CTA Modernizing — and Possibly Expanding — the Southern End of the Red Line

The Chicago Transit Authority is undertaking a major — and due to scheduled service disruptions next year, controversial — modernization of the Red Line. Recently, CTA Chairman Forrest Claypool discussed some of the new and possible features coming to the southern portion of the Red Line.

….under an ambitious $240 mil­lion plan to upgrade and expand the [95th Street Red Line station], it will morph into a bright, airy and clean space, double in size with a sound barrier to block noise from the adjacent Dan Ryan Expy.

The glass-enclosed terminal will be spacious and filled with light, resembling O’Hare Airport, and its larger platforms will be able to hold more L passengers, according to conceptual designs from the CTA.

And it will have space for retail stores so riders can pick up a newspaper and a coffee for a ride into the city.

It’s not a pipe dream. This work is happening, the agency said, as soon as spring 2014.

The 95th Street station is currently the southern terminus of the Red Line. Will that change? Claypool says it is possible…after the current line is upgraded.

“You can’t talk about extending the Red Line from 95th Street south until you have rebuilt the railroad from 95th to 22nd….These improvements are not only critical to providing a much better service for our South Side riders, but also will lay a foundation that makes possible the extension.”

The CTA wants to extend the Red Line from the 95th Street station to near 130th Street, but that is subject to the availability of funding. It’s not clear how much money would be needed to complete the extension, but the agency would need capital and operating funds to make it happen.

The proposed 5.3-mile extension would include three new stops near 103rd, 111th and 115th streets, as well as a new terminal station near 130th Street. Each new stop would include bus and parking facilities.

There is no timetable for the extension project. It depends on federal reviews and approvals, and, of course, funding, the CTA said.

If you are interested in learning more about the role of transit in sustainable urban planning, the Roosevelt seminar SUST 320 Sprawl, Transportation, and Planning (offered this this fall as a hybrid course meeting in Schaumburg and online) may be of interest. For more information on these or any other of our courses, please visit our Sustainability Studies website, call 1-877-277-5978 (1-877-APPLY RU) or email applyRU@roosevelt.edu.

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