Sunday, May 19, 2013

Chicago Red Line’s South Side Branch Closes Today for 5 Months

The southern half of Chicago’s Red Line is falling apart. Originally constructed in 1969, much of the tracks and stations are in dire need of repair. Starting today, the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) is going to work to fix those problems. For five months, the southern half of the Red Line will be shut down. Tracks will be ripped up and replaced and every Red Line station from Cermak-Chinatown to 87th is going to be modernized.

There has been a lot of pushback from South Side residents who are upset for the long-term closure of their train line. In order to ensure South Siders are still able to get where they need to go quickly, the CTA is offering a number of services. The services CTA will offer include free shuttle buses with 24-hour service from a number of Red Line stops to the Garfield Station on the Green Line, free rail entry for shuttle buses leaving from Garfield, many bus routes with 50 cent discounted rides, 24-hour Red Line service on Green Line tracks to Ashland/63rd, and expanded bus service on existing bus routes.

The CTA considered keeping service running on the southern half of the Red Line during the rehabilitation process; however, if they had done so the project would have taken four years and would have cost millions of dollars more. Instead the CTA has chosen to accelerate the process and use the savings to make the South Side stations all handicapped-accessible. I think this is the right move as long as the shuttle bus service is quick and people do not have major issues moving around the South Side. Tomorrow will be the first workday since the shutdown, so we’ll have a better idea at that point what impact this will have on the city. Hopefully at the end of the project the Red Line will offer much improved, faster, and smoother service.

Below is a map of the temporary train reroutes and the new bus shuttles:


Edited by: Darwin M


  1. Having ridden the Red Line while at the American Planning Association Conference, I can say without a doubt that this rehibilitation is needed for this line. There is multile sections of this line that requires the trains to craw along which makes it all the worse when you can see cars flying by next to you.

    It was not that many years ago that CTA shut down the Green Line to do a similar rehibiltation of that line.

    While it is difficult for riders to deal with having their line shut down, in the long run it gives them a better performing transit system.

  2. The tension between maintaining some level of service and the length of the project is never easy to balance. The CTA is clearly making a strong effort to provide alternative methods of transportation while the Red Line is closed. I especially like that the savings from expediting the project are being reinvested to improve ADA access. Overall, it seems to me that the CTA has made the best of a difficult situation.


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