DIVERSEY PLATFORM— Last Monday, the Chicago Transit Authority installed new, high-powered heat lamps directly above the existing heat lamps, with the express objective of keeping the warming lamps warm for the winter.
“For years, we’ve fielded complaints about how weak the heat lamps are at our outdoor CTA stations,” said Morlin VanDel, 43, spokesperson for the CTA. “Today, we do something about it. Keeping our heat lamps warm is our number one priority.”
The existing heat lamps, variously derided as “ineffective,” “old,” and “total shit” by Chicago residents in a double-blind study conducted by Loyola University, had been long due for an upgrade. Made of aluminum foil and disassembled hotdog rollers, the heat lamps made national news after a study found that the temperature under the heat lamps was somehow colder than the ground a few feet away.
“No, no, no, you don’t understand,” the study concluded. “These are really bad heat lamps.”
By contrast, the new heat lamps will be top-of-the-line. “We’re really sparing no expense here,” said VanDel. The city is spending a reported three million dollars on the upgrades, which will keep the heat lamps warm in up to -20 degree weather.
Under the new plan, CTA patrons will have to first press a button to heat the heating lamp. Once the heat lamp is warm enough, they can then turn on the heat lamp meant for them, delivering a modicum of respite. But how do regular CTA customers feel? They’re cold, but more specifically, how do they feel about the new heat lamps?
Reactions on the ground were mixed. “It’s not exactly what I had in mind when I complained that the heat lamps were bad,” said a shivering Preston Weeps, 44. “It’s nice to know that the heat lamps are warm, I just wish they didn’t make us press both buttons. I also wish the heat lamp didn’t make a mocking sound when it got warm. But you can’t get everything in life, that’s what my mother always said.”
When asked if any of the residual heat will trickle down to the human standing below, VanDel said he hadn’t thought about that and would have to get back to us.