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The [Thursday] Papers

With the cause of the Blue Line derailment still undetermined, the coverage is appropriately focusing on whether the CTA has an adequate emergency plan for its trains, and, even more so, how well it can communicate that plan to endangered passengers.

The early answers seem to be No and Not Well.

As Eric Zorn points out, communication has never been the CTA's strong suit.

Neither has candor.

CTA President Frank Kruesi, for example, "dismissed suggestions that having a conductor on board the train, in addition to the motorman, would have made the evacuation smoother," the Sun-Times reports.

"The CTA has not had conductors on its trains since the 1990s, when they were phased out to cut costs.

"Robert Paaswell, director of the Transportation Research Center at City College of New York and former executive director of the CTA, said having one operator 'saves money in the long run, but in an emergency it's not enough to really evacuate a train. To just send people off on their own in a dark tunnel is probably not the wisest thing to do.'"

Kruesi, in fact, discredited his own argument by explaining that a single motorman could not be expected to have time to both inform passengers of the emergency and issue instructions to them as well as investigate the emergency and lead the evacuation.

"You've got to go in and turn up the PA system, you've got to go into a locked room and turn it on," Kruesi said, according to this Channel 2 report. "That takes valuable seconds in an evacuation situation. The bottom line is it takes time, and time is the enemy in this situation.

"The operator gave the direction. People were following it, and one of the things is that people were following together. Remember, were taking about an eight-car train with 1,000 people, and everybody was able to get out of that train."

The city's Chief Emergency Officer, Cortez Trotter, said using the PA system could have actually jeopardized safety because of the time and attention it would've taken.

"If (the train operator) had stopped and made the call, think of this - he could have very well had self-evacuations not only from the front, but from the rear as well, and from the sides," Trotter said.

In other words, one motorman can't handle an emergency single-handedly. As Kruesi points out, we're talking about an eight-car train with 1,000 people. Kruesi's statement that a conductor wouldn't have made the evacuation smoother by sharing the burden for those 1,000 people is nonsense. A cost-benefit analysis has been made, and if someone loses their life because of it, well, that's just the way the CTA budget works.

Terrible Twos
It was only the second day on the Blue Line for the unidentified train operator, the Tribune reports.

Teaching Moment
Maybe the CTA will name a Director of Lessons Learned (second item).

Lesson Learned
"[The White House] said they needed a manufacturer in the Loop. I suggested that might be difficult because there has not been a manufacturer in the Loop for more than a century."

- Greg Baise, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers' Association, on preparations for the president's visit last week

The Cubs Are Merely Players
"It's a team with a story - a narrative," writes Joel Boehm in "Chicago, Soul, the Cubs, and Urban Renaissance," at Agony and Ivy. "It's a story we are following because we have learned to care about the characters, and their struggles. There are heroes and villains, decisions and consequences. There are acts of courage and might, and also cowardice. There is strategy and execution, both fine and poor. There are characters with which we identify, and others that grate on us. Most of all, there are moments that will lodge in our memory, and frame our lives as we look back."

Moments such as, "Look, Uncle Paul, the ball hit the Cubs man in the head."

Message Machine
So far this year, Mayor Richard M. Daley's campaign fund has spent $136,297 for polling; $30,000 to consultant David Axelrod; $150,000 to consultant Dana Herring; and $21,399 to the fund's treasurer, Pat Kilroe, according to the Sun-Times.

The Bill Beavers Show
* "Entire County Board Slaps Ald. Beavers," in which the Beave tells the board that "if I wanted to take over, I would have [run] for president . . . But I'm coming over to help."

Little heard side character Commissioner Robert Maldonado says Beavers "will be eaten alive" if he sloughs off.

* "He Can Run Mickey Mouse If He Wants To," in which Beavers responds to the suggestions that Sandi Jackson may challenge Beavers' daughter for his 7th Ward aldermanic seat should he make the move to the county board. "My name is Beavers, and I think Beavers carries more weight than Mrs. Jesse Jackson Jr. Her name is Darcel Beavers. And I think she's better known in the city of Chicago than Mrs. Jesse Jackson Jr."

In turn, Jesse Jackson Jr. called Beavers a dinosaur, saying "His insider political deals are reminiscent of the Jurassic period."

Stadium Games
Chicago's inclusion of a proposed temporary stadium in its Olympic bid is part of an international trend.

Bureaucratic Gold
"The IOC is always open to ideas and proposals, which, if made, would be discussed and studied."

- International Olympic Committee spokeswoman Giselle Davies

The Beachwood Tip Line: Making plans likely never to be discussed, studied, or implemented.



Permalink

Posted on July 13, 2006


MUSIC - The Week In Chicago Rock.
TV - Cricket vs. Brexit.
POLITICS - Trailer: Swing District.
SPORTS - Ryan Pace's Narratives Are Killing Us.

BOOKS - Chicago For Dummies.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - The Sears Motor Buggy.


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