Have your say on CTA Red Line north projects at open houses

Do you oppose the Belmont “flyover” project? Have concerns about the impact of the Lawrence to Bryn Mawr Modernization Project?

You can let your voice be heard at two open houses this week on these projects.

Sound off from 5:30 till 7:30 p.m. Wednesday on the Lawrence to Bryn Mawr Modernization Project at a hearing at Truman Community College in the Wilson Lobby, 1145 W. Wilson Ave.

Give your opinion on the Red-Purple Bypass Project, aka the Belmont “flyover,” from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the 19th District Police Department, 850 W. Addison St.

The Belmont flyover in particular has been under the microscope since it was announced that 16 buildings on Clark and Wilton would have to be torn down to build the bypass over the tracks north of Belmont so the Brown Line no longer delays Red and Purple trains.

On Sunday, Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin wrote a passionate piece opposing the $320 million project. His bottom line – it just wasn’t worth taking down all those buildings to cut delays that average 84 seconds.

He may have a point there. Perhaps CTA planners can find another way to architect the flyover without taking out so many buildings.
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  • As usual (like the Ashland BRT) the only point is to make a record so it doesn't pass federal environmental review.CTA isn't going to be listening.

    I also see that someone is wavering about the merits of the project, especially since the Tribune got CTA to admit that the delay numbers were inflated.

  • We may "have our say" at these two open houses, but that doesn't mean our "voice [will] be heard." Since when does the CTA actually listen to any of its customers? Decisions have already been made, they aren't changing their plans for anybody.

  • In reply to johnpseudonym:

    As I indicated above, that's not the purpose of the hearing, but to make a record so that the money goes to New York (where President Obama made a speech in front of a $1 billion toll bridge on the Thruway to show the need for a transportation program) or Texas instead of here. Congress is not going to pass about $3 billion in earmarks that Emanuel suddenly thinks Chicago is going to get for RPM, this, and Ashland BRT.

  • Why would you ask an architecture critic the merits of a transit project?

    Sounds like some serious NIMBY people in that article. If your building is built right next to the tracks, you have to at some point realize an expansion is a possibility...

    84 seconds is the time now, but that will change over time and the ability to also push more trains through is beneficial. This all changes if the south side expansion takes place too.

  • In reply to chris:

    Because he makes the obvious point that CTA is threatening condemnation, and has already severely diminished property values for something that Miss Propaganda Minister Tammy Chase says will not have the benefits she first touted. Sure, go ahead and wreck a neighborhood, and incur huge costs under the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 for something that will save an 84 second delay instead of a 5 minute one per trip.

    He is also in a good position to point out that CTA has not redeveloped the land it left vacant after the Brown Line project, and hence cannot be believed that it will redevelop land that currently is not blighted.

    BTW, do you remember the discussion I had here a couple of weeks ago that it made no sense to push this plan until there was a plan for operating money to increase service? Without that, there is no justification for this expenditure, and to be more specific, this destruction.

  • In reply to jack:

    My point was that that is not the arhitecture critic's job, that's the transportation guru, John Hilkevitch. Much of that article was talking about how it would affect a person pushing a stroller down the street...

    I agree that the CTA are poor planners and definitely not forthcoming about all of their planning.

    There is some brown line vacant land left, but much of it has been redeveloped already. The land was spread out over a much larger geographical area, so it seems right that not all of it would be bought up immediately and redeveloped.

    I don't recall that conversation, but I would imagine that if rides keep increasing you have to increase the amount of trains during rush. It's called capacity planning.

  • In reply to chris:

    Unless your concept of architecture is whether a building has glass panels or gargoyles, it is the architecture critic's job to say what the effect of a project will be on the urban landscape.

    Especially in point is his reference to Robert Moses, whose demolish anything philosophy, such as for the Cross-Bronx Expressway, resulted in the destruction of The Bronx as a viable community, and only then the current federal requirements.

    If you want to talk about Hilkevitch's job, he should have dug into that Chase was initially lying about the transit benefits of the project.

    Besides the excessive demolition proposed here (what is the point of demolishing the east side of Clark up to Newport Ave.?) there are other reports that CTA essentially wants to destroy property on the east side of Broadway between Ainslie and Bryn Mawr, mostly for "staging areas.* Somebody has to question the extent of the proposed demolition, and unless it is an architect or a city planner, I don't know who else would.
    *This isn't like the environmental report on the 95th terminal, which said that 2 gas stations, 2 beauty shops, and a hot dog stand would be taken for staging areas.

  • In reply to jack:

    I see you figured out the reason the Ainslie rendering was on there. Where were you able to dig that up?

    The funny thing is, there is an empty parking lot just north of the spot they want to demolish. Also of note, the area they want to raze is mostly a parking lot as it is a strip mall style shopping area.

  • Regarding the Lawrence to Bryn Mawr project, I noticed they have some rendering of a building at Ainslie. I don't see a station in the rendering, but are they still trying to consolidate stations on this project? Hard to tell what the rendering is for otherwise...

