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The Day Car People Became "L" People

By Karl Klockars in News on Feb 3, 2011 8:00PM

"Pink Line" By nvaughn.
I managed to make my way downtown and back yesterday while most of the city collectively huddled under their quilt. If you've ever been in the Loop on a major holiday like Christmas Day you know how eerie and silent it can be down there when there's a near-total absence of humanity. That's what it was like yesterday, and the scene on trains and buses (at least from my anecdotal experience) was similarly vacant, and I have to add, pretty smoothly run. I did have to trudge over to Western to shuffle onto a Brown line, but when I got on there, it was fairly smooth sailing all the way to the Loop and back even as the storm refused to slow.

Today, from many accounts that we've been compiling at Chicagoist HQ, is the opposite. With side streets unplowed and unpassable, driving to work was a non-issue today. If the plows have been through your street, your car might be under the 20 inches that fell, as well as the snow shoved onto your car. If the plows haven't come by yet, your street is likely un-drivable even if you could get your car out. The world continues to turn, however, and many of us needed to get back to work - which is where the CTA comes in.

Or, perhaps more accurately, reportedly didn't come in. 15 minute gaps between Red Line trains and similar delays on the Blue Line during the rush. Huge increases in travel times. Sporadic buses, or the opposite - buses stacked up to four deep. We've seen all of this on a day where ridership was all but guaranteed to be above average.

CTA President Richard Rodriguez discussed the service problems during this afternoon's press conference, saying the CTA had resumed its regularly scheduled bus and service as of this morning, including service to the Pink Line and the Yellow Line. Buses were not running express on Lake Shore Drive this morning but is expected to return by the end of the day. As for the problems we saw throughout the morning, Rodriguez described as the ridership on the Red, Blue and Brown Lines as "moderate to heavy" while ridership was "light to moderate" on the other lines. Rodriguez also cited, and apologized for, an equipment problem on the Blue Line which resulted in a 20-minute delay, which resulted in crowds and long waits.

Along those same lines, we've received reports of everything being pretty copacetic from people coming in from the South Side. Is this an example of the ever-privileged Northsiders not being about to hop in the Honda and drive downtown, while the South Side continues on without blinking? (Or, South Side, are you still just snowed in?)

So what's your story? Endless delays or no worries? Let us know.