CTA Belmont flyover fate subject of voter referendum

Some voters in Lakeview's 44th Ward can weigh in on the CTA's plan to build the Belmont flyover to speed traffic in and out of Belmont station.

Voters in the 20th, 36th and 38th precincts on Tuesday will find this question on the ballot:

Has the CTA sufficiently justified the $320 million proposed Brown Line Flyover project and its impact on local homes and businesses?

Folks are campaigning on EveryBlock against the flyover. The referendum is strictly advisory in nature.

Meanwhile, the Tribune's architecture critic has called the flyover "misguided" and "unnecessary."

Northbound Brown line will travel on track over the other three tracks near the Clark Junction.

Northbound Brown line will travel on track over the other three tracks near the Clark Junction.

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  • It's not a binding referendum, is it? The city ones rarely if ever are, so I don't see the point.

  • In reply to tambreet:

    1. There are rarely binding referendums in Chicago.
    2. So maybe 500-600 people are supposed to decide what will affect over 100,000 every day.
    No damned way!
    The CTA needs to go ahead with eminent domain now & forcibly buy & demolish every single property they need for this.
    We can't let a few self centered NIMBYs control the transportation of the city.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Maybe, but first it has to go through the environmental impact process before it is going to get any funding.

    Secondly, the Englewood Flyover cost about $150 million and was a much more difficult engineering job that this. Hence, I conclude that probably $200 million of the $320 million estimated cost of this is eminent domain, not constructing the project. A lot of this is condemning vast swaths of Clark St. north of Roscoe for "staging areas" with a CTA promise to rebuild it after evicting all the condo owners. Scooter, do you really think the feds are going to fund that?

  • In reply to jack:

    From what I got from the initial proposal, they want to straighten out the tracks where they go around the Vautravers building, which means they would tear that ancient mess down.
    I'm guessing a lot of the money is going for the track straightening.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    What is the deal with your hatred of the Vautravers building and old buildings in general? I sense a trend.

  • In reply to chris:

    It's in the way of straightening out the L tracks. If the builders weren't such cheap bastards, it would have disappeared in 1905, when the tracks were built.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Holding a grudge for 109 years. Impressive. Doesn't explain why you think the building is an "ancient mess" however.

  • In reply to chris:

    Let's see, they covered up a bunch of windows facing the tracks, is a good start.
    Plus it's a dump & always has been & always will be, due to its location a few few feet from a few hundred trains a day.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Whether one believes CTA statements about redevelopment or not, even the straightening (if that's the assumed reason for the condemnations on the 3300 and 3400 blocks of N. Clark) is probably still the main cost. They are straightening out the tracks at Wilson and building a new 2 platform station, and CTA said that is only $230 million. There is little land to condemn there, though.

  • As noted in the comments there, advisory, and hence meaningless.

  • One possible alternative would be to operate the Brown Line on the two west tracks, rather than the outer tracks. This would require shifting the configuration of the Red Line subway entrance just north of Willow Street. Rather than split the Brown Line at this point, the northbound track would shift to the #2 (#3?) track. It seems like any required construction at this point would have less impact on the surrounding neighborhood.

  • In reply to SpinyNorman:

    So, how does the northbound train stop at the Armitage, Wellington, and Diversey stations, where the (supposedly rehabbed in the past 8 years) platforms are on the outside of the structure?

    Not to mention that the platforms at Belmont and Fullerton were built for 10 car trains on tracks 2 and 3 and 8 car trains on tracks 1 and 4? There is some talk that part of the reason for the bloated 714 car order is eventually 10 car trains on the Red Line.

    A final consideration is the bottleneck of merging Red and Purple lines north of Belmont, although maybe something like that will eventually needed if Purple is routed into the subway (but that's not likely).

    I have the feeling between you Scooter, and Mike, and this flyover plan, we should rank a whole lot of things vs. the chance Lisa will be defeated tomorrow.

  • In reply to jack:

    Oy, yeah that would be a problem. Overly simple answer: rebuild the platforms in the center, and route the 2 east tracks using the airspace vacated by the old east side platform. Do we really need the Wellington station 4 short blocks from the Belmont station?

    Are you sure about the platform length? Looking at Google satellite, the 2 platforms look to be the same length.

    'Not sure what bottleneck you're referring to, as the Red and Purple have to merge today north of Belmont. Actually, the existing northbound trackage could be left in place at Willow St, allowing the Purple to merge with the northbound Red at that point. New tracks would be needed for the Brown to split off to the 2nd track.

  • In reply to SpinyNorman:

    "Reroute the tracks and platforms" gets you into the same mess as with the Belmont and Fullerton stations--they had to condemn land on Wilton Street and on the DePaul campus to make room for them.

    There is also that problem that federal funds were used to rebuild the 3 stations, and that has a 40 year FTA service life, not 8. CTA would have to refund some of that money and then find the money for the work you suggest.

    The angle at the end of the platforms has something to do with how many cars they can berth.

    And, I don't know what Red and Purple Lines you ride, but at Clark Jct the Red goes through on tracks 2 and 3 and the Purple on tracks 1 and 4, the Purple and Brown running on the same tracks south of there. Obviously, if you terminate the two westernmost tracks at Clark Jct., only the northbound Purple Line could go straight through the Jct., while the other trains would have to shift tracks so that the Red could get to the Addison station (which was put in the middle to do away with Red Line switching, as part of the HoDar project, so you just defeated one purpose of that project).

  • In reply to SpinyNorman:

    Wellington is two blocks from Belmont, not four & just one slightly long block from the Nelson St. emergency exit, which should become a regular exit & card only entrance.
    Remember, a block in Chicago is 100 street numbers.
    The term "city block" is a New York City term & has no equivalent here.
    Wellington never should have been rebuilt, just torn down.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    "That's my story and I'm sticking to it"--Scooter.

    Why not get exact and state how many metres* are between the stations and what the standard in metres should be.

    Also, give exact quantitative amounts about how many people in the Lincoln Park neighborhood are going to scream and the amount of money that would have to be refunded to the feds.

    *French spelling, since they set the international standard.

  • DNAInfo has the result. However, as predicted, this is meaningless because it is advisory, and besides that CTA doesn't listen to anybody (perhaps unless it comes with a credible threat to cut off their funds, sort of like the retired engineer's report on the Ashland BRT).

    However, given the outcome of yesterday's U.S. Senate and House elections, it doesn't look like there is going to be any funding, certainly not $320 million for this.

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