  • In another example of CTA making no sense, see the discussion starting here about the rationales for throwing out the bids on the 7000s. Somebody needs to get rid of Tammy (RT News) Chase and whoever on CTA staff that came up with this bonehead decision. That is, unless this procurement, like the one for 900 hybrid articulated buses, was a joke on the vendors.

  • This is just a smoke screen so the CTA doesn't have holy hell rain down when they're asked why the Public wasn't let in. It's a shame because the CTA wastes sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much money when they could take that money & use it to reduce the fares and give much better service.

    This is just another waster of time since we all know they've already made their decisions.

  • In reply to ApresSki:

    Maybe it is a de facto smoke screen, but not even Claypool is dumb enough to believe that he will get federal funding without complying with federal law, so he's going through the motions.

  • In reply to ApresSki:

    I doubt you will ever see fares reduced. Extra money would be poured into fixing the backlog of maintenance across the system.

  • I don't suppose they could have these public meetings at a time when the public could actually show up.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    What's wrong with evening hours?

  • In reply to chris:

    Again, note my comment that Claypool is only going through the motions because he has to.

  • In reply to jack:

    Right, and I contend that people are able to attend during evening hours. The meaningfulness of the meeting is no related to the ability to attend.

  • In reply to jack:

    Right, and I contend that people are able to attend during evening hours. The meaningfulness of the meeting is not related to the ability to attend.

  • In reply to chris:

    I take it you will be there.

  • In reply to jack:

    I would if I still lived over there. As it stands, I only own property over there so it doesn't impact me as much any more.

  • Yes to all of this. Evening hours? You mean before people can even take the CTA and manage to get there after work?

    Had anyone even heard of these hearings/open houses until today? That is, the one that is happening *tonight* and the one that is happening tomorrow? So if you have plans that you can't switch on a moment's notice, you can't go??

    Yes ... waste a bunch of money -- if we have all of this money to be doing this crap, why aren't we putting it in to so many other things that need to be done to existing parts of the system? I'm sure we can all list countless things we see every day that need upgrades, repairs, improvements or changes. It's so ridiculous.

    Right. It's ... we have to have these to comply with law -- you'll go, they'll tell you why you should believe that this is wonderful, they'll allow the bare minimum amount of time for comment/question -- they'll answer said questions/comments with doublespeak, runarounds, non-answers and bullshit, and then do whatever the eff they want to anyway.

    We've seen this time and time and time and time again. And then whoever does the work will most likely get some no-bid contract that none of us will ever see until Ben Joravsky reports on it a year later and we see how badly we're being screwed (or we see the boards rotting from their sockets at all the stations).

    I think there should be citizens/riders on the CTA board. I think it's been well documented that the majority of the people making decisions there don't even use the system. Oh, man, this whole business gets me riled.

  • In reply to Jocelyn Geboy:

    1. The money doesn't exist. President Obama proposed a "Core Capacity Program," and somehow his former chief of staff thinks Chicago will get about $3 billion in 2017, even though Congress has not passed a transportation bill extending past this year. Then, suddenly, all of these projects emerged.

    2. Basically, your "riders on the CT Board" idea has been tried and failed. The statutory requirement is for persons of "business ability," but Gov. "I Care" Quinn appointed "transit activists" like Jacky Grimshaw, who, when asked about the vote to cut service on Lincoln, didn't even realize that it happened. There is also some preacher on the CT Board who prayed for guidance on the same issue. The inherent problem is that Claypool says he works for one man, and thus doesn't appear to even report to the CTA Board, and said that Gov. Invertebrate's task force on transit governance reform was dead.

  • I came upon a reference to DNAinfo that the Wilton neighbors came to a conclusion we have--that CTA was lying about the supposed delays.

    But now Russia Today's Tammy Chase says that the issue is adding more trains, even though there isn't an operating plan to do so, about which the neighbors say, "the talk about capacity is simply a more vague way of discussing the project to confuse the public. It's misleading, much like with conceptual renderings, which paint a rosy picture for what will actually be a desecration."

    Note also that Chase says that the renderings were created by "architects and engineers." So, an architectural critic isn't in a position to comment, Chris?

  • In reply to jack:

    I don't think this project is analogous to Robert Moses trying to put an expressway through a park. I still think it is Hilkevitch's job to do the rebuttal, perhaps with some input from the architecture critic.

  • In reply to chris:

    Well. then go to the editorial board.

    Maybe then you can have them explain why they have 3 transportation writers (Hilkevitch, Swartz, and Wronski), supposedly all on the CTA beat, although Hilkevitch is in the Cars section.

    And whether it is analogous or not, it seems to be in Moses's spirit of how he thought condemnation should be used. Also, Moses did a hell of a lot more than simply propose putting I-495 through a park, like demolishing most of the Bronx.

  • In reply to jack:

    It's not a wrong I feel I need to right, but I am going to post my observation as this is a discussion board...

    Maybe you should since you seem to have a beef with how they deploy their staff.

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