'VERY MISLEADING.' Chicago Transit Authority chief Forrest Claypool dismisses an analysis suggesting the new Ventra commuter card is "not a very good deal for consumers." On WTTW-Ch. 11 last night, he contended, "There is zero cost on the transit side at all."
* Chicagoan enacts Stations of the Cross using every CTA train line.
'COMING OUT OF THE CLOSET WORKED.' Whatever the Supreme Court decides on the question of same-sex marriage, the Sun-Times' Neil Steinberg says credit goes to those who "helped their families understand that religion and morality ... are not always linked."
'ATTENDING A NEW SCHOOL COULD BE A DANGEROUS PROSPECT.' As Chicago prepares for its largest-ever round of school closings, Tom Kompare, a member of Chicago's vibrant Open Government Chicago programming movement, has created a new Web application called "Go to School!" -- to help families across Chicago gauge "their travel options." That includes, as he explains in an email to the group, "locations of police stations, fire stations, and hospitals."
He says it started out as a selfish exercise: "I sometimes get to work from home and get to pick up my daughter after school. I need to hop on the L do so, and was wondering when I had to leave in order to get there on time."
The app's up and running now, with maps showing which schools are closing or relocating.
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TRANSIT FARE-CARD FOG. Adding to confusion over the incoming Ventra card for Chicago-area transit, the RTA says its version won't include prepaid debit account functionality for senior citizens and people with disabilities. On one hand, that means they'll be spared a bewildering array of debit-card fees; on the other, a disability rights group executive tells the Tribune, "Whatever options are available to the general public should be available to persons with disabilities and persons over 65 who qualify for reduced-fare cards."
NEW CTA CARDS: TAKING YOU FOR A RIDE? An analysis of the huge contract with the company responsible for the forthcoming Ventra passes reveals potentially costly surprises if you opt for the debit-card version -- including $2 for a call to customer service. The Tribune's Jon Hilkevitch reports.
SPINELESS IN CHICAGO. In Chicago magazine, Steve Rhodes explores how the mayor always gets his way with the City Council: "When disastrous ideas come around ... they pass with flying colors."
'SIMPLY UNACCEPTABLE.' That's the American Society of Civil Engineers president assessing the D-plus his group's awarding Illinois for condition of its infrastructure. The Tribune says the society found 73 percent of Illinois roads in poor or mediocre shape -- at an average annual cost to the typical motorist of $292 in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs.
* So come for a visit -- but just don't drive: Chicago's set to double its tourism and convention bureau budget this year.
'MAYOR STEPHENS WANTS THE CUBS TO KNOW THEY HAVE AN OPTION.' A spokesman for Rosemont elaborates on an offer to give the Ricketts family 25 acres of land to build a replica of Wrigley Field in the 'burbs if things don't work out in Chicago.