By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz
3:10 PM CST, January 14, 2013
Brown Line riders, you've been treated.
The CTA is set to finish replacing rotting wood this month on the platforms at 13 Brown Line stations with wood that has been weather-treated. The agency is wrapping up work at the last station on the list, the Southport stop in Lakeview.
The CTA is spending nearly $6 million replacing the wood that was used to renovate 13 of 18 stations in the yearslong $530 million Brown Line Capacity Expansion project that ended in 2009, CTA spokesman Brian Steele said.
Steele said the agency doesn't have a breakdown for how much of the $530 million was spent on the original wood.
The CTA first noticed the wood decay in the summer of 2008, according to Tribune reports. The wood had been pre-treated only with fire-retardant materials, and the CTA tried to add weather-proofing chemicals to little avail. The agency began replacing platform wood more than 18 months ago.
The project ends months of inconveniences for Brown Line riders, who endured trains bypassing their station, entrance closures and slow zones by affected stations.
Only one wood platform, Wellington in Lakeview, didn’t see repairs because it was built after the CTA determined there were issues with the initial wood treatments, Steele said. No work was done at stations with concrete platforms.
Bums on the CTA
About 175 riders participated in the No-Pants Subway Ride on Sunday, an annual cheeky spin on transit. The CTA said there were no reports of incidents associated with the event, which took place on the Red Line for three hours. Go to redeyechicago.com for pictures from the event.
A weekly dispatch from a CTA station of note
This week: O'Hare Blue Line
The beginning of the Blue Line saw the beginning of a fare increase Monday. Riders who load up their card with cash saw the price of their Blue Line ride from O'Hare jump from $2.25 to $5 as part of CTA fare hikes that took effect Monday.
The increase does not apply to riders with daily, weekly or monthly unlimited ride passes.
Chicago Card users who pay per ride will not see the increase until this summer. In the meantime, the CTA is working with O'Hare employees to encourage them to buy unlimited passes so they won't pay $5 fares every time they leave O'Hare.
When Going Public visited the O'Hare station at 7:15 a.m. Monday, there were a few customer service assistants on hand to help riders navigate the new fare structure.
The CTA also posted signs about the fare changes by transit card purchase machines.
Plus, each O'Hare turnstile had a sticker that said "customers using full fare transit cards will be charged $5."
But this may be confusing to Chicago Card users not aware of the six-month delay in the fare increase. Chicago Card users likely wouldn't stop by the fare card purchase machines and see the signs.
CTA spokesman Brian Steele said there was limited space to put information on the turnstile sticker, and he believes that Chicago Card users are aware of the six-month O'Hare reprieve.
"That's something that we believe has received pretty extensive media coverage," Steele said. "The decals on the turnstiles are meant to be a last-chance warning/reminder to customers, not a full explanation, so their wording is brief and concise."
Next up: Wellington Brown Line
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