Today’s Headlines for Tuesday, February 14

  • After Opposing Cornell Plan, Hairston Asks Obama Foundation for More Input (DNA)
  • An Architect’s Proposal for the New Damen Green Line Station (Curbed)
  • Drunk Driver Who Killed 3 Chicago Women in Milwaukee Hit-and-Run Pleads Guilty (WISN)
  • Could the Jewel at Sheridan & Montrose Be Replaced With a TOD? (Curbed)
  • Metra Riders Share Pet Peeves, Which Will Be Highlighted in Upcoming Campaign (WGN)
  • Map: Lots of Infrastructure Improvements Planned for the 33rd Ward (DNA)
  • A Valentine Video to Encourage Ridership on the Lincoln Ave. Bus (DNA)
  • A Realistic Depiction of the Streets of Chicago on Minecraft (Chicagoist)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA

Note: Streetsblog Chicago will be on vacation next week.

  • planetshwoop

    Based on chatter at the office, the #1 pet peeve of Metra riders is the big fare increase. Their constant focus on griping about people complaining about talking too loud on cell phones deflects that they have zero plans to actually improve/expand service, which is much more important.

  • J.B.

    Yep. Pretty annoying to pay more and more for the same ancient rail cars and same temperamental tracks and switches. Maybe think about trying *something* new – like pre-pay boarding to avoid the need for conductors, and trying to run smaller trains more often to make it more convenient. Maybe, just maybe, improving the ease of connections with CTA lines, I dunno, just spitballin’.

  • Anne A

    For me, it’s the big fare increase, combined w/svc that continues to get worse. Now paying $150 for monthly pass that cost me $89 10 years ago, when I got better, more reliable service. Bad attitudes and unprofessional behavior from some conductors doesn’t help the situation.

  • Anne A

    The only real service improvement I’ve seen on the Rock Island in the last 10 years is additional runs on weekends so that Joliet and Beverly runs are separate for most of the day. That’s reduced delays a lot and made trips more pleasant. The downside is that the number of open ADA cars on Beverly runs is rarely more than 1, which is problematic for bike access. Meanwhile, weekday rush hour service still has issues, especially in the evening.

  • FG

    Actually, the fare increase is needed to prevent service cuts from uncertain funding and going to help pay for the new cars that Metra got a good deal on via an option.

  • FG

    The Jewel at Montrose won’t actually be replaced: the parking lot will be built on while the Jewel remains in operation.

  • J.B.

    Hey I hadn’t heard that, it’s good to know, thank you! I’m glad there is some advancement going on.

  • planetshwoop

    I was thinking about your comment the other day and it struck me as a bit weird that there’s not a rider’s union for Metra, ie something like a PTO to advocate for improvements. I mean, yes, Active Trans is supposed to do that, but I’m thinking more along the lines of the Straphangers union in NYC. (http://www.straphangers.org/aboutus.html)

    Metra has never felt the need to be accountable to riders; it has been rife for years with political crap that has impeded a civil service job of improving the quality of rides for passengers. This goes beyond fares and gets into the conductors, train amenities (bikes), integration with other transit, etc. etc.

    I worry sometimes ATA is too close to the agencies they lobby for and a more umm, populist? approach is needed for Metra. I expect there are thousands of simple options for improvements if they bothered to ask instead of publishing more stories about toenail clippings on the train.