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Time-Lapse of the CTA Red Line: a 2-hour trip in 1 minute

2y ago


There is no news here. Nothing could be more every day – literally. I did something that one in 20 Chicagoans do on weekdays and something that I’ve done too many times to count. I took a ride on the CTA Red Line. Seeing the city’s segregation does not take feats of investigative reporting. No database. No fancy equipment. No special occasion. Our segregation is visually stark on the Red Line. And I wanted to document it. I only added two elements to a routine commute. First, I posted my camera phone on one end of the El car, shooting as I rode, which created a time-lapse of the trip. Secondly, I rode the whole length of the line, from Howard to 95th Street, and back again as far as Belmont (where my phone let me know its battery was about to die.) There was nothing unexpected about what I found; the city shifts from black to white when going from the South Side to the North Side. The Roosevelt stop and downtown look less segregated. The Red Line is the Chicago area’s most-used public transportation. Every weekday, more than 250,000 rides start at a Red Line station – 50 percent more riders than its closest competitor, the Blue Line. And it passes through some of the most segregated areas of the city – north as well as south. A single ride makes clear where the boundaries are. And provides plenty of opportunities for people-watching. In both cases, we tend not to look. It’s awkward. So we went there-- and then compressed more than two hours to just a little more than a minute. That’s the clip above.