Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Getting to Wrigley Field

Getting to Wrigley Field
(view photos below)

The CTA has made some changes to their system since the days that I was regularly riding the Chicago trains. For starters, the train lines now have colors as their identity.

This really bothers many of us who knew the old system and who just don't connect the"Addison B train" as the red line. (or whatever it is.)
(Insert Technicolor Dreamcoat line joke here.)

I was planning on driving to Wrigley, but I realized that it being a Cubs / Cardinals game, there might be even more people requiring parking, since many St. Louis/Springfield folks make the 200-300 mile drive to Wrigley. As it turned out, there weren't that many Cardinal fans there since it gameday was a Monday and not a travel ableing weekend.

While shopping at Dominicks grocery the night before the game, an employee there said they went to a Cubs game last week and his friend paid $40 for parking at Wrigley.
Wow! That talked me out of driving.

I had been given directions on how to get to the most ideal train station from where I was staying, but they weren't written down and I really missed the expressway exit.

So we ended up at the Forest Park train station.

Not exactly my favorite train station - I was mugged on this train line many years ago (while with the friend I was meeting at the ballpark today) and on another occasion was in a car accident there.

I paid the $3 parking fee and went to find a parking space.
For half an hour we looked for a parking space.
Finally, we prayed for parking spaces.
(It was a verbal typo, okay.)
Yep, I found two spaces available soon after that.

Lessons learned: Pray early and don't pay the parking until you have a space.

I there was another parking lot on the other side of the train station, but that appeared to be run by another company, so we'd have to pay the parking fee a second time if we parked there. If I hadn't already paid, it wouldn't have been an issue.

Most of the people parking their cars there were wearing Cubs logos and obviously headed to the game. I'd like to encourage the Cubs to post some advertisements at these end of the line stations and on the trains offering directions to Wrigley Field. The CTA is in need of money and could probably use the advertising money. Wrigley is in a residential neighborhood with a low amount of game parking. Their attendance success is really based on a functioning public transit system. A big part of that is making directions available.

When on the train I chatted with some teenagers also going to the game.
They thought they just had to take this train to Addison and they'd be at Wrigley.

Nope! There are two different trains with an Addison street stop and they are miles apart. The Red stops at Wrigley, the Blue line requires an additional bus ride to get to Wrigley.
This was the distant one. If they didn't pay extra for a transfer, they'd need to pay for the bus again or somehow reload their CTA card.

BTA, loading that CTA card at the train station was a pain.
The machine didn't accept credit or debit cards and was exact cash only.
For someone just making one trip...this was very frustrating.
Oh, did I mention that there wasn't a change machine available, so one had to make purchases at the snack shop if they wanted change. ARRRRGH!
(Yes, this process delayed us some more...)

Anyway, back on the train there was a veteran CTA / Wrigley traveler who told us that we would need to transfer at the Jackson station to catch the train that would take us to Wrigley.
Usually one would transfer at the Washington St. station, but that was being renovated.
(I did recall something about that on the WGN news.)

So our group of a dozen or so Wrigley bound travelers followed the
veteran CTA / Wrigley traveler and exited at the Jackson station and walked underground to the red line station that would take us to Wrigley. I chatted with the veteran CTA / Wrigley traveler as our subway became an "L" (elevated train) and we all exited at our Wrigley Field destination.

I thanked the
veteran CTA / Wrigley traveler for the directions and his willingness to be our CTA guide for the trip. It made the trip better and faster for all of us.
(The Blue line + bus ride takes a lot longer to Wrigley, but it does involve fewer stairs for those of you concerned with that travel issue.

I did like these signs at the Jackson St. station on the Red line that gave us some clues where Wrigley Field and Comiskey...I mean the Cell is located.

What I'd like to see are clearly designed maps for baseball fans to find their ballparks of choice since it can be confusing if you're lacking an element of information...especially if you're starting on a connecting (or non-connecting) line.

Here are some of my photos from the trip home from the game.

You can click on an image for a larger view.

These maps were on the Jackson St. subway.
Good clues, but it might not help those on a connecting line.

Handy links:


WGN-TV news story

Possible CTA route cuts and fare hike
The CTA threatens to cut bus routes and raise fares on September 16 if the Illinois legislature does not pass a funding bill.

View WGN's story from Sunday, September 9, 2007

From the CTA website...
Due to insufficient state funding, the CTA will be forced to eliminate 39 bus routes and raise fares on September 16.

Google News search for keyword "CTA"

Directions via the RTA

From the website

CTA info

Directions, parking options, etc.

You're welcome to comment on the photos.

I look forward to hearing from you.

PS: I have another story to share.

The week before the game I was getting some work done to get my vehicle ready for the Chicago trip. I scheduled the repair during a Cubs telecast so I could watch the game while in the waiting room. When I walked in, the tv was tuned to CNN with no-one watching.
I asked everyone if they minded if I changed the channel to the game. No complaints.

Many of us then started watching the game. One lady mentioned that she had been watching the game before leaving for the car repair.

One fellow with a laptop computer who was following the game via the web brought in a chair to watch the game with us.

He mentioned that he had tickets to Monday's Cubs/Cardinals make-up game at Wrigley.
What a co-incidence!
So did I!
Imagine strangers, 200 + miles from the ballpark finding that they had tickets to the same game.
He shared his story.
He had tickets to a game at Wrigley in April that was snowed out.
He had tickets to the Cubs/Cardinals game on Aug 19 that was rained out.
That led him to tickets for the September 10, 2007 make-up game between those teams.
On game day at Wrigley, when I saw that it looked like rain that day, I was getting nervous, remembering the Spfld Cub fan's weather success at Wrigley.

If you're in this photo of the right field bleachers (below) please post a comment and let me know.
I'm just curious if people who are in this picture will find it.

While watching the televised game at the repair shop (Cubs vs. Dodgers) in the top of the ninth with the Cubs having a 4-3 lead, I joked with the folks in the room "Can I change the channel?".
Then the Dodger's Ethier hit a homerun putting the Dodgers in the lead.
Then I joked "Now do you want me to change the channel?" (I was just kidding.)

More Springfield photos...

Lincoln Land catcher signed by Seattle Mariners
The Cub's Ryan O'Malley and Ron Santo visit
Ryan O'Malley with the Chicago Cubs
Former Cardinal and Cubs pitcher Lee Smith
Ryan O'Malley and the Chicago Cubs
Chatham's cow chip throwing contest 2006
Lincoln Land catcher signed by Seattle Mariners
Happy Birthday Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
Ancient Athletes of Scotland...I mean Chatham
Name that restaurant...part 19
That electric car at Washington Park
Another alternative energy car !
Name that restaurant...part 20
What kind of bird is this? (From Lake Springfield...

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