CTA Blue Line Station


The other day I went off on some high-flown theories on why yupsters on the Brown Line look so cranky in transit. But I forgot the best advice I've ever gotten from a movie*: First principles, Clarice. Simplicity. Read Marcus Aurelius. Of each particular thing ask: what is it in itself? What is its nature?

Which is why I'm grateful to Tracy Swartz of RedEye, who's spent more time on the CTA than I've ever spent on anything, for pointing out: "Slow zones. The line has been plagued with them for awhile but they've gotten much worse lately." (The wooden planks that are rotting after two years can't help.)

An excellent point; I don't take the Brown Line all that much, and familiarty breeds contempt. Speaking of which, a friend noted: "At least I can get the Brown Line mugwumps to laugh about being all crammed in. Blue Liners shoot eye-searing glares."

Now I do take the Blue Line a lot, and it does make me much unhappier than the Brown Line. For two reasons, I think. First, the Brown Line is above-ground, so there's light and a view, and there's not the ear-splitting racket the Blue Line creates when it's underground. I take the bus when I can, even if it means a longer trip, just to stay off the Blue Line. Second, there's the 5000-series NYC-style lengthwise seating that not only increases capacity over the airplane-style seats but makes boarding and exiting… well, maybe just a bit faster, but much more socially graceful.

Obviously, I'd prefer to go "mass mohair" on an old Electroliner. Perhaps some future period television series will subsidize one.


* Perhaps my favorite of all time; the fact that the lead character is a well-educated, self-sufficient woman from rural Appalachia is moving, and the scene where Lecter sizes her up in class terms is a masterpiece.


Photograph: smadeli (CC by 2.0)