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Car-free Summer, 2008 » Wednesday 8/6/08: The Cost of Congestion and Fine-tuning My CTA Skills
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Errands and Leisure10 Aug 2008 01:17 pm

I have a full day and evening planned downtown. The Metra train is the better choice today but the CTA lends a hand in the Loop.

On my way in I read the Tribune which features a notable article on Chicagoland transportation with this headline: Traffic congestion’s toll is $7.3 billion a year in Chicago area

It’s a stunning but not surprising study by the Metropolitan Planning Council reported bythe Chicago Tribune Getting Around writer. Read the whole article but think about this quote:

Time wasted in traffic jams is costing commuters and their employers an average of $879 a year in the collar counties and $3,014 in Chicago, the study estimated. For the six-county region combined, the cost of congestion comes to an average of $1,579 for each worker and his or her employer.”

Yikes…and yet Hilkevitch reports that it remains a hard sell to get people to pay more taxes to solve this issue. Drink deeply of the whole article:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/lifestyle/green/chi-congestion-web-aug06,0,6010193.story

Metra is running late again and I’m sweating the noon meeting I have. I opt for the 124 Navy Pier bus, a new friend for me in the Loop area this summer. It gets me closer and I transfer at Michigan to a Sheridan Road bus. I’m only a little late and yet still earlier than my lunch host. All’s well and my CTA card is doing right by me. I reload it after lunch with $10 in the Red Line subway and ride to the Harold Washington Library until a 4 PM call that I take in a study room there. Let me get started another time how much I still like libraries.

After that mental challenge, I ride the Red Line back north again to meet friends at a bar pub on Grand Avenue. This bopping around the Loop on the CTA buses and trains is something I haven’t done for a long time. Kind of like getting back on a bike after a time away: I still have the hang of it.

The fun evening with my friends winds down and I decide that I will catch the 10:35 Metra train. I have time to walk but I’m on a roll with the CTA: a 22 Clark bus pulls up to the stop and I take it into the Loop. I just miss a connection with a Madison bus westbound but I have lots of time and the summer night is fabulous for walking, which is what I do. Lots of people are still out in the Loop.

Lots of people are on the train, too.

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