An example of a Regio Express train, stationed in Augsburg, Germany. Notice how it has only a single level. It has considerably more room for prams, bicycles, and people using wheelchairs. It also has near-level boarding at platforms (there’s a step down). The train’s name, Fugger-Express, refers to the Fugger family in Augsburg that founded the oldest social settlement still in operation.
I took a Deutsche Bahn (DB) Regio Express (RE) train on Wednesday from Munich*, Bavaria, Germany, to Augsburg, Bavaria, Germany, today in order to see the historical buildings, the world’s oldest social settlement, and, unbeknownst to me, a lot of trams running down pedestrian-only streets. I traveled with a friend who is studying in Munich and his parents. The round-trip price for four adults was 34 euros, or about $42.73. That’s $5.34 per person per direction, for a 40 mile trip.
Continue reading Observations from Europe: Why doesn’t the Metra train run as smoothly?
Kelsey Peterson, left, as Adham Fisher. Photo courtesy of Waltzing Mechanics.
Last Saturday my ‘L’ racing partner Danny Resner and I caught a performance of the current incarnation of the show “EL Stories,” which uses the CTA race we lost against Leicester, England, native Adham Fisher as a framing device. Created by the Waltzing Mechanics theater troupe, the performance piece features a series of vignettes based on stories recorded from actual transit riders. Here’s a write-up I did of a previous version of the show.
Grid Chicago readers will recall that Adham returned to Chicago in April to reclaim his record for visiting all 143 stations (at the time; two new ones have opened since then) in the shortest possible time, which Danny I beat last winter. Scott Presslak and Kevin Olsta beat our time in early April, and were in turn bested by Rob Bielaski and Ben Downey later that month.
Continue reading An ‘L’ of a portrayal: Waltzing Mechanics takes on Adham Fisher
Andrew Bayley’s ward map jigsaw puzzle. This and most photos in this post are by Bayley.
[This piece also runs in Time Out Chicago magazine.]
It was a blast from the past when Andrew “Cooter” Bayley, an old bike messenger colleague of mine, asked me to pedal the torturous boundaries of the newly redistricted First Ward with him. Back in January, just after City Council approved the new ward map, Bayley made headlines by using a computerized laser-cutting program to turn the map into a handsome, 50-piece Baltic Birch plywood jigsaw puzzle.
“I thought the new map was ridiculous, so I turned it into puzzle,” explained Bayley, who currently interns at an architecture firm. “Now I want to explore the interaction between this particular form of gerrymandering and the urban infrastructure that defines it.”
Continue reading Giro de Gerrymandering: pedaling the perimeter of the new First Ward
Steven and Forrest Claypool.
Yesterday the Chicago Transit Authority gave a handful of transportation bloggers the opportunity to meet with CTA President Forrest Claypool at the agency’s headquarters and ask him about the state of the agency and its future projects. Steven and I were joined by our colleagues Patrick Barry, filling in for Kevin O’Neil from CTA Tattler, and Kevin Zolkiewicz from Chicago Bus, who also contributes to Grid Chicago.
During the freewheeling 45-minute discussion Mr. Claypool patiently answered any and all of our queries about the transit authority’s sometimes controversial decisions. He was particularly candid about the upcoming Jeffery Corridor Bus Rapid Transit initiative, volunteering his opinion that this pilot project isn’t really bus rapid transit, but rather a step in the right direction. Here are a few of Steven’s and my questions and Mr. Claypool’s responses.
Continue reading Talk, Forrest, talk! The CTA chief responds to our transit questions
A new intermodal link at Congress Parkway and Financial Place, leading passengers up to Metra platforms, as viewed from the northwest.
If there were a contest for “best hidden train station in the Loop,” the dubious winner would be Metra’s LaSalle Street station. Have you ever tried and failed to find this station, or had to give extremely detailed directions to help someone else find it? If your answer is “yes,” you’ve got lots of company.
So why is it such a mystery?
Much of the signage directing “potential” passengers is small, placed in mid-block locations far out of visual range from adjacent intersections, and doesn’t follow the design standards of Metra signs. The station itself is tucked and hidden behind the Chicago Board Options Exchange; the platforms are also above ground with a single point of entry. This aerial view gives you a point of reference. Continue reading How LaSalle Street Metra station maintains hard-to-find reputation
Hail on Thursday, rain and flooding Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Grid Shots this week is about weather challenging our transportation system. And our transportation modes.
Group bike ride to protest coal-powered plants in Chicago which Community Voicebox participated in. Mayor Emanuel brokered a deal with Midwest Generation to have them shut down by the end of 2012. My photo. Continue reading Grid Shots: Challenging weather