Emanuel buffs CTA portfolio in advance of re-election bid

Ya know, with all these CTA projects underway or about to start, one might think there was an election looming around the bend.

Oh yeah! The election for mayor of Chicago is Feb. 24, 2015. And yes, you gotta hand it to Mayor Emanuel - he's been delivering on his CTA promises.

Here are some of the projects completed, underway or scheduled to begin early next year.

  1. Complete rebuild of the south end of the Red Line, from Cermak Chinatown to 95th. This $425 million project was completed last year, and it was a big risk that has paid off. The entire south end was shut down for five months for the project, but the results are phenomenal. New track and track bed eliminated basically 10 miles of slow zones, and many of the stations were spruced up and some were made accessible with elevators.
  2. CTA breaks ground on new 95th Street Bus, Red Line terminal. Emanuel last week broke ground on a new 95th Street Terminal. The $240 million reconstruction project will replace the current facility, built in 1969, creating a transit hub that will serve CTA’s busiest rail line and 1,000 buses each weekday.
  3. Your New Blue station and track upgrades from Grand to O'Hare. This four-year, $492 million project includes new stations, slow zone repairs and faster service to O'Hare Airport.
  4. Wilson station reconstruction. This $203 million project to rebuild the station and reconfigure the tracks is set to start in October.
  5. Ravenswood Connector slow zone elimination work. This ongoing track work focuses on the elevated part of the 'L' between Armitage and the Loop, currently used by Brown Line and Purple Line Express service. It's a $71 million project expected to be complete next year.
  6. The Clark/Division station renovation project is actually being done under the auspices of the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), but that's under Rahm's control too. This $41 million project should be complete next year.
  7. New Cermak-McCormick Place Green Line station is a $50 million project that should be completed this year.
  8. Central Loop bus rapid transit project and the new Washington/Wabash CTA Loop elevated station, both CDOT projects. As the Tribune reported today, these two projects will start next year and cost $35.5 million and $75 million respectively.

And this list doesn't include the Red Line North Interim station improvement project or the delivery of the new 5000 Series rail cars.

Add up those numbers and you get a grand total of $1.632 billion.

I'm not sure if that's enough to buy another four-year term, but Rahm no doubt thinks it's a good down payment.

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  • The headline and the first 2 paragraphs absolutely nailed it. The 3 projects for today were on the back burner for at least 2 years, but I guess if there are groundbreakings, Rahm and every other stinking politician can have several more photo ops, as the Sun-Times reported with respect to the 95th St. bus terminal.

    (1) He can't make good on his one definite promise: to extend the Red Line to 130th. He sure hasn't yet. See what Alds. Beale and Austin said in that article.

    (2) I'm sure his autocratic style with respect to service cuts and fare increases won't go over. At least he had enough sense to tell his puppet Claypool to delay Ventra when it became and a daily embarrassment.

    (3) As I replied to Scooter on Sept. 21, the real issues are going to be schools, homicide, and taxes.

  • BTW, I wasn't sure where I could use today's Shoe, but the headline gave me the opportunity. Not sure if it depicts Durbin or Quinn, but probably both.

  • Wow, that is some serious announcements in that Trib article. Some of it has building up for a while, but not all of those details were available.

  • In reply to chris:

    Not really. The only new things are banning some right turns, prepayment platforms (still don't see how they can prevent people from entering the platforms on the street side) and getting the J14 bus off Monroe (apparently they couldn't figure out how to get it back to Washington when the Block 37 detours ended). Maybe the other surprise is a CDOT spokesmodel using the word "Metra."

  • In reply to jack:

    Yes, really. Where did you hear the reworking of lanes and buses on Clinton & Canal were going to take place before this? MegaBus will be moved down by Clinton Blue Line stop.

  • In reply to chris:

    That was announced before. It was discussed in chicagobus.org under "Livability grants," and while some links to government sources are no longer valid, this APTA document adequately summarizes it.

    Note that the timeline in that article indicates that Rahm is 2 years behind schedule on this.

    Megabus is a trivial element of this, but there were various articles about it shouldn't be that close to Union Station.

  • And yet the slow zones on the western leg of the Blue Line continue unabated. The work has been going on for what, 4+ years?

    This morning there were reports of delays due to construction debris on one of the tracks, which forced eastbound and westbound trains to use a single track. WTF. How does concrete wind up on the track? Did the contractors working on the Halsted bridge dump a load of concrete in the wrong place?

  • In reply to SpinyNorman:

    When I heard about that on the traffic report on Newsradio 780, I had to scratch my head. Did the construction crew purposely throw the "debris" onto the tracks?

  • In reply to SpinyNorman:

    Don't forget the insane slow zone north of Granville to Loyola due to the worn out switches.
    It appears the usual gang of idiots running the CTA has decided they will wait until they can get the feds to pay for replacing the entire line north of Wilson & then they'll fix them.
    The feds will pay for it sometime in the 22nd Century!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    No, by then George Jetson will perfect space copters and Captain Kirk or some quantum physicist on Nova will perfect teleporting, and the L will be a bigger relic than the buggy whip.

  • You're endorsing Emanuel. A man who disrespects cta's workers. But then again so do you. Kevin.

  • In reply to ibilldavis:

    Well, you're wrong again iBill. I am not endorsing Rahm. I am in fact reporting that he has kept many of his CTA promises.

  • In an, I guess, related point, Tracy Swartz has some prime adjectives about the Wilson station, in connection with it being slated for rebuilding.

    The surprising thing she states is that Uptown goes all the way to Ravenswood Ave. on the west, while most assume that it ends somewhat short of Clark, Based on this characterization, Rahm and Frosty live in Uptown, which may explain the warning about unleashing rats.

  • In reply to jack:

    Having formerly lived in Uptown, I always thought the boundary on the west was somewhere between Broadway and Clark. Most people refer to areas west of this as Andersonville. The only part where Clark is the western boundary is on the southern end. It's all realtor terms anyway. I once saw the lakeside portion of Uptown was once referred to as East Andersonville and East Ravenswood (those aren't real) in real estate listings.

  • In reply to chris:

    I guess you could argue that Andersonville and Ravenswood are merely neighborhoods within Uptown. With Uptown's reputation, I could see why. Edgewater split from them in the 1970's I think.

  • In reply to chris:

    Maybe conceptions are based on the center of the neighborhood and maybe on misconception.

    Andersonville is assumed to be centered at Clark and Foster and probably extends between Carmen and Bryn Mawr.

    Uptown is assumed to be centered at Wilson and Broadway, and probably goes from Irving Park to about Carmen (Asia on Argyle is assumed to be Uptown).

    A certain amount of this, but usually north of Uptown, is assumed to be Edgewater.

    I was also making certain demographic assumptions, that Uptown was predominantly apartments and SROs, while Ravenswood (where Emanuel and Claypool live) is mostly single family cottages. Of course, that is distinguished from Ravenswood Manor (on the other side of the river), where a better known politician criminal's wife lives.

    If one wanted to be picky, I suppose someone could find distractions between Wrigleyville, Boystown, and Lakeview, but the last encompasses the others.

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