Who's the mayor of the CTA?

For commuters, riding the CTA will have to be its own reward.

On Friday, Mayor Emanuel announced a new initiative with mobile application foursquare where Chicagoans and visitors can earn an official Windy City badge if they check in at at least five of 20 designated neighborhood spots.

A beach, a brewery, a park, a doughnut shop and various museums made the cut—but CTA stops did not. (One attraction is the Vida Simple Mural, which is outside the Damen Pink Line stop.)

While there is no official recognition for CTA stops with the Windy City badge, CTA spots have been popular check-in places since foursquare began two years ago. Chicagoans have become mayor of their train stops and buses and have shared station insider info with their fellow commuters.

Tips include:

>> The Ashland stop on the Green and Pink Lines in West Town often smells of doughnuts because it's located near a retailer that bakes goods for Dunkin' Donuts.

>> Riders can avoid the lines for the westbound No. 77 bus outside the Belmont stop in Lakeview by walking half a block east to the bus stop at Belmont Avenue and Clark Street.

>> There's a cheerful worker at the Grand Blue Line stop in River West who greets riders with a "good morning."

The "L" is one of the most unique aspects of Chicago, and it would have been nice if it was part of the foursquare list.

Perhaps the inclusion would have encouraged Chicagoans to go beyond their CTA routine and explore their city by riding their train or bus a few stops farther than usual or trying a different line altogether.

Some stops that would have been worth mentioning, in GP's opinion:

>> The 18th Pink Line stop on the Lower West Side for its murals in the station and Pilsen flavor.

>> The Quincy stop in the Loop for its '00s feel (as in 1800s).

>> The Damen Blue Line stop for its birdseye (nerdseye?) view of Bucktown/Wicker Park.


Which CTA stops should be included in the Windy City badge? Send an email to tswartz@tribune.com. Please include your full name, age and neighborhood.


My pledge to ride every CTA bus line continues. I rode the No. 132-Goose Island Express this week and boiled my review down to a tweet.

@tracyswartz 22 mins from Clybourn Metra to Chicago/Halsted. Gives an industrial tour of Lincoln Park area. Runs infrequently. 3 other riders besides me.

125 routes down, 14 to go!

Next up: No. X28-Stony Island Express.

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