Friday, April 20, 2007

City Workings

On Monday, April 2, as I went to work I noticed there were two or three traffic directors at the intersection of Clark and Armitage. These city employees, once part of the CPD but now I think they are in Streets and Sans, are a common sight in The Loop. I've always questioned whether they were any better at controlling traffic than the traffic lights that are engineered to allow maximum flow, but hey, this is Chicago. It would seem to be a great place to put precinct workers.

And they weren't just at Clark and Armitage. They were everywhere. I saw them further north at Fullerton and Lincoln Park West. I saw them at mulitple intersections in the River North area. Friends reported seeing them elsewhere around Lincoln Park and Lakeview. And it wasn't just one person at the intersections. I saw one River North intersection with 4 of them.

The April 2 date conveniently coincided with the CTA's "3-Track" phase of the Brown Line expansion. For any out of town readers, during 3-Track phase the CTA has reduced the number of operable train tracks from 4 to 3 in the busiest corridor of the rail system while stations and lengthened and modernized. Two weeks ago I attributed the show of force to the CTA disruption. The CTA was running extra buses so maybe these people were "helping" traffic to flow smoother.

Then over the past two days the traffic directors have disappeared. I assure you, there are still only three tracks in operation. What happened this week? Two things: the aldermanic run-off elections were held on Tuesday and Frank Krusei, the much embattled head of the CTA, stepped down yesterday. The fact that Mayor Daley replaced Krusei immediately with his Chief Of Staff, Ron Hubberman, makes me think that Krusei was forced out.

So, is the appearance and disappearence of the traffic controllers related to either of these events? I don't know but it is awefully coincidental.

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