WBEZ | 'L' http://www.wbez.org/tags/l-0 Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicago's bridge to nowhere: Another view http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-08/chicagos-bridge-nowhere-another-view-101600 <p><p>This past Tuesday, I ran a post on Chicago&#39;s Bridge to Nowhere &mdash; the former &quot;L&quot; bridge crossing the West Side Metra tracks near Paulina and Carroll. Since then, I&#39;ve come across another photo which gives a clearer picture of how the bridge was once linked to our transit system.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/08-17--Bridge to Nowhere view.jpg" title=" 'L' crossing near Lake-Paulina, 1954 (CTA photo)" /></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">The view here is north across Lake Street, with The Bridge in the distance. The track running north has been abandoned since the opening of the Milwaukee Avenue subway in 1951. However, at the right of the photo, we note that CTA is building a new connector track so that Douglas Park trains can access the Loop via Lake Street.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Douglas Park trains used Lake Street until 1958. At that time they were rerouted down a ramp into the median of the Congress (Eisenhower) Expressway, through the subway, then out along the &quot;L&quot; to a terminal at Logan Square. CTA called this service the West-Northwest Line. It was later extended to O&#39;Hare Airport, and became known as the Blue Line.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">In 2006 CTA again routed trains from the onetime Douglas Park branch to the Loop via Lake Street, creating today&#39;s Pink Line.</div></p> Fri, 10 Aug 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-08/chicagos-bridge-nowhere-another-view-101600 Chicago's bridge to nowhere http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-08/chicagos-bridge-nowhere-101364 <p><p>You&#39;ve probably seen it if you travel around the near West Side. It looks like something from a giant&rsquo;s Erector Set.</p><p>An iron bridge crosses over the West Side Metra tracks a block west of Ashland Avenue. The bridge isn&rsquo;t connected to anything else. Perhaps the giant plopped it down, got bored, and wandered away.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Metropolitan%20%27L%27%20over%20CNW%20RR.JPG" title="The Bridge to Nowhere" /></div><p>The bridge is actually a remnant of the &quot;L.&quot; It was built in 1895 by the Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railroad Company, as part of the company&rsquo;s Logan Square branch.</p><p>The Met&#39;s terminal was on Franklin near Quincy. Trains ran west to just past Ashland, then hung a right to go north along Paulina, over the bridge, and up to Milwaukee Avenue. Then a soft left turn along Milwaukee, northwest to the terminal at Logan Square.</p><p>Obviously, this wasn&rsquo;t a very direct route. In 1938 the city began digging a subway straight out Milwaukee Avenue. World War II delayed the project, but it was finally completed in 1951.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/LAK--EB%20%40%20Paulina_1.jpg" title="Just south of The Bridge, the Logan Square branch crossed over the Lake Street 'L'. (CTA photo)" /></div></div></div></div></div></div><p>The new subway made the &quot;L&quot; along Paulina redundant. For some reason &mdash; probably money &mdash; CTA didn&rsquo;t get around to tearing down the unused &quot;L&quot; structure until 1964. The bridge over the railroad was kept in place because dismantling it would disrupt the train service crossing under it.</p><p>To recap &mdash; Chicago&rsquo;s Bridge to Nowhere carried trains for about 56 years. It has been standing idle now for over 60.</p><p>A few years ago CTA floated the idea of building a new rapid transit route called the Silver Line. The service would run in a semi-circle about two miles out from downtown, connecting all the existing lines. If the Silver Line ever does become reality, then our lonesome bridge might be put back in use.</p></p> Tue, 07 Aug 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-08/chicagos-bridge-nowhere-101364