On September 28, 1969, the southern part of the Red Line was completed for the first time. This section has been worn down over the years and 44 years later, they are in dire need of repair. Yet, where does one start? This is a tough decision to make. In the eyes of an operations manager, the entire section of track is completely in shambles, and there are sections that need repairing. Yet, even if that track is repaired, how much is it going to cost? That is the question that the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) had to ask.
There was a lot of work that needed to be done. The tracks haven’t been fixed in 44 years and “the limestone ballast is worn [as well], failing to properly drain water from the rail bed or keep the tracks securely in place” (Chicago Tribune). So, that has to be fixed as well because it wouldn’t make sense to fix the tracks if the supports wouldn’t hold them. Working with Kiewit Infrastructure Corporation, the CTA approved a plan in April to completely redo the entire track section between Cermak-Chinatown to 95th/Dan Ryan. This company will completely disassemble the entire supports of the old track system and put in new tracks as well as a new drainage system under the tracks. The total cost of this will be $425 million dollars.
This project is expensive, but it will give jobs to 1,200 workers that will work in two 10-hour shifts for 6 days for a total of 5 months. Once this project gets finished, the benefits will show. With the new track system, the South Side Red Line Branch will be able to increase speeds from 15 mph to 55 mph, make a downtown commute to 95th/Dan Ryan 20 minutes shorter, and make the Red Line in general have a much smoother commute as well. This process can clearly create efficiency for the Red Line as well as the other CTA trains.
Yet, devil’s advocate is that a good section of the Red Line is being worked on and the people who live down there have to take longer to get to where they need to go. There would be also traffic tie-ups as well. Behold option #2. With this first option in mind, there happens to be alternative plan as well. It would have all the necessary adjustments done on the weekends, and would keep the train running during the week. The bad news? $75 million more and four years extra to finish. In my opinion, the first option is the better offer, and in the end, it will help out everyone and it also appears to be the most efficient, which is what the CTA believed to when they made this agreement. It will also save money and time in the future even though it would cause headaches and tie-ups now.
Do you believe that CTA was correct to go with their first option or should they have tried the second option?
Hilkevitch, Jon. “Red Line Going Offline during Reconstruction.” Chicago Tribune. Chicago Tribune, 10 May 2013. Web. 23 May 2013. <http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-05-10/news/ct-met-cta-red-line-south-rebuild-20130510_1_red-line-95th-street-stations-green-line>.
5 thoughts on “No South For You! CTA approves plan to close South Side Red Line Branch for Reconstruction”
I agree that although the second option is more convenient for those living near the closed portion of the red line, the first option was probably the better choice. Yes, this will be an inconvenience for those living in that area for awhile, but even with option 2, there would still most likely be delays on the days in which work is not being done, and it would be for a longer period of time. Once the work under option 1 is done, those living in that area will have a better experience while riding the CTA.
Closing the entire section and rerouting is more cost effective, time efficient, and convenient for passengers. While it is more difficult to take shuttles from the rerouted trains to a different line, it is quicker and more convenient in the end than closing the line on the weekend would be. We all know how much longer the CTA delays are when any time of construction is taking place; imagine an entire section of the red line. The truth is, people are going to complain either way during a reconstruction, so the quicker it can get done the better, and the fact that the quicker option is also the cheaper option is a huge benefit.
The first option seems to be the better option. The city was smart for just getting it done and not delaying with the construction or spending more money, because that money is coming from our tax dollars. Of course since that red line section is down right now people will have to take alternative routes to get where they need to go, however it is a sacrifice in order for the train track system to be revamped. There are many benefits to this construction however, such as jobs being created, and a CTA red line train that can move faster and get you where you need to be quicker. Option 2 would have delayed and cost more money.
The city went with the right choice it seems like. The city was smart for just getting it done and not delaying with the construction or spending more money, because that money is coming from our tax dollars. Of course since that red line section is down right now people will have to take alternative routes to get where they need to go, however it is a sacrifice in order for the train track system to be revamped. There are many benefits to this construction however, such as jobs being created, and a CTA red line train that can move faster and get you where you need to be quicker. Option 2 would have delayed and cost more money.
Although the CTA is here to service the people, I agree with the previous comments saying option #1 is the better choice. The sooner the lines are finished, the sooner the people can enjoy its benefits. It’s easy for me, along with others, to say that people can simply adjust during this period of time because we are not affected by the redevelopment. Having to rework a daily routine to accomodate for the extra travel time will not be fun or a pleasant experience, but it can be done. Hopefully residents affected by the first option will be see that it is the better choice and recede any strong opposition to the CTA’s plan.
We must also realize the CTA and the city are not required to fix or repair the line, but they are choosing to do so in order to improve the experience for those users.