Friday, September 16, 2005

Transit Woes

Transit Woes

Ok, I know Metro Transit has bigger battles to fight right now regarding the Cross County line, but I just can't figure out why they have so many unannounced bus route detours.

If we're talking about a real emergency, it's understandable. But Olive Street near the 9th Street Garage construction site has been closed for at least a week. As a result, the Southside express bus inbound trips in the morning are detoured two blocks south, onto Chestnut.

A little notice about this would be helpful - especially since Metro does have a Rider Alerts page on their website which currently has only one, highly inaccurate posting about "#80 Shaw/Southampton - Elevator at East Riverfront Out of Order." Of course, the #80 Shaw/Southampton does not stop anywhere near the East Riverfront station; it serves downtown and a wide swath of the Southside.

Likewise, a few nights ago I was trying to catch the #30 Soulard near the Stadium MetroLink station. I missed it due to a variety of factors:
1) I got off the MetroLink only a few minutes before the scheduled bus arrival time. Normally, this I can handle;
2) The crushing crowd of people headed toward the stadium made it very difficult for me to navigate the sidewalks on 7th Street in the opposite direction;
3) For some crazy reason, on game nights the staircase leading from the eastbound MetroLink platform to Spruce St. is closed off with yellow tape by Metro security. This forced me to join the horde headed for the ballgame up that excruciatingly long ramp that points you toward Clark Ave.;
4) Finally, I headed south on 7th, but I stopped and waited at a rather creepy location, a bus stop on S. 7th near Gratiot, under a railroad bridge; and
5) And then I realized - hey, this bus hasn't come yet! So I walked a little further south, and just as I got to 7th and Chouteau, it came through turning left from westbound Chouteau onto southbound 7th! It swung right by, and I missed it. I guess they had decided to detour to Broadway because of traffic congestion around the ballpark; but how was I to know that?

Sometimes, a little advance notice can go a long way.


Claire Nowak-Boyd said...

I've noticed all the busses missing from Olive! I work at City Grocers at 10th and Olive, and when I do the opening shift and put out all the tables and chairs in the morning, I watch a parade of more busses than cars go by, as everyone heads to their jobs. But since the street closure, I see almost no busses while I'm setting up outside in the morning. As a public transit rider, I heard no announcements about route changes, so I figured a lot of people were going to end up having the experience that you did. Sorry it had to happen to you!

Another thing I've noticed is the ongoing announcements on Metrolink that the escalators and elevators at 8th & Pine are out of order. They've been out of order for several weeks now. When I lived in Chicago and took the CTA everywhere, the "ELEVATORS OUT OF ORDER" dry erase boards at every station were NEVER blank, but the broken elevator and escalator list changed every day. It was saddening that the infrastructure was in such lousy shape that there were constant breakdowns like that, but at least you knew somebody was going to do something about it. Each morning, as I hear the announcement about the escalators and elevator at 8th and Pine being out of order, the first thought through my head is wondering if they even intend to try to fix it anytime soon. (The second thought is man, I wonder what I would do if I was physically handicapped*.)

*Before I sound like I'm waxing nostalgic about the CTA's escalators and elevators, I should point out that all but one Metrolink stations I've dealh with are ADA compliant for accessibility, whereas very very many CTA stations just have a tall, skinny staircase and nothing else.

Anonymous said...

My pet peeve is the permanent detour around the Fed due to their closing 400 Locust. I'd say permanently move all the expresses to Chestnut (in-bound) and Pine (out-bound), instead of Olive and Locust, but Pine is covered with parking garage exits.

Routing an in-street MetroLink downtown circulator for the northside/southside lines will be just as fun. Since the conceptual counter-clockwise routes of Market, 7th, Washington and 14th, streetscape is along Washington, more buses are on Washington and Market as part of Metro's bus loop, and the stadium has narrowed 7th as a possible southside alternative to 14th in entering/exiting downtown.