CTA Blue Line gets $1 million study for future needs

The CTA last week announced a $1 million study to assess the future needs of the long-neglected Blue Line.

The Blue Line Feasibility analysis will be done in coordination with the Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) current planning for the Circle Interchange and Reconstruction of the I-290 Eisenhower Expressway. The Forest Park Branch shares the right of way with the I-290, operating within the median of expressway.

The 55-year-old Blue Line has reached the end of its useful life and is riddled with slow zones. The study will be completed in eight months. In the meantime, the CTA noted several projects that are either underway or planned to improve service for West Side customers:

  • Forest Park Branch Heavy Maintenance: In 2014, CTA will make track and other structural repairs on the Forest Park Branch, improvements that will increase safety and reliability until a more comprehensive reconstruction plan is devised and funded.
  • CTA Bus Tracker Shelter Displays: In May, CTA crews installed new CTA Bus Tracker displays at 45 bus shelters throughout the west side, which are in addition to the estimated 25 displays installed in 2011 during the first half of the project.
  • CTA Train Tracker Displays: By this fall, all 145 CTA rail stations will be equipped with at least one CTA Train Tracker display. Crews are installing these displays at stations along the Forest Park branch and by the end of June, all stations will have estimated train arrival times on display.
  • Austin Station Renewal: This summer CTA maintenance crews will perform a “swat team” style approach to renewing the Austin Blue Line station to repair, clean and make improvements to the station.
  • #35 35th Experimental Service: The CTA is currently testing experimental service for the #35 35th bus route that extends service to include 31st Street between Kedzie and Cicero avenues. The route extension is based on increased potential ridership demand in the corridor, and offers improved connections to the CTA’s Red, Green and Orange lines, additional CTA and Pace bus routes, and Metra’s Cicero station.

CTA will obtain feedback from the community and key stakeholders and return with final concepts in the fall which will be coordinated with the I-290 EIS meetings.
Anyone interested in the Blue Line Forest Park Branch Feasibility/Vision Study can email inquiries to BlueWestStudy@transitchicago.com.


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  • 8 months & a million bucks to tell them that they need to replace the the entire track structure [ballast, ties, crossovers, power supplies, the entire signal system, plus rebuilding all the stations to be ADA compliant with new lighting, signage & train tracker signs.
    There, I just saved them a million they can put into the actual work instead of pissing it away on politically connected consultants who will kick back at least 25% in campaign contributions to the politicians that got them the no bid contracts & another 25% under the table in $100 bills!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    I figured that it was either (1) prepping for that in the distant future, we'll have to shut down the Blue Line like we did the South Red Line, or (2) as Scooter indicates, blowing more consultant money for something there isn't construction money, like the slow zone riddled North Red Line. Calling it a Vision Study indicates the latter.

    Either way, we know that feedback means nothing and emailing will get an autotext response.

  • A million dollars on a transit study!
    I'm just appalled.
    Think of how much art they could have bought for this money!

  • If only we had a mayor who thought transit was a good idea.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    He keeps saying so. They haven't lynched him at any of his appearances at 95th and State yet.

    But he also knows that the people on the north side (especially the Lincoln Square area) aren't voting for anyone else.

  • In reply to jack:

    I'm not sure why. The Brown Line crawls and is nearly impossible to get on during the evening rush. Once you're south of Armitage, you're going at a swift walking pace (not that it's much better north of that).

  • In reply to Myshkin:

    But they claimed that they rebuilt it and decrowded it, including sending trains up from the Midway yard. And Emanuel was photographed riding it.

    And, like for whom else are they going to vote?

  • You gotta work around the Emanuel Base if that is indeed his rock solid base (he is reminiscent of Richard the Elder in that he rode the black vote and then gradually became the guardian of the then still-white bungalow belt ). You probably have to run a white/asian north side "cool" alderman like Arena, Pewar, Waguespack who hasnt blurted out his disgust about being remapped with more hispanics (e.g. Sposato, Zalewski), who doesnt scare hipsters, and doesnt turn off the cop/fireman crowd. Push Emmanuel into relying on the Black base and remind those voters about the school closings and the (by 2015) still substandard Red Line service and now-about-to-close Blue Line.

  • In reply to urbanleftbehind:

    I don't know about your conclusion, given that Emanuel's real base is in the wards you cited. You've already got a white candidate from Ravenswood, da Mare.

    Pewar proved that he had no influence at the Lincoln bus cutting hearings.

    Emanuel doesn't rely on a Black base, which the Tribune says is eroding already, except that there hasn't been a Harold Washington for about 25 years, and the rest of their politicians (such as Stroger, Beavers, Jackson, obviously, and I could name more) are clowns. The only supposed competition was between Emanuel and Chico, who was in the back pockets of the public employee unions. Dorothy Brown for mayor again?

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