Monday, September 27, 2010

CTA Red Line sets sights on South Side extension

The proposed Red Line Extension
For some reason I had this in mind already. With Daley about to leave office next year, I was wondering what would become of this potential extension.

John Hilkevitch talks a little about this extension:
Under the CTA's plans, four new stations would be built — at 103rd, 111th, 116th and 130th streets — mostly along the Union Pacific Railroad right of way. Two options are under review for the location of the 130th Street terminus.

Using federal seed money, the transit agency is starting work on a draft environmental impact study, which the Federal Transit Administration requires as part of the CTA ultimately receiving a federal full-funding grant agreement.

If the project is fast-tracked, as supporters hope, construction on the estimated $1.4 billion extension could begin within the next several years and be completed as quickly as 2016, depending on the availability of money, CTA officials said. The projected cost, in inflation-adjusted dollars, includes relocating the existing CTA rail yard that is beyond 95th Street to vacant land in the area of 120th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue.

Excitement is already plentiful at community planning meetings for the Red Line extension, where residents are pitching ideas regarding what they want their new stations to look like as well as priorities for nearby development.

Desired station amenities range from bright lighting and other security-driven needs to murals designed by African-American artists. But it's what would be built outside the stations on blighted parcels where there has never been a coordinated planning process that stirs the most interest.

Mixed-use retail and affordable-housing complexes, grocery stores and pharmacies, banks, bookstores, ice cream shops, parks, local activity centers and many other ideas were offered during a "visioning session" for the Red Line extension held this month at St. John Missionary Baptist Church, which is several blocks from the proposed 116th Street station. During the meeting, participants worked with architects and other experts.
The Red Line extension represents precisely the kind of project Congress prefers to fund. It fits the bill as a true "new start" project, not simply a rebuilding of an existing line. It provides much-needed transportation options to low-income, minority communities that historically have been bypassed when it comes to investment in infrastructure.

Plus, the economic possibilities of transit-oriented development offer the chance to turn around blighted neighborhoods, while attracting middle-income workers from the suburbs to spend money at businesses likely to sprout up near planned park-and-ride facilities along the extended Red Line, officials said.

The project is considered a strong contender for major funding in the next multiyear federal transportation spending bill that Congress will begin working on after the November elections.

The CTA has received $285,000 in federal new-start money that will be used for preliminary environmental studies for the extension, CTA spokeswoman Noelle Gaffney said. The transit agency recently submitted an application for $2 million in funding through a "Livability Grant" that would be used for part of the work associated with the environmental impact study, she said.
OK, so Hilkevitch mentions that the communities of the far south side could benefit from this line, especially in the Roseland Community.

Not mentioned here is the safety aspects. Students from the many high schools on the far south side won't have to converge at 95th Street if they had to take a bus to and from school and then continue their journey from the terminal. With this extension I would expect that bus routes would be realigned.

Further more if Chicago was to have gotten the Olympics in 2016, I would have hoped that this line would be ready by then. I know they're talking about fast tracking this extension but for now I won't hold my breath.

Hopefully if we keep talking about this line and start advocating for it, then it may become reality in the near future!


  1. For the past 40 years residents of West Chesterfield and other communities surrounding the 95th & State terminal have advocated and fought to have the Red line extended. Repeatedly they reminded CTA of the original promise to extend the service further south, often bringing forth a yellowed newspaper article reporting Richard J. Daley's promise to the community. We've met and wrote and lobbied and met some more. We've had meetings & public hearings at CSU and W. Chesterfield's position has remained firm. Since 1998, I've worked to see that promise fulfilled. Congrats W. Chesterfield on reaching another milestone! We're not there just yet, but we are making progress and will win this fight.

  2. This extension has been talked and fought about for decades!! I just hope and pray that it finally happens!!

  3. Well let's not merely hope and pray. Let's make it happen. As the Alderman said we're not there yet, but progress is made and the fight will be won. So let's win this fight! :)


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