Mastering the Workaround

A few years ago, after taking this photo, I wrote a post titled “The Fix is Not the Solution”, after encountering the way in which Metra dealt with water/leakage at Millennium Station.

This week in Chicago, we’ve had a run of warm days… the result of which has been a ton of accumulated snow (from a weeks and a half ago) has started to melt.

Walking to catch my train home, I noticed that the leaks were still happening at the station, but the method used to address the problem had been improved upon.

Previously, there had been a series of smaller buckets strategically placed beneath multiple leaks. Now, in lieu of a lot of small buckets… there were fewer, larger trash bins. Presumably this approach lessens the need for someone to come by and empty out the smaller buckets throughout the day, as each bin can capture significantly more water.

I started thinking again about fixes and problems, and how in some situations we get better at our workarounds… while still not addressing the root cause of our problems.

Again, I stress that I don’t blame Metra employees for this. They’re making do with the current situation as best they can. And I’m guessing the effort of actually fixing the issue is tremendously problematic, both in terms of cost and logistics.

I was thinking that any serious construction to the station would impact commuter foot traffic. But looking at how things seem to have worsened over the years, and how more and more of the station is being roped off during times of heavy rain… one could argue that foot traffic is already being impacted.

The Fix is Not the Solution

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