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November 2012 Blog posts

Don’t miss Santa on the CTA!

‘Tis the season, even on the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), as the Holiday Train prepares to ride with Santa and his elves! Even Scrooge couldn’t resist a ride on the six-car train, decked out top-to-bottom with thousands of holiday lights, garland and candy cane hand rails. Santa and his reindeer will be greeting passengers on all CTA lines as part of regular rail service between now and Dec. 22nd. See the full schedule on the CTA Holiday Train website. Normal fares apply. Photo courtesy of Flickr cta web The Holiday train not only puts us in the holiday spirit, it brings good cheer to the less fortunate: For more than 20 years, CTA employees have donated their time and money to purchase groceries for 300 food baskets, delivered by the Holiday Train to community…

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Stagnation, progress in Chicago trigger ideas for President Obama's second term

In the weeks since the election, I've been pondering how the outcome will affect my world. On a personal level, will I ever again experience the pride of a U.S. president who hails from Chicago and who I have the pleasure of knowing? Doubtful. Professionally, I heave a sigh of relief that the combativeness of election season is behind us, but brace myself for the year-end fiscal cliff debate in Washington and the pension fix that absolutely must be brokered in Springfield in January. These issues are critical to resolve, both for metropolitan Chicago's immediate and long-term fiscal health, but also because their shadows cast a gloomy pall over every future-focused initiative in which MPC and our partners in policy change are engaged. To further underscore the severity of these…

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Chicago Water Taxi: contributing to the future of public transportation

Photo provided by Wendella Sightseeing Company

MPC Research Assistant Andrew Matsas authored this post. Last week I had one of the final opportunities of the season to catch a ride on the Chicago Water Taxi, a public water transit service provided by the Wendella Sightseeing Company. Started in 1962 as a rush hour commute service, the Chicago Water Taxi provides daily seasonal transportation along the Chicago River to many destinations and neighborhoods, and is exploring near-term opportunities to expand service. Chicago Water Taxi continues to increase its amount of commuters, visitors, and tourists (this year a projected 400,000!), transporting them to various spots along the river. Its main hub is located at Madison Street, near both the Ogilvie Transportation Center and Union Station. The water taxi network branches out to…

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Agenda in Action reports MPC's impact on region

The Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) is pleased to present the Agenda in Action, a report on our recent accomplishments, available exclusively online at Through regional success stories, convincing data, and compelling visuals, the website explains how MPC's work with a wide range of civic, private and public sector allies has contributed to a more competitive, equitable and sustainable greater Chicago region. That's MPC's mission, and to accomplish it, we work every day on five priority regional issues: quality housing, transportation choices, clean water, vibrant destinations, and a competitive economy. The Agenda in Action also explains how we work: To achieve successful policy change, we research, advocate, and implement—often using all…

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The differences between bus and train riders

Flickr user -Tripp-

CTA Bus and Green line train in the Austin neighborhood

Results from this year's Regional Transportation Authority’s Customer Satisfaction Survey point to opportunities to diversify the Chicago area’s bus ridership. In May the RTA released the findings from its Customer Satisfaction Survey, conducted between autumn and winter of 2011. The RTA called the survey “the most complete local transit survey ever;” it was issued to more than 32,000 riders through onboard transit interviews, and phone and e-mail surveys. While 80 percent of riders reported they were pleased with the transportation system in the region, the study provided numerous interesting and important insights. According to the results, 50 percent of Metra riders live in households that bring in $100,000 or more annually, compared with 19 percent of Chicago…

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For 80 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has made the Chicago region a better place to live and work by partnering with businesses, communities and governments to address the area’s toughest planning and development challenges. MPC works to solve today's urgent problems while consistently thinking ahead to prepare the region for the needs of tomorrow. Read more about our work »

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