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Election Day Rally Creates Transit Challenges

By Tim State in News on Nov 2, 2008 4:30PM

Photo by Joe Cummings Photography.

The CTA, Metra and the Office of Emergency Management and Communications are all working to handle the throngs of people expected to show up at Tuesday night’s rally in Grant Park. Complicating the plan is that they really have no idea how many people will attend, but they are planning for an event similar to the annual July 3 fireworks display--on steroids.

Most surface streets east of the 90/94 expressway, north of Cermak and south of Illinois will be shut down. Don’t go trying to bring your car into the loop, people.

Loop employers are being encouraged to let their employees go home at 3 p.m. Metra and the CTA will be running rush hour schedules early, and continuing some service late into the night.

Not knowing when the election outcomes will be called makes it impossible to stack the schedule optimally, Metra spokesperson Judy Pardonnet said, adding, "We are in a very tight spot," Pardonnet said. "We can only hope for early returns and Sen. Obama declares victory before midnight."

Metra will have to shut down by 1 a.m., or risk violating federal regulations limiting the number of hours train crews can work. If commuters get stuck, though, the train stations will be open all night.

The CTA will be running longer trains. The Orange and Green lines will run until 2 a.m., while the Red Line will run all night. [S-T]