Friday, December 05, 2008

i generally don't like salty things, but this is an exception.

dear Chicago Transit Authority,

i love you, but we really need to talk.

over the last week or so, the weather has turned decidedly wintry. the temperature has rarely been above freezing for longer than a couple of hours at a time. snow has fallen, melted, and refrozen into ice.

it's this that we need to talk about: the ice. yes, it's bad enough when there is ice on the sidewalk. i'm careful when i step, and i try not to fall. if i fell, it could hurt a bit, but life-threatening consequences of slipping and falling on the ice are extremely unlikely.

even so, most of the businesses and landlords around dear old wrigleyville are doing what they can to make my life a little easier--or, at least, to avoid getting sued by someone who slips and falls on their portion of sidewalk. i know it's a new concept at the forefront of accident prevention, but i would like for you to listen carefully: they went to the hardware store, bought a bag of salt, spread the salt on the sidewalk, and got rid of the ice.

as icy as the sidewalks were before the salt was applied, they were not nearly as icy as the platform at the southport brown line station still is. this has turned my morning commute from a joyous indulgence of my public transit love into a scary, scary experience. if i slip on the ice on the el platform, i face the same possible consequences as falling on the sidewalk. i could rip my clothing, scrape my knee, or break a leg or an arm.

however, i face also face the additional dangerous possibility of slipping and falling off of the platform onto the train track. once that happens, i have two wonderfully transit-geeky ways to shuffle off this mortal coil: either getting shocked by the third rail, or getting run over by an oncoming train. as much as i love your trains, i'm not quite ready to die prostrate before one of them simply because i'm a klutz who slipped on a patch of ice.

in short, salt the platform. now.

if you don't have the money to do it now, i question the priorities espoused by whoever writes your budget. but, i know there are fare increases kicking in for the new year. you can at least use some of that new money coming in to buy some salt for the el platforms. it'll make me feel a lot safer during my commute, and will be a lot less expensive than the inevitable wrongful death lawsuit when someone slips on your unsalted el platform, gets shocked by the third rail, and is then flattened by an oncoming train.

the persecuted crack smoker

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