What's black and white and red all over? The Red Line, which has been the star of CTA news recently.
First, there was the announcement this summer that the Loyola stop will see a makeover.
Next, the Wilson and Clark/Division stops were trumpeted for facelifts.
Then, last week, officials reported $646 million in state funding to repair the southern portion of the Red Line, which has been plagued with slow zones, among other Red Line improvements.
But the Red Line proposition that has stayed under the radar is the Red and Purple Line modernization project, a controversial set of six proposals that included closing some stops and creating express train service.
The CTA is currently drafting an environmental impact statement, which it expects to complete in 2013.
The statement is supposed to analyze the effects of the proposed project and its potential impact on the environment and riders.
Riders have been very vocal about the project since it was revealed 10 months ago. The CTA said it received more than 1,500 comments and counted more than 500 people at four public meetings in January.
The most controversial proposals, based on negative comments the CTA received, are the three-track and the two-track modernization plans.
The three-track plan would implement express train service but close Jarvis, Thorndale and Lawrence stops on the Red Line and the Foster and South Boulevard stops on the Purple Line. Secondary entrances at nearby stops would be constructed.
The two-track plan has the northern Red Line trains going underground. The CTA said this option was not financially or technically feasible, so it is no longer included in the proposal.
The most supported proposals are the transfer station and four-track modernization plans. No stops would close under the transfer station proposal, which would transform the Wilson and Loyola stops into transfer stations that would be accessible to people with disabilities.
The four-track modernization plan is similar to the three-track plan but express service hours may be extended.
The other two proposals are to keep the CTA at a status quo (current level of service) and perform a basic rehab to stations and tracks.
As the CTA looks to (finally) update the Red Line, riders should keep an open mind to these modernization proposals. Look beyond the positives and negatives as black and white and focus on the red.
The CTA wants your opinion about its official Twitter page, @CTA, which the agency launched last week. Go to goo.gl/bDKsv to update the CTA on its updates.
The last word
The final CTA board hearing about the 2012 budget, which calls for no service cuts or fare hikes, will be 6 p.m., Thursday at Kennedy-King College, 740 W. 63rd St.
My pledge to ride every CTA bus line continues. I rode the No. 63-West-63rd last week and boiled my review down to a tweet.
@tracyswartz 18 mins from Midway Airport to Archer/63rd. Goes thru Summit. Not much to see but Nottingham Pk, railroad crossings. Trains may delay buses.
132 routes down, 7 to go!
Next up: No. 54B-South-Cicero.