The group's basic argument is that the flyover will "waste millions in taxpayer funding and destroy Central Lakeview." They say northbound train service is delayed by no more than 20 to 30 seconds to wait for the Red or Brown Line to pass out of Belmont. The CTA wants to raze 16 buildings to construct a "flyover" route for the Brown Line to ascend over top off the northbound Red Line.
Right now, the CTA's Belmont flyover is still going through the federal environmental review process for the RPM project. "There are no new developments or new information on this project," said a CTA spokesperson. "Once we have completed the preliminary engineering and design phase, we will hold hearings to solicit public feedback, which will guide the development of this project."
The CTA also says the Red-Purple bypass will "increase capacity for the next 60-80 years, allowing the CTA to accommodate growing ridership on a corridor that has seen explosive 40 percent ridership growth during peak periods in the last 5 years."
Here's more from the CTA on this project:
We are currently near capacity now in this corridor. Based on the pattern of ridership growth in the last five years, we will be at capacity by 2016 and no longer able to add service to relieve train overcrowding without the bypass, which will relieve the bottleneck at this junction. In other words, without this improvement, CTA simply will not be able to address crowded trains or capture new ridership.
With 185,000 people expected to move to within a 1/2 mile of the North Red and Brown line stations by 2040 (according to CMAP Census estimates), the neighborhoods on the North Side would be significantly and negatively affected by car congestion if nothing is done.
Certainly this issue is by no means settled. Both sides have their arguments. The Tribune's architecture critic has called the proposal "misguided and unnecessary." And 70 percent of voters in a non-binding referendum turned thumbs down on the flyover plan in November.
I wish the flyover could be accomplished with fewer buildings being taken down. What do you think?
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