional cleaning materials.

    If the SSA was not the personal property of Sue Ellen Long and the Aldermen, they could check with the professionals and start cleaning around the vacant stores and el stations to get rid of the urine stench! Then when it works they can teach CTA how to do it inside the stations.

  10. Well, actually it is "never, not late" for much of this project.

    In the early days of the Wilson TIF, the CTA paid 1.75 million to hire Wilson Transit Associates (WTA) to provide 4 design alternatives for the Wilson Station (called Phase I). The WTA Joint Venture is a partnership between Parsons Transportation Group, Inc., McDonough Associates Inc., and Architrave, Ltd., of Chicago

    They (CTA, the Alderman and developers) selected a design (with no with no community input) and in 2005 paid WTA another $2.5 million to finish the final design plan for the Wilson Station (called Phase II). That was when the decision was made about where to place the station and other matters that are of greatest concern to our community. That's now a done-deal.

    The completion of Phase II brought the plan to 30% completion. CTA says, "The third and final design phase will develop the concept to the 100 percent design level." In other words, the remaining 70% of the project is construction.

    In 2007 Wilson TIF developer Peter Holsten (part of the CTA taskforce) announced, that plans are under way to remove the blight from the L stop. The architecturally significant structure will be completely restored on the outside and completely new on the inside.

    "It will be brand, spanking new, so more people will use it," Holsten said. "The more people, the lesser the crime." That project is expected to be completed by early next year (Spring 2008)

    Source: (Headline: Uptown on the way up dateline: May 11, 2007, Reporter: CELESTE BUSK

    When asked why this Wilson station rehab came to a dead halt in 2005, CTA representatives stated that the funding model was changed and that there no longer is any funding for the rehab.

    "What? Where'd the money go?", we asked. Here it is folks: The CTA stated that the Wilson Station rehab was supposed to be financed by a private-public partnership but that fell through and now they need to find 100% government funding from another source as part of the overall Red Line / Purple Line rehab project.

    So, the CTA station rehab was yet another project that was supposed to be funded by the Peter Holsten Wilson Yard private development that was allowed to be scrapped to free up all the money for more developer profit and to focus funding on his housing developments.

    The next obvious question was, "Weren't Target or Aldi's (the private beneficiaries of the Wilson TIF development) approached to contribute to the Wilson station rehab. Their reply: "We don't think so."

    during the early days of the Wilson Yard TIF to design a new Wilson Station. That design project is now complete - with no input from the most of community.

    Peter Holsten was involved. In 2007 he

    That design decision was already made the decision about whether Wilson station will be relocated down to Montrose or south into the Aldi's / Target redevelopment area.

    In 2007

    The entire project is considered 30% complete because the last 70% is construction.

  11. Curious. Sen. Steans was here and not at the state senate debate co-sponsored by the Loyola Democrats and the Loyola Republicans?

  12. Ok, word is Sen. Steans was not confirmed for the Loyola debate. No worries, though, we're organizing a candidate forum/debate (format tbd) for January. Despite what the party regulars say, open, competitive primaries are good---for challengers and incumbents alike. They help keep everyone sharp, in touch and accountable.

  13. I'm pretty familiar with the homeless, having been myself. I worked the system and got off the streets. (My mother died and she was supporting me) I never panhandled, never did drugs, never peed outside. It was a brief time here in Chicago, honestly. But the majority of these guys have the help available to them and won't take it. You can eat for free at the homeless shelters, the police will take you to PGM if you can't win the lottery at R.E.S.T, soup kitchens many days of the week, food pantries. There's no need to panhandle except to feed an addiction. I know this. They can call the Thresholds Mobile Assessment unit team and they will show you how to survive and get you mental health treatment/drug addiction treatment.