The CTA recently finished the $25 million Orange Line 18th Street connector project, providing South Side riders with a smoother, more reliable ride.
The project disrupted service between the Halsted and Roosevelt stations for four weekends in May and June. But the result was the 45-year-old elevated structure receiving significant repairs, including track renewal work. Additional project work included painting and waterproofing the structure to mitigate leaking water from the structure, which created icy conditions in adjacent parking lots and alleyways during the winter months.
"Customers now have a smoother and more reliable trip in and out of the Loop along the Orange Line, while the surrounding community no longer has a leaking eyesore," said Catherine Hosinski in an email to DNAinfo Chicago. The project was financed with tax-increment financing funds.
Meanwhile, in other Orange Line news, StreetsBlog Chicago reports that "Lack of planning along Orange Line resulted in missed opportunities."
Based on a new report by a University of Chicago graduate student, the piece by Daniel Hertz "identifies three factors that may be holding back job growth along the Orange Line":
First, zoning was not updated when the line was built. Much of the land around the three stations studied is zoned for manufacturing, which prohibits the neighborhood-serving retail — like corner stores, hardware stores, and restaurants — that clusters around other ‘L’ stations all over the city.
Second, the stations were designed for riders to arrive by bus or car, not by foot. As a result, the entrances are often set back from the street, and face bus bays instead of sidewalks. That sort of isolation ... “will generally discourage riders from walking to and from the station and from patronizing nearby business establishments.”
Finally, because the neighborhoods around the Orange Line were built before the area had rapid transit access, they are much more car-oriented than communities that grew up around older ‘L’ lines. Population density is relatively low, which means fewer potential customers.
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