WBEZ | Purple Line http://www.wbez.org/tags/purple-line Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicago pumping $30 million into improving Purple Line express http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-pumping-30-million-improving-purple-line-express-112356 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 5.05.13 PM.png" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">The Chicago Transit Authority is promising a faster, more reliable purple line express by November of this year.</p><p dir="ltr">CTA officials and Mayor Rahm Emanuel dropped by the Howard station Thursday to announce a $30 million renovation of the Purple Line tracks between the Lawrence and Jarvis stops in Chicago. This is on top of work that was already done in 2013 to renovate tracks and eliminate slow zones on the same line.</p><p dir="ltr">Dorval Carter Jr., recently named president of the CTA, said this would be the biggest investment in the train line that runs from downtown Chicago to the near northern suburbs in the last 40 years.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;By replacing track ties, running rail and other improvements on this century old structure, riders will get a commute that has far fewer slow zones and that is smoother and more comfortable,&rdquo; Carter said.</p><p dir="ltr">CTA officials say around 13,000 passengers ride the Purple Line express each week, which totals up to about 3.5 million riders each year. Carter said normal Purple Line express traffic shouldn&rsquo;t be affected by the construction, as work will take place solely on weeknights and weekends. The work is also supposed to be out of the way of normal Red Line service, though there may be occasional reroutes.</p><p dir="ltr">Construction is set to begin on July 20.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is WBEZ&rsquo;s city politics reporter. Follow her&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 09 Jul 2015 16:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-pumping-30-million-improving-purple-line-express-112356 CTA unveils new plan for Red Line's Wilson station http://www.wbez.org/news/cta-unveils-new-plan-red-lines-wilson-station-102895 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/wilson red line.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Chicago Transit Authority unveiled designs for the Wilson Red Line station, which it says will serve as an anchor for economic development in the Uptown neighborhood.</p><p>The Wilson reconstruction project, part of the transit agency&#39;s Red Ahead program, is estimated to cost $203 million and is slated to start in 2013 and last until early 2015, according to a statement by CTA.</p><p>&ldquo;This is a great starting point for the future design of an important station that helps thousands of Chicagoans get to work and school each day,&rdquo; said Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a statement.</p><p>The station itself, built in 1923, will be rebuilt with elevators, new platforms, and the CTA will make Wilson a transfer station for the Purple Line. The renderings show features similar to that of the Fullerton and Belmont stations after major renovations, with modern glass and steel canopies and a glass entrance along Wilson.</p><p>&ldquo;Making Wilson a transfer station will provide much greater flexibility and convenience for both Red and Purple Line riders, and will help CTA operate more efficiently,&rdquo; CTA president Forrest Claypool said in a statement.</p><p>The development includes the renovation of the historic Gerber Building on the corner of Wilson and Broadway, with planned restorations of its terra cotta exterior.</p><p>Uptown neighborhood resident Johnny Hopkins thinks it&rsquo;s about time. He said that one of the major problems is the lack of elevators for seniors and people with disabilities.</p><p>&ldquo;This station right here to me sucks,&rdquo; Hopkins said. &ldquo;It looks like the stairs need upgrading, it looks old.&rdquo;</p><p>CTA spokesman Brian Steele says the project is considered one of the largest station reconstruction projects, and it seeks to spark economic development nearby. One of the entrances will connect riders to large stores like Target and Aldi.</p><p>&ldquo;One of the highlights of the station is an auxiliary entrance that will be on Sunnyside Avenue that will connect directly to some of the recent commercial development that occurred just south of the station,&rdquo; Steele said.</p><p>But Mike Atih, who owns a cell phone store nearby, worries that the Target and Aldi entrance will funnel customers away from him.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t like it,&rdquo; Atih said. &ldquo;This is going to have some effect on our business. A lot of our customers take the train back and forth to us.&rdquo;</p><p>Other residents are happy about the idea, but hope the station will continue to operate during the reconstruction.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s good &hellip; as long as it doesn&rsquo;t take too much time because a lot of people use it,&rdquo; said Brenda Vasquez.