Tuesday, March 2, 2010

No one misses the Red Line's Washington stop

Until the mid-1990's,the Red Line* made just one stop between Grand Avenue and Monroe Street. This stop was called Washington. Northbound and southbound trains did not stop across from one another; the northbound train stop was considerably north of the southbound train stop--closer to Lake Street. This worked just fine. In the mid-1990's, the cta put the subway station under construction, and trains stopped twice in each direction: once at the "Lake" stop and once at the "Washington" stop. When construction ended, cta tried to return to one-stop operation, but because it stupidly installed a staircase/escalator in the middle of the platform instead of on either side (with a pedestrian walkway in between), passengers were squeezed while walking between the staircase structure and moving trains. So the cta decided trains should resume stopping twice in each direction. Of course this adds time to everyone's commute. Now there is construction again at Washington, and trains aren't stopping there; they stop at Monroe and Lake Streets.

This is working out great! Who needs a second stop at Lake-Washington anyway? Oh, it's such a long walk between the Lake stop and the underground tunnel to the Blue Line! No, it isn't. Passengers could probably use the exercise. And passengers going in the other direction--changing from the Blue Line to the Red Line? Northbound riders can do that at Jackson Boulevard. Southbound riders can walk, and it's really just 100 feet or so. (I'll time it next time I'm in the subway.) Please, cta. Keep the Washington station closed.

*Called the Howard-Englewood-Jackson Park until the cta's color-scheme revolution of the late-1990's.

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