Now that summer is officially in full swing, it's time for everyone in Chicago to start complaining about how hot it is outside. In order to alleviate the heat-related discomfort experienced at El stations during the summer, the CTA should consider converting the heating stations they have on outdoor train platforms into temporary cooling stations. This innovation would benefit the millions of Chicagoans who use the service every day during the summer. Here's why.
Humidity is worse than cold: The defining characteristic of summertime weather in Chicago is the humidity that hits 80 percent and stays that way for weeks. In addition to temperatures that soar above 90 degrees, this creates some brutally hot days that make it almost unbearable to spend any amount of time outside. I'll go so far as to say that the cold weather is preferential to the humidity that plagues the city all summer. (Check back with me in winter when it's 20 below to see if I still feel this way.) At least with cold weather, you can keep putting on more layers of clothing when you're comfortable. In the heat and humidity, you can only take off so many layers before having the cops called on you.
We're more used to cold than heat: As much as cold weather sucks, winter in Chicago tends to last for approximately eight months out of the year. At some point, you grow accustomed to your perpetual frozen state. With the heat, it's like a shock to the system that lingers around for a while, but doesn't quite last long enough for you to get acclimated. Because of that, some sort of relief while waiting in the sweltering heat for a train would be nice, especially since some platforms have a tendency to heat up because of how they're constructed.
Worker's benefit: Many people who ride the El use the train to commute to and from work, and nearly all of them have to abide by some sort of dress code where they have to wear a uniform or a dress shirt and long pants. As you can imagine, these clothes are not conducive to staying cool in the heat. In fact, it makes the walk to the station and waiting on the platform that much more uncomfortable. Not only that, but it makes your work clothes sweaty and smelly and, perhaps most importantly, ruins your hair. Most of all, riding on the El with swamp ass is as horrible an experience as it sounds.
Air conditioning makes everyone feel less agitated: Summer in Chicago really is one of the best experiences in the world. For the most part, the warmer weather puts the population in a more pleasant mood. However, a sweltering hot commute can make the calmest passenger go nuts. Having some air conditioning on El platforms would go a long way toward keeping everyone's happy spirits up. If we can't get cooling stations, then at the very least, please install a shower like they used to have at U.S. Cellular Field.