</p><p>The CTA said the Wilson station will remain open, but said to expect service changes around construction projects.</p><p>Other improvements involve moving the elevated tracks to the west to open up space on Broadway and Wilson Avenues. This improvement will remove some of the columns that sit between the roadway and the sidewalk to clear out space for pedestrians, explained Steele, the CTA spokesman.</p><p>About $170 million of the project funding comes from the Illinois Jobs Now program, with additional funds from the Federal Transit Administration and tax-increment financing, according to the CTA.</p><p>The CTA will seek community input by hosting an open house meeting on Oct. 11 at 6-8 p.m. at Truman College.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 04 Oct 2012 10:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cta-unveils-new-plan-red-lines-wilson-station-102895 CTA modernization plans may be stalled by appellate court ruling http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/%5Bfield_program_ref-title-raw%5D/cta-modernization-plans-may-be-stalled-appellate-cour <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//cta-subway AP file.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Wednesday, an appellate court overturned Governor Quinn&rsquo;s <a target="_blank" href="http://www2.illinois.gov/jobsnow/Pages/default.aspx">Illinois Jobs Now</a>, the $31 billion capital spending plan. The four capital project acts propose to increase taxes on sales of alcoholic drinks and candy, privatize the Illinois Lottery and legalize video poker.<br /><br />Now many proposed capital projects are in limbo, potentially including the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.transitchicago.com/">Chicago Transit Authority&rsquo;s</a> plans to <a target="_blank" href="http://www.transitchicago.com/rpmproject/">modernize the Red and Purple lines</a>. The agency has been gathering public input this week about possible upgrades to the lines. Rail service from the Belmont stop to the Linden station in Evanston would be affected for work on those upgrades. But what&rsquo;s driving calls for these changes? And what does the possible spending crunch mean for commuters?<br /><br />To learn more, <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> spoke to <a target="_blank" href="http://las.depaul.edu/sps/about/ourfacultystaff/FullTimeFaculty/schwieterman.asp">Joe Schwieterman</a>, a transportation expert and professor at DePaul University&rsquo;s School of Public Service.</p></p> Thu, 27 Jan 2011 14:14:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/%5Bfield_program_ref-title-raw%5D/cta-modernization-plans-may-be-stalled-appellate-cour CTA considers closing stops on north lines http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-transit-authority/cta-considers-closing-stops-north-lines <p><div>The Chicago Transit Authority is considering <a href="http://www.transitchicago.com/assets/1/rpmproject/RPM_-_web_ScopingBook_redpurple_FTA.pdf">several options</a> for how to modernize its century-old Red and Purple Lines on Chicago&rsquo;s North Side and in Evanston, and this week officials revealed that some of those options would involve closing stations. In their stead, new entrances would be added to nearby stations.&nbsp;&ldquo;You would still have a station that would serve that area,&rdquo; said CTA spokesman Sheila Gregory. &ldquo;It would just be sort of reconfigured for modern times.&rdquo; Gregory said having fewer stations could reduce travel times.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The CTA is unveiling the six options and receiving feedback from residents at <a href="http://www.transitchicago.com/rpmproject/">community meetings</a> this week.&nbsp;The proposals range from leaving the system as-is, to performing simple station repairs, to even taking portions of the elevated line below ground as a subway.&nbsp;Three options include closure of the Jarvis, Thorndale, and Lawrence stations on the Red Line; and the South Boulevard and Foster stations on the Purple Line.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Alderman Joe Moore of Chicago's 49th Ward said he was blindsided by the fact that the CTA is even entertaining closing the Jarvis station.&nbsp;His ward office is located at that stop, as are stores and restaurants that have reinvigorated the area in recent years.&nbsp;&ldquo;If that El station closed, it could very well signal the demise of the Jarvis Square business district,&rdquo; said Moore.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>CTA officials said they'll consider community input gathered at meetings this week. A final decision could be a long way off, however. Gregory pointed out that the system still has no funding for the modernization project, which would cost roughly $4 billion. She said the CTA is laying the groundwork with planning now so it will be poised to apply for federal funding as it becomes available.&nbsp;</div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 25 Jan 2011 22:05:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-transit-authority/cta-considers-closing-stops-north-lines