My irregular musings on city life, politics, baseball, roller derby, and whatever happens to be getting my goat today.

Friday, March 31, 2006

The Pink Line?

So today the Chicago Transit Authority in its infinite wisdom announced it has come up with a new name for the southern (Douglas) branch of the Blue Line, which will start running as a separate line on xxxdatexxx: the Pink Line! This new "Fluffy Bunny" line will start from 54th Avenue and Cermak Road in Cicero, Illinois, run through the tough Latino neighborhoods of Little Village and Pilsen, head north along Paulina Avenue, join the Green Line tracks at Ashland and circle the Loop.

The announcement has caused a little bit of consternation, as you saw if you were a good little reader and followed the link to the Tribune article.
While the board chose pink over silver and gold, it wasn't necessarily the favorite of people who ride the line.

"I don't think so," said Joseph Santoyo, 18, as he stood at the entrance of the Cermak branch's California stop on the border of Little Village and Lawndale. "Let's take the Pink Line? No."

"They shouyld rename it somewhere else," he added, sayhing the neighborhood is too tough to have a Pink Line running through it. "I don't think the neighborhood will like it."

But, noted one 8th grader who nominated pink, the color isn't just for girls any more. "Pink is a really pretty bright color and when people hear the color pink they probably think it is a girly color," wrote Jeaninie Zarate, a student at Graham Elementary School in Chicago. "Today, a lot of people including boys like pink."

Several other pink supporters said the color could help raise awareness of breasst cancer, which has long been symbolized by pink.

The fundamental divide boils down to a left on left pile-up between culturally sensitive defenders of Latino machismo, who feel that the Pink Line might in some way be belittling or mocking their neighborhoods, and liberals and feminists who decry the stigmatization of the color pink - note the impassioned debate over the pink-painted visitors locker room at the University of Iowa:
Critics say the use of pink demeans women, perpetuates offensive stereotypes about women and homosexuality, and puts the university in the uncomfortable position of tacitly supporting those messages.

Relativists might suggest a simple name swap: West Side Hispanics could take pride in their very own Brown Line, while North Side PC white liberals could take the Pink Line to the Loop if they're gonna be so amped about it.

But in the end, these debates don't matter, because if the CTA wouldn't listen to Demon Dogs, the Bottom Lounge, or DePaul University, what makes you think they'd listen to mere riders? Anyone out there who thinks the CTA cares about you clearly hasn't tried to catch a bus at two in the morning. [Note to East Coast readers: in New York, trasit customers have their own colloquial nickname: straphangers. the name doesn't apply in Chicago, because there are no straps: apparently the CTA finds it amusing that people fall on their asses when the train stops suddenly for no apparent reason; in fact, that's what the cameras are for.]

So we might as well get used to it people! The CTA wants the new line, because it uses the expensively rehabbed "Paulina Connector" track between the 18th Street and Ashland stops. The Connector was rehabbed in order to be put back in service as part of the mythical Circle Line that will form an "Outer Loop" for "Greater Downtown" as soon as the Feds come up with the cash. Since the new line would cost roughly the same amount as the Iraq War, I'm not holding my breath. So their gonna damn well use it, even if no one wants it, and the re-route needlessly cuts off West Side students from access to the UIC campus.

Anyway, there's definitely an upside to this. And I'm not talking about breast cancer awareness, because those people are not going to pony up the cash for a sponsorship. As I've mentioned before, the CTA is desperate for advertising cash. So I figure, if Sox Park could get a sponsor, why not the Pink Line?

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Anything to save us from another rate hike.


Fargo said...

When I first heard this, I kept hoping it was an April Fool's joke. Seems like the Gold line would have been a more appropriate choice, but why should they listen to the riders?

Ponder the sponsor possibilities (beyond your fine Barbie suggestion - Pepto Bismol, bubble gum (pick your favorite brand), the next Pink Panther movie (if Steve Martin or anyone else decides to take a stab at it)...

Trope said...

Argh! Curse you! Now I will be humming the Pink Panther theme anytime someone mentions the new line.