What's in store for CTA's Red and Purple?

  • The crumbling infrastructure of the CTA Red Line Loyola station and tracks photographed Monday July 25, 2011.
The crumbling infrastructure of the CTA Red Line Loyola station and tracks… (Nancy Stone/ Chicago Tribune )
February 06, 2012|By Tracy Swartz, RedEye

The CTA has revised its proposals to update the northern Red and Purple lines, and it's laying out the ideas—one including station closures—this week.

Both lines are in need of rehab. Each had nearly 20 percent of track under slow zones last month, according to a map posted on transitchicago.com.

Among the options the agency presented Monday at the Evanston Main Library: Closing stations, designating the Loyola stop for transfers between the Red and Purple lines, and creating a so-called flyover that would allow Brown Line trains to cross above the others at the Belmont stop.

Separately, the CTA is working on an idea that would turn the Wilson stop into a transfer station between Red and Purple lines. A public meeting for that proposal, which would rely on federal funding announced last year, is slated for the summer.

A second meeting about the overall project is scheduled for 5-7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Broadway Armory, 5917 N. Broadway.

The CTA last year presented six options to modernize the Purple and Red lines north of Belmont but whittled the package down to four after getting 1,500 comments from the public. The agency said it no longer is considering a three-track idea that would close stations—partly because of negative feedback from riders—or an option that would implement a subway component because it was too costly.

The options it is considering

5 stations would close: The CTA would shutter the Foster and South Boulevard stops on the Purple Line and the Jarvis, Thorndale and Lawrence stops on the Red Line. Alternate access at nearby stations would be provided. Loyola would transform into a transfer station.

No stations would close, extensive face-lift: This is the new option the CTA presented Monday, based on rider feedback. No stations would close, but five Red Line stations would get new entrances. Most of the curves where trains slow down would be straightened. Loyola would turn into a transfer station.

No stations, minor face-lift: Loyola would become a transfer station. No stations close. A couple of the slow curves would straighten.

No action: The CTA would perform only basic maintenance on the stations.

A CTA spokeswoman said numbers for how much these proposals would cost are not available.

The agency currently is drafting an environmental impact statement that would detail how these proposals would affect the area around the stations. The CTA said it expects to complete this statement this year, and riders would be able to comment on it in 2013.

Stationary

A weekly dispatch from a CTA station of note

This week: Halsted Orange Line

This stop, in Bridgeport, is a station of firsts. When the CTA announced it was going to install additional security cameras in June, the agency did so at the Halsted stop, which received an influx of cameras. And the station was one of the first to get cleaned by the "Renew Crews" as part of a station spruce-up program that began in September. The CTA said it repainted columns and did some behind-the-scenes improvements. Going Public visited the station last week and found that most of the graffiti on the stairwell walls no longer is visible, though the benches under the heat lamps could use a few coats of paint because they look dirty.

Next up: Kedzie Orange Line.

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