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Closing the CTA Red Line

by Mary C. Piemonte 

CTA CEO Forest Claypool (left) speaks to activists including Willie “Jr” Fleming. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte.

Train commuters recently expressed grave concerns about the Chicago Transit Authority’s plans to completely close nine South Side Red Line ‘El’ stops for five months in spring 2013:

“I want guarantees that our voices will matter, as opposed to you opening up your ears for this evening and then doing whatever you want to do anyway,” declared one woman who attended the first public hearing on the CTA’s plans at Kennedy-King College Gymnasium at 6343 S. Halsted St., on June 21, 2012. This woman was one of a small but determined group of community residents who came out and voiced their opinions to CTA Chairman Terry Peterson and CEO Forest Claypool.

The woman speaker added that the CTA’s Green Line reconstruction some years ago was “a fiasco” in which promised services were never delivered and some stations were never restored. “We were promised one thing and got another,” she said.

During the 5-month closure, crews will work on the stations as well as the tracks from Cermak-Chinatown to 95th/Dan Ryan, replacing ties, rails, third rails and the drainage systems. The CTA’s rationale for completely closing the Red Line for this time period is to avoid the additional expense that would come from doing the project incrementally as well as inconveniences such as additional commuting time for riders, crowded trains, frequent schedule changes and multiple reroutes. CTA officials also indicated that an extended project would have fewer community jobs and no extensive shuttle bus service.

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$1 Billion for CTA

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Gov. Pat Quinn talks to reporters about his efforts to create jobs with infrastructure improvements as CTA President Forrest Claypool looks on during a press conference on renovating the Red and Purple ‘El’ public transit stations on Nov. 3, 2011.. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte


Two of the Chicago Transit Authority’s busiest train line stations will be improved and rebuilt, according to Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The two announced today during a press conference at the 35th Street Red Line ‘El’ station that “slow zones” will be eliminated, systems will be upgraded, and tracks will be repaired on the Red and Purple train lines.

Quinn said during the press conference that this $1 billion “state capital investment” plan from a combination of state, local and federal funds would also create 2,700 jobs.

“Jobs that you can support a family on, construction jobs, good jobs,” he added.
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