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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

CTA provides extensive FAQ for Red Line closure

Posted By on 06.05.12 at 11:28 AM

To be closed Spring 2013
  • CTA
  • To be closed Spring 2013
A commenter was quick to point out yesterday how little I knew about the Red Line closure between the Cermak and 95th-Dan Ryan stations planned for next spring. (They were also quick to chide me for making a snarky comment about the bus service in the city, to which I say: try riding the 65 or 66 lines to work in the morning for a few months.) Well, now we know a lot more about the Red Line closure, thanks to a detailed guide to the shutdown provided by the CTA this morning.

To the CTA's credit, a lot of the explanations for the closure make sense, in particular that this project will be more cost-effective than working on weekends, will take less time, and provide a number of jobs for south-side residents (though let's wait and see about that one). Furthermore, the $75 million that the city will save by approaching the project this way will go toward renovating south-side Red Line stations, including adding much-needed working elevators for handicapped citizens. And subtracting 50 cents off of south-side residents' fares is a nice salve for the inconvenience.

However, there does seem to be at least one piece of fuzzy logic in the CTA's plans for what to do when this closure takes place. Namely:

The Red Line is the backbone of the rail system, with nearly 250,000 riders on an average weekday.

and

Free shuttle buses from 69th, 79th, 87th and 95th/Dan Ryan stations to the Garfield station on the Green Line

(a) including express service from stations and local, station-to-station service (entry at Garfield will be free for bus shuttle riders).

In case it's unclear, the issue isn't the bus service—shuttle buses are the most expedient way to go—it's that four buses from four different Red Line stops will all go to the same station. And with "250,000 riders on an average weekday," most of them during rush hour times, that sounds like an awfully packed train car. Oftentimes, even with current Red Line service, cars are too congested to fit passengers, and sometimes commuters have to wait for the next or even two trains to be able to board.

The CTA says that there will be a series of public meetings on the closure, so maybe enough of a public outcry will lead to a more ostensibly logical solution to the problem.